If there ever was a wedding to recount and remember, this one takes the cake.
After having a secret wedding ceremony in the 1980s, Ann & Susan were finally able to legally tie the knot this past summer—and what a joyous occasion it was! The couple wanted their day to be focused on family and celebrating the many loved-ones in their lives. The music was also a really important factor in their entire day. From special music sung by their son during the ceremony, to a dance to “Happy” down the aisle, to a slew of musical memories made during the reception, their music really tied their whole day together.
The ceremony took place on July 26, 2014 at the Hotel Allegro in Chicago. Their ceremony featured At Last by Etta James, A Thousand Years by Christina Perri, Your Song by Elton John and Happy by Pharrell. Their reception dancing was kicked off with Sweet Love by Anita Baker for their First Dance, and the dance floor was packed all night.
We had a chance to catch up with Ann & Susan and reflect on the planning process leading up to the big day, as well as to remember their favorite moments of the ceremony and reception. The following post is made up of notes from our phone conversation.
Overall, Ann & Susan just wanted it to be a huge celebration and for everyone to have a good time during their ceremony and reception. They wanted their music choices to be enjoyable for everyone, but also wanted it to reflect their time together over the years. They chose music spanning from jazz and soul to contemporary. Since they were getting married later in life, they had a lot of memories to reflect on and to include in their celebration. They really wanted the music to set the tone for ceremony and reception, and truly believed that without music there would be no real wedding celebration feel—it was that integral.
Ann says that their confidence with Stitely really began after personal interview with Jeff. It was a lengthy one-on-one meeting to go over all the details of the day. Shortly after that, they made a decision to go with Stitely, and wedding planners at hotels in downtown Chicago confirmed that decision as they were looking for venues.
What was your favorite wedding memory?
Ann & Susan had plenty of memories to share from their big day, as did everyone I’ve spent with who was in attendance that day. It is fondly remembered as a day full of joy and love.
Susan & Ann’s first favorite memory one is the ceremony. It included Happy by Pharrell playing during the recessional, with their kids and family dancing down the aisle with them. It was a beautiful visual representation of the joy that they wanted to portray during their wedding, and the music really helped. A related memory is that people never stopped dancing during the reception—the dance floor was really never empty!
Another favorite memory was their son singing At Last during the ceremony and some Frank Sinatra and Jackie Wilson tunes with the band during the reception. That was really special, and Ann said it was so cool that Stitely made it happen for their son to sing with the band.
Happy by Pharrell was one that Ann & Susan wanted to integrate early on. It was really the inspiration for the heartfelt atmosphere we wanted to create. Having it played during the ceremony was very special and reflected them as a couple well—people still talk about it all the time!
Ann also said that having Stitely work with them prior to the wedding and helping their kids get songs and ideas together was a dream. She says “we couldn’t have made our vision of intertwining the music with our friends, family and guests come true if they hadn’t worked with us in the months and weeks leading up to our day. Without all those elements it really wouldn’t have been the dream day that it ended up being!”
Thanks again to Ann & Susan for being such a joy!
Lexi Schumacher & Josh Herz were married on September 27, 2014 at the historic Drake Hotel in Chicago. Throughout the entire planning process, it was evident that this couple would embody the class and sophistication that come with having an event at the Drake. Their attention to detail was on thing that made their event such a success!
Their day started with Piano, Violins & Drums for their Ceremony. Lexi and Josh decided to add an extra special twist to their processional song “Canon in D” by adding the drums, evoking the “Royal Wedding” version of the song that caught their attention. What a special and regal start to the day!
Their ceremony also included the Love Theme from St. Elmo’s Fire, What A Wonderful World andCity of Blinding Light by U2, all played instrumentally.
This combination was personal and unique to the couple while still maintain a semi-traditional and formal feel that the venue calls for.
After a cocktail hour featuring Sinatra, Michael Buble and Beatles tunes on solo piano it was time for the party to begin! The couple was introduced into the room to a recording of Happy Together by the Turtles and went straight into their First Dance, Glory of Love by Peter Cetera.
After the first dance and introduction a started Drake tradition took place of a Champagne Parade! Servers in black tie parade out with champagne for the guests and wedding party to prepare for all the toasts.
The band has a special song they play during that time and it is such a fun tradition.
We had a chance to catch up with the bride a few months after the big day and ask her to reflect on some of her favorite moments. Check out our conversation below!The rest of the night featured more music from the Stitely Orchestra that highlighted the couples personality, with Good Life by OneRepublic for cake cutting and I Loved Her First and A Song For My Son for the special family dances. this party also featured a rocking Hora dance and ended with the classic Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey.
What kind of style or vibe did you want for your wedding?
Sophisticated, chic and formal.
What role did music play in your vision?
A huge role. We ideally wanted everyone out of their chairs the entire night and a full dance floor, which we absolutely achieved!
Why did you choose the Stitely Orchestra for your wedding?
Came highly recommended by a coworker of mine, Heidi Lauerman and her husband Alex.
What kind of music or which artists do you and your partner enjoy?
We wanted several genres to suit ours as well as our guests’ taste i.e. Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Guns n Roses to Katy Perry.
What was your favorite wedding memory?
The Horah of course!
Please share any stories or special significance behind your song selections for the special dances.
Really no significance, just loved the songs We loved the added bonus of Jeff playing the drums during the ceremony music. Very unique and cool!
Andrea Dunsirn and Luke Benrud were married last August and celebrated with an amazing reception at the North Shore Golf Club in Menasha, WI. Alliey from Sash and Bow managed the details of the day, Megan from Branching Out prettied things up, and Kim Thiel captured it all on camera. Here, the new Mrs. Benrud shares her and Luke’s vision for the wedding and how music played a starring role!
Stitely Entertainment (SE): What kind of style or vibe did you want for your wedding? What role did music play in your vision?
Andrea Benrud (AB): I like to describe our wedding style as “romantic fun”. We opted for muted pastel colors with a touch of silver sparkle and many fun touches for guests such as a photo booth, wish tree, custom cornhole toss, and fireworks. Music was one of the top priorities of our wedding. We wanted everyone out on the dance floor having a good time – even the grandparents! To do this, we opted for many classic rock-and-roll songs. Songs that our parents would know, yet still be fun for people our age. We also mixed in a little pop, country, and hip-hop!
SE: Why did you choose the Stitely Orchestra for your wedding?
AB: Luke and I wanted a band that would keep the crowd on the dance floor. My parents had been to a wedding where The Stitely Orchestra had played and had nothing but good things to say about them. They said the music was wonderful and they kept people on the dance floor all night.
We liked that Jeff Stitely worked with us beforehand to learn more about our music preferences and overall wedding theme. Jeff and his band had an extensive song list from almost every genre we could think of. They were also willing to learn a few songs we wanted played that weren’t on the song list.
SE: What kind of music or which artists do you and your partner enjoy?
AB: We are all over the board with our music selections. You can find us dancing around the house to classic rock, rap, alternative jams, country, pop, etc! We really enjoy going to concerts which is why live music at our wedding was very important. Since we planned to have different generations at our wedding, we selected music that most people would know.
SE: What was your favorite wedding memory?
AB: Luke and I made a point to pause and enjoy the moment many times throughout the day. We chose to have a sweetheart table at dinner, not because we don’t love our wedding party, but so we could enjoy dinner together and have that memory between us.
SE: Please share any stories or special significance behind your song selections for the special dances!
AB: First dance – “You & Me” by Dave Matthews. We chose this song because the first time we heard the words they really summed up how we felt about one another. We’ve been to multiple Dave Matthews Band concerts together and it reminded us of those times.
Mother/son dance- “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts. Luke’s mom chose this song because she felt the words really described what she felt for Luke.
Father/daughter dance- “In My Life” by The Beatles, followed by “Get This Party Started” by Pink. I let my dad choose our songs. He chose a really sweet song by The Beatles. We then busted out some crazy moves to “Get This Party Started” to get the party started!
Luke and I took dance lessons beforehand and choreographed them to our first dance. It was necessary to learn how to properly dance together since Luke is almost a foot taller than me! I also took dance lessons with my dad for our dance. My sister (a dance major) choreographed a silly dance for us for “Get This Party Started” – I think it was a crowd pleaser!