Sheraton Harbor Island – Wedding of Cody and Rachael Hughes

Client: Rachael (Lyman) and Cody Hughes
Venue: Sheraton Harbor Island – Bay Tower – Bel Aire Ballroom
Venue Address: 1380 Harbor Island Drive · San Diego, California 92101
Number of guests: Approximately 100
Services Provided: Wedding DJ and Master of Ceremonies, Monogram Lighting, Venue Uplighting

Catering: Sheraton Harbor Island
Photography: Captured Forever Photography (Michele Goane)
Venue Coordinator: Sheraton Harbor Island (Jennifer Destein)

In July of 2010 Cody and Rachael contacted me to discuss the opportunity to DJ their wedding at Sheraton Harbor Island. Being that Sheraton is one of my favorite venues (every time I’ve worked there it has been a wonderful experience), I was excited to meet with them and consult them in what works well in their particular reception ballroom (Bel Aire Ballroom). We met at the Starbucks on Convoy Street in Kearney Mesa, and I left feeling pretty positive about the encounter. Apparently they did too, because they contacted me a few days later and were ready to book, and also add monogram lighting and uplighting to their package.

For those that are new to my services, I proudly provide services that many do not offer. One of these is custom monogram creation from ‘scratch’. With a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science, I have a lot of skills that apply well to making my clients’ night unique. Cody and Rachael took advantage of these skills when they sent over a picture of a monogram that they had found on the web and asked if I could create theirs similar to it. Here’s what they sent.

The Creative Music DJ Wedding Gobo start

I went to work using Adobe Illustrator, and sent them a draft of their monogram. They requested some adjustments a bit, such as “reverse the order of the initials”, and “shrink the initial”, and after a few of these adjustments they were both satisfied and ready to move forward with getting it laser cut and delivered. Their final template:

Wedding Monogram Lighting

On the day of their reception, I arrived at Sheraton Harbor Island and set up my equipment. I placed the monogram on the dance floor, and adjusted it to fit well.

They ordered four uplights, requesting them to be placed on the far wall. I think they expected them to be spaced evenly apart on the wall, but after a bit of experimenting I found that they looked much better between the dividers behind the head table. I preset my lights to a shade of fuchsia but then I noticed their placeholders were a bit more pink than I was expecting. I use state-of-the-art LED uplights with color selection panel on the rear, so I was able to adjust the color immediately and found a shade that more closely matched their placeholders.

Sheraton Harbor Island Wedding DJ 42

For cocktail hour, I played older songs, a lot of ‘rat pack’ selections with some of their own picks.

Grand Entrance song: Kernkraft 400 – Zombie Nation

san diego wedding grand entrance

Right after their grand entrance, and another enthusiastic round of applause, I instructed the guests to be seated while the newlyweds cut their cake.

san diego wedding cake

After cake cutting, we began dinner with a blessing by Rachael’s father, Craig Lyman.

Towards the end of dinner, we began toasts. Here’s a picture taken during the toast of the maid of honor, Rachael’s sister, Becky Williams.

wedding toast

After toasts, guests were served cake as they enjoyed another of my services– I created a slideshow using pictures given to me by Cody and Rachael, and projected it using a high-power projector and a large (seven-foot wide) projector screen. Notice the walls near the screen. That’s how bright this projector is. For those not in the know, high-powered projectors are necessary at weddings. Usually the video is being projected in low-lighting conditions (as opposed to lights off, like the projectors used in home theatres or corporate offices), so you need the power to project the whites white and the details sharp. The power of this projector is so high that I have never seen a good picture taken of it, all cameras seems to be overpowered by the brightness. But, Captured Forever did a pretty good job regardless.

wedding video montage

If you’re interested in the quality and style of their montage:

Following the video and cake, we began formal dances.

First dance: Adele – Make You Feel My Love

san diego dj first dance

sheraton weddings

Father Daughter dance: Trace Adkins – Then They Do

father daughter dances

father daughter dance

Mother Son Dance: Rod Stewart – Have I Told You Lately

mother son dance

mother son dance

After the formal dances, the dance floor was opened. Cody and Rachael had a mix of tastes, and I ended up playing everything from recent pop rap (T-Pain – Buy You A Drink), to ‘jerk’ music (California Swag District – Teach Me How To Dougie), to Country (Zac Brown Band – Chicken Fried).

Here’s a picture from early into the dancing portion of the night.

san diego dj

Since the Hughes chose not to do either the Garter nor the Bouquet tosses, they decided to give away some presents instead. The winners of these were not made known to me beforehand, so I was unable to execute this part of the night by myself. Instead, I gave the mic to Rachael and allowed her to give away her gifts. She did wonderfully on the microphone, by the way.

san diego wedding dj

Afterwards, we did some tribute songs to their college memberships.

Phi Kappa Tau: Alabama – Afternoon Delight

Purdue Alumni: Purdue Fight Song

After these tribute songs we went back to open dancing. This is my favorite picture from the second dance set of the night.

san diego wedding dancing
Last Song: Taylor Swift – Today Was A Fairytale

After the reception, guests seemed reluctant to leave! Since Cody and Rachael stayed for a bit, I caught up with them for some feedback and to get a picture with the happy couple.

happy bride and groom

Congratulations to the Hughes and their families, and thanks for giving me the opportunity to help make your special night everything you envisioned it to be!


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