This week’s featured wedding took place at “The Oheka Castle,” a European style chateaux on the North Shore of Long Island in New York. While the music for dancing would be contemporary and high energy, we wanted certain musical elements to fit in with the venue’s atmosphere of grandeur and old- world elegance at the beginning of the evening.
Every once in a while a bride and groom want music that is totally different and extremely customized. This particular bride and groom (Lauren Gorsky and Andrew Gordon!) wanted, essentially, a rock concert for their wedding reception. We carefully collaborated on the specific songs requested and what we would need in order to make it happen. After months of planning, the result was an all out, no holds barred, rockin’ extravaganza, featuring the Starlight Rock Army, along with several of our other Custom Ensembles.
The Starlight Strings
Harp, 2 Violins Flute (with Sax/Clarinet),Oboe, Upright Bass
The Rock Army
6 Piece Rhythm Section
2 Guitars , 2 Keyboards, Drums, Bass
4 Piece Horn Section
2 Trumpets, Tenor Sax, Trombone
4 Female , 2 Male, 1 Rapper, 2 Rock Singers
The Hot Rock Strings
3 Electric Violins , Keyboard, Bass, Percussion
THE SEGMENTS OF THE EVENING
The Starlight Strings lined the marble staircase of Oheka Castle’s grand entrance, creating an atmosphere appropriate to the period of the castle. The repertoire consisted of uptempo waltzes; happy and welcoming. The harp stood atop the stairs, with the other instruments cascading down both sides of the spiraling staircase.
As guests made their way into the Old Ballroom for the ceremony, the string ensemble added to the romantic setting by performing lavish pieces from famous films, such as:
- Pretty Woman
- Life is Beautiful
- West Side Story
The musical program for the wedding processional was filled with many of the couple’s favorite rock and pop tunes.Grandparents Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers Groom and Parents Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton Bridesmaids and Groomsmen All I Ask Of You – Phantom of the Opera Flower Girl and Ring bearer Sweet Child Of Mine – Guns and Roses Bride and Parents Canon in D – Pachelbel Recessional Oh, What a Night – Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
With lots of input from the clients on the musical selections, the string ensemble played a broad mix of contemporary, Latin, Swing, and Beatles songs for the cocktail hour.
Here’s what our bride had to say on Sunday…
“O M G!!!!!!!!!!! your ensemble was absolutely incredible!!! while the ceremony was an out of body experience, one thing that i know for sure is that the music was incredible! guests all night were commenting on the pieces that we had and how beautiful it sounded in the ceremony. you transitioned between songs flawlessly and played magically. thank you so much for all of your hard work and collaboration. it was truly a pleasure getting to know you in the planning process. the night was beyond our wildest dreams, and starlight was a huge part of making it come true. with love and gratitude, lauren and andrew gordon (YAYYYYYYYYY!!!)”
Opening the Ballroom
The Starlight Rock Army (led by Valerie Romanoff on electric guitar) kicked off the reception in the West Terrace as the bride and groom made their grand entrance to The Black Eyed Pea’s “I Got a Feelin” and went right into their first dance, “Love of a Lifetime” by Firehouse. I could tell the guests were ready to party, so we dove into a rockin dance set with “Mony Mony” (also a special request), followed by “I Want To Rock and Roll All Night” by none other than KISS. We finished the first dance set with a rousing Hora. Whew!
While the guests enjoyed their appetizer and dinner, The Hot Rock Strings took the stage. Dazzling in look and sound, the electric violin ensemble performed a repertoire hand-picked by the bride and groom.
- Scarboro Fair- Simon and Garfunkel
- Wonderwall – Oasis
- Bittersweet Symphony – The Verve
- Stuck in a Moment – U2
- Your Song – Elton John
- The Scientist – Coldplay
- For The Longest Time – Billy Joel
- I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
We began the second set with the parent dances. The bride danced with her father to “My Girl” by The Temptations, and the groom danced with his mother to Carly Simon’s “You Are The Love of My Life.” Below are some of the songs we performed:
- Just The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra
- Somewhere Beyond The Sea – Bobby Darin
- Summer of 69 – Bryan Adam
- Jesse’s Girl – Rick Springfield
- How Will I Know – Whitney Houston
- Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough – Michael Jackson
- I Gotta Feeling – The Black Eyed Peas
- Evacuate the Dance floor – Cascada
- Get This Party Started – Pink
The Hot Rock Strings graced the stage once again during dinner, and played more of the bride and groom’s favorite songs.
After dinner, we accompanied the bride’s friend Lindsay Gordon, while she belted out a fabulous rendition of “I Love You I Do” from the movie Dreamgirls. She was so good that she did an encore of “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey which got everyone up on the dance floor, and the bride and groom up on the stage. We continued with more great rock anthems and Top 40 dance hits.
- Your Love – The Outfield
- Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leopard
- Living on a Prayer – Bon Jovi
- You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC
- Paradise City – Guns and Roses
- Sweet Child of Mine – Guns and Roses
- Start Me Up – Rolling Stones
- Boom Boom Pow – Black Eyed Peas
- Just Dance- Lady Gaga
- Let’s Get it Started- Black Eyed Peas
- And we ended the night with
Seasons of Love- from the musical Rent, followed by
Age of Aquarius /Let The Sunshine – from the musical Hair.
The guests then went into a different room for an after party where a DJ spun until the wee hours.
I was so happy at the end of the evening; it was such a successful event, such a beautiful wedding, everyone had so much fun, and I knew we rocked the house! A lot of work and effort went into creating this magical night, and I am grateful that our clients understood and gave us the resources for what was needed to provide a exceptional performance. I can’t wait to post photographs of this party!
The next morning, I received the following email from the bride…
“Valerie, we are on our way home from the castle and you are the first person I need to thank. Words cannot describe how absolutely incredible, ridiculous, out of control the band was last night. You made mine and Andrew’s dream wedding come true. Every single solitary guest has said that you were the best band they have ever seen, and we couldn’t agree more. We felt like we were at a rock concert. The most important aspect of a phenomenal party is the band, and Starlight rocked the freakin’ house. From the women on electric violin, to Whitney, Black Eyed Peas, ACDC, and Rent, you guys were out of control. I will write you a longer testimonial for your blog, but I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for making our wedding the best night of our lives!! I will touch base when we get back from Africa. Much love, appreciation, and gratitude,
Lauren and Andrew Gordon!!!!!!
PS- I had a pleasure working with your whole team from Rebecca to Claudia. All the best of the best!!”