February 14, 2010

Creating a Stage for the Band

Posted in Music, Wedding Design tagged , , , at 10:55 am by Elizabeth Nixon

I’ve been avoiding some pretty important wedding details like reception timeline logistics, and the renting of chairs and dinnerware (almost have that on lockdown!). I guess Mr. Paisley’s and my recent troubles in paradise have sucked a lot of the joy out of wedding planning.

After several weeks of ignoring wedding planning, I’ve decided to dive back into it, taking on the more unglamourous wedding details. I guess I’m trying to save the fun stuff and details for a time when Mr. Paisley and I are on sturdier ground relationship-wise and I can enjoy them more.

First up, how to build a band’s stage area in front of a homely little guest house, which we affectionately refer to as “The Shed” in the Paisley family.

The band will be either on the porch of The Shed, on the right of this picture in the foreground:

Photo by Peter Wilson (brother Paisley)

Or on the brick patio in front of The Shed (unfortunately, the patio is somewhat obscured here by oak leaves due to a winter storm). The dance floor will be installed next to the brick patio.

This is the only photo I have at the moment of the front yard (the non-lake side) where the reception will be. Yeah, it looks like the camera was on something–the lawn isn’t really that green, teehee. To give perspective, it’s about 150 yards long by 60-70 yards wide. The lawn part.

Before we get to the stage, here’s some background on the reception layout. Although it’s a tiny photo (I really need to get up to grandma’s to take some more pics!), and you can’t see all of the lawn here, try to picture two super long rows of tables on the long left part of the lawn (a portion of it is cut off in the photo), then picture another two long rows in the smaller part of the lawn directly in front of the house and the hottub there (it’s that tiny orangeish dot in front of the house there, and yeah, it’ll be removed for the wedding). Those two rows will seat 40, while the longer two rows together will seat about 80, give or take.

The head table will be family-style (with people sitting all around it rather than Last Supper style), in front of the large white oak tree (it appears not-so-large in the photo in front and to the left of the house there in the background of the photo). By the way, I figured all this table placement out using a long, metal laundry line-proper-upper (don’t know the actual name for the thing, just picture a long metal stake) in lieu of a yardstick, and with the help of my BFF-since-third-grade Morgan (MOH). She helped me figure out where to place all the tables: candy buffet, cake table, gifts table, etc., the layout of which I’ll explain in a forthcoming post.

I’m not sure at this point what to do about The Shed. Along with being the backdrop for the band, It will also be home to one of two bathrooms we’ll open up for guests. So, any kind of fabric stage backdrop would need a sign near it pointing people behind the backdrop and into the shed to access the bathrooom. I don’t know if we’ll want people walking up onto the porch directly behind the band, as that would look kinda silly, so we’d also need to build a side staircase (just one or two steps) on the side of the porch. I’m thinking a cute sign reading something like “Backstage Bathroom This Way” could work. And I’m thinking it should be the men’s bathroom, otherwise I bet everyone would want to skip The Shed bathroom and just beeline it to the house bathroom!

OK, for the stage, I don’t know if we should hang black material from the rafters to create a stage, or make some sort of a backdrop out of bamboo fencing. I think the fencing might be cheaper, but not as attractive. Albeit, it would be better than just the plain shed, with its reflective glass doors and the inside bathroom light flicking on and off behind the band as guests use it. Hmmm.

What do you gals think I should do?

Sigh. This is one of those details I’m really procrastinating tackling. I mean, the last thing I want to do is have to spend hundreds of dollars on yards upon yards of heavy black stage fabric. I’m hoping my brother and his musician connections might be able to scrounge up some sort of backdrop for me. Slim chance, though.

Are there any details you’re having trouble mustering up the strength to tackle? Are they big ones like needing to reserve chairs, dinnerware or fixing up a place for your band to play? Or annoying logistics details that nobody but the bride would think to take care of? Isn’t that always the case, heh.

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February 13, 2010

Get ready for some busy days ahead!

Posted in Deals, DIY Projects, Fashion, Inspiration Boards, Mr. Junebug, Music, Personalizing Your Wedding, Relationships, Wedding Design tagged , , , at 4:13 pm by Elizabeth Nixon

Hello there! It’s so nice to see you! I’m Miss Paisley, and I’ve actually been a Bee since I was a very young gipper. First, I was a “busy bee” at Busy Days Preschool, where I adored the mascot bee with all the unbridled enthusiasm of a five-year-old.

Then, my first job out of college was as a daily news reporter at the Record-Bee newspaper! Of course, the bee was also the mascot there. On a recent visit back to my hometown paper, my dear friend and editor of the Bee gifted me this lovely hat:

Please excuse the harsh lighting. It's a self-portrait taken late at night, after seeing Dear John at the movies

Which I think is so appropriate considering I’m once again…a bee!

I can’t wait to get started telling you all about our chic, family-lake-house wedding we’re planning. Get ready for a healthy serving of DIY projects, a little letterpress printing, and a side of bumps, surprises and relationship lessons.

But first, let me tell you more about Mr. Paisley and me. He’s a Spanish professor, and I’m a journalist. I used to work as an editor for a national glossy magazine, before I decided to start my freelance writing career last summer (so glad I did).

Professor and Miss Paisley, aboard the Paisley Italian Stallion (Vespa)

Professor Paisley and I met on the forever-exquisite day of Jan. 3, 2007. The date is seared into my mind because I was moving back to Santa Cruz to complete my Feminist Studies degree after just having finished a 10-month stint in the UC Center Sacramento journalism program. The future-Professor-Paisley greeted my mom and me in the hallway.

“He is SO cute!” I said to Mama Paisley.

“And he’s a professor, too!” I squealed. “Biology, wasn’t it?”

“I think he said Spanish…but now don’t you go after him, young lady!” Mama Paisley warned. I’m pretty sure she even wagged her finger.

She was right about the first part–the Spanish Professor bit–but the second? O-oh no! I’m glad I made the first move. He followed up with a date to Greek food, and we’ve been pretty much inseparable since, save one year when he was in Orange County and I was up in NorCal working. Let’s just say there were a lot of long nights in the newsroom followed by 8-hour-long drives with me arriving in the OC at 5 or 6 a.m., only to turn around and leave again 24 hours later. Yup, it was love!

Together, we’re a couple of goofballs who dig all things outdoors. He’s a Utah boy and an avid rock climber. I’m a NorCal-turned-SoCal girl, and an ex-river-rafting guide and ropes course facilitator.

Here we are in August about to summit Mt. Whitney, with Groomsman Josh. I think we all look pretty funny.

But not as funny as this:

It ain't called an Italion STALLION for nothin'

Weddingbee has been an important community for me for the last year-plus, so you can imagine I’m feelin’ extra honored to be here. I relish this opportunity to build friendships in the ‘hive, hear what you have to say and share my thoughts.

With less than 5 months until the wedding, get ready for some busy bee days ahead!

Welps, see ya later!

December 23, 2009

Blues, or Bluegrass? Finding and Booking the Band

Posted in Mr. Junebug, Music tagged , , , , at 2:07 am by Elizabeth Nixon

Finding a band was something I originally asked Mr. Paisley to do, but gradually, as summer turned to fall, and Mr. Paisley got wrapped up in teaching and his Ph.D. studies (um, so FREAKIN’ proud of him, I’m not about to mess with that!), I realized I may as well take on the task. And what a doozie of a task it ended up being!

I started looking into big band music. Too expensive all around. I didn’t reeeeally want a DJ…so, I turned to my favorite ‘Bee, Miss Cowboy Boot, for her bluegrass band inspiration!

I contacted her band, Elephant Revival, and their manager was very nice and said he’d ask the band if they’d want to go to California in the summer. To encourage them, I spent hours researching Bluegrass festivals where they could get gigs around my wedding, to make it worth it.

Sadly, I never did get a response back from the band manager. No matter! My brother, a musician, insisted that whatever talent Colorado had in bluegrass bands, California had in spades! All that research into festivals paid off in that I had contact numbers of a lot of festival managers. You know what else led me to bands really well? Hotels and their entertainment pages. Some hometown boutique B&B’s gave me some good leads, too.

I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if I spent around 50 hours researching and listening to bands. I primarily relied on Myspace music and bands’ websites to listen to their stuff. I contacted a LOT of bands.

One day, I found a positive review on Project Wedding of an affordable blues band, called Quinn DeVeaux and The Blue Beat Review. My interest piqued, I Googled away.

After emailing Quinn, I got a reply straight away that they’d love to play at our wedding despite the 2-hour drive, and they could meet my budget, too!

My best friend and one of my bridesmaids also approved of their music, and suggested we go see them live in S.F. the day before our planned get-together to go see the 49ers play the Jaguars.

They. Were. Phenomenal.

Hip, young, interesting. A “backwater blues” sound mixed with Ray Charles. Dressed to kill, the ladies, three backup singers called “The Quinntettes,” wore chic black sheath dresses and each wore a different jewel-colored pair of elbow-length gloves. 🙂 The crowd was PACKED into the Revolution Cafe. They stopped letting people in, it got so crowded. People were dancing, and talking about how they loved this band.

Quinn DeVeaux and The Blue Beat Review

I hadn’t let Quinn know I would be there. I wanted to see them without them feeling a bit nervous that a potential client was in the audience (if that would even phase them, probably not). Anyway, I chatted with one of the singers after their set, and she introduced me to Quinn. I really liked him. We briefly discussed some more details, and he said he’d have his manager send me a contract.

I emailed him again, and was surprised when a whole month went by with no reply. A bit concerned, I emailed again asking what was up. They must have not gotten my other email, or let it slip, but I felt better when I got a few emails back right away from the band manager, and also got my contract. She was on top of it, writing my details into the contract perfectly, and so enthusiastically! You gotta love it when your vendors actually WANT your business. I’ve definitely had my fair share of vendors who didn’t seem to care and/or want my patronage.

All told, I’ve finished reviewing the contract and have mailed in the deposit, and I’m super, super stoked for our backwater blues band to play at the wedding!

Listen to Quinn DeVeaux and The Blue Beat Review on YouTube: Lil 45 by Quinn DeVeaux

Was it a long ordeal (that ended up being worth it) to find and book your band? Tell me the details!