Salute Those Who Handle Wedding Entertainment

We’ve come a long way in a different direction over the years, where even weddings have gotten into the act, which you have probably noticed if you’ve been to a wedding lately.

I realize that my wedding took place more than thirty-eight years ago, and I can’t expect things to be the same in these times of devices now doing what people used to do back then, and I am not saying I have any problem with the weddings of today. I love going to weddings and I have been to many in these new wedding times, and I enjoy every one just as much as the other.

One thing that has remained a constant with regard to weddings is music. You have to have music. In my day music was provided by live, small combos who entertained people often at weddings, at local legions, VFWs, and local service clubs, as well.

When my sister Sandy, and Brother, Lou, got married, five weeks apart, my parents hired the Muzzy Trio (R.I.P., Busty), which was actually only two people, Busty, and his son, Joe, and an electric drum machine. At my wedding it was Phil Favata (R.I.P., Phil) on vocals and saxophone who provided the entertainment for those attending the reception. Those were two of the most popular combos who played weddings in our area back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Nowadays, when you go to a wedding, the couple getting married has often hired a disc jockey to provide the entertainment. Those people today, who handle the entertainment and crowd participation part of the wedding package, have an enormous job to do and so far, I have not found one not to be phenomenal in what they do, and how they do it.

In preparation for my son, Jon, and future daughter-in-law, Erica’s, upcoming Aug. 25 wedding, we were asked if there was any music we would like to suggest for the entrances of Sally and me, and anything specific we might like to hear at the reception.

I guess it is easier today to just download the suggested music, rather than have to find and purchase the records for those songs, or hope that popular local musicians, and wedding regulars, (entertainers in the mold of Busty Muzzy or Phil Favata), had the sheet music for any requested music not already in their repertoire, but with those small combo performers you’d usually just have to go with their good, but more reserved dance music (except the “Tarantella,” of course, and a few polkas), and without some of the more updated music of today.

As we sat and thought about what songs we might suggest to be played at the reception, we automatically thought of some no-brainers, such as the “Electric Slide,” and the “Macarena,” the “Hokey Pokey” (OMG, I AM old!), you know, the group songs that are part of many a wedding reception. Then we thought of some of those slow dance songs that would have meaning for the bride and groom as they begin their lives together, and songs that the already married couples attending the reception could remember, and to which they might still relate to in their time spent as husband and wife. This is the list we came up with:

1. “Perhaps Love” by John Denver and Placido Domingo (A Tear Jerker)

2. “That’s All I Know” by Art Garfunkel (Beautiful words sung by a great voice)

3. ” God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys (Lyrics give credence to it being on this list)

4. “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” by Elvis Presley (Classic Wedding Reception Song)

5. “Young Love” by Sonny James or Tab Hunter (Can’t go wrong with a song with “love” in it)

6. “Perfect Symphony” by Ed Sheeran and Andrea Bocelli (Another Tear Jerker)

7. “The Wedding Song” by Peter, Paul, and Mary (Can’t be bad if done by PP&M.)

8. “Three Times a Lady by The Commodores” (My and Sally’s Song but Phil Favata didn’t have it on his playlist for our wedding.)

9. “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers (Another Classic Wedding Reception Song)

10. “Kisses Sweeter than Wine” by Jimmie Rodgers (Oldie but a goodie)

11. “Apache…Jump on It” by The Sugarhill Gang (Got to have more group dances at a wedding. I have this one down, I think. Going to start working on The Floss for the wedding.)

12. “The Stroll” by The Diamonds (got to teach the young newlyweds and their friends that we did group dances in our day too)

13. “Handclap” by Fitz and the Tantrums (got to show the young folk we oldies can do the new group dances too)

14. “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line (because I like that song)

15. “Stayin’ Alive” by The Bee Gees (because every wedding needs a little Disco)

16. “Don’t Stop Believin’ “ by Journey (because everyone loves to sing along to that song)

17. “The Twist” by Chubby Checker (good exercise song to burn off some of the dinner and sweets)

18. “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi (because you can’t beat a Bon Jovi song)

19. “Do You Want to Know a Secret” by The Beatles (because the lyrics express what the bride and groom might be feeling and might say to one another)

20. “Shout” by The Isley Brothers (another great group dance song done with or without togas. See the movie “Animal House.”)

21. “Get Down Tonight” by KC and the Sunshine Band (Sally and I met at a disco. Those eight lessons I took really paid off.)

22. “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd (because you can’t go wrong with Skynyrd)

23. “Our Song” by Elton John (romantic song with words that fit the day)

24. “All Summer Long” by Kid Rock (same dance steps as “Sweet Home Alabama” because it’s the same beat and melody)

25. “The Twelfth of Never” by Johnny Mathis (romantic song on a romantic day)

26. “Five O’clock Somewhere” by Jimmy Buffett (play it at 5 p.m. at the reception. Besides I couldn’t put together a song list without including a Buffett song.)

Well, there it is . . . a suggested list of what we think is a good variety of songs that might fit well into the entertainment portion of a wedding reception. There are some slow dance songs, some fast dance songs, some romantic songs, some group dance songs, some old stuff, some new stuff, some songs that require hand movements, hip movements, and most of these songs, if not all, are great sing-a-long songs. I think that’s what a wedding is all about . . . to take people out of their element a bit, keep them involved, and keep the party going.

My hat is off to all the DJs that make so many parties, be they wedding, birthday, retirement, bon voyage, welcome home, graduation, new job . . . whatever, so entertaining, and making them times to remember for those being honored, and those attending the event helping the honorees celebrate their special day or event.

It’s my thought, though, that whenever we attend any of these events that we should get out on the floor, and sing and dance along with the music being played. After all, we’re never too young or too old to “Do a Little Dance, Make a Little Love, Get Down Tonight,” are we?