The wedding of Lauren and Jeff was planned more than a year in advance. Our Seaside String Trio was booked to play the wedding ceremony through the entertainment services of Alan James and The Powerhouse Group. On this Saturday after Valentines Day, the ceremony was to take place in Center Court at the Ritz-Carlton Naples.
A very strong cold front moved through our area the day before their event. We had a nice sunny day but it was windy with gusts over 30 mph. With the wind, it was very cold indeed. When I arrived at the Ritz, I parked in the service area so I approached the Center Court from the back. I was relieved to see immediately that the location was changed since it was not set up. We learned from a previous experience instead of being a protected spot, Center Court becomes like a wind tunnel in conditions like these. In fact, several of the huge pots were blown down. It was going to take several men or machinery to put them upright again.
Upon going inside and asking about the change, one of the Ritz staff members graciously led me to the new location. I saw my colleagues Joan Stewart and Diane Coffman at the entrance of the resort as they were arriving and we were all led to the Pavilion area and Vanderbilt Ballroom in the front of the Resort. As we walked by, we saw Michelle Reed of Michelle Reed Photography taking photographs of the wedding party. Final preparations were being done to the room. We could hear the Powerhouse Group Band warming up next door. The room looked lovely and when they brought the lights down, it looked so romantic.
Lauren and Jeff chose nontraditional music for their ceremony. With the help of Kelly McWilliams and her associate Kellie Connors of Weddings by Socialites it all worked beautifully. I did miss having personal contact with the couple but having the help of both of these ladies was wonderful too. I knew it was going to be a complicated processional and their help would be invaluable.
We began to play 30 minutes prior to the wedding. The couple did not make specific requests for the prelude so I chose music based on the choices that had made for the ceremony. We played popular songs that I thought were fun and would be enjoyed by the guests. Turned out to be good that I had already prepared my books for an upcoming reception so we had extra music. Things were delayed and we had to play about 20 extra minutes before the ceremony began.
Kellie came to stand beside us and told me the wedding party was just lining up so we began the music for the entrance of Rabbi Rosie, Wonderful Tonight. It is a good thing we started the music before she appeared as she came in quickly. We were able to come to a nice conclusion of the song.
Following the Rabbi, the grandparents and parents of the couple entered to the music, I’ll Stand By You. Thankfully, they paced it slowly so we were able to play enough of the song and come to a nice ending.
Following them, the Groomsmen made their entrance to the song, Your Song. There were 8 men including the Groom so I certainly appreciated Kellie being there to let me know when they had all come out. It is sometimes hard to play and count that high at the same time! Once again the timing worked out great.
Next to come were the Bridesmaids to the song, Can’t Help Falling in Love. Once again, Kellie helped so much because the order of the ring bearer and flower girl had been changed and the Maid of Honor was the last to enter. Another tricky song to end but it worked!
Now for the Entrance of the Bride, Lauren. She chose Have I Told You Lately That I Love You. It was a wonderful choice and Lauren looked beautiful as she entered the room.It was a beautiful service- I loved Rabbi Rosie’s clear voice and the symbolism in a Jewish service. At the breaking of the glass, we played Lucky as the wedding party exited the room. It was a fun song to play and long enough to continue to play as the guests left the room as well. We met Scott of Scott Wolfson Films for the first time and he recorded a bit of the song for the couple’s video.
Congratulations and best wishes to the newly married couple, Lauren and Jeff!