Kareem and DeWayne’s Madison Hotel DC Wedding
Saturday the 13th of August I played my first wedding as a member of DJ D-Mac & Associates and my most fun one to date. Kareem Murphy and DeWayne Davis celebrated 20 years together with a Loews Madison Hotel DC wedding. A collection of extraordinarily festive and loving friends and family made it special.
While Kareem and DeWayne’s ceremony took place with their church family at Metropolitan Community Church, I was setting up at the Madison. Everything operated smoothly thanks to coordinator Scott LaLonde, his brother Ryan and the Madison’s great staff.
After the cocktail hour, I ushered the guests into the ballroom with Boogaloo‘s “You Gotta Have Freedom” and Zo!‘s “Flight of the Blackbyrd”. I then introduced the couple to a standing ovation for them to begin their first dance to Sarah Vaughn‘s “The Nearness of You”.
The newlyweds’ pastor Rev. J. Dwayne Johnson blessed the meal, then I was left to my own judgement to create the ambiance for dinner. The happiness in the room inspired me to select Adriana Evans‘ “Love Is All Around”, Sade‘s “By Your Side” and The Stylistics‘ “You Make Me Feel Brand New” to name a few.
The toasts couldn’t have been more complimentary or fitting for the tone of the evening. Kareem’s best man Sekou Murphy led with a heartfelt, extemporaneous tribute that moistened eyes. Then DeWayne’s best man Sean Wherley delivered a brilliant bit of stand-up comedy for his toast that had folks howling with laughter.
There was much to smile about that evening, from the grooms’ joy, to their loved ones enthusiasm for celebrating them, to table decorations featuring their favorite Broadway shows. A few snapshots won’t do it justice so make sure you check out photographer Dakota Fine‘s work covering the reception.
After our initial client meeting, I was really looking forward to working this wedding as Kareem and DeWayne’s tastes paralleled much of my own. The ’80s funk, R&B and disco as well as classic house they asked for are genres that I’m very fond of and I was easily able to mesh current pop and Top 40 guest requests like Rihanna and Lady Gaga with the rest of my 1982 Soul Train set. When DeWayne informed me that his favorite band of all time was Earth, Wind & Fire, as is mine, I knew we’d have a rocking party.
The room was on full tilt once I dropped Earth, Wind & Fire‘s “September” to start the dancing portion of the evening and they only paused briefly for the cake cutting, introduced by Stevie Wonder‘s “These Three Words” and wrapped up with touching words of gratitude from the grooms.
From then on, shoes got tossed aside, neckties removed and a few napkins may have been employed to tame sweaty brows. At some point Kareem acquired a pair of heels to properly set off Rosabel‘s “Cha Cha Heels”. This group was ready to get busy and I just had to keep feeding them until they ran out of steam, but we ran out of time before that happened.
Karizma’s beefed up edit of Tom Browne‘s “Jamaica Funk” set off a raucous Soul Train line and the soul claps kicked in strong for Aly-Us‘ “Follow Me” as well as Inner City‘s “Good Life”. Grandparents danced with little ones at the same time as some of the more spirited guests turned the dancefloor into a fashion catwalk, and it all fit together. It felt great to honor a couple of Shalamar and Jody Watley requests by playing Shalamar‘s “Take That To The Bank”, and the guests demonstrated why that’s a great song to boogie to.
Full crowd sing-alongs accompanied Whitney Houston‘s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, Klymaxx‘s “Meeting In The Ladies Room” and DeBarge‘s “Rhythm Of The Night” but the best singing of the evening was performed by Kareem and DeWayne themselves. As I wound down my set with Stephanie Mills‘ “Never Knew Love Like This Before” , I ended with a special request that Scott guaranteed would floor the couple. After shouts of surprise and recognition, Kareem and DeWayne harmonized perfectly over “Miami, You’ve Got Style” from the Golden Girls television show, finishing with group hugs and fits of laughter.