Peter Merry

Peter Merry is the Author of "The Best Wedding Reception...Ever!"

The Dating Game Surprise

I booked a wedding reception for July of 2008 today that reminded me of an unforgettably funny moment from a wedding I performed at years ago. 

In May of 1999, while entertaining at Craig & Kelly Cooper’s Reception, I was asked to to pull a fast one on Craig’s brother, Steve, who was one of his Best Men that day. During the Grand Entrance…we surprised him with a brief version of “The Dating Game” as a roast of his perpetual status as a single guy. Steve played along quit well…but when you see the footage…be sure to check out Bachelorette #2…what a HOTTIE!

Craig and Kelly had selected a casual Hawaiian theme and they had insisted that I wear board shorts and sandals. This is the only time I have ever performed at a reception in shorts. So I introduced myself to their guests on the mic as “DJ of Great White Legs.”

So fast forward to today…imagine my delight when I found out that Steve Cooper was finally getting married. And today he and his fiancé, Jessica, secured my services for their big day in July of 2008…when Jessica will become his wife…in San Francisco. Look out Craig…you know what they say about payback…

Doug & Jesse’s YouTube style First Dance Surprise

Doug & Jesse were just about two of cutest, wildest, and funniest people I have ever worked with over the years.'re supposed to cut the Cake...not Doug!

Jesse…you’re supposed to cut the Cake…not Doug!

They loved to laugh and they wanted to give their guests something to talk about (and laugh about) for years to come. I had given them a copy of my new book, “The Best Wedding Reception…Ever!” and as we were discussing creative and memorable ideas, I showed them a YouTube video that was cited in my book as an example of how a bride and groom could create an enormous amount of fun energy amongst their guests by surprising everyone with a fun choreographed routine in the middle of their First Dance. The example I showed them can be seen here…

They liked this idea so much, they immediately started scouring YouTube for other video clips featuring fun dance routines, and that’s when they came across a routine by comedian, Judson Laipply, called “Evolution of Dance”…which can be seen here…

And so they selected a few of the favorite song clips and practiced their own routines. Meanwhile, they kept all of their guests, including their wedding party, in the dark about their plans. I helped them tighten up the edit of their song clips and we also created a fake CD skipping effect to fool the guests into thinking something had just gone horribly wrong in the middle of their First Dance…which only served to heighten the level of surprise as you will be able to see here…

To make sure we pulled this off correctly, and to segue the energy they had just created into some seriously fun open dancing, we scheduled their Father/Daughter Dance and Mother/Son Dance to take place before their First Dance…so we could just go right into the open dancing as soon as they were done.

The Balloon Stomp Game

When I first met with Brianna and her mother, Ginny, back in August of last year…she told me about an unusual activity that she wanted to work into her reception agenda. It turns out that Brianna’s favorite game of all time is “The Balloon Stomp.” She has enjoyed this game since childhood and she always looks forward to rolling it out at large family gatherings… “So I figured why not do it at my reception?” she said to me.

We brainstormed some fun musical selections and made a list of victims…volunteers…and then we scheduled it to happen after the bouquet and garter tosses but before resuming the open dancing. Once our group of victims…volunteers…had been gathered on the dance floor, we finally revealed that it was time for “The Balloon Stomp” as a small balloon was quickly tied around the right ankle of each participant. When the frantic sounding music began to play, everyone attempted to stomp out their opponents balloons while desperately trying to protect their own balloon from being popped. It was loud…it was crazy…it was fun…and Brianna was loving every minute of it.

The Shadow Reveal Grand Entrance!!!

Here is a truly creative way to introduce the Bride & Groom submitted by Mike Anderson of Creative Memories Entertainment in Sacramento, CA:

Shadow Reveal Grand Entrance

Shadow Reveal Grand Entrance

Just 5 minutes before the introductions, I guided Kelly & Adam (the Bride & Groom) to the back-stage area without the guests having a clue what we were doing. I lined up the wedding party and instructed them to walk onto the stage and create two lines on each side of the monogram screen for the introductions. Kelly & Adam were sports fanatics so I introduced the wedding party in true NBA style with their heights and the cities they were born in. Once I had introduced the last groomsman, the music changed to their favorite song, “Everytime We Touch” by Cascada.

Suddenly their monogram was enveloped in a bright, white light and two shadowed figures walked in behind the screen standing 12 feet tall. From their shadowed outline, the guests could tell that this could only be the bride and groom shadow dancing to the song. Suddenly, the screen began to rise and Kelly & Adam walked as their crowd of guests jumped to their feet and went ballistic with cheering and applause. This was a truly unique experience for the guests as well as a great way to start the best wedding reception ever!

Photo Credit: Christopher Kight Photographers in Sacramento.

Nicely done Mike! The stars projected on the ceiling were also a nice added touch.

TBWR…E! at AWPI NorCal Regional Conference

Today I had the pleasure of kicking off the AWPI NorCal Regional Conference at the Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa. With about 80 wedding vendors in attendance, I shared stories, audio clips, and video highlights from The Best Wedding Reception…Ever! in it’s seminar form.

Book sales went very well and I received many kind words from the attendees. Richard & Julia Markel always manage to put these events together with such a great mix of high quality wedding vendors.

Audio support was provided by Mike Anderson of Creative Memories Entertainment…and I also highlighted him during my seminar for an amazing grand entrance idea which he had recently created. (That idea will be posted here soon.) Mike also gave an informative seminar on Business Etiquette as it relates to the unique sales processes and challenges we face as wedding vendors.

Video support was provided by Doug LaVine of Music on the Move…who also presented a seminar right after mine titled “Your Business Image.” Doug shared some great ideas on improving your image both in services and in marketing. Doug has a very creative logo that features the word “love” hidden in the “Move” portion of his Music on the Move logo.

The Video Bridal Guide Taping

Today I was invited to sit for a taping with The Video Bridal Guide in Sacramento.

Scott and Jim spent a little over an hour asking me questions and video-taping my responses for their upcoming edition of their high quality guide featuring local wedding vendors presented in video format.

When the results of our interview are published, I will be sure to post a new link.

They asked some great questions related to advice on hiring reception entertainment while giving me a chance to promote The Best Wedding Reception…Ever!

They are working towards making this resource into a national way to promote various wedding services in a manner that really gives brides more info than a web site, a magazine ad, or a brochure can currently offer.

Thank You Ventura NACE!

On May 22nd, I was invited to give the seminar version of “The Best Wedding Reception…Ever!” at the May meeting of the Ventura Chapter of NACE (National Association of Catering Executives). What a fantastic group of wedding professionals! This nice headshot was provided by photographer and affiliate member, Edo.

Peter @ Ventura NACE

Peter @ Ventura NACE

 I also received this nice note from Jackie Frame of Epicure Catering.

Ventura NACE Thank You Note

Ventura NACE Thank You Note

My appearance at this local NACE event was arranged by Matt Graumann of Matt Graumann Entertainment, who is also one of the first members of the new Wedding Entertainment Directors Guild.

I love speaking to NACE groups…so please feel free to contact me if you would like to schedule my seminar for your local chapter as well.

I’ll be speaking at The Dallas Bridal Show!

I just spoke with Naomi Hulme at The Dallas Bridal Show and she has invited me to come and present my book to the brides who will be attending her show on July 14th & 15th! This will kick off 5 days of great promotional opportunities for TBWR…E! in Dallas, Texas. To see what else I will be doing in Dallas that week, be sure to check out the Upcoming Events page.

Dallas has always been one of my favorite cities to visit…so I am really looking forward to this trip.

Ventura ADJA May Meeting…Record Turnout!

We had about 35 people show up last night for the May meeting of Ventura Chapter of the ADJA! I was told that was a record turnout for them. Hats off to Debbie McKenzie of Amazing Sounds for organizing and promoting a very successful meeting.

What a positive, receptive group of professional wedding entertainers!

I’ll be back up in their neck of the woods again on the 22nd of May to address the Ventura Chapter of NACE at their May meeting. NACE meetings are fantastic opportunities for networking, and the food is always top notch as well.

TBWR…E! site gets a facelift!

It only took about 5 days working non-stop with very little sleep to pull it off…but the TBWR…E! web site now has a brand new look!

We’ve added tons of new content and we also finally have a working shopping cart so anyone who wants to can buy the book right on the web site!

Our next chore will be getting the Bulk Order shopping cart set up along with the secure gateway for the Resources section so readers can begin registering online for their Bonus Chapters. We have some really cool stuff planned for the Resources section when it is finally up and running securely.

Be sure to check out the video on the Chapter Titles page. It will give you a virtual tour of the subjects featured inside the book along with the photos and the couple profile pages. The animation was created using Keynote on my MacBook Pro. Keynote is truly amazing presentation software. I’ve been using Windows PowerPoint… but I converted to Mac primarily because of the rich features and animation effects offered by Keynote.