I had a great time at the Natick Collection on Saturday morning at the “Give thanks. Walk.” Natick was among more than 60 communities participating in support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Acting as hosts were John Willis and Lori Grande, better known as JW and Lori, the morning hosts from WKLB Country 102.5. Dozens of volunteers kept things running smoothly. Especially entertaining was the crew from Ta.Da! shown above. The kids (and the DJ) had a lot of fun watching them have such a good time.
And the walkers? They did a great job. The 200+ participants raised over $30,000.00.
A class reunion is a very special occasion. I have done my share of them. And I have learned that they call for a special kind of DJ, not just an ordinary wedding or club DJ.
The first thing that needs to be understood is that the dynamics of a reunion are completely different than any other type of event. Guests are there to see each other. And they don’t need a DJ who’s shouting and chattering and trying to get everyone involved in the party. The DJ at a reunion has to be a ‘traffic cop’– directing the class members when to sit for dinner, when to gather for photos, and helping the reunion committee coordinate their planned activities.
But above all, the DJ must understand that most people go to a reunion to talk with their old classmates, not necessarily to dance. After the guests have had plenty of time to renew old friendships and relive old memories, then and only then will they be ready to dance. And a professional DJ must have patience and tact to deal with the handful of guests who get frustrated that the dance floor doesn’t fill right away, and who blame the DJ for it. That’s where an amateur will panic and play a lot of inappropriate music to try to force people to dance when they’re not ready.
There was a simple elegance to John and Mary’s wedding celebration, which took place at Rachel’s Lakeside in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. The restaurant, as the name suggests, offers a picturesque view of Lake Noquochoke. It was especially nice with the still vibrant colors of the fall foliage surrounding the lake. And, as an aside, Rachel’s serves some of the tastiest appetizers ever.
John’s brother Joe offered up a very funny toast, speaking at length of John’s ‘frugality’ (my favorite part was when Joe commented that John’s first apartment was so small that it would make a Chilean miner claustrophobic…)
John and Mary wanted the ultimate ‘minimalist’ reception, wishing to forgo most of the traditions associated with a wedding reception. That plan backfired on them just a bit in their efforts to discourage guests from requesting the couple to kiss by clinking their glasses. A popular trend is “The Song” — guests that want the bride and groom to kiss must get everyone at their table to stand and regale the couple with a song that contains the word ‘love’ in it. The plan was that most would just sit it out. Guests didn’t buy into that plan. Every table performed — each one of them taking their turn. It was like having a wedding on karaoke night. And then, just to put an exclamation point on things, one family member coordinated a rendition of “I Love You” (the song made famous by a certain purple dinosaur) which was performed by every single person in the room. It was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long, long time.
The last time I worked at the Wayside Inn, it was in one of the smallest spaces at the venue. For Rachel and Tim’s wedding reception, it was in the largest. The wedding tent is impressive at 100 feet long and 40 feet wide. My thoughts move from “impressive” to “a little scary” when the wedding takes place during a rare early season Nor’easter with winds that were upwards of 40 m.p.h. inside what is, ostensibly, a very large sail. Now, for the record, the tent never left the ground, but more than once, it seemed like it almost might. For anyone familiar with the Disney-Pixar movie “Up”, I kept picturing the scene when Carl Fredericksen releases the balloons tied to his house. That was more comforting than anything from “The Perfect Storm”…
There was a real joy in working with this couple. Clearly they enjoyed celebrating their marriage with their families and friends, but they also wanted to avoid a great deal of the hoopla. Many of the spotlight moments were either eliminated or minimized. They personalized the introductions and toasts by having me turn over most of the emcee duties to Tim’s longtime friend Mason. I always suggest to the couples that hire me that they should have the wedding they want, not the wedding they are supposed to have. This fit beautifully into that philosophy and I think it truly fit with their personalities.