Me! A Guest Blogger!!

So. My friend Kara writes the great food blog, An Hour in the Kitchen. Last week she asked if I would write about my not-so-secret zucchini fetish. I couldn’t help but oblige. I love to cook, and the thought of writing a recipe was just too appealing. So below, please enjoy “The Wedding Singer’s Guide to Zucchini” it’s topical, what with the summer being upon us (finally). Also, a great way to feed out-of-town guests the night before the big day!

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I’ve Still Got Thriller Stuck in my Head.

On Saturday some friends of mine threw a party for which I did the unthinkable… I DJ’d, well, MP3J’d. I have to admit, it was really fun. My husband and I brought two laptops, the sound system for our band and some crazy disco lights we were given by a past client to a friend’s barn, which was transformed into a rustic, but posh, dance hall. I got an opportunity to dance, which I never get to do, but I still sang every song (as loud as I could) along with the tracks. It was an amazing moment for everyone to cut loose and forget about things for a night.

Coming just two days after the sudden death of a man who could best be described as a legend in his own time, this party gave me a chance to pay tribute to Michael Jackson, whose music has been influential throughout my life. I haven’t gotten enough of an opportunity to play MJ’s hits live in the past few years. Although, I think that will be changing. Three of my upcoming event clients have asked for tribute sets to the King of Pop at their parties. I’m sad that it took his death for people to rediscover his contribution to the soundtrack of all of our lives, but at the same time thrilled to honor Michael Jackson’s music in any way I can. In the next few weeks and months the events surrounding Michael Jackson’s death will be scrutinized and publicized. Society will, no doubt, be as fascinated by MJ in death as we were in life.

That being said, I’m not going to talk about MJ as a tragic figure. I’m not going to talk about plastic surgery or odd behavior or accusations. I’m not going to postulate on the cause of his death. I’m just going to post my Michael Jackson tribute playlist and let the discussion about his life be one about his music.

I trimmed my list down to one solid hour of the songs that meant the most to me and, of course, kept the dance floor packed – for decades.

  1. ThrillerThriller, 1982
  2. I Want You BackDiana Ross Presents The Jackson 5, 1969
  3. Don’t Stop ’til You Get EnoughOff the Wall, 1979
  4. Billie JeanThriller, 1982
  5. Black or WhiteDangerous, 1991
  6. ABCABC (The Jackson 5), 1970
  7. Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)Destiny (The Jacksons), 1979
  8. Wanna be Startin’ Somethin’Thriller, 1982
  9. Beat ItThriller, 1982
  10. The Way You Make Me FeelBad, 1987
  11. The Love You SaveABC (TheĀ Jackson 5), 1970
  12. Rock With YouOff the Wall, 1979
  13. P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)Thriller, 1982
  14. Off the WallOff the Wall, 1979
  15. Who’s Lovin’ YouDiana Ross Presents The Jackson 5, 1969

We interspersed this playlist throughout the night in three song sets.

I can think of some tracks to add, what about you?

True Tales of PNS: The Great Floral Massacre of 2004.

Those of you who have been with me since the beginning know a thing or two about the symptoms of and treatments for Pre-Nuptial Syndrome, or PNS (see Surviving PNS: Pre-Nuptial Syndrome, 2/24/09). Some might refer to those that suffer from this disorder as “Bridezilla”, “Bride From Hell” or just plain “Bitch!”, but I say these women are afflicted! PNS can so permeate the soul of a good and decent woman that she becomes unrecognizable to those around her. Stress kills, but PNS? That’s a horse of a different color. It’s stress drunk with power!

As an example, I will use a case study. A bride I knew back in 2004, a sweet woman on a mission – to have the most perfect wedding… EVER! DAMN IT!! We’ll call her Jody, because I don’t know anyone named Jody. Everything started out normal. Jody was like any other bride, excited, determined, thrilled at the prospect of celebrating her big day and starting her life together with her new husband. Let’s call him… poor bastard? I mean Jeff. Jody went through all of the usual steps of wedding planning. Chose the venue, chose the band (in my opinion, she chose the best one), picked out flowers, a dress, cake, champagne – all of it. Now, let me say, I’m not exactly sure what triggered Jody’s PNS. It could’ve been anything. Invitations, favors, anything. Until the day I saw her in action though, I thought PNS was abruptly cut off by, well – the wedding! Not necessarily.

Jody’s ceremony was at 5:30pm, with a cocktail hour to follow at 6pm and dinner and dancing from 7 – 11. It was at about 5:57pm that I witnessed one of the most perplexing and horrifying displays of PNS craziness that I’ve seen in over fifteen years in the wedding business. The ceremony had just finished. It was a beautiful afternoon on the water at undisclosed location in New Jersey facing the Manhattan skyline. The hard part was over, right? The fun was supposed to start. (You all know how I feel about the cocktail hour.) As the band was setting up in the main room of the venue, the cocktail hour was going on outside on the deck and in the bar area. Jody entered the main room, where the tables had been set and the flowers had been placed a few hours earlier. The centerpieces were a well put together mix of roses and lilies with sprays of dendrobium orchids. I never got a chance to ask Jody what the orchids had done to so upset her, but before anyone could stop her, she was attacking! The dendrobiums were her target. Jody proceeded to rip every orchid from its happy home amidst the other happy flowers there to make her day special and beautiful. The orchids ended up in the trash and Jody ended up missing about 25 minutes of cocktail hour. The photographer had been looking for her, Jeff thought she was fixing her makeup, her mother had given up on trying to stop the madness and all I could do was wonder why at that moment she would care about those bloody orchids.

It was PNS, but it carried through the actual nuptials to become something more complex, something more sinister in it’s effects on the bridal brain – RDD: Reception Dysmorphic Disorder. Jody was probably unclear with her florist about her extreme hatred of all things dendrobium. It’s possible the orchids were never discussed at all, and the florist took a little creative license, which would have been fine… any other day. Unfortunately, what looked like a stunningly decorated room to everyone else, looked like a giant crap-fest to Jody. She couldn’t help it. She had built everything up so much in her mind, that was the only thing it could look like. It’s like perfectly normal sized women that think their jeans make their asses look fat. The problem is, at that point in your wedding day, if you haven’t stopped yet to realize there’s something bigger going on than a party – no one can help you. Except maybe the bartender. Jody chose a time at which most of us would say “let’s party” or “whatever, I’m married now… champagne for everyone” to freak out. She was still in planning mode, and at that moment – the planning is over. Let go and let party, ladies.

By the end of the first dance Jody was fine. She was smiling, laughing, dancing and having a great time. The crisis had passed. She enjoyed the food, the music and her guests all night. The evening ended with hugs and best wishes, just as it should. So how can you avoid a floral massacre or ice sculpture decapitation or bridesmaids’ jewelry meltdown of your own? Keep the points below in mind, and they should help talk you down.
  • Put the elements together in advance and be specific.
  • Make sure you discuss your dislikes as freely as you discuss your favorite things with all of your vendors. This will help you avoid discovering something you find hideous (like Jody’s dendrobiums) at your reception.
  • Remember the difference is in the details, but your guests are nowhere near as picky as you are. Once you’re in it, it’s probably best to let it go and focus on the positive.
  • Your wedding should at least be as much about your marriage as it is about your menu.
  • Surround yourself with people that calm you, especially if you are a Type A person to begin with.
  • Hire people you trust. Find a wedding coordinator that you can communicate well with and let her handle it… you’ve got a party to get to!



Survivor, Wedding Reception: The Courtesy Basket

This week, a brief musing on one of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind. The wedding restroom courtesy basket. It’s far better than an actual restroom attendant, which always sort of freaks me out. I feel like I need to make a point of bringing a dollar with me to the ladies room every time, and how about the ones that don’t really do anything but sit there? I digress. The courtesy basket is like your favorite grandma’s giant purse that always has exactly what you need.


Gum? Why yes. What goes better with an open bar than *Trident?
Bobby pin? Sure thing. I thought I felt a hair out of place.
Tylenol? You betcha. Why not get started beating that hangover early?

I think my favorite courtesy basket item is the Tums or Rolaids they always put in there. Does this say more about the food or about our ability to control ourselves in an all-you-can-eat cocktail hour buffet situation? I’ve never needed antacid at an event myself, but it’s nice to know it’s there.

On the subject of courtesy baskets, I’m all pro. Really, I can’t think of a single con. I mean seriously, free tampons? Especially if the venue you’ve chosen provides one for you. If they don’t, definitely put one together. It’s a good job to give one of your bridesmaids, maybe the one that just missed out on the coveted maid-of-honor position. It makes your guests feel welcome and that you care about their needs during the course of your wedding. It’s a long day for everyone, and chances are at around 9:00pm or so, someone’s going to need some hand lotion or hairspray. I once saw a woman beat a wicked case of static cling at a Christmas party with just a bit of Jergen’s on the stockings – it was amazing.

Some of the most popular items to put in the basket… these will be specific to the ladies room. For the men’s I’m guessing, some Zantac, aspirin and the latest issue of Playboy, I don’t know.

  • Emery boards – a snaggy broken nail can kill an evening.
  • Hairspray – not just for hair, can also stop stocking runs.
  • Feminine products – go for a variety pack on this one…
  • Pain killers – OTC products only please!
  • Deodorant – I never really understood this one. How smelly are you going to get? Opt for the spray kind, it’s a little less gross.
  • Breath mints, gum or mouthwash – I say skip the mouthwash, unless you plan on putting a bunch of dixie cups in there. Tic Tacs work the best.
  • Clear nail polish – again, for stockings. I don’t think anyone is giving themselves a manicure during your reception, and if they are… you hired the wrong band!
  • Hand lotion – moisture is our friend.
  • Tissues – sometimes people cry, but also the most popular wedding months are smack in the middle of allergy season.
  • Q-Tips – again, I’m not sure. I’m going to say makeup application.
  • Band-Aids – For buffet table mishaps and carving board slip ups.
  • Sewing kit – some people care when a button falls off. For me, if nothing’s hanging out, I’m waiting until Monday to take care of that one.

You can be as creative as you want with this little tidbit of planning. You know your guests better than I do. Also, you know what you would want to have on hand, but don’t expect to get any of these items back at the end of the party (except maybe the deodorant). It’s free stuff. You put it out there, and people will take it. The upside is, they will think you are extra cool and classy for having given them the opportunity to do so.
*any mention of specific products does not constitute an endorsement of said products by SingerAimNYC… except for Tic Tacs.