One of the absolutely best parts of planning a wedding is taste testing food from various restaurants. In fact, I highly recommend grabbing a friend, a coworker, an ex with whom you hope to rekindle your love, or a stranger off the street and showing up at establishments to try out their cuisine for your upcoming wedding that will eventually get mysteriously called off, or, hey, you never know… These places will roll out the red carpet for you and bring you multiple helpings of one dish. "Excuse me waiter, will you bring me more of the mac n cheese. After my hundredth bite, I still can't tell if I really like it." In total, we visited five places that gave us the same kind of go around. However, one caterer stood out to all of us, but not all for the same reasons.
On one particular fall evening, my entourage (the fiancé and the mothers) and I made our way downtown to Raleigh's famous barbecue restaurant, The Pit. My mom had traveled eight hours to meet up with Bobbi Sue (names have been changed, but the pseudonyms definitely reflect the true identity) with whom she had been corresponding for weeks now. Upon our arrival, we were told that Bobbi Sue no longer worked for their company but had been replaced by a woman named Mim. Now, James has often told me that I can be quite timid, which I will admit that my nature tends to lean a bit on the meeker side. Standing at 5 feet 0 inches and clocking in at barely over 100 pounds, I know how I would fair in an altercation, and I am using whatever defense mechanisms I have to avoid one. It's a wonder that I ended up teaching at a high school. With that being said, outspoken, ostentatious, towering people intimidate me. Not because I place little value on my self worth but because these people could easily crush me just by sitting on me. Just like Buster Bluth's school's motto of "Children should be neither seen nor heard", I tend to put this principle into practice whenever thunderous human beings grace my presence, especially those in the wedding business.
With that being said, Mim came flying like a bat out of hell to greet us and usher us to our seats. The woman was tall and loud! For the next hour or so, our taste testing became the Mim Show. She ordered that we get real china plates instead of the plastic kind that look like china. She pretty much demanded that I hire a "bodyguard" to move guest away from me after the wedding ceremony as if talking to these petty people for a mere five minutes would ruin the whole wedding. She blabbered the whole time while I rolled my eyes to myself at each of her so called suggestions and advice. However, I never uttered a word of objections, for I knew my companions would never agree to this absurdity.
I was wrong, for something more powerful than Mim was in control of their minds or, rather, their stomachs. They were under the influence of The Pit's reputable, delicious food. With each taste of the pulled pork and each bite of the soul rolls, they became weaker and weaker until, before they knew it, Mim was no longer a loud, obnoxious woman clamoring on about the Perfect Wedding and jacking up the original price by nearly 50%, but instead she was a floating Beef Brisket with an angelic glow around her, singing hymns of a soft, sweet melody that went like this "Choose the Pit. Choose the Pit. Choose the Pit." They had succumbed.
Nevertheless, Mim was fired and so was the next girl after that. By that time, we were in a bottomless pit (pun 100% intended). We were caught between excellent food and poor service with little time to change caterers. In the end, Mom threw out her superb negotiating skills and landed us a deal and some comps with The Pit, so we had excellent food and excellent service. Sometimes, it pays to be patient and timid just as long as you have very not timid people to back you up.
Rounding out my To Do List in the first trimester of wedding planning was finding a DJ. For a hot second, I dabbled in the notion of hooking an I-pod up to the speakers and blasting that sucker throughout the room. That lasted all of ten seconds when I realized that my I-Pod from circa 2004 was a.) Mostly filled with music from Now That's What I Call Music 1-10 and b.) missing. Nevertheless, going with a real life DJ was probably in everyone's best interest considering there is a time and place for Aqua's Barbie Girl and All Saint's Never Ever, but a wedding isn't one of them. In fact, cracking the top 3 on our Power Rankings for weddings would be 1.) Food 2.) Drinks and 3.) Music, so having a DJ to get it started in hur was crucial.
Fortunately for us, James' old roommate was a DJ in his spare time, and James promised he would deliver; in addition, he was giving us a discount for obvious reasons. I was sold. The months passed by with very little contact with the DJ. I was not worried. James was not worried. However, someone, who will remain nameless, was worried. Apparently, according to The Binder, the couple should have an initial meeting with the DJ followed by several other get togethers to discuss semantics and details down to every last minute so everything is PERFECT!!! We had had no such meetings by the third trimester. All, I could throw out there to the worried, anonymous person was that James has visual evidence of his DJing in Vegas. That had to count as something, right? It's Vegas.
Meanwhile, James and I commenced on our playlist. It was tricky blending all of the tastes of our diverse crowd into something everyone can get up and dance to. Motown music for our older black folk. Dances that explicitly tell you how to dance like the Cha Cha Slide for the rhythmically challenged older white people. Country Roads for anyone who hailed from West Virginia. Country music also for anyone from the Mountain State. Hard core rap and Gangnam Style for our younger black crowd and Asian population respectively. I'm just being stereotypical on that one, but you can't assume otherwise. Show tunes for my theater teacher and aspiring Broadway star maid of honor. We No Speak Americano on repeat for my two former Hispanic students. Again, slightly stereotypical. And upbeat songs with lots of vibrations for the deaf people. James and I grabbled with the list for quite some time. "You can't play Nelly's Air Force Ones at a wedding. No one wants to hear that." So sue me, Nelly in the early 2000s had some jams. Ummm…Ride Wit Me, Hot in Herre, Country Grammar, and Ignition (Remix). Nelly had us getting turnt up at our Catholic middle school dances. Plus that bandaid on his face was totally hot. Finally, we settled on Nelly only if the crowd requested it, absolutely no Happy by Pharrell, and Taylor Swift played sparingly.
Eventually, we did meet with our DJ, but we didn't need to nor did he need our playlist because he totally killed it. He was excellent and had everyone dancing the whole night. The moral of this story is if your DJ has played in Vegas, don't sweat it and leave Nelly for Throwback Thursdays where he belongs.