TV on the Radio Week: Tales from My Wedding, Part 1

My wedding was a magical day, as any wedding should be. There were so many great moments leading up to it, and so many great moments of the day. There is no way I could put them all into a single post without drowning you in words. By the end of it, I would have sucked the magic out of it and you, the reader, would not find it as enchanting as I intended. So, as I can, I will be splitting it up into a bunch of little stories. And of course, since I have yet to handle any bit of my story with any kind of chronological order, this will also be all over the place.

This edition of Tales of my Wedding involves the most difficult decision of the whole process. I’m not talking about venue or dresses, I’m talking about the wedding playlist.

A friend of ours was going to DJ our wedding. Therefor, we had complete control over what was going to be played. You can surmise how important music is to me. I mean, I’m writing this blog, so you’ve probably got some inkling of how important I find it. What I may have neglected to mention is that it is equally important to my wife. So as Heather and I sat down to take care of the playlist, we had quite the task in front of us.

For perspective, It took us only a couple of days to figure out the guest list. Knowing which members of our family we wanted there was easy. My family is not large, and I wanted all of them. Her family is much larger, but she knew which ones mattered to her and which ones she was comfortable snubbing. Knowing which of our friends we wanted there was easy, we wanted all of them. Knowing which coworkers to invite was also easy. As RSVPs came rolling back to us, and as we knew who would and wouldn’t be attending, handling the seating was just as simple. It took us about two hours.

But figuring out what music to play was the most difficult decision we had to make. We had to cull our collection of music down to a reasonable amount that would play before the ceremony, during the “cocktail hour” while we were busy with photos, and during the reception became a monumental task. We had a good start. We each had a list of music that absolutely had to be included. There were a lot of songs that meant something to us that we had already written down somewhere for this occasion. So Metric’s Combat Baby and Peter Gabriel’s version of Power of the Heart (incidentally, this became our “first dance” song) were easy inclusions. But what other music would make the cut?

Our next tactic proved disastrous. We went, alphabetically by artist through our music collection. When we came to an artist that we loved, and knew had to be represented, we would listen to 10-15 second clips of all of their songs and write down three or four we wanted to include. We had some criteria. We had it broken down between “slow songs” and “upbeat songs,” and it had to be something you could dance to. We had a third category for “crowd favorites” of songs that weren’t exactly dance songs but everyone would love, like Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline or House of Pain’s Jump Around.

Everything seemed to be going okay. We were building a list of songs we would love to hear on our wedding day. But it had taken us six hours to make it to the D’s, and we were going through the massive amount of David Bowie we wanted to include. It was then that the rational side of my brain kicked in, and I started doing math. The ceremony was at 5:30, and we had the hall until 1AM. Between ceremony and cocktail hour, that would bring us to about 6:30 or so, and then dinner would bring us to about 7:30 or 8. That leaves five hours of music to fill. I did some more math on our list, and realized that, not even past the letter D, we were already at about 11 hours of music.

I shared my findings with Heather, and I think we came really close to crying. All things considered, our wedding planning had not been as stressful as we thought it would be. A lot of things fell into place well, or with a minimum of frustration. But here we were, a week away from our big day, and we could not bare to pare down our playlist to a reasonable time frame. We wanted all of the music. I wager that if we had continued in the way we were, we would have ended up with two or three days worth of music for an evening’s worth of time. And to top it off, we would have been devastated on the day if the songs we really wanted never got played because there just wasn’t enough time.

In the end, we made tough choices and got our playlist to a reasonable time. Of course, for weeks after, we each went through a lot of little “dammit, I wish I would have remembered to play that song” omissions. But the wedding playlist has survived to this day as a go-to playlist. It was a really well balanced group of songs that we love. I have a folder on my computer called “Soundtrack to the Best Day of My Life” still.

And everyone at the wedding liked it to. Everyone danced, everyone had fun. And when Lover’s Day by TV on the Radio played, signalling the end of the night, everyone went home tired but happy.


Mr. Tooduloo

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