Jose + Mariana | Culver City, CA

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I was thrilled when Jose and Mariana hired me to DJ their wedding reception after a wedding coordinator friend of mine referred me. The reception was held in Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in Culver City–a venue that’s certainly big enough to accommodate the bride and groom’s nearly 400 guests!

I really wanted to add more color to this large space because unlike a typical ballroom, the auditorium didn’t have dimmers and house lighting was mainly white flourescent that is either partially on or fully on. In order to transform it to a more romantic, chic space, I leveraged some of the in-house stage lighting and added my own uplights, floor washes and intelligent lighting.

Since the cultural makeup of the guests were mostly Hispanic, the bride and groom chose their own bilingual (English/Spanish speaker) MC and he did a great job keeping the flow of the reception. For the grand entrance, the wedding party walked in to Pharell’s “Happy” and was immediately followed by dinner. For background music, I played a mixture of Jazz, Love Ballads and Romanticos. When it was time for the parents’ dance, Mariana and her father along with Jose and his mother, danced to Javier Solis’ “Amorcito Corazon”. We then proceeded with the dollar dance–well, sort of…. you see, instead of dancing with the guests, Luna Bella Photos took pictures of the newlyweds with all of their guests as they lined up on the dance floor. We called this the “photo dollar” and it was really cool–talk about paparazzi!

For the garter and bouqet toss, the newlyweds also wanted to do something different and present the garter and bouquet to the couple who has been married the longest. To make this a little more fun and interactive, I suggested that we do the “Oldest Married Couple Dance” but with the garter/bouquet twist–this would also serve as a perfect segway into the free dance. And so we did! All married couples were invited to the dance floor for a special slow dance accompanied by the bride and groom. We then started to weed out the couples starting off with those who have been for less than a day–obviously, this was directed toward the newlyweds. It was followed by those who’ve been married for less than 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, etc. until we got down to only a handful of couples. In the end, the remaining couple ended up being the bride’s parents! They were then asked to give some words of wisdom and afterwards, was presented with the garter and bouquet. This was a very special moment.

When we finally opened up the dance floor, in usual DJ Sherwin Ruste fashion, it was packed and poppin! I really enjoyed this because I got a chance to play a LOT of Spanish music like Salsa, Cumbia, Bachata, Merengue and Rock En Espanol–I even threw in Latin House! When it was time for the newlyweds to exit, they did it to Zac Brown Band’s “Free” as they walked through a human arch on the dance floor. Once again, congratulations Jose and Mariana –I’m glad I was part of this joyous occasion!

Jose + Mariana Part 1 | Culver City, CA

Jose + Mariana Part 2 | Culver City, CA

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