Our company produces entertainment for many corporate events. The biggest compliment one can receive is when the CEO of your largest client asks you to produce the entertainment for his wedding. The personalized nature of a wedding takes the purpose to new heights. It demonstrates the level of trust that the client has for our company and our services. Jim Williams from KSA Lighting was embarking on his second marriage to his bride Ashley. Everything had to be perfect. Throughout their courtship, Ashley and Jim traveled constantly, experiencing many “bucket list” items. They are both country music fans. They had their first kiss to the song “I Swear” by John Michael Montgomery. This song and artist became special to Jim and Ashley. They later attended his concert in Las Vegas, further solidifying their love for his music.
When Jim called our office and told us he was getting married on 12/31/16 at the Trump in Chicago, we were elated. He talked about how happy he was with our company’s services and wondered if we could help him produce the perfect evening for his bride. He said that no expense was to be spared. In our first exploratory discussion, we talked about Jim’s wants and desires. He told us he wanted a band to pack the dance floor. We selected Maggie Speaks, one of the top event bands in the country, having performed in 12 different countries and 33 different states. He also wanted elegant music for the onsite ceremony and something with WOW factor for cocktails. Their first dance clearly needed to be “I Swear”.
Jim has had a successful career and at this point in his life, he likes to “play big”. I asked him to tell us more about why “I Swear” was important to him and Ashley. He proceeded to tell us about how their courtship was challenging at times. Jim had been through a messy divorce, which was difficult on him and his children. After a few dates, he began to develop a chemistry with Ashley, although he was unsure if he was ready for a long-term relationship. Then one evening, things just clicked. They were out at a country bar and “I Swear” came on over the speakers. They looked into each other’s eyes and kissed for the first time. It was then that Jim knew he wanted to make a new life with Ashley.
Knowing that resources were not an issue, I asked Jim, “What if I could get John Michael Montgomery to come sing “I Swear” live at your wedding?”. Surprised, Jim said “You can do that?”. I told him that we have booked many celebrities over the years, and that while they don’t often play weddings, it was worth a shot. We love a challenge and love making people’s wildest dreams come true.
I spoke to APA Agency that represents John and asked if he would consider playing a wedding. They were hesitant, but I pressed on. I relayed Jim and Ashley’s story to them. In a few days, I got a call back that John would agree to perform on their special night.
When I told Jim the news he was beside himself. This would be the ultimate surprise for Ashley. Now it was time to start making their wildest dreams become a reality.
First, we needed to finalize all of the entertainment for the various elements of the evening. For the ceremony, we selected a string quartet that would perform elegant arrangements for processional and recessional. We talked John into performing two of his #1 hits, “I Love the Way You Love Me” and “I Can Love You Like That” in an acoustic trio setting as Ashley walked down the aisle. This was the first she had known about John appearing at her wedding. The reaction was indelible as he emerged from behind a curtain and his booming baritone lit up the ballroom.
Ashley stressed that she wanted a seamless transition from ceremony to cocktails. To accomplish this we had our string quartet in the ballroom start “Here Comes the Sun” simultaneously with our pianist and three violinists stationed in the hallway. This was challenging because they were separated by a wall with no visibility. We stationed two people on cell phones so they could execute the cues so both groups were in sync. It worked like a charm as guests seamlessly transitioned to cocktails.
For cocktails, the piano and violins welcomed the guests from the ceremony. Then we broke down to solo piano as we brought out CoverGirls Violin show. This consisted of five electric violinists performing pop favorites to backing tracks complete with choreography and matching purple violins to match the décor of the wedding. To move from cocktails to dinner we produced another seamless transition. We had CoverGirls circle around the guests and lead them “Pied Piper style” back into the ballroom, concluding with a 10 minute high energy set on the dance floor. They received a standing ovation.
We then transitioned to our Video DJ, DJ ANT, to provide smooth lounge house music while the guests ate. As dinner progressed, we brought John Michael Montgomery and his full band back on stage for a 30 minute concert. The conclusion of the concert found Jim and Ashley on the dance floor together for their first dance to “I Swear” with the original artist performing for them. Making dreams come true?…mission accomplished.
Then we began clearing the stage for Maggie Speaks to perform the dance set for the guests for the duration of the evening. They did not disappoint as they kept the dance floor packed throughout the evening, taking a break just before midnight so the guests could enjoy the breathtaking view of the Chicago fireworks to ring in the new year. After a short encore set, we transitioned into the after party in the lounge with DJ ANT spinning video until 2:00 AM. ANT not only spun video but worked with the photographer to incorporate photos of the night’s festivities into the mix so guests could see these once in a lifetime moments almost instantly after they happened.
We were also in charge of the production. We provided the sound and backline for all of the elements with many quick transitions and set turnovers in a ballroom with severe space constraints. To execute this, we had multiple hidden sound consoles so they did not intrude on the décor of the event. We transitioned John’s full band to Maggie Speaks in less than ten minutes, which was ambitious and near impossible. To do so, we made sure we had enough experienced crew and willing vendors to all work in harmony behind the scenes so that no guests were affected and the mood of the ballroom remained unchanged.
A wedding is a once in a lifetime moment and this was an ambitious undertaking. Not only did it go flawlessly, but created so many WOW moments for Jim and Ashley. The highest compliment has been paid as Jim has hired us to produce 5 major corporate events since his wedding and stated he will never go anywhere else for entertainment as long as he lives.