A Make Lemonade Evening- Wednesday night found me on the rooftop of one the area's coolest places, Passa-Grille's Hurricane Seafood Restaurant. I was supposed to be there for a wedding cocktail hour, but one thing you can count on about doing outdoor weddings in Florida, the weather will sneak up on you... and it did. I arrived at 3:45 to setup on the rooftop. The Hurricane has something every musician loves, an elevator! Yeah! The wedding was supposed to start at 5:00 and I was supposed to do their first dance and the cocktail hour from 5:30 until 6:30 when the wedding party and guests would leave the rooftop to have dinner in a private dining room.
Sounded like a good plan. But, around 5:00 a wave of sea fog came rolling in that literally hid the beach from view from the rooftop. Everything was delayed. No problem, I'm here in Florida and I have nothing to do tonight so take your time and be happy... that's my motto. Around 5:30 they came to me and asked if it would be OK if we switched things up... eat dinner first and then instead of a cocktail hour we have the reception on the roof. You guessed it... no problem.
So, what was supposed to be a laid back cocktail hour turned into a full on rooftop dance party, with the wedding party and their guests all mixed in with patrons at the bar joining in on the fun. It always amazes me how "real live music" touches folks and gets them up moving and grooving. Tonight was no different. My new Wisconsin friends along with my new Florida friends just let the worries of the world melt away for a few hours and just danced, sang and laughed. The couple later hugged me and told me how happy they were... saying "What could have been a disaster turned into the best wedding night they could have ever imagined". And that made this old musician happy beyond words. Having now performed at over 1,200 weddings just like this, I've learned to just be myself while doing what the couple needs, even if at the time they don't know what they need. Many musicians would have charged a lot extra or refused to stay that long before playing. Many would have been upset because getting there and having plans change at the last minute would make for a long evening. As I tell folks when I perform many times, I've successfully completed the husband training course with my sweet wife, and even though there may have been a day many moons ago that I too would be upset, she's taught me to always, always put myself in the shoes of those who hire me. So I did... they were upset, scared, worried and frustrated by the delay caused by the weather we here in Florida are very used to. Getting upset or charging more would have just upset them even more... the right thing to do was to do my best to make it better because a wedding day is a very, very special day.
If I've performed at your wedding or you've been to a wedding where I've performed then you've probably experienced the Lean On Me moment. At some point during the evening I usually get the bride and groom on the dance floor with all the friends and family around them and help them sing Lean On Me to them. Wednesday night's Lean On Me moment was precious. From that rooftop you could probably hear that crowd for miles on the beach as they sang, clapped and circled around the happy couple. It felt like the roof might cave in when we busted into Will The Circle Be Unbroken as the song ended. I must have had to make up 4 or 5 verses for that song because they were taking turns dancing into the center of the circle and it just felt like they didn't want it to end.
But it did end... with hugs and tears, handshakes and compliments as a rooftop full of friends became a family right before my eyes. That's the magic of music and it's that magic that keeps me doing what I do. I realize I'm lucky and fortunate. I realize so many see the bad sides of this world. Me, I get to see the happy times like this sweet wedding.
Here are a few more pictures: