Upon meeting with the bride and groom and learning of their desire to stage an intimate day-long celebration honoring her Chinese and his Punjabi heritage, I was thrilled and honored by the opportunity to serve as DJ and MC for what would no doubt be a most memorable and unique wedding!
On their wedding reception planner, Chelsea and Rupin described themselves as “precise details” oriented, and it showed in everything from their exquisitely fashioned traditional attire and their beautifully decorated mandap—a wedding altar draped in flowers—to the talented Sikh musicians they brought in from Atlanta to perform during the ceremony and the colorful spreads of vegetarian tandoori dishes served throughout, not to mention, the groom’s epic entrance on horseback to formally kick off the festivities that morning via a boisterous baraat (an ice-breaker pre-party where the couple’s families formally greet each other amid much drumming, dancing, and revelry, encouraging all to get better acquainted and refreshed before attending the marriage ceremony.)
Guests traveled from near and far, including more than a few from the other side of the globe, setting the stage for an unforgettable experience for all at a private estate nestled on the east bank of the historied St. John’s River near St. Augustine.
Florida being Florida, though, the weather had its own plans. It was early March, meaning the chances of ideal weather for an outdoor wedding were quite good, and yet, despite weeks of clear skies, a powerful storm whipped up seemingly out of nowhere after that morning’s baraat. Fortunately, a large tent had been rented, just in case, so guests were able to seek shelter. On the other hand, the downpour did not abate for hours, prompting Chelsea and Rupin to make the decision to brave the storm and proceed with the marriage ceremony. As wind and rain howled all around the exposed mandap, family members held umbrellas to shield the bride and groom. Meanwhile, I assisted the officiant and the musicians to ensure the mics and other gear were working safely while mixing the audio so that guests huddled under the tent on the far side of the property could still hear what was happening. Flexibility is a foundational and necessary wedding DJ skill after all. Despite it all, the ceremony proved a truly moving and inspiring scene not soon to be forgotten by anybody who witnessed it, especially due to the admirable grace and grit shown by Chelsea and Rupin under such challenging circumstances.
They say it’s good luck for it to rain on your wedding day. Well, the experience had most certainly brought everybody closer together! Later that afternoon, by the time the storm let up, folks had changed their attire, had a nosh, and many had even squeezed in a quick nap per tradition. By the time the heavens cleared, then, and the sun was setting, the party was ready to get lit!
For a wedding DJ, one very important aspect of our performance is to get the spotlight dances just right. After all, the song chosen by the bride and groom for their first dance is tends to be very meaningful to them, as are their other dances with a parent or another family member or VIPs. This being an Indian wedding, Chelsea’s and Rupin’s loved ones planned on going the extra mile by performing choreographed dances they had rehearsed. Indeed, the bride and groom had themselves similarly performed for loved ones in attendance on their wedding days. All the songs chosen were very upbeat and the dance moves quite over-the-top, making for a friendly dance “battle” vibe. Indeed, on a day filled with beautiful moments, the synchronized dances, especially, raised the bar to another level! From there, it was a perfect segue into a dance party. Soon enough, guests spared from the earlier downpour found themselves just as drenched in perspiration as they danced the night away to a mix of Bollywood and Top-40 bangers.
The festivities, which had begun in the morning and stretched until late into the evening, made this wedding more of a marathon than most. Chelsea and Rupin, for their part, surfed the wave until the bitter end. By that point, every last one of us was thoroughly exhausted for all the right reasons!