October may have started cold and wet, but it did nothing to dampen the spirits at Marissa and Jim’s wedding at Glen Echo Park, a former amusement park on the Potomac in Maryland, just outside of DC. It is now an arts center and one of the most fun and photogenic places in the area. And something about the carnival setting encouraged the guests to forget about the chilly, rainy day and have a fabulous time!
Wedding coordinator Amanda Swenson worked with the couple to put together a lovely event and did a great job of keeping everything on schedule.
The wedding ceremony took place in the Cuddle Up Pavilion. Ofer, one of the groomsmen, started things off with a beautiful rendition of The Beatles “Blackbird.” The wedding party entered and walked up to the small pavilion stage to Regina Spektor’s “Us” as their processional music and Marissa walked down the aisle to “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson. Father Jim performed an upbeat and relaxed ceremony appropriate for the setting and this very fun couple. There was a unique Filipino tradition in which a veil was placed over the heads and shoulders of the bride and groom and bound together with a cord in the shape of a figure 8. This symbolizes being clothed as one, and the infinite nature of the bride and groom’s love for each other. And in keeping with the fun and personal spirit of the ceremony, the recessional was to “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.
For cocktail hour, everyone quickly made their way out of the rain and into the Bumper Car Pavilion, where colorful paper lanterns and vintage trolley tickets marked table numbers. Perfectly appropriate to the venue, drinks were accompanied by hot dogs and soft pretzels serverd from a bright-red cart. Music by The Zombies (“Time of the Season”), Roxy Music (“More Than This”) and Sam Cooke (“Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha”) helped to maintain the good spirits. Jim’s request for “Afternoon Speaker” by The Sea and Cake was happily obliged. During cocktails, a large number of the guests discovered that the warmest place in the Pavilion was on stage, underneath two heat lamps, and next to the DJ table. Knowing he was going to have company, Daryle brought a few benches up from the perimeter and dubbed the now-furnished stage the “Heat Lamp Lounge.” And indeed the ‘Lounge was quite popular all night long, occupied by both enthusiastic dancers and guests just keeping warm.
The wedding party was announced to “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall and Oates. Marissa and Jim performed their first dance, with some nice footwork and plenty of spins, to “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne. The happy couple then gave a nice welcome speech before everyone ate. Matters of Taste Catering provided a delicious array of amusement park appropriate food – fried chicken, mac and cheese, and barbecue. Guests heard music by Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Patsy Cline and D’Angelo. There was a beautiful assortment (7 varieties!) from Dangerously Delicious Pies and Jim and Marissa cut their own pecan pie to Bob Dylan’s “Country Pie.”
The father of the groom started the toasts with the happy announcement that Jim had officially passed the bar exam earlier in the day! Next up, best man Ari described the caricature of Jim (barking, violent gesticulations) that he had grown to know in law school and how these traits melted away when Jim was with Marissa. The matron of honor Grant spoke of bonding with Marissa over obscure Hollywood trivia and wondering how she could be so nice without being annoying. She told of a personally harrowing day when she knew that she could count on Marissa without question, and how happy she was to see Jim come into Marissa’s life.
Marissa and her father took the floor together to “I Hope You Dance” by Leanne Womack and then the rest of the crowd rushed in to The Jackson 5.
We heard Katy Perry’s “Firework” roll into Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger.” The crowd went wild for Flo Rida’s “Get Low” and exploded again went it blended into “Push It” by Salt N’ Pepa. They sang along with 80s classics from Belinda Carlisle (“Heaven Is a Place on Earth”) and Rick Springfield (“Jessie’s Girl”). A set of slow dance oldies finished with one of the most inspired blends of the night, the closing bars of “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes had the signature drum machine beat of New Order’s “Blue Monday” dropped on top.
Trey Songz and Nicki Minaj (“Bottoms Up”) slowed things down and then Britney Spears’ “Toxic” brought them back up again. “Dog Days are Over” by Florence and the Machine was a crowd favorite, with tambourines keeping the beat. And the indie vibe continued with “1901” by Phoenix.
Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” caused a rush for the stage and everyone sang along to Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” and Arrested Development’s “People Everyday.” The crowd showed their 80’s love again for “Love is a Battlefield” by Pat Benatar followed by some classic hip hop from The Notorious B.I.G. (“Juicy”), the Pharcyde (“Runnin'”) and 2Pac (“How Do You Want It”) blended with Soul II Soul’s always-fresh “Back to Life (However Do You Want Me).” There was a sizable Chicago contingent among the younger guests, so we received several earnest requests for “Bump ‘n’ Grind” by R. Kelly; when we finally dropped it late in the evening, the crowd went wild for R.‘s signature #1 hit from 1993.
For the last song of the night, Daryle brought it back full-circle with a reprise of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes; this time Frederico Passos’ Percussion Remix of “Home” worked the crowd back up. Responding to the cries of “One more song!”, he quickly consulted with Marissa and cued up that wedding classic, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” which got everybody singing once more. It was a really fun event for everyone involved and it was great to see all the smiling faces all night long! Congratulations to Marissa and Jim; they’re off to a great start!