This Monday we had the honor of playing for Lori and Dejan’s wedding at the Briar Patch Bed & Breakfast Inn in Middleburg, Virginia. It was certainly unique to have a wedding celebration on a Monday, but Lori & Dejan are a unique couple! The wedding was the closing event on a weekend of celebrating, with a wonderful mix of people who had come from as far afield as Dejan’s native Serbia.
The Briar Patch is a beautiful facility set in the heart of Virginia horse country. It features a large historic farm house and a modern event hall, the Fox Den. Its past as a farm is still in evidence, as horses graze in adjacent fields and an old cat wanders around. Lori and Dejan had perfect weather for their outdoor ceremony beneath a huge oak tree. Beautiful harp music was provided by Jessica Frost and Suzanne Fox did a wonderful job officiating. The ceremony concluded with the release of doves, a sublimely beautiful sight as they flew across the sky.
Cocktail hour spilled over from the porch of the house down the front lawn. Guests were treated to tunes by My Morning Jacket (“Wonderful”), The Sea and Cake (“Everyday”), and some requests from the bride and groom: Acid House Kings’ “Tonight is Forever”, The Polyphonic Spree “The Championship”, and Bruce Springsteen “I Wanna Marry You.”
During the cocktail hour, pictures of the couple, their families, and guests were orchestrated by Saskia Paulussen, one of our favorite photographers. Many of the guests had traveled from Serbia for this wedding, and they proudly waved their nation’s flag.
Dejan and Lori were introduced into the reception hall to the tune of “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO, and gave gracious welcome speeches in their respective native languages. Dinner was a fabulous feast courtesy of RSVP Catering. While they ate, guests heard a mix including “Llloro To Despedida” by Ike Quebec, “Jesus, Etc.” by Wilco, and “You Oughta Be With Me” by Al Green.
Champagne toasts were offered by the Best Man and Maid of Honor. Brane’s toast was funny and heartfelt, and Carla spoke of “neighbors who become our partners in life”. She described meeting Lori initially because they lived close together, bonding over their dogs, and growing to be close friends, like Lucy and Ethel. She said that she could not have imagined the perfect partner for Lori, but seeing them together, she now knows that it could only be Dejan.
Lori and Dejan performed their first dance to Ray LaMontagne’s “You Are the Best Thing”. They were joined near the end by their dog Yoda, who stayed in the middle of the action all night long. The dance floor opened with a few Serbian songs which the groom asked for: “Veseljak” by Ana Bekuta, “Oci jedne zene” by Tozovac, and “Ja Te Pesmom Zovem” by Hanka Paldum. These songs were mixed in with some American music in the form of Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man”, Aretha Franklin “Respect”, and Michael Jackson “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” Dejan’s friends and family definitely appreciated hearing the songs of their homeland, but were just as happy to dance to everything else.
Things slowed down for a few minutes so that Dejan and Lori could cut the cake to Frank Sinatra’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”, followed by a few more Balkan songs from Slobodan Lalic, Haris Dzinovic, and Lepa Brena. We heard Dee-Lite “Groove Is In the Heart”, Basment Jaxx “Red Alert”, and Chili Hifly “Is It Love?” into Earth Wind & Fire “September”. “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros was a big hit and got some new faces on the dance floor.
A special request came in for “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes. All the ladies danced around Dejan, shaking tambourines while the men encircled Lori. They soon all joined up and let the happy couple dance together.
By this time in the night (getting pretty late for a Monday), most of the remaining guests were the Serbians, so we played a few more of their favorites and they celebrated in their national style. There were circle dances featuring twirling napkins, and boisterous singalongs. We heard songs by Zorica Brunclik, Seki Turkovic, and Halid Beslic. The biggest hit was “Amerika, Amerika” by Miroslav Ilic which everyone knew the all words to, and brought tears to their eyes. The party went on well past the scheduled end (and they were still going after we had packed up and gone, even talking us out of a tambourine so they could continue the celebration into the early morning hours!).
Special thanks to the Briar Patch Inn for being so accommodating. It was really wonderful to see everyone having such a great time and a great honor to be part of this very special event. Best wishes to Dejan and Lori!