Category Archives: Weddings

Adrian Cavlan joins Monterey Bay Wedding & Event Professionals’ Board Of Directors

There is a great new organization that has sprung up this last year in the Monterey Bay Area called Monterey Bay Wedding & Event Professionals that is making quite a mark here in the Monterey Bay wedding & event industry.
MBWEP

This organization is dedicated to top-level professionalism and making sure that people have a trusted source to find these service providers. Each new member is hand-picked and sponsored by an MBWEP board member and then must go through a rigorous certification process and interview. It is not easy, and not for everyone.

Here, from the MBWEP website, are some of the highlights of the requirements & code of ethics:

– Hire and train the most professional staff available
– Treat each client fairly and honestly, providing all contracted services in a timely manner
– Use honest and factual advertising
– Have a personal sense of obligation to each individual client
– Do whatever necessary to make sure that the event is a success
– Operate a business that is a credit to the organization and the community
– Do not offer or accept monetary compensation (kickbacks) for referrals or recommendations
– Must have a physical business address in Monterey or Santa Cruz counties
– Must be a licensed, insured business
– Must have been in business for at least two (2) years at the time of application.
– Provide written contract to all clients

I am proud to have been elected to serve on the MBWEP Board Of Directors as the Programs Manager, which means that I am responsible for procuring speakers for our continuing education series, among other things. Having been a speaker on a national level as a DJ/MC company owner, I feel like I have a good understanding of how this kind of operation is supposed to work and am excited to be in a position to bring new knowledge and perspectives to our group.

If you are a local event professional and feel like you can step up and meet this group’s criteria, we invite you to learn more about how you can be part of our organization. Visit our website at mbwep.com for more information!

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A song is (re)born

This is a fun story from back a few years ago, and is certainly one of the coolest and most fulfilling things I have done as a wedding DJ:

In September of ’03 I got a call from a very cool girl named Alyssa, who was friends with Lupe and Joe, and (Lupe’s sister) Claudia and Dave, both of whose weddings I had DJ’d years earlier. We hit it off on the phone right away as she was explaining her vision of her wedding to me: elegant yet casual, and definitely fun and unique – all the right buzzwords for the typical Adrian client : )

Then she told me about this song that she loved. A rather obscure song, she said, but she loved it. It was called “You’re Not Alone”. Right on cue I said, “oh – you mean the one by Olive?” She was quite surprised I knew it, and delighted when I told her that it was one of my favorites from it’s time as well. She then proceeded to explain to me that the song had a lot of meaning to her (a really great set of lyrics, IMHO) and that she wanted to know if I’d ever heard a slower version of it because she really wanted it to be her first dance with her new husband (Thomas) at the wedding.

After a bit of research, we concluded that a slower version did not exist. She was disappointed, but I had a bit of a far-fetched and certainly somewhat risky proposal for her: I had, unbeknownst to her, gone online at eBay and found a person in England who had the 12″ vinyl single of this song, which also included the a capella vocal track on its flip side. I had won the auction and was having the record shipped to me. From there, I explained to her that I wanted to explore re-creating the music for the vocal track and making a ballad out of it for her to use at her wedding! Now, I had not really done a project of this magnitude before, so we decided to invest a minimal amount of time and resources into it to see if it was possible to even just put a string section behind it to make it usable at the wedding at some point, if not the first dance.

What unfolded was a month-long project for me in my computer-based recording studio at home, using Propellerhead’s brilliant Reason and ReCycle software packages, Bias’ Peak editing suite, my electric guitar with an amp modeler and a MIDI keyboard for inputting all other instrumentation.

When I emerged from the studio with a result that I felt I could live with, I sent it to Alyssa and Thomas, and on September 25, 2004, they danced for their first time as husband and wife to it.

Want to hear some samples?

OK – here’s an excerpt of the first instrumentally-backed verse and first chorus out of the break from the “Original Mix”
click here – 917k mp3 @ 128 kbps

Now, here are the exact same parts excerpted from the “A&T Mix”
click here – 930k mp3 @ 128 kbps

: )

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Jocelyn & Eric October 10, 2009

On October 10, I had the distinct pleasure of being the Master Of Ceremonies, Music Programmer, Deejay and Sound Engineer for Jocelyn & Eric’s wedding celebration at the beautiful and historic Hollins House at Pasatiempo in Santa Cruz.

They were a fabulous couple to work with: mellow, nice, intelligent folks who, over time, were able to really hone in on the most subtle and important details of how they wanted their wedding day to unfold. In every nook and cranny of their wedding, you had a palpable sense of the fact that you were at Jocelyn and Eric’s wedding, not just “a wedding”, and I was so proud to be a part of making it all happen.

The ceremony was outside on the gazebo lawn, with a beautiful vista of the Monterey Bay off in the distance. Jocelyn and Eric had a quartet of their college friends come up from Southern California to play as a string quartet for the ceremony and I mic’d that separately so that it would come through the PA and enrich the overall coverage of the music: it worked beautifully! And this quartet – let me say that I have heard string quartets far and wide, most of which are passable, some of which are quite good and others which, truth be told, have been an audible embarrassment to themselves. This group of young ladies, however? This group was tight. They were in-tune, had great intonation, nice tone and had obviously played together for many hours (if not presently, at least at some point). It was a pleasure hearing them, as they rendered the pieces with tasteful detail and dynamics. Bravo!

Jocelyn’s uncle from Ohio led the proceedings in a very nice and personal way, and then, it was off to the cocktail hour and reception!

Hollins House Wedding Gazebo - The ceremony's over, but the glow lingers into the night.

Hollins House Wedding Gazebo - The ceremony's over, but the glow lingers into the night.

For the cocktail hour, Jocelyn and Eric wanted a real signature sound, featuring the music of Belle And Sebastian, Vampire Weekend and other like-artists. They burned me a couple of CDs of all of their favorites and then I keyed and BPM’d all of the songs and set about putting together a smooth, musically sensible playlist that would get all of the songs in. Again, after a little bit of time spent, it worked beautifully!

Dinner was… wonderful! You cannot expect it to be anything else with the crew at the Hollins House in charge! Margy Siefert, my long-time friend, is one of the most experienced and respected wedding professionals in the Santa Cruz area, and her seamless, sure-handed control of the execution of every aspect of this wedding paid off as it always does with her and the Hollins House: perfection.

The Hollins House table setting... what a view, huh?

The Hollins House table setting... what a view, huh?

Then, of course, it was time to dance. I was lucky enough to be able to play a dance set that stretched for well over three hours (although for me, that is a walk in the park – I have DJ’d weddings that have gone 10-plus hours before… and no repeats, either! ; ) and featured a wide variety of hit music from all eras and styles. And the neat thing is that when you have that much time to dance, you don’t need to just skim the surface of each genre: you can really dig in and play some exciting, atypical, great music! The dance floor was moving the whole time to all of it, and I was happy that what I did ended up working so well.

Jocelyn, Eric, families and friends enjoying a spin...

Jocelyn, Eric, families and friends enjoying a spin...

In the midst of it all was a cake cutting that featured a whiskey toast to all of their guests from Jocelyn and Eric. This was carefully planned in advance by them, myself, Margy and the catering staff at the venue, and as a result, went off perfectly, without any delay, and was a signature highlight of the reception. Fantastic, fantastic stuff, huh? : )

The whiskey toast - a signature moment... I'll have mine after I get home!

The whiskey toast - a signature moment... I'll have mine after I get home!

All of the pictures you see above are from another good friend who is one of the top photographers you can hire, Steve Kurtz. He set the bar in Santa Cruz many years ago that all other area photographers aimed to reach, and after many years in the business, he hasn’t slowed down even a bit. He was a great match for Jocelyn and Eric; I can remember how delighted I was the day they told me they had chosen him: “a perfect match”, I remember thinking. Be sure to check him out if you want clean, classic, technically perfect photography that will never look dated or go out of style.

Flowers were by another good friend of mine, Wendy Melrose of Fionna Floral. If you are looking for a fun, friendly, artistic local florist who is one of the very best around, she’s your gal!

All in all, dear readers, a wonderful day that I won’t forget. If you’d like to consider me as your wedding DJ and MC, please call Sound In Motion today at 831.427.0700.

Jocelyn & Eric - Thank you for having me!

Jocelyn & Eric - Thank you for having me!

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Emily & Brett July 18,2009

What a fabulous, fabulous time!

Emily & Brett are two very down-to-earth, fun-loving, genuine people who wanted to have their reception at their family home in the hills of Woodside, CA.

I have always believed that the best way to maximize the success of private residence weddings is to do a thorough pre-event technical and logistical walk-through at the site. This does a lot of good: it ensures that I know where it is, how to park and load in, and most importantly, what equipment and how much of it is needed to have the best coverage and “event flow” possible. I like to think that 20+ years in this business has allowed me to accrue valuable knowledge and experience that can be shared with my clients to both optimize the potential successes and avoid the potential pitfalls of their event. Think of it: I do this every week, yet they probably are doing it for the very first time, so I am just glad I can be of help!

The party went late into the night, with people of all ages having fun and dancing the night away. Emily & Brett danced their first dance to “Come Fly With Me” by Frank Sinatra, which was a fantastic choice.

Also, they selected Sound In Motion’s terrific “Love Story” package: DJ, MC, full sound coverage, PLUS we make a photo montage (set to music) in advance that covers everything from baby pictures to the engagement shot. We then shoot a full-length HD video of the wedding from pre-ceremony bride’s prep to the last dance and send off, edit it down and produce four copies of a custom-labeled and packaged DVD for the bride and groom and their families. Additionally, at the cake cutting, we bring in a full big-screen projection system and show the montage to everyone as part of the reception’s entertainment! It really is a great “personal connect” for our clients to their guests and tells the story of how we all got to be there on the wedding day!

Here’s some dance footage that will really give you the feeling of what it was like to be at this special celebration:

Again, it was indeed a grand celebration. Overtime? You bet we went overtime… thought we wouldn’t? : )

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Technology and Love: who would have ever thought?

By now we all know, or at least have probably heard about, someone who has fallen in love on the internet. With the myriad of dating services available online and computer-assisted matchmaking, finding love in this great sea of humanity is more possible than ever before.

Back in the summer of 1994, I and my closest friend Steve Corona founded the first commercially-focused wedding planning website in the history of the internet. We named it Weddings Online, and though there were already wedding newsgroups at that time, no one had yet envisioned and actualized the things that we did: an index of vendors available all over the US, with sample portfolios and even walking virtual tours of facilities. Suffice to say, we were way ahead of our time, and spent most of our hours educating people about what the internet was, let alone why they had to advertise there. To put it in perspective, we were doing this when Yahoo just started and eBay, Amazon and Google were way off in the future, and I hand-coded every single page of the html (2.0) myself! Funny enough, only now are some of the things we thought of back then coming to life. We both look back on those days fondly and laugh at how audacious it was for the two of us to be out there trying to change the way the world was doing business!

Well, anyway, here we are in 2009.

A client of ours named Catherine, a very sweet woman who used to work with us as a facility special events coordinator, came in to the office the other day to pay her balance because she is getting married on Sunday at Peachwood’s in Santa Cruz. One of our other friends who still works at that facility is going to be the Maid Of Honor, and we though that that was pretty neat, but it turns out that there is more to the story: she is actually just standing in for the “real” Maid Of Honor. You see, Catherine is from England, and her best friend/sister-in-law can’t get to the US due to visa issues. At our meeting, Catherine was barely able to contain her tears when she came in and told me the story.

Well, me being me, I told her kiddingly that if her DJ, Kevin O’Scanlon (one of our star staffers) was a real DJ, then he’d Skype video call her Maid Of Honor in live at the wedding for her toast.

Catherine looked up at me with an incredulous gaze… and as the realization that this was possible hit her, she was overcome with happiness.

She already used Skype! With her best friend in the UK – that’s how they talk to each other! She has the camera setup already and everything!

So I had her sit while I called Kevin to explain and then called the facility to check connectivity capabilities.

It looked good! Kevin would need to borrow my personal laptop to make it happen, but Peachwood’s has a router right in the banquet room. We’ll tie the audio right in to the sound system…

But, because I had to be sure, as soon as Catherine got done crying in my arms with joy right there in the office, I got into my car, zipped up to the facility and tested the whole system live.

It worked.

!

And now an already awesome wedding was going to be just *that* much better : )

As I told Catherine and my Mom (who was there doing her bookkeeping for us – thanks Mom!) in the office, isn’t it wonderful when a DJ can make a bride cry about her wedding, but not for the usual reasons that DJ’s make brides cry about their weddings? LOL!!!!

Cut to today, May 24,2009:

Well, it went off tonight and couldn’t have been better: the entire crowd got up and crowded around the screen to see and be seen! The girls in the UK were in nice dresses and had champagne. We let the first toasts go and then ran the whole crowd through the process LIVE: the dial out, the answer, the opening of video, the click to full-screen. By sharing the process and not just cutting to an already-live “reveal”, it created excitement and anticipation and became a moment. Tears flowing, glasses in the air. It gets no better.

And, let me add that it is all the sweeter that it wasn’t me who presided over that moment and shepherded it to fruition. In the end, it was Kevin, a guy who I hired and have known since he was a sophomore in college and who we have trained and nurtured to become the outstanding professional that he is today, six years later. Kevin is just one example of what makes Sound In Motion DJs & Video the different and special company that it is.

And that, dear readers, is reason #4,372 why I have the best job in the world.

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A celebrity wedding, and a story for the ages…

Deep breath…

OK –

First things first: due to the nature of this story and particularly what happens in the end, I decided that the only way I would post it would be with all the names missing. It is just way too personal of a thing to share in public without anonymizing the good people who were part of it and protecting their privacy.

On March 21,2009 I had the honor of DJing a wedding for a well-known professional football player from an East Coast team and his fiancee.
He was a collegiate National Champion for a West Coast university who now plays Defensive Tackle in the pros, and his fiancee’s brother used to play for the 49ers. His referral to her got me the job.

It was an 8 hour ceremony & reception to be held at a world-famous venue on the Central California Coast. For those of you who know, that is about as classy as classy gets. I mean off-the-map. In fact, I have been told that DJs are a relative rarity at this venue.

The bride and groom four-walled the place. They had every single piece of existing furniture individually blanket-wrapped and loaded by a crew onto a cross-country sized moving van, which was parked down the road. They then brought in custom everything, transforming the private club into their wedding venue. At the end of the night, the truck would then be backed in and unloaded, and by the next morning, you would never know that a wedding had been there at all!

The music was beautifully customized for the ceremony by the bride, and all songs had entry/exit cues. I tied into the superb venue-supplied audio and she walked down the aisle to Chrisette Michele’s “Golden”… absolutely breathtaking. The ceremony was expertly led by their Bishop, flown in from the East Coast.

On to the reception –

I am a jazz nut, so when they asked me if I could play Miles, Mingus, Monk, Coltrane & Diz for cocktail hour through two separate systems inside and outside simultaneously, I just winked, nodded and smiled, and so did they.

After the Grand Introduction and First Dance on a Gobo’d, virgin white, gloss-finish dance floor transported up from Southern California, it was on to the dinner set.

The venue during dinner service

The venue during dinner service

The dinner set was all about Maxwell, D’Angelo, Jill Scott, Alicia Keys, Erykah Badu, John Legend… and even classics like “Westside” by TQ and “Get On Up” by Jodeci. It was just *awesome* watching this crowd slowly start realizing during this time that I understood the vibe and that this night was going to be special!

The toasts happened right after dinner, as a prelude to the Father-Daughter & Mother-Son dances. There were many nice toasts, and some very funny moments, but it was capped of by one of those one, maybe two toasts a year that we as DJs are all lucky enough to hear: the ones that nourish our souls and stay with us long after the wedding day itself, and the ones that remind us of what makes our job so very special and such an incredible privilege.

That last toast was given by the bride’s father. It was as much a blessing, really, as a toast. Given from his seat in his wheelchair, it was delivered deliberately and poignantly, pouring from his heart on to his daughter and new son and all else who were there. It lasted just over four minutes. And when it was over, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house and the entire room was up on its feet in applause. Somehow, I was able to regain control of my own emotions and I closed the toasts gracefully and segued into the parents dedication dances into open dancing.

The Groom's Cake - almost 100% edible!

The Groom's Cake - almost 100% edible!

Two probing Motown plays got a little reaction, and I’m glad I did it out of respect for the older folks in the room, but when I hit The Cupid Shuffle, the dance floor exploded. Holy crap – there was one of the NFL’s premier quarterbacks and a few other teammates gettin’ down! They were having a great time! Good news: I wasn’t going to get my you-know-what kicked after all! Whew!!

Ram-JAM!!!

Ram-JAM!!!

I ended up hanging out with “the quarterback” quite a bit that night. A *cool* guy all the way – appreciative, fun, outgoing and loving his Old School. He was even clowning around with the waitstaff and actually put on a waiters coat, folded a napkin over his arm and started pouring people drinks! How cool is that? I actually got some video of that, as well as a good still shot. And later, when a young lady in the audience plainly lacked the courage, even with the prodding of her mother and the groom, to ask him to dance, I stepped in, put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Heya bud, I *think* there is a young lady over here who would like a dance with you.” He dropped what he was doing, smiled and said “where?”, and then… well, the room got so bright with her smile that I was actually blinded for a moment : )

The night went on, the party raged and the hours flew by. At 12:00, after eight hours, they wanted more, so I played a half-hour of overtime! Great stuff…

At the end of the night, a huge rain and wind storm blew in from off-shore. The wind blew so hard that it basically exploded a huge tree in the parking lot. Large chunks of the trunk flew in all directions and one huge branch smashed into one of the loaded shuttle buses and blew out the entire windshield. Thank god no one was hurt, but it scared the you-know-what out of a lot of people and completely blocked the parking lot exit routes. Eventually, all was cleared and everyone was able to leave safely.

Mother nature at work!

Mother nature at work!

Most importantly, after all was said and done the bride and groom were thrilled… and, so was I.

Fast forward to April 1, 2009 –

I had promised the staff that I would send that pic of “the quarterback” mugging with the servers. So I thought, what the heck, I’ll cc the Director of Events, the Food and Beverage director, etc, all of whom I had met at the event and had raved about the job I did.

It was through this contact with the Director of Events that I learned two things:

1) That I had been officially added to the preferred vendor list at the venue and, I quote, that they would “be referring me to any of their clients from now on looking for a great DJ.” Made my day : )

and

2) That two days after the wedding, the bride’s fatherĀ  had passed away.

I was shocked.

After sharing with him one of the happiest days of his life, he was gone.

After giving everyone in that room such a gift with his toast, he was… gone.

Just like that.

Then, I remembered:

That because of my participation in an international DJ group that is fiercely dedicated to self-improvement, and thus meeting my friend Jim Cerone and hearing him speak, that I had, just after our industry conclave in Vegas, invested in a tiny, high-quality mp3 recorder to begin recording my entire set every night.

All my voice work, all mixing… all board output, actually, and then critiquing myself after each event.

And so, on that little recorder

was the father of the bride’s wedding day toast to his daughter.

Today, I stopped what I was doing and immediately edited that toast and emailed it to her with a short but very personal note.

How can I possibly describe the feeling that I had in doing that?


Coda –

So how do I end this story?

Maybe it hasn’t ended.

Maybe it is just beginning.

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Blythe & Sean – 6/14/08 @ Clos La Chance

Funny thing with this wedding is that since my good friend Amy Paris was the wedding coordinator and did such a great job pre-planning and doing the legwork for the bride & groom, I didn’t have the opportunity to get to know them before the wedding as much as I would have liked to. But, the great news is that because of Amy’s great work, the wedding day couldn’t have gone better!

Besides Blythe (isn’t that a cool name? I love it!) and Sean, certainly the other star of the show was the venue. Clos la Chance is, simply put, one of the most stunning venues in the Bay Area. It is located in San Martin, near Morgan Hill, and besides being a beautiful place and a family-run business (thanks Murphys!), it is also a top-notch working winery that turns out award-winning wines every year like clockwork!

Here is a shot of the rear veranda. In the distance across the expansive lawn, you can see the trellis, where ceremonies are held. To the right of that is the Mulberry Grove, where the cocktail hour is held. I’m telling you, it is a magnificent facility. You’d be hard-pressed to do better anywhere.

Clos La Chance - romance defined

Clos La Chance - romance defined

After yet another unforgettable meal served by Le Papillon (again, you’d be hard-pressed to do better anywhere…), it was off to dancing in the Chateau. Blythe and Sean shared their first dance to “It’s Your Love” by Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, a great love song, and then it was a big mix of stuff with an emphasis on what was hot current Top 40 at that time.

Here’s a video clip of some dancing, but take special note of an awesome laser special effect light I have called The Bliss Light. This thing is unique and very, very costly, but take a look at how incredible the effect is: notice the subtle movement of the “stars” and the ultraviolet “nebula” cloud that is in the middle and acts as a backdrop to the stars. And all of this in a little tiny box, with enough throw to fill a school gymnasium!

Check it out:

Photography, outstanding as always, was provided by Janae Shields. In fact, check this out: when Janae photographed and I DJ’d Amy’s sister Alli’s wedding last year, we were featured in The Knot!

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