I’ve survived my younger son’s wedding weekend. Sure, I’m hurting, but at least I got to do much more at this wedding than I did for #1’s wedding. Oh well, fortunately, my boys have grown to understand my condition and have done a much better job accepting my limitations than I have been. But, that “woe is me” topic is not appropriate for this forum; therefore, I will soldier onward.
The one thing that can make or break a wedding reception is NOT the rehearsal dinner, though my beautiful and talented wife pulled off another brilliant one, and, quite honestly, with much apologies to my daughters-in-law (first time that word is plural!), but, for many people, especially me, it’s the music at the wedding reception. Fortunately, the couple turned to me for help. Now, personally, I prefer a DJ to a band. Don’t get me wrong, because their are some fantastic wedding bands out there, but I like to have a little more control over the music played. Of course, I did create a music control freak with #1, who would only use a playlist that he created for the reception music. Now, I’m not that bad.
To me, there are songs that are timeless and those that are of their time. Back when my wife and I were getting married, many couples were having REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling” played for their first dances. Now, that is a fine song, and I still enjoy hearing it every once in a while, but the song sounds so childish and Eighties-ish. On the other hand, I choose The Style Council’s “You’re the Best Thing”, a song whose lyrics hold up at every age we have been to this day. Plus, the music, with its soul feel, could be popular during any decade during the time since. Yes, there are some classic Eighties production sounds, but the melody holds up. With that in mind, I was proud of #2 for holding his ground with his desire to choose the first dance song.
His new bride and mother-in-law wanted that popular Ed Sheeran duet with Beyoncé, “Perfect,” which lyrically, describes the new bride and groom’s life perfectly. But, Ed is a flavor of the moment, in how he sings and records. And, though, Queen Bey elevates the song a bit, #2 thought the whole thing a little hokey for his tastes, although he did agree with the lyrics. But, this song sets the stage for a marriage and should be a declaration of a couple’s love throughout the dance. With that in mind, #2 had chosen Otis Redding’s “That’s How Strong My Love Is,” at least until Monday before the wedding.
One week ago today, my wife and I were out running errands, while listening to the new Leon Bridges CD, Good Thing, when I told my wife that I really liked Track 4. So, I put it on repeat and looked up the lyrics, and we fell in love with this song called “Beyond.” At this moment, in an act of serendipity, #2 called me. We did some small talk, then I asked him if he was familiar with Leon Bridges’ new CD. He said, “Yes.” And, then, I asked him if he was familiar with Track 4, to which he replied, “Sure! “Beyond”? Yeah, I love that song.”
I replied back, “You might want to read the lyrics because you might want to change your first dance song, if you catch my drift.”
He replied, “I do. I’ll check it out!” And that was the conversation.
About five minutes later, #2 texts me, “Read the lyrics. We have a new song for the first dance. Will text the DJ.”
And, within 30 minutes of really listening to that song for the first time, my younger son had chosen Leon Bridges’ “Beyond” for the freshly minted couple’s first dance. And, he got so many compliments on the choice, and I couldn’t be happier for he and his beautiful bride. Once again, the point is to keep your ears and minds open to find the RIGHT song for you as a couple. And, I believe “Beyond” is timeless, even though its only been released for around six weeks.
But, that night is not about the right first dance song. Nope, you have the father/daughter dance, the mother/son dance, the garter removal and toss to the single guys and the tossing of the bridal flowers to the single women, which all need music. But, that first dance sets the tone, and the kids did a fantastic job with their choices.
Now, for the dance part, the couple wanted me to help them out. Mrs. #2 wanted me to make a list for them that they would then narrow. So, I have the most anal retentive list imaginable, with over 200 songs on it. I told them to winnow it down to around 40 songs to give to the DJ to help guide him, since I informed those kids that 200 songs would last several days.
Guess what?!?! Those darn kids sent the FULL list to the DJ, who was laughing about it at the reception. I knew that both the bride and groom wanted me to choose good dance songs from the Seventies, Eighties, Nineties, Aughts and Teens, so I did. Plus, I was told to put Prince on the list, which we all knew I would! Well, I happened to put some, let’s call them “inappropriate” songs on the list as a joke just to see if they were reading the list. One said song was Prince’s “P. Control.” Well, since my song obviously did not read that list, imagine my surprise when the DJ, saying he did NOT know why this song was requested proceeded to play said song without announcing the title. If you are familiar with the song, Prince, or the Artist as he was known when this song was released, yells “Pussy Control” throughout the song. Yet, the song is an excellent dance song, lyrics not withstanding. Well, it actually blew the roof off the place, and the dancing got more intense and funner for the wedding party. Of course, you throw in some crack dance music from decades past, while also mixing in some music from the couple’s youth, “Get Low” or “Yeah,” and you’ve got a no lose situation. All that was missing, in my humble opinion was either “Le Freak” or “Disco Inferno” and some Parlifunkadelicment Thang, although any gangsta rap worked in the George Clinton music indirectly.
All in all, it was a great weekend, though #2 and his young bride both started crying while she walked down the aisle. I figured that would happen, since he is an emotional guy. That’s why I love him so much. He brings so many different things to our family, as does Daughter-in-Law #2. Of course, many of the wives and girlfriends of #2’s friends are now either irritated with their men or expecting the same behavior out of them at their weddings that #2 did when he saw his wife for the first time. It melted the women’s hearts and put the pressure on the men. All of which became the running joke at the reception.
When the reception ended, the wedding party, parents, families and friends took the Party Bus back to the hotel, where we had set up #1 and his wife in the Presidential Suite as the after-party room. With the help of #1’s cousin and his girlfriend, #1 hosted this after-party with his unique flair, as he offered guests beers as if they were fine wines placing the cans over his arm and saying, “I think you will enjoy this choice, as it has no citrus additives and a soft hoppy after taste.” I know that #1 is truly my heir to my musical knowledge, although #2 has always been the quiet learner of information, #1 knows how to put music together so the after party had great music as well. And, his signature is to always begin with New Order, and you can’t go wrong there!
Needless to say, that we young people are in party mode, they are loud, so hotel security broke things up at 2:30 in the morning. However, I was having my usual bout of back spasms, so I had left early. But, as usual, my wife was there when security ordered everyone out. Instead of leaving, she, all 5’3″ of her informed security that she was staying because she paid for the room for them. With security appeased, Mom talked with #1, Daughter-in-Law #1, #1’s cousin and his girlfriend for another hour or two. When she finally got back to our room, she was suffering from a bad case of verbal diarrhea, so she tried to carry on a conversation with me, the guy with muscle relaxers running through his veins. Needless to say, she gave up and fell asleep.
All of this means that my kids are now high school graduates, college grads, Master’s degree earners, real job holders and, now, married. Next up: grandchildren! Oh, did I tell you? #1’s wife is due in three weeks! And, it’s the first girl in FOUR generations in my family. To quote Ben Fong-Torres in Almost Famous, “Crazy!”