This past Saturday, Party On The Moon® was booked to perform for a wedding reception in Atlanta at the Fabulous Fox Theater. After recent performances in Jackson Hole, Aspen and Vail, as well as Detroit, we were excited to perform in our hometown.
The Sunday night before the show, I received an email that read, “The wedding is off. Gig is cancelled.” My first thought was, “Great! The band will have a Saturday night off for the first time in months.” My second thought was that I felt bad that the gig was off, not only from an emotional point of view, but the client (in this case, the groom) was under contract with the band, the venue, the caterers, the florist, and on the hook for all the other expenses that go with a high-end wedding – without having the party. At this late notice, there was not a chance we, or the other vendors, could book another show.
On Tuesday afternoon, I got another email, “Event back on. Different bride and groom.” Wow! In all of my years of playing weddings, I had never had this happen. The band had no idea what to expect.
Friday afternoon, we received the new bride and groom’s first dance request “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green. We arrived at noon on Saturday for set up and sound check, and all the vendors preparing for the party had the same questions as us, “What is this going to be like? Will the guests be happy? Will the would-have-been bride be lurking in the shadows with an automatic weapon?”
We were told the room had to be cleared and ready by 6:00 p.m. The ceremony would take place in the same room with the band. They were going to provide the ceremony music on an IPod that our soundman would play on cue.
When I arrived in the ballroom at 7:00 p.m., the wedding party was in front of the stage having their photos taken. I noticed immediately how much fun the bride and groom and guests were having. There was a sprit of celebration in the air and not one hint of disappointment or stress. And, there was no sign of an angry bride.
I went looking for the former groom-to-be. I was curious how the meeting would go. Would he be happy or sad? Disappointed or relieved?
So, here’s the story. The former groom-to-be is the owner of a small business, and one of his employees was getting married in November. When his wedding was cancelled, he offered to give his employee (the November bride) his wedding reception (THIS wedding reception). It was the Monday before the scheduled date, and the November bride said “no thank you” because 5 days wasn’t enough time for her to make the necessary plans. After talking with her mother, however, she learned that her family did not have the funds for her wedding in November.
So, the November bride decided to take her Boss’s offer and, with less than a week to go, she set plans in motion for the wedding. With the support of her family and friends, this November bride posted her wedding announcement on Facebook. She and her bridesmaids got their dresses. And, her Boss stood at her side to make sure her night would be spectacular.
The entire night was indeed magical. Of all the wonderful weddings I have had the honor to be a part of, this was by far, to me, what a celebration should be.
I came away from that night with a couple of observations:
First, this couple proved you don’t need months of preparation with a big time planner (no disrespect to big time planners) who choreographs the reception down to the exact minute. It’s a celebration not a performance.
Second, the former groom-to-be (the Boss) made the decision to take the focus off of his situation, as heartbreaking as it was, and give this opportunity to someone who needed it.
At the end of the reception, the bride and groom, along with the Boss, joined the band on stage. The bride took the microphone and, with tears in her eyes, looked at her Boss and said, “Thanks for making this the happiest day of my life.”
I happened to look at the bride’s father where he sat at the side of the stage. As his daughter spoke, tears rolled down his face. I glanced at the audience – there wasn’t a dry eye in sight! I took the microphone and said, “Tonight we have been part of something special. Less than a week ago, this night was not going to happen. Out of a disappointing circumstance and a choice that was made, something beautiful was created. The memory of the love and support in this room will stay with me forever. It has been an honor to have been a part of this celebration.”
I have never seen a happier bride and groom. But, there was one person in the room who appeared happier than them . . . The Boss who made it happen.
I love this business!