Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Two-Day Whirlwind Tour - August 2 & 3, 2013

This weekend was going to be stressful, I knew it. I had two weddings, and a client meeting in between. I knew I could handle the gigs, even solo, it's just the timing and distance between the client meeting and the 2nd wedding was freaking me out.

For me, any wedding I get to cross this baby I just love. The drive into Sonoma is long, and can be slow at times, but the scenery is worth it. Literally an hour outside the city is some of the most beautiful countryside around. Ahh, the diversity of California!

My first event of the weekend was at the Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma, a winery with these detailed grounds and barns. Very rustic, but with a modern flair. 

The drive up was smooth, no traffic. I hit Sonoma, and checked in my room at the Four Sisters' Inn. Really nice room with a small deck, and excellent accommodations. Kinda awkward checking into what clearly is a couples' destination all alone, though. 

I didn't have much time to hang out, as I wanted to get to the venue and check it out, begin setting up. Timing is everything, and I hate being late for an event. I also wanted to make sure everything was perfect on the lighting. 

Pulling into the Cornerstone Gardens was like pulling into a mall almost. It didn't have that off-the-grid winery feeling, and didn't look it either. Sure there were rows of grapes on either side, but the modern buildings gave away the uniqueness of this place. 

I soon located the Barn on the grounds where the main dancing portion of the night would be, as well as the bulk of my gear. 

I unloaded and packed what I could onto my handy Rock N Roller hand truck. DJs: this thing is a god-send. Folds up nice enough to fit easily in the truck, but can carry almost a full gigs worth of gear on it in one trip! 

For this gig I brought two QSC K12s and a Mackie Subwoofer for the main hall, along with my Pioneer DDJ-SX in its black console. 12 Chauvet SlimPar 56s for uplights, some dance effect lighting and a gobo wash of stars for the dancefloor were all the lighting I needed. The barn had some white Christmas-tree lights strung lengthwise and some pink lanterns to match the decor of the event. I also brought my home-modified light-up facade that hides the DJ console and all the wiring (and snacks I hide in the booth) 

For the cocktail area outside the barn I just setup a single JBL Eon, to be connected to an iPod later. The cocktail tables and bars were being set and decorated as I set up, and it's always funny to hear the catering staff catch up about drama at past events. 

In yet another area, near a small stream and a lily pond, was the ceremony area. Really pretty setting! The chairs were already set, and this sign was hung from one by the aisle. 

I thought it was a nice sentiment. 

I set up another JBL Eon, a small Mackie soundboard and a wireless mic with a lavalier to attach to the Officiant's outfit. 

The backdrop for the ceremony was a picture frame, which I thought was pretty sweet. 

The ceremony went off without a hitch. The Officiant handled the ceremony, the bride looked amazing, and the music was perfect! The bride entered to the love theme from The Princess Bride, and the recessional was John Williams' Throne Room Scene from the end of Star Wars. 

The guests made their way to the cocktail area, and as they did I took down my ceremony system, and wheeled it down the "road" a bit to the large tent where dinner would be held. 

The Grand Entrance and the toasts would be at the dinner tent, so I needed a wireless mic and sound system there as well. 

After the bridal party intros (Start Me Up- Rolling Stones) an excellent dinner, and some fun toasts the guests headed back over the barn for the First Dance (She's Got A Way - Billy Joel) and partied the night away! 

Another successful event! Congratulations to Julie & Chris


After retiring to my room to sleep, the next morning I headed to The Mertiage Resort and Spa for a meeting with a client and a venue walk-thru. 

The ceremony will be held on a brand new deck that overlooks lush fields of grapes and the rolling hills of Napa. 

The reception itself would be held in the resort's Wine Cave

There was a religious ceremony going on in the Wine Cave, so we couldn't really look around too much, but I saw what I needed. Another few minutes discussing details with the clients, and I headed towards Redwood City for another ceremony and reception. 

The timing here was the stressful part. I had to set up for the ceremony in one place and the reception in another place 20 minutes away. Normally I would have help, but Spintronix was already doing 3 other weddings that day so I was solo again. 

I got to the Pulgas Water Temple for the ceremony setup, only to find this: 

That's not good. So I headed over the the other venue. I figured I could load my gear in there, set up a bit, then head back for the ceremony. Nope. The venue wouldn't let me in until 2pm, well after the ceremony was supposed to start. 

So I headed back to Pulgas, and finally at  1:15 a ranger came and opened the gate. I had ten minutes before the guests were supposed to start arriving. 

I got the ceremony sound system ready in record time. Just a single QSC, board, and wireless mics. Music by The Vitamin String Quartet for the pre-ceremony. 

After the ceremony I headed back to the other venue, the Arillaga Family Center in Menlo Park. 

I had to setup in the main dining room while the catering staff setup tables, and early guests milled about. Not the ideal situation, but no one seemed to mind. 

The Bridal Party was introduced to a cover of AC/DC's Back In Black by the Vitamin String Quartet. After a buffet dinner and toasts, the couple cut the cake and shared their first dance in the courtyard. I had setup two speakers outside the courtyard for dancing and one inside the dining area for toasts and dinner music. 

The first dance was Songbird - Eva Cassidy.  From there the guests partied away to Motown, pop, Top-40 and some 90s jams. 

Congratulations Anna & Michael

Whew! Pulled it off.  Next weekend I head to Santa Cruz for what is sure to be the wildest wedding of the year! 

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