Lauren and Ted // 7/13/2019

The Best wedding dj in St. Louis

What a night! What do you get when you mix a large wedding party, a beautiful venue, a photo booth, Lauren and Ted, and House DJ? You get Saturday, July 13th, 2019.

We met Lauren back in February. Lauren was actually a referral from a future clients’ bridesmaid. We met at a coffee shop downtown, but it was full. So, what should we do? IKEA. Straight up, we met a bride at the IKEA cafe, and it was fabulous. Alright, enough background. Back to the day.

Photo from: https://eventsatbaileys.com/willow-gallery/dx67frb5nyyofb4ijctraul3ibfyml

Photo from: https://eventsatbaileys.com/willow-gallery/dx67frb5nyyofb4ijctraul3ibfyml

With it being July, we were actually very, very blessed for mild temperatures (still 95 degrees, but not 115). For their venue, Lauren and Ted chose Willow. Willow is a part of Bailey’s Restaurants, which is the family of restaurants and venues with Bailey’s on the Range, Fifth Wheel Catering, and Slate; the venue located across the street on the adjacent corner of the same block. Willow is gorgeous; completely devoid of color, but structural to the T. Large columns, concrete floors, white walls, gorgeous wooden chandeliers, complete with a concrete loft, safely crumbling on the edges for effect. As someone with prior experience in real estate and construction, I am so absolutely enthralled with these venues that operate in old buildings downtown. While I understand the work that goes into rehabilitating a dilapidated brick building, the charm of most of these venues is the imperfections and character. With Willow being on the corner, the walls facing the two streets were all entirely made up of windows, showing bustling downtown during the day, and the twinkling lights, nightlife, and changing stoplights at the corner. Not a single person would walk by without acknowledging the beauty, fun, and dancing inside.

Lauren and Ted had a fairly large wedding party, which always makes for fun. Longer grand entrance, more cheering, more energy, and more camaraderie throughout the night. The grand entrance went off without a hitch, couple-by-couple entering from upstairs, from the side of the loft to the staircase at the middle, down the staircase, and to the head table. Perfect. Then, the warming welcome speech by Lauren’s parents, then toasts by the best man and maid of honor: sweet, warming, and funny—every one.

Dinner was provided by Fifth Wheel Catering; a delightful menu. The line went through relatively quickly for roughly 200 people, but still took roughly 30 minutes to get everyone through. Shortly after dinner, Lauren and Ted were ready to go. We did a first dance with a song I’ve never played before for a first dance, “Manta Rays” by Ludo, a St. Louis-based band that stoped performing years ago, but still has a cult following. It was absolutely fantastic and personal for them; for that, it was perfect. Then followed two special dance with Lauren’s step-father and father, and then Ted and his mom. Then, skipping all other formalities, we were off.

Photo Taken by House DJ St. Louis

Photo Taken by House DJ St. Louis

The photo booth we provided opened, and people were split between this glamorous booth and the dance floor. With the ages of the people on the floor, we started it off with some family hits, leaning vintage but maintaining familiarity. Songs like “September”, “Dancing Queen”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, and kept that going for a moment. Everyone had a blast, and then something happened:

Lauryn was upstairs manning the photo booth, asked me to come up and help her with a printer issue: paper needing to be changed turned into a paper jam. So I did. Little did i know, her plot was to swap spots with me, so she would DJ and I would man the photo booth—sneaky. So, Lauryn finished the night DJing and killed it (though I did the hard work of setting the tone….). Joking aside, everybody had an absolute blast. The night moved into 2010’s dance hits (“TGIF”, “Pretty Girl Rock”, etc), and the girls had a blast. Shouting every word to every song, dancing until the end of the night (unknowingly actually 15 minutes later than we should [oops!]).

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What an amazing night, and what an incredible couple.

Willow, your place is gorgeous and the staff was lovely. We hope to perform there again!

Lauren and Ted, you did an incredible job bringing everything together. Your wedding was beautiful, you both looked great, and your guests were amazing. Everyone had an amazing time, and we can’t thank you enough.

For the photo booth photos from Lauren and Ted’s wedding, click here!

HAYLEE AND BRIAN WOMACK // 7/06/2019

I’m standing there, listening to this, knowing what was about to happen. I’m trying my best to hold myself together, and was succeeding. I was fine and prepared, but once he said it, and everyone did what they did, I nearly lost it.

Photo Taken by House DJ St. Louis

Photo Taken by House DJ St. Louis

So, this weekend was one for the books, and one I’ll remember forever. As wedding pros, we see tons of weddings, and it—albeit, sad—becomes monotonous at times. Fortunately, however, there are some weddings that break the mold and remind us just how basically human this all is. So, before we get to the wedding, I have to explain some things and circumstances:

So, while I don’t quite remember where we met Haylee and Brian, they have been a couple that stuck out in my mind the whole time. I’ve known (and remembered) their wedding date since day one, I’ve recognized her name, but I never knew the whole story. The week before each wedding, we will generally call our brides and go over their playlist for the day and see if they had any questions. While chatting, Haylee and Brian mentioned that Brian would be making a welcome speech after the toasts. I thought nothing of it at the time, as I had totally forgotten that they had told me about Brian’s cancer diagnosis a few months ago. We continued through the rest of the conversation, confirmed some things, and chatted for a minute just about life and small talk. We ended the conversation, hung up the phone. Then, just a few minutes later, I get this text from Haylee:

So, didn’t want to say this on the phone because my mom is home. But Brian and I just got word as of last week, Brian is officially cancer free. We have not told anyone. Not even our parents. So, after the best man and maid of honor speech, Brian is going to thank everyone for helping him through the last 7 months of chemo and surgeries and announce that he is officially cancer free.

Guys, I freaked out. What in the world! So, now, not only is everyone going to celebrate the wedding, but they will also be celebrating Brian’s life and news! I couldn’t have been more excited.

So: beautiful, sunny early July day for these two beautiful and healthy people. For their wedding, Haylee and Brian chose Third Degree Glass Factory as their venue, and it couldn’t have been more perfect.

Photo Taken By House DJ St. Louis

Photo Taken By House DJ St. Louis

Third Degree was perfect, I can’t say it enough. The industrial-chic joint on Delmar, nestled between the CWE and Forest Park was the perfect venue for this day, with beautiful hand-made glass fixtures, a glass wall where you could watch demonstrations, and colorful decor against the otherwise white-walls and red brick. Full-length linens were a fabulous feature, and the centerpieces were simply gorgeous.

Bragging: We did have the opportunity to help assemble the room after the flip. While we’re just playing cocktail hour music, there’s little else to do. We’re all a part of “Team Bride”, so we pitch in to make things happen whenever we can!

Photo Taken By House DJ St. Louis

Photo Taken By House DJ St. Louis

The vendor team was a well-oiled machine. Everybody was incredibly supportive, the coordinators were involved but not overbearing, the photo and video teams were incredible to work with, and you could just tell everyone was there to be a part of the love shared that day.

The ceremony started promptly. Logan, the officiant gave a long, personal ceremony, and the two shared vows, ring exchanges, and even participated in a 3DGF exclusive, a Glass Ceremony. The glass ceremony went a little like a sand ceremony: two jars of two different colored glass bits, poured into one. Then, during the cocktail hour, the master glass-maker mixes this combination of Haylee and Brian’s glass together to create an amazing piece, and something that Haylee and Brian can have (fragilely take care of) for the rest of their marriage.

Photo taken by House DJ St. Louis

Photo taken by House DJ St. Louis

After the ceremony, the bridal party skirted off for some photos, and we were left to handle the cocktail hour. We started the music, playing overhead on the venues’ house speakers (which we usually aren’t comfortable with, but in this specific instance, helped us with flow and made more sense). So, with so little to do, we joined the setup team, Cassidy and Olivia from 3DGF. First, move chairs, then set tables up, then place chairs around, tablecloths, centerpieces, candle votives (oh, yeah, and I dropped one.. oops!), greenery, napkins, done! Just in time, 7:00—showtime.

Grand entrance came in with the bridesmaids, groomsmen, maid of honor, and best man. Then, the bride and groom and the guests went nuts! For us, we can always tell how a night is going to go from the grand entrance by how much or little you have to direct people. If we have to tell people to stand for the bride and groom and prod them to give a round of applause, it’ll be a long night. But, when people immediately give you their attention, cheer for everyone that comes through the door, and go crazy for the bride and groom, that’s a sign that you’re going to have an amazing party. Well, if it says anything we had an amazing party.

Dinner was provided by Pappy’s, and—as always—fabulous. Pulled pork on a toasted bun with signature sauce and a selection of meats: who wouldn’t be in love?

So, after dinner, came the toasts. Both were sweet and loving, a little humour, a little love. Then, came Brian’s speech. If you are ever wondering if something is happening during a wedding, watch the vendors. We all know, and we’re all going to hone in on it and be ready. When Brian reached for the microphone, the photo and video teams all walked forward and readied, all of us aware on what was about to happen, but none of us truly prepared in hindsight.

Brian made the speech, stampered a little, and got a little choked up. He thanked everyone for all of the support with his cancer diagnosis, and then muttered the words:

As of a few days ago, we got word: we’re cancer free

Photo Taken by  B. Cannon Photography

Photo Taken by B. Cannon Photography

Photo Taken By B. Cannon Photography

Photo Taken By B. Cannon Photography

You guys, the place EXPLODED. Like, before he could even finish “free”, people stood, they cheered, they got loud and shouted. This went on for, no joke, 30 seconds at 11/10 volume. I was prepared for the words to come out of his mouth, but what I was not prepared for, was the explosion of energy that erupted from his family and friends, celebrating his health and life. I lost it, cheering, grinning from ear-to-ear, and celebrating as though I had known Brian and Haylee for my whole life, when I had only known of their existence for under a year.

Photo Taken By House DJ St. Louis

Photo Taken By House DJ St. Louis

From that point forward, there was nothing I could do to kill the mood. We usually pride ourselves on being able to create an atmosphere of love and excitement, but let me say this: there is absolutely nothing that will accomplish that quite like the love of hundreds of your closest friends, cheering for your imminent health. As I said, they celebrated, and they celebrated until well after 10:55, when we shut it down. They were in the parking lot, laughing, rejoicing, congratulating.

That was a first for us, and we don’t get to say that often.

So, I want to talk to a few groups of people:

Vendors, you all were amazing. Austin, Tara, Brittany, Brooke, you were all absolutely amazing. What a dream team, and I hope to work with you all again soon.

Third Degree Glass Factory, thank you. Even having an amazing place,. taking such great care of Haylee and Brian, and also for the gift you gave Lauryn and I for helping. 3DGF will go down as one of our favorite venues, and we will share it with our undecided clients.

Haylee and Brian, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for being fighters. Thank you for allowing us to be an integral part of your big day. It means everything to us. We wish you the absolute best and many years of happiness.

Blessings,

Cole

Parker and Emi Van Nest// 6/22/2019

For the first place on this platform, I am conflicted. Should I honor it as the first post, or should we post it later as to not bury it? We have to start somewhere, so here goes:

Emi and Parker’s ceremony reception was absolutely perfect.

The forecast looked gloomy, and the morning sky was dark. Their ceremony was set already, and Emi and Parker were optimistic about the weather, though the odds appeared to be against them. As usual with this sort of circumstance, the weather obeyed the positive vibes and cleared up moments before the ceremony, and everything went smoothly. Then, the reception:

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We arrived a couple of hours early to setup as always. Load-in instructions were simple: through the doors, to the left, elevator to the 4th floor, and back corner of the room. At the 4th floor, the view of the city was surprisingly great from the east, mid-town venue. To the east behind me, you could clearly see the St. Louis Arch and the downtown buildings, and across the room to the west, you could clearly see the downward sloping rooflines of the rim of the city. Absolutely picturesque.

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Their reception was at NEO on Locust, a popular venue in St. Louis, (and actually the one in which Lauryn and I will be having our wedding and reception later this year). Their industrial-chic style is gorgeous, but masculine. The layout is easy, open, and simple. Like an empty canvas for a painter to complete their art. Emi and Parker could not have picked a better place for their love to be celebrated (but I may be a bit partial).

Once the reception got started, the energy was already set, and you just knew this was going to be one of those nights. Speeches were absolutely sweet, with advice given from Emi’s father during the welcome speech:

Your wedding day can be a blur. During your wedding day, take 5 moments and say “I want to remember this moment.” My father gave me that advice on my wedding day, and I still remember those moments.

Then affable stories from Parker’s brother, the best man, and some sweet reminiscent stories from the maid of honor. Between the welcome and toasts, a fabulous meal. Hollyberry Catering provided the meal; from a wedding vendor who has had his fill of “roast beef and potatoes”, this menu was fabulous. Complete with chicken and waffle skewers, mini pretzel burgers, and various incredible mini-meals and snacks, this dinner was absolutely fire. Credit to Emi and Parker for requesting and dreaming of this menu, and credit to HollyBerry for properly pulling it off.

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Oh, and Ryan Roe, a crazy talented caricature artist was doing caricatures during the cocktail hour and created this gem for me. Brides, this dude was a HIT, super nice, and starts at $120/hour!

Finally, once the dance floor opened, it would not stop. The dance floor was absolutely packed all night long. We played everything from “September” - Earth, Wind, and Fire, to “No Hands” - Waka Flocka. I couldn’t get them to sit down, even if I tried. You could feel the love from these two, and feel the love from their guests to them.

To say that I was grateful to perform this wedding would be an understatement.

My shotty iPhone pic, barely a commercial for the smartphone’s camera.

My shotty iPhone pic, barely a commercial for the smartphone’s camera.

Parker and Emi, you have my utmost gratitude for the opportunity to be such an integral part of your big day. We wish you many more years of love and happiness!

- Cole

Hello, World!

“Hello World!” is traditionally the first line of code that a program should be instructed to run. It is a “birthing” of sorts (in a more awkward way than necessary), and an introduction of that program into the world.

Blah, blah, blah..

So! This is the first post of the new House DJ St. Louis Blog—fun, right? We had a couple posts on the other blog, but with a new website, comes a new thread. Unfortunately, we haven’t found a way to migrate the older posts, but fortunately, we’ll start this off better. We are really aiming towards sharing our weddings with you and showing our product in a fun, editorial light. Can we also get some praise for using “fun” and “editorial” in the same sentence cohesively? So, while we are not yet ready to share our recent wedding, this should serve as a placeholder and intro! Welcome to the House DJ Blog!