- Chapter 1: Engaged!
I’ve been a DJ at Elite Entertainment for almost 5 years now, and when I first started with the company I saw the everything that the wedding industry can offer, from cool technology, romance, funny stories, happy memories, parties running into the evening and everything in between. Over the course of time I’ve become a much more polished M.C. and DJ, and in doing so have often seen things as an entertainer that I take note of and think “When I meet the girl I’m going to marry, I want to do something like that!” Well, after seeing many brides and grooms tie the knot, I got tired of INTRODUCING the “Brand new Mr. and Mrs. ….” And decided I wanted to actually be “The brand new Mr. and Mrs. Richard Edward Savner III!”
While I wont go into the minutia of how I met my Fiancé, Megan, the shortest version of the story is that we met at Bar Anticipation in Lake Como on August 6th, 2013, exactly 630 days ago as of April 27th (the day I proposed to her). Just 4 days after that I actually DJ’d a wedding for one of her closest friends with her as a guest (It really is a small world after all!). Fast forward 20 months, many laughs, fewer tears, fights, hugs and kisses, and I decided it was time that I put everything together.
Megan works at Bebe in the Freehold Mall during the evenings after spending her days teaching preschool in the same classroom as her mother. I sorted through in my head what were the endless options of how to propose to her, and gently prodded her for information about what she wanted and didn’t want, because admittedly, I recognize she has no say in what will happen so I wanted to respect some of her requests and blend them with mine. She made it very clear: NO SPORTING EVENTS, JUMBOSCREEN ANNOUNCEMENTS, AND NO BRIDAL SHOWS! Talk about being deflated! Bridal shows are Elite’s biggest opportunity to market ourselves and Megan always has fun at those when she comes to watch us perform! Oh well, moving on to the next idea. I couldn’t trust her students to get involved as there were too many risk factors involved with humans who are still getting the hang of the A B C’s. So, I decided as we were a deeply faith based couple to propose to her in the Parish we belong to: St. Robert Belermine in Freehold Twp.
First I had to make sure that I had someone to capture this moment, which I knew I could trust only one person more than any other to video tape: Rob Haberman. Rob is not only an M.C. on staff but also a videographer for our events, and he was much obliged to film this special occasion. Next I called Megan’s evening time job and had them cover her shift at work, which the ladies squealed over once they heard why I needed this favor. Next was figuring out how to convince her to go to the church to find me their waiting. Ultimately, her mother and I decided that we would tell her I would meet them for dinner at the Chapter House in Howell on Rt. 9, and then her mother would make up some story about needing to drop off papers at church. Well you know what they say about the best laid plans…
I got to the church at 6:15 pm, expecting Megan at 6:30 pm. Rob got me all mic’d up, set the lighting and camera’s up perfectly when suddenly I heard my phone ring………It was Megan! My heart leapt into my throat. OF ALL PEOPLE WHAT COULD SHE POSSIBLY WANT?
The Conversation went like this:
“Richard! What’s going on?!”
“Baby? Relax. What’s wrong?”
“My mother is making me change out of my sweats into nice clothes. It’s the chapter house (sniffle), I feel like I’m being setup and I don’t like it!”
“Baby, relax. I’m just pulling into the parking lot now, I’m waiting for you.”
“Richard! You had better not be proposing to me! I’m tired, I haven’t showered, I’ve been crying and I’m aggravated.”
“Baby. I’ll see you soon, just relax.”
Anyone noticing a pattern here?
“No I don’t like this, I’m not going”………….click
I turned to Rob and said “Oh Shit…..” I was so nervous. Was this happening? What should I do? I sat in the church and literally prayed. I then received the following text messages (verbatim): “WTF is going on? Now we need to stop at the church to drop something off. Swear to me you’re not waiting at the church. SWEAR!” I told Rob and he smiled and said, “Well, she said to swear”. At that point I was desperate, and swore I wasn’t exactly where I was.
I stood in the sanctuary of the church, rolling from the balls of my feet to my heals, wearing my grey suit that Megan helped me pick, the matching vest, a silver tie she bought me for our first Christmas, and a silver watch with a face like a wheel that she got me for our first Valentines day. I even wore a bottle of cologne she bought me to finish it off. I was facing the entrance she normally entered through, and then from behind me I heard “WHAT’S GOING ON?!” Megan entered through a different doorway. I looked at the camera and said “Let’s go!” Rob and I walked to the back of the church and Megan shirked away and stepped backwards. I put my hands out and said the following:
“ A little less than two years ago, 20 months, 90 weeks, 630 days, 15 million seconds ago, we met. On that day I learned some things: First, there is a God. Second, I’m not him. Third, he makes plans for all of us, and finally that his plan for me was way better than anything I could have imagined. I love you Megan. Will you make me the happiest man in the world? Will you marry me?”
She sobbed, nodded her head and let out a simple “YES!”
I hope your engagement story was exactly how you had envisioned it, but for what it’s worth, I wouldn’t have changed mine for anything!
- Diana & Robert 3/21/15
As a DJ, Entertainer and a spectator of major life events, I have had the privilege of watching children baptized in the start of their lives, milestone birthdays like sweet 16′s, 50th birthdays, wedding anniversaries, holiday parties and every other reason for gather and celebration you can imagine. This is the first time in my years as an Elite Entertainer that I was so amazed by a group of people at one gathering that I wanted to write about it as soon as I got home. I want these memories to be as purely and accurately accounted as possible because they were all just so spectacular.
Diana and Robert Gorbe were the perfect match for each other. Robert was excited from the moment he saw his beautiful bride walk down the isle at the Crystal Point Yacht Club. Diana and I had been in contact earlier in the day as she wanted to ensure that everything was going to be perfect, much like her husband. She too looked ecstatic over the sight of a room full of family friends and loved ones. After exchanging vows and kiss to seal their marriage, we took the party upstairs and never looked back! The whole crowd was hooting and hollering as The bridal party danced their way in to Dynamite by Taio Cruz, or when Joshua, Diana’s son cut a rug like no other to Uptown Funk! Nothing captured the love that these two shared however, any better than when they shared their first dance as husband and wife to the tune of “I Only Have Eyes For You“. After toasts and first course, you could feel the anticipation building until Joshua, the ring bearer couldn’t take it any more and began dancing to anything that we played! His infectious dance moves really got the party rolling and set the tone for what was a jam packed evening full of Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, Paradise By The Dashboard Light, and many other classic rock n roll songs!
The three moments to me that let me know that I had done a successful job in exceeding their expectations as an Elite Entertainer were as follows: When we opened up our first round of dancing for the evening, Diana looked at me as a packed dance floor was appearing in front of her and mouthed to me from across the room “Oh my God! This is amazing!” Second, was when Rob approached me after dinner and said that I had worn him out, and that I am “A pro, who had better make this a profession for life, because this is amazing”. Finally, was when Diana and Rob together shared their overly gracious praise, that they were receiving compliments throughout the course of the evening on how this was the best wedding many of the guests had ever been to. I wish Rob and Diana all the best, and as the picture shows……..well, see for yourself!
- A BIG Celebration
There’s no doubt that a wedding celebration is one of the most joyous occasions in two peoples lives, but there’s also little doubt that with the celebration comes some busy days and nights. My hat goes off to Jessica Perlman for planning her wedding with now husband, Steve Breese who recently celebrated their reception at Doolan’s Shore Club. Jessica manages a restaurant and was logging upwards of 60 hours a week! Somehow in her busy schedule she, Steve and I met to discuss the planning of their wedding. From soup to nuts, we customized every last bit of their wedding day! We worked closely together on planning the songs for their ceremony, introductions, cake cutting, throwing the bouquet and even a “Through the Years” dance to find that relatives of theirs were married for 63 wonderful years! While working with Rob Haberman who not only acted as my assistant, but also videographer, capturing all of these special moments, he and I made an observation that proved untrue. More often than not when you see someone who is upwards of 6 feet 5 inches tall, you’d be hard pressed to guess that they aren’t as big on dancing as they are on a growth chart. I could not have been more wrong. Along with a groomsmen from the Bridal party, these two men were on the dance floor non stop! They had some serious moves and even inspired the photographers at the Reception to put down their camera’s for a moment to frolic, slide, and even bust out the worm on the dance floor! Steve and Jessica were so generous with their compliments even after this big celebration was over! Congratulations to Jessica and Steve Breese! Enjoy your honeymoon in Aruba! Shalom!
- Justin Timberlake…Worth the Wait!
Director of Sales for Elite Entertainment, Dominic Sestito gave a seminar at last August’s DJ Convention in Atlantic City and was quoted as saying “Justin Timberlake, when it’s all said and done is going to be the greatest performer of our time”. I hadn’t given the man much thought outside of the occasions when I would be playing his songs at events I was DJ’ing. But when Dominic said this, it piqued my interest in seeing him. Some three months later, as I began to plan extensively for Valentine’s day with my girlfriend, Megan. I looked to see where Justin Timberlake would be performing (She’s a big JT Fan, so the two went hand in hand.) Ironically enough, Justin Timberlake was scheduled to perform in Madison Square Garden on the 19th and 20th of February, the WEDNESDAY or THURSDAY following Valentine’s Day, which fell on a Friday this year. I also booked Wicked Tickets for Megan and I as a Christmas present. I worked it out that Wednesday the 19th we would see Justin Timberlake, and Wicked on Thursday. Well you know what they say about the best laid plans…
After my own negligence took hold, realizing I left all the tickets to our events at home once we had arrive in the Big Apple, I had to bite the bullet, and leave Megan in the City, travel an hour back and forth to get the tickets and return. On the train ride back, I called the Garden to ensure everything was still running smoothly, only to discover that Justin Timberlake had CANCELLED for that night, due to illness, and moved his show to Friday in the Garden. My heart nearly leapt into my throat, and scrambled to inform Megan and shuffle our plans. Some financial hardships, a few long phone calls, and few glasses of liquid encouragement later and I felt a little more relaxed, knowing now that my plan was not entirely destroyed, but rather altered.
Fast Forward to Friday night, with residual amazement still occupying residence in my mind from Wicked on Broadway with Megan the night before, we filed into the Garden with 10 thousand other fans, all with the same thought on their mind: “This better be one hell of a show, I went through a lot just to come back tonight”. Around 9 PM the lights dropped, violins hit, and he began his performance, starting with Pusher Love Girl. If you’re not familiar with Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience Album, it’s an incredible compilation of music and entertainment. During the breakdown of this song, He stopped the entire show, shut the lights off, and had a spotlight put onto him….And he knew just what to say:
“What’s up New York City?!………………………..Let’s get one thing straight…………………I owe all of you for wednesday”
Now…..I’ve been in Yankee Stadium for Red Sox vs. Yankee playoff games that were loud. I’ve been in Giants Stadium for championship games. I’ve even been in the Garden for the final Big East Tournament in 2013. And Not a single one of those crowds compared to the deafening roar when Justin basically apologized. He was a consummate professional. Totally humble. And yet, in spite of what had happened, all was forgotten. With covers of Frank Sinatra’s New York New York, Jungle Boogie, Poison and Heartbreak Hotel, he blew me and Megan away. Dancing on the bars of the VIP lounge, literally lifting and moving his entire stage across the arena, and an encore of Sexyback and Mirrors, Justin Timberlake was, as the title states it, Worth the Wait.
- Paradise by the Primavera Regency
Last Friday, myself, along with the help of Craig Haberstroh, and Joe from Elite Video had the pleasure of entertaining and capturing every moment of Steve and Ashley Hudak’s wedding reception at the Primavera Regency! In meeting with this particular Bride and Groom, there was an instant connection on how they wanted me to run this party, from helping them choose there first song as husband and wife (This Year’s Love, David Grey) or selecting songs for the single Gentlemen to catch the garter (NFL On Fox Football Theme) Ashley, Steve and I worked together very closely to ensure that their Wedding day was not one to soon be forgotten. Two of the highlights of the evening were at the beginning and end of the night. When I met with the soon to be betrothed, they said “We want to do something cool and unique with our bridal party after our first dance, to get the party going!” Upon looking through their list of requested songs, the first song that jumped out at me was The Cupid Shuffle. I suggested a “Flash Mob” of the Cupid shuffle, and it worked like a charm! Everyone was hooting and hollering, as Ashley, Steve and their bridal party rocked out to an awesome song! It really set the tempo for what turned out to be a wild party! But the fun didn’t stop there.The second highlight of the night, and the inspiration for the title of this blog occurred during another request of theirs, “Paradise by the Dashboard Light“. This is easily one of my favorite songs to play, especially when a Bride and Groom handle it the way they did! With Ashley and her bridesmaids belting out “I gotta know right now! Will you love me forever….” Steve and his groomsmen were right on point letting the ladies know that they would “sleep on it” and give them an “answer in the morning!” It was great to see this large group of friends go back and forth, only to be united with hugs, kisses, high fives and chest bumps! It was our pleasure at both Elite Entertainment and Elite Video to party with Ashley and Steve, and we wish them the best in their future endeavors as husband and wife! We hope that while their wedding day was “Long ago, and it was far away” that the memories are just as good today as they were then!
“Paradise” by the Primavera Regency!!
- Different Strokes for Different Folks
Normally my blogs are on the great weddings that I’ve had the absolute honor and privilege of entertaining at, but in this case, I’ve decided to expand a little further onto the spectrum of celebrations, to a 25th wedding anniversary. On Saturday, April 27th, I was able to help Jamie Okozko surprise her parents, Joanne and Lester, at the Galloping Hill Caterer’s Club, in Union. I had previously entertained at their friend’s 25th wedding anniversary back in September, and was looking forward to matching the high level of success from that party. I thought this would be a tall order, but because of the wide range of music requested, I catered to the “Different Strokes for Different Folks”, and this group was absolutely amazing. Jamie originally gave me a list of Top 40, Classic Rock, Oldies and Country. I was instructed to play country during dinner, and stick to the rest of the playlist the rest of the night. Let me say, Jamie knew what she was talking about when she said this. People were clapping to the beat as they rocked out to songs like “Toes” and “Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band as they enjoyed their meal. But once dinner was done, we got the party rolling hitting Classic Rock and Top 40 songs like “Shook Me All Night Long” by ACDC and “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO. After a short break in the action, the Swing and Lindy crowd made there presence known with classic hits like “In the Mood” by Glenn Miller Band. Not to be outdone, the Motown fans wanted some of the classics, like “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor and “We are Family” by Sister Sledge. I can go on and on with various requests that ran the musical gamut from hip hop, to big band and electronic dance music, but words truly cannot do the guests at this party justice. Everyone walked away satisfied and with a smile on their faces, and it was my pleasure to oblige. Behind all of this was the love shown between these two people who have found 25 years of marriage, and will undoubtedly find another 25 just as wonderful! Congratulations to Lester and Joanne Okozko!
- Sandy Kept ‘Em Shufflin’!
On this past Friday, November 9th, Jay and Corrine Field took it upon themselves to, as Jay put it to Mike Walter and myself, “Throw a big party since everyone has had it so rough. It just so happens that I’ll get married and pick the the check!” Well Jay, both you and Corrine certainly did the trick for the guests at your wedding! This group ran the gamut for musical taste anywhere from salsa, to Bon Jovi, and everything in between. However, in all of this, the one person who showed me these people couldn’t be put down by the super storm aftermath was Mike Walter. WIth a packed dance floor towards the end of the evening, Mike began to blast “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO through the speakers. This is normally a song that people always dance to, but on this particular occasion, a bridesmaid and groomsmen found themselves doing a little bit more than shuffling! This bridesmaid (wearing a pair of black reebok sneakers) just went crazy bouncing all around the dance floor, and this groomsmen went “toe to toe” with her. As an entertainer, I love to see people with a genuine look of joy on their faces, and thats what these people had. I looked at Mike as this random tandem bopped around the floor, and he said to me “I love seeing people have a good time like that!” I could not have agreed more. And it’s true: as a DJ, thats what its all about: giving people the chance to forget everything else and enjoy themselves. It was a distinct privilege for Corrine and Jay to have chosen Elite Entertainment to provide these memories. On Behalf of Mike and myself, we hope that no matter what the weather is, EVERYDAY your shuffling!
- Tracy & Christian at the Waterview Pavilion in Belmar 9/8/12
This past saturday, September 8th, Kris Abrahamsen and I were lucky enough to help Tracy Maciolek and Christian Capron celebrate their wedding. Their ceremony took place at St. Rose Church in Belmar (My High School Alma Mater) and then took a quick trip down the block to the Waterview Pavilion, overlooking the Belmar Marina. With the nautical scenery everywhere you turned, it seemed the location was appropriate given the groom attended the Naval Academy, and brought several of his fellow midshipmen along as groomsmen in the bridal party! Christian and Tracy were headed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for their “honeymoon” after their wedding, But before the night was over, there was a moment that left everyone laughing and smiling ear to ear.
The graduates of the Naval Academy in attendance were big fans of the movie Top Gun. They were also Righteous Brother fans as well, and saw fit to show tracy just how much they loved both. With “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” playing in the background, and Tracy seated in the middle of the dance floor, a group of 8 men of the navy weren’t singing “Anchors away” but rather mimicked the bar scene out of Top Gun singing “Baby, you’ve lost, that loving feeling!” to the most beautiful woman in the building that night: Tracy. Family and friends were left in tears laughing at this scene, and boy did it make for a great moment on camera! We at Elite Entertainment would like to thank Christian and the rest of the midshipmen for all of their services in an effort to defend this country, and wish Christian and Tracy Capron the very best in their travels together! Anchors away!
- Kim & Matthew at The Lobster Shanty
This past Friday, I had the pleasure of working with several members of the Elite Staff at the Lobster Shanty in Point Pleasant, to cap off Kim and Matt’s special day. After having their ceremony at St. Denis Church in Brielle, and pictures just up the road on the beach, Phil Walsh and I got the party rolling early and often. With Carrie Roberts and Lynn Monaco of Elite Digital Images taking pictures, there wasn’t a single moment missed for our Bride and Groom, with guests singing “Shout!” You could practically feel there was an overall upbeat mood in the air! As first course was served, the groom and several of his friends began to banter by the bar, when one of his friends approached Elite videographer and Emcee, Chris Monaco to request the song “How Bizarre” by OMC. Matt seemed to think the idea was absurd, but allowed the antics to proceed. Phil, Chris and I all continued to laugh over the “bizarre” request. As dinner was served, there was an overall buzz in our harbor backdropped reception hall, as though guests were anxious to get out of their seats. Here was Phil and my chance to play the groom’s friends request! We cued up the OMC hit, and we looked around for the groom and his friends. After a moment of searching, we spotted Matt leading a conga line of his friends out of the Elite Photo Booth, draped in leprechaun hats, pig tail wigs, and maracas singing “How bizarre, how bizarre, how bizarre!” It made for a great moment on film and from the camera, and one that I’m sure Matt, AND Kim will not soon forget. Though Kim chose not to partake in the shenanigans, you could truly see that she had a smile on her face that said “This is why i married this guy, because he can make me smile and laugh”. I wish Matt and Kim all the best in their future endeavors, and many years of happy marriage together!