Friday, February 17, 2006


"Wearing her perfume, Chanel Number Five
She got to be the finest girl alive
She walks real cool catches everybody's eye
She got good lovin', she can take it high
Not too skinny, she's not too fat
She's a real humdinger and I like it like that
She's the devil with the blue dress, blue dress,
blue dress, devil with the blue dress on
devil with the blue dress, blue dress, blue dress,
devil with the blue dress on..."

I love oldies. My friend Dara does as well--particularly the song "Devil with a Blue Dress On" -- by Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels.

If you've never heard of the song, and you didn't go to Duke University, you may not be able to appreciate the song--or the sentimental value for the lyrics--as much (ok--at all). Dara, on the other hand, loooovves this song because it reminds her of her Duke days, cheering for the Basketball team, and singing along during time-outs to the song above (Did I mention before that Duke's mascot is The Blue Devil?)

When Dara got married two years ago, her husband (BizSchoolDevil), who attended Duke's Business School (and who she met there while she was an undergrad), invited one of his B-School professors to the wedding (TheProfessor). BizSchoolDevil was excited to have one of his mentors at the wedding--and it actually happened to make for a more exciting and interesting evening as well for the other guests.

During the cocktail hour, TheProfessor noticed an empty grand piano at the corner of the room. Although there had been the standard cocktail-type music played intermittenly, the room was mainly filled with the buzz of standard guest cocktail-party chatter.

TheProfessor, taking an opportunity to show off his musical chops, took to the piano and began playing upbeat music--including "Devil With a Blue Dress On" -- the Duke "theme" song (so to speak). Since the wedding was made up of a surprisingly large contigent of Duke University alumni (since Dara's friends had been undergrads, and BizSchoolDevil's B-School friends were there too), it MADE SENSE, and brought something different and fun to the table.

Whether or not the guests attended this particular college, it didn't matter. TheProfessor played a lot of other music, including oldies (like "Johnny B. Goode") and more contemporary, "pop-py" music. TheProfessor didn't create the "fun element" simply by playing songs that were dear to guests who attended a particular college-- he managed to reach everyone at the cocktail reception by playing upbeat and catchy songs. The mini-performance was something spontaneous and special.
Since no one expected a random guest to participate in the entertainment, it surprised everyone--but in a good way.

While you certainly can't plan on something like this (unless you know a particular guest that has a special musical skill and recruit them beforehand!), the "fun" factor is created when something happens that may be off-the-cuff, that you weren't expecting. My advice? LET IT RIDE. If someone does something interesting or different--don't cut them off, and don't automatically look to get everything back to the "way it's supposed to be."

Spontaneity is a major part of the FUN FACTOR. Sure, your best friend's boyfriend hanging off the chandelier is not exactly what I'm talking about. But if a wedding guest can ADD VALUE OF SOME SORT TO THE RECEPTION, and it isn't scripted or planned?


I'll be back with more of these tidbits. Again, I want to provide examples and anecdotes as samples of things that have/haven't worked for people, to add to the larger theme of accessibility....

If you always go "by the book", you may be selling yourself (and your guests) short...

Stay tuned!

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