Her Vision? “A 1950’s Supper Club” – Our Pleasure! YOUR Wedding, YOUR Way: Wendy and Roger Reunite at Perona Farms

When you can sing a love song as well as Barbara Streisand and you want your wedding to be one-of-a-kind, treat your husband to a concert-worthy vocal performance during the ceremony and then return to the spotlight later in the reception for an encore.     Not only was Wendy a beautiful bride on the inside and out, she had an equally striking voice.  And it turns out, so did half of the guest list.     Knowing this, Wendy came to MMP with a very clear vision…  she wanted her wedding to feel and sound like a 1950’s Supper Club.

If you go by the Wikipedia definition, a Supper Club wedding is one of our specialties when it comes to production-based events– and the venue Roger and Wendy chose, Perona Farms, was the ideal location.

A Supper Club, in general, refers to a dining establishment that also functions as a social club.  Supper Clubs tend to present themselves as having a high-class image, even if the price is affordable to all. These establishments typically are located on the edge of town in rural areas. They were traditionally thought of as a “destination” where patrons would go to spend the whole evening, from cocktail hour to enjoying night club style entertainment after dinner. They feature a casual and relaxed atmosphere.

Wendy’s vision and desired ambiance sure made for some refreshingly-sophisticated and elegantly-fun music programming.  I was able to spin some tracks that don’t normally make the play list.   Their requests included Shaynee Rainbolt‘s- Stuff Like That There, Peggy Lee‘s- That’s My Style, Ella Fitzgerald‘s- You Do Something To Me, Melinda Doolittle‘s- I’m A Woman, and the duet by Jamie Foxx and Beyoncé – When I First Saw You.

People ask me all the time, “we have a loved one that recently passed away and we’d like to recognize them during our wedding… what do you recommend?”   One of my favorite tributes is a butterfly release.    Unfortunately, Wendy and Roger had two special family members to honor.  Wendy’s brother and Roger’s father.  After the ceremony, we directed everyone outside to where the cocktail hour was taking place.   Pastor Hamlin said a few words about each honoree and then a short prayer.  The butterflies were released in their memory.  It was a very moving experience.   **FYI  The delivery, transport and release of live butterflies takes great care, coordination and attention to detail.  Please consider this and do your homework before you decide to include this at your special event.

When the budget permits, we always recommend live musicians to compliment the DJ Entertainment.  Wendy and Roger were fortunate to have their good friend, Robert, not only start off the ceremony with a cool acoustic version of Train’s Marry Me, but to perform an hour of some classic jazz standards during cocktails.  He even came back on after dinner with an awesome rendition of Paul McCartney’s My Love to re-open the dance floor.

Since I have a really solid relationship with my mom, and she happens to live 2 miles up the road, I always appreciate it when I see another son’s genuine love for his mother.  When Cameron, Wendy’s son, stepped up to the mic during the ceremony, most of the guests probably anticipated a few, quick, generically Hallmark-sounding sentiments to be delivered.  Instead, to everyone’s delight, including yours truly, Cameron offered up a genuine, heart-felt dedication to his mom that she and everyone else who heard it will never forget.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my dear friend, and fellow Wedding Entertainment Director from Virginia, Elisabeth Scott Daley.   Due to her busy event schedule, she was already booked when Roger and Wendy called her to provide the entertainment so she was kind enough to refer my services.   Not only is Elisabeth an in-demand wedding entertainment professional, she’s also a former Broadway performer who can swoon with the best of them.   During the reception, Daley belted out a studio quality rendition of Mary Chapin Carpenter’s version of John Lennon’s smash hit, Grow Old With Me, and dedicated it to Wendy and Roger.

One of my favorite racing expressions has always been, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish that really counts.”    This philosophy transcends athletics and relates perfectly to event direction.  Wendy and Roger’s celebration got off to a great start, had a solid second act, and then thanks to the song… Day-O by Harry Belafonte, the Grand Finale was worthy of an encore.  I found out ahead of time that Wendy and Roger were going to Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea for their Honeymoon… so to get everybody in the mood for a piña colada on a gorgeous tropical island, we had the entire guest list on the dance floor smiling and singing their hearts out with the newlyweds.    “Daylight come and we wanna go home.”    I love my job.  🙂

Special thanks to Ron Francis, Banquet Manager from Perona Farms, for his hospitality and professionalism.   Ron was instrumental in making sure that the celebration had a smooth flow to it from start to finish.   He was also kind enough to let us keep all of the equipment that we brought in  for the ceremony rehearsal and microphone sound check set up at the venue.  This saved us several hours of labor the next day and we greatly appreciated it.

I also want to extend my gratitude to Eric Kazmirek and Elisabeth, who graciously shared their photos for this entry.  -mp

 

Liner Notes: Wendy and Roger met a long time ago but each decided to take a different exit on the highway of life.  Then, 31 years later, their mutual friend, Sheri Burton, who originally introduced them, put them back in touch with each other.  Sheri flew all the way from Tuscon, Arizona, to be a part of the big day and got special mention during the personalized grand entrance.

Classy Move:    At many weddings, brides and grooms will spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars on a little trinket or some type of commemorative swag for their guests to take home.  In most cases, this stuff finds its way into the garbage or the bottom of a box in the basement somewhere.  Think about it for a second… do people really need another wallet-size photo frame or a few fancy chocolates?   In lieu of a gift for each of their guests, Wendy and Roger made a generous donation to the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.  Nice!!!

Encore Gallery:

And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson: Wendy Gathers Top NJ Photographers at Her Studio

(from Left) Dan Epstein, Maurico Lemonk, Camila Otero, Javier Seclen, Ellen Quentzel, Kurby Brown, Eric Kazmirek, Karen Farber, Artie Pellarano, David Patiño, Kerry Pratzon, Eileen Noelle, Joshua Lipnick (front) Carolina Wahnish Rivera, Wendy Robinson and John Peters

I was invited to join Mallus Award winning photographer, Wendy Robinson, and notable colleagues last night at her West Orange studio.  For those who frequent our blog, you’ll recognize Wendy’s name and her business partner, David Patiño, from our recent collaboration at the Park Avenue Club. We are also the preferred vendor at several of the same New Jersey venues like the newly renovated Orange Lawn Tennis Club.

Mauricio Lemonk was also in attendance; he and I have teamed up on many occasions including this memorable event at the Grand Summit Hotel that was featured on the MMP blog last summer.

Whenever I mention photographers in our event recaps,  I always stress how having a great personality is just as important as their artistic ability.  The tri-state area is home to some of the best photographers in the industry so finding one who will capture your significant moments with deftness is the easy part; it’s finding a skillful professional that knows how to put the subjects at ease, be unobtrusive and make great conversation throughout a session that makes the search so challenging.

Wendy Robinson and Marcello Pedalino

Last night, Wendy assembled an eclectic group of seasoned aficionados that fit the bill.    In addition to the expected exchange of pleasantries, networking and business idea nuggets,  light-hearted conversation topics included: the World Cup, Costa Rica, quitting smoking, the BP fiasco, the under-appreciated pleasure of a short commute to work, what it is really like to be a teacher in NJ, giving up Burger King and McDonalds cold turkey (that was mine) and the awesomeness of Pandora Radio on your smart phone.

In my opinion, a great photographer, like any highly sought-after professional, needs to be able to simultaneously do their job and make their clients and guests feel comfortable. The vibes last night were definitely indicative of these qualifications.   As far as their individual talents go, check out some of their sample portfolios online and judge for yourself.

Dan Epstein, Maurico Lemonk, Camila Otero, Javier SeclenEric Kazmirek, Karen Farber, David Patiño, Kerry Pratzon, Eileen Noelle, Joshua Lipnick, Carolina Wahnish Rivera, Wendy Robinson and John Peters (Photo Lab).

Special thanks to Wendy for the invitation and her hospitality.   She’s opening a sister office in Morristown with David and Joshua Lipnick that promises to be as  prosperous as their West Orange location.

I wish you all continued health, happiness and success and look forward to our next collaboration.

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