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That being said, I love weddings, and especially receptions. Ever since I was a kid they were my favorite events to attend. We went to a lot of them because Filipinos know a lot of Filipinos and people had my dad sing at their weddings. He was always the life of the party at the receptions, and from the time I was 12 he didn't care that I drank unattended champagne from the other tables. I made it a point to have him see me and he never once told me to knock it off. It's pretty much where I learned that drinking is good and partying is about high-fives, full belly laughs, and screaming "ROCK AND ROLL!!!" at the top of your lungs every 10-15 minutes.
As my friends started to get married I couldn't help but make observations and take mental notes of what I wanted to avoid if and when (more if) my big day comes. There's only one thing that I really care about, and that's the music.
My future bride (wherever she is, or if she's even born yet) can have full say on everything else but just let me deal with the songs that are played during that reception from pre-dinner all the way through the dance party. Pretty much every wedding I've been to with a DJ has allowed that stranger to play whatever he wants during dinner. It kills me every time because that's when all the meaningful music should be played.
My sister gave me the honor of singing at her wedding. She had a live band during their reception and they backed me up as I sang Buddy Holly's "True Love Ways." It's the first time I realized I wanted people to sing during my reception. My best friend Scott had our friend Jason, sing at his wedding and he sang the Sam Cooke classic, "You Send Me." It's just a natural idea to have your friends with good voices serenade you on your special day. As summers passed and more of my friends tied the knot, I started to think of how fun it would be to have an all karaoke wedding reception. It just seemed like it would be fun and completely different, but I knew it would be a tough one to get a future bride to agree to.
Last week I learned of a wedding that would have karaoke during the reception. [SW managing editor] Mike Seely's cousin, Brenna, was marrying her man Matt, and I was able to get in as Mike's brother Tim's date. The ceremony was conducted by Reverend John Higgins under a light drizzle at Commodore Park on the Magnolia side of the Ballard Locks. It was a beautiful spot to watch a wedding.
The reception was right down the tracks at the Golden Gardens Bathhouse. We took over the table closest to the KJ station and grabbed a book right away. Karaoke Kurt was a guest of the newlyweds so he had one of his guys running the show. The KJ let us know right away he could only accept a certain amount of requests, because the after-dinner format would be a mix of dance party and karaoke. That made perfect sense to me: Kurt's crew plays dance music between singers anyway, so you might as well let the song roll.
The bride and groom had a great spread for their chow (provided by Bakeman's; betcha didn't know they catered weddings) and I was impressed by the way they handled their alcohol situation. I know my friends and there is no way I would ever have whiskey, tequila, jager, or light, drinkable beer anywhere near my reception. It would be a disaster. Instead, Brenna and Matt offered thick micro-brew, wine, and vodka drinks. That heavy beer after a hearty meal is tough to get drunk on, and the vodka will get the guests nice and loose, but alone doesn't pack the power of multiple buckets and/or shots of dark booze. I don't know if it was strategy, but if it was, it was a great one.
Music during dinner was solid. I could tell the couple had a say in what was played. I remember "Free Bird" coming on and it just made our whole table feel fantastic. I downed two beers during the song and switched to vodka-Frescas. I don't normally do vodka, but I found the buzz to be a great change of pace. By the time karaoke rolled around I was loose.
Bridesmaid Heather and groomsman Kelly kicked the door in with an awesome performance of "Gonna Make You Sweat" by C&C Music Factory. Mike and his wife Cary followed with Human League's "Don't You Want Me," and their harmonies were super tight. It was at that moment I realized that all wedding DJ's will eventually need to have karaoke capabilities. As soon as more people see how fun this is at a reception they're going to want it at theirs.
The KJ went DJ and busted out Kanye's "Golddigger" (uncut) and all the guests started to boogie. Watching two foot kids all dressed up getting down on the dance floor is one of my favorite things to see. This guy Marcus was next up on the mic. He told the crowd as the intro to "Sweet Child O' Mine" kicked in this was his first time performing in front of people. As soon as he started singing, we all looked at each other and said "bullshit." His sweet Axl Rose voice whistled through the speakers and he just crushed it. By this point I was loopy enough to notice the millions the laser dots zipping all over the room.
The highlight of the night was Tim singing "Purple Rain." He had the crowd fully engaged from the first verse and ended the song in full Prince fashion by stripping down to his bare chest.
The end of the night was heavier on the singing. I dedicated my song to the young couple and did a solid rendition of "Stuck With You" by Huey Lewis . The bridesmaids did a "Don't Stop Believin'", the groom sang "Ghostbusters" with his brother and sister, and Maid of Honor Heather got up for a solo and delivered a beautiful rendition of "Natural Woman" by Aretha. When the entire wedding party did a big sing-along of "Regulate" by Warren G, I was 100% convinced all receptions will be carved in this mold within ten years.