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Dawn and John (Old Stonewall Golf Club Reception)

I make a big deal about the importance of including your own tastes into your wedding and reception. Everyone deserves to have a day that is truly unique. I’m just amazed at originality of the wedding I just performed for Dawn Ruby & John Lonzenski. The ceremony and reception were both held at Olde Stonewall Golf Club in Ellwood City. Since the castle is also referred to as Shakespeare’s, Dawn & John decided it would be fun to have a theme wedding and go for broke. Although they aren’t typically “into” the whole renaissance scene, they made their day special by making it fun and stylish.

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This chocolate cake was truly amazing!

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This was an intimate celebration with about 40 of the newlyweds friends and family, Dawn’s mother did a great job making choices for cocktail hour and dinner that were able to be enjoyed by everyone.
Dawn & John picked a great selection of oldies and 80’s music for the dancing portion that really got people up and having fun.

Dawn’s grandparents, Norman & Cleora, were celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary, Norman spent a lot of time dancing!

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Since Dawn & John were married about 1:30, this was an early reception with dinner served around 3:30. They really planned things out well so that their guests were not left with hours and hours with nothing to do. When I had met with John I had made a comment about the fact that sometimes people aren’t up for dancing while it’s still light outside, but clearly I had nothing to worry about. Around 5:00 I “opened the dance floor” and everyone was up and celebrating!

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I always hope that people can learn from people like Dawn & John. Not that everyone should have a renaissance theme wedding, but that it’s important to find the fun on your wedding day. Most people find that their wedding day passes by very quickly, and it seems silly to me to waste any moment of it. Dawn & John found so many special ways to make their day memorable, fun and beautiful. They were so genuinely sweet and wonderful to work with, I’m glad they chose to let me be a part of it!

Jessica and Sean (Hilton Garden Inn Reception)

Yesterday I performed at the reception of Jessica Gibbons & Sean Belowich at the Hilton Garden Inn in Southpointe, PA. Jessica and Sean are the most relaxed and easy going couple and they have some of the most funny and outgoing group of friends and family. It was great fun helping them celebrate their special day.

All the tables were labeled with various areas of Pittsburgh and they included this cool seating chart to help people find their tables…love this idea!

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Musically I had the chance to do a few special things for the reception. I was able to trim down their first dance (Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison) from 7 min to around 4 which worked great. (It’s the version featured in the video above, see if you can find the edits!) Sean also gave me a few contemporary jazz artists to use for dinner and I had some fun making a special list just for the occasion.

Click here to see the playlist from the reception

The Hilton Garden is a great venue. Not only a beautiful place, but the staff helped keep things on time and running smoothly. Every once in awhile I get to work with some of the best vendors around… it’s always great to work with Nick and Bethani of Photos By Nick.

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Jessica & Sean were just great to work with. They did most of the planning from Arizona so much of our planning was done via email and phone calls, but thanks to Jessica’s great organizational skils everything worked out wonderfully.

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The guests had a great time dancing to a variety of music including terrific songs from the 80’s and 90’s as well as some newer Top 40 songs. After everything was over there were many many guests hanging around the ballroom chatting and having fun. Sean’s father put it best when he told me that you know it was a great party when you can’t get anyone to leave. Congratulations to the new Dr & Mrs Sean and Jessica Belowich!

Tina and Gideon (Willow Pond Farm)

I talk a lot about customization and what a special part that can play in each wedding and reception. I’ll have to say, this past Saturday I was lucky enough to be involved with one of the most unique and customized weddings ever. Tina Palivoda & Gideon Geer were married at Willow Pond Farm in West Alexander, PA and the day was completely filled with special details that made the day one of a kind.

Gideon is a hockey player so his team mates provided the archway for the newlyweds to process down the aisle.

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Tina & Gideon’s dogs are a big part of their lives and had to be included in the wedding party…they were so behaved!

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Tina & Gideon chose a variety of great music for their ceremony, dinner and dancing. Once again, they were able to use music as another way to share part of their special tastes with their friends and family.

Click here to see the playlist from the reception

There were so many special details everywhere that were so unique, my favorite would be the fact that they actually MADE all the beer and wine that was served to the guests. The labels featured some great images of their dogs too!

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Willow Pond Farm was a completely different type of venue for me (if you can’t tell by the photos!). This Bed & Breakfast provided three different locations for the guests to move between. The ceremony was held next to the pond, dinner was then served up in a large white tent. Finally the guests moved over to a large barn for dancing. The weather turned out to be a perfect Fall day and the guests really seem to enjoy the outdoor activities that were provided as entertainment between the ceremony and dinner.

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I’ve known Tina for quite a while and was thrilled that she asked me to play a part in her big day. Getting to meet Gideon and the both of their families was so great. It was clear that everyone really enjoyed how much effort they had put into creating an event that would truly be different. Tina & Gideon shattered the mold of the standard wedding and created awesome memories that their friends and families can cherish.

Colleen and Jason (Chartiers Room)

I’m having the best time playing some amazing receptions this year! Lately I’ve been so lucky to play for such warm and friendly couples. This past Saturday I played at the Chartiers Room in Bridgeville, PA for Colleen Fink & Jason Veneski.

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Colleen and Jason had such a great relaxed attitude about their reception. Their main goal was to make sure their guests had a good time. Things ran so smoothly for them that they ended up with a TON of time for dancing which really allowed me to play a great variety of music.

Colleen & Jason chose a few songs for dinner and let me build a playlist for them based on their choices. The result was a nice mix of new and classic soul & R&B which helped set a fun and romantic atmosphere. Colleen had chosen a very unique and beautiful cake. Love that blue!

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They danced and danced and danced…

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And even a little limbo…

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Colleen and Jason were lucky enough to have a great reception with tons of extra time to allow for lots of dancing and socializing. It was great to see their friends and family enjoy themselves while celebrating. Colleen and Jason were so great to work with, I was so glad I could play a part in making their day so wonderful.

Amanda and James (Buhl Mansion Reception)

Having an outdoor wedding and/or reception is always a risk, but when it’s great and it’s really great. This past Saturday I played for Amanda McLean & James Kelly at the Buhl Mansion in Sharon, PA. The weather was SO perfect, sunny and cool.

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Amanda & James spent a lot of time adding special elements to their celebration. Their wedding cake includes words from their first dance song. Their “place cards” were rocks with people’s names and table numbers on them. Very cool stuff. They gave me a great list of music to choose from for dinner and dancing. Totally mixed it right so that the evening started with music for everyone then once the sun went down I was able to play a TON of great modern dance music for their friends to really enjoy.

The Buhl Mansion is a unique and beautiful location. Not only did the newlyweds use the mansion for the ceremony & reception, but they were also able to rent out all 10 rooms of this fantastic bed & breakfast for their families and bridal party to spend the night!

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What’s this? Yes, It’s Mitch & Nicole Paterline again! Nicole was Amanda’s Matron of Honor… they really helped keep the party going! Thanks guys!

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Amanda & James could write a book on wedding planning, they found the right mix of making their day unique but not excluding their guests from having fun too. The worst part of the whole day was having to play the last song! Congratulations to Mr & Mrs Kelly, you guys ROCK!

Kate and Kevin (Pittsburgh Golf Club)

I’m so fortunate to get to entertain every week at some fantastic celebrations. This past Saturday my luck continued as I played the reception of Kate Aiello & Kevin Hershock at the Pittsburgh Golf Club in Squirrel Hill.

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Kate & Kevin are a great young and fun couple who really love music and love to dance. They chose some great song choices that really got people dancing even while it was still light outside! Kate is a big David Archuleta fan (from American Idol), so we kicked off the dancing with his version of Chris Brown’s “With You”, the dance floor never emptied from that moment on.

The Pittsburgh Golf Club is a great venue for elegant reception. Everything ran smoothly all evening thanks to their great staff and Kate & Kevin’s photographer, Fiona Scerri. It’s great to get to work with experienced and professional vendors.

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I knew it was going to be a great evening when Kate busted out her 80’s dance moves!

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Kate & Kevin were so easy to work with and even spent time making sure I had everything I needed. It was easy to be sure they never got stuck in a “pickle”. They created a perfect mix of class and fun. I was so excited to be a part of their special day and was glad I could help with the amazing celebration.

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