Yana + Clay’s Wedding at The Reef in Long Beach CA

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It was an absolute blast and honor to be chosen as the DJ for Yana and Clay’s wedding. I’ve known the beautiful bride, Yana, since she was a young teen and seeing her walk down the aisle was an incredibly special moment. I still remember DJ’ing her 18th birthday debutante ball (referred to as a “Debut” in the Filipino culture) and now, I get to DJ her wedding!

The wedding was held at a beautiful venue that I frequently DJ at, The Reef on the Water in Long Beach, CA where the weather was absolutely gorgeous and perfect for an outdoor wedding. I had a dual-system set up for the ceremony and reception since they were located in separate areas of the venue. My system accommodated 4 mics (vocalist, minister, bride/groom), 2 instruments and of course, recorded music playback. For pre-ceremony music, the bride and groom chose a mix of Disney love songs, dramatic movie scores along my own selections of bubbly love songs by the likes of Colbie Calait, Ingrid Michelson, Train, etc.

The ceremony started off with the parents and grandparents walking down the aisle to Jason Mraz’s “93 Million Miles”. The minister, groomsmen, ring bearer and the groom follows with Star Wars – A New Hope’s “The Throne Room End” –and what a great way to enter I might add! The Bridesmaids then follow to Matt White’s “Love” and after a brief pause, Yana, the beautiful bride, walks down the aisle to The Piano Guys’ rendition of Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” which, by the way, was played LIVE by Yana’s father on keyboard accompanied by a great violinist and friend, Ramon Cabiling. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house! Aside from this, my other favorite part of the ceremony was the the recessional where the newlyweds exited to Star Wars’ “Main Title Theme” –but wait!….they walked down the aisle through a human arch complete with light sabers raised in the air on both sides! Love it!

A few steps away from the ceremony space was the reception ballroom which was decorated beautifully and accented by an orchid color theme. And by the way, I always make sure that my outfit complements the color theme. For cocktail hour and dinner time, I continued to play a mix of Disney love songs, current country ballads, smooth R&B and standards.

After cocktail hour, the wedding party’s grand entrance was to Hall and Oats’ “You Make My Dreams Come True”. After dinner, the newlyweds had a very cute, choreographed first dance to Disclosure’s “Latch” which was performed live by one of Yana’s best friends and maid of honor with nothing more than a mic and a ukelele. It was a beautiful, slowed down rendition of the song that is otherwise an upbeat dance track. The first dance was followed by the parents’ dance where Yana danced with her father and Clay with his mother at the same time. (By the way, I’m noticing this trend more and more with many couples).

After the parents’ dance, we then proceeded with the “Oldest Married Couple Dance” whereby all the married couples were invited to the dance floor for a special slow dance accompanied by the bride and groom. I then started to weed out the couples starting off with those who have been for less than a day LOL–obviously, this was directed toward the newlyweds. I then called out those who’ve been married for less than 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, 25 years, and so on and so forth until we got down to only a handful of couples. In the end, I asked the remaining couple how long they’ve been married and it was a whopping 46 years! I then asked if they can give some quick words of marriage wisdom to the newlyweds. It was a touching and special moment indeed. For the garter toss, I played Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” and instead of a traditional garter toss, the groom wanted to do something a little different so we had a “boutinier toss” instead to Jennifer Saunders’ “Holding Out For a Hero” form the Shrek Sountrack –such a prefect song for this! We then proceeded with the dollar dance which I always advise couples should be held off right before the free dance portion since its a perfect segway and I can slowly build up the tempo/energy and tease the guests so that by the time we open the dance floor, they’re ready!!

So we open the dance floor and I gotta say, it was EPIC! The energy was great and I kept the dance floor packed and poppin for next hour or so. I opened it up with Footloose and this immediately got everybody dancing–I then played everything from Top 40, 80’s, Country, Motown, Hip-hop and even Broadway Showtunes! Oh, and did I mention? this celebration was complete with light sabers! And because of this and everything I described above, that I have to say this has got to be one of my favorite weddings ever! Congratulations Yana and Clay!

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