Here is a transcript of our discussion with Keri Wootton
Part two of two
Welcome to the MusicForaWedding podcast with Will Taylor where we help you realize your wedding music dreams. Please check out our new app – MyWeddingMusic on the Apple App Store. It’s a free app that has over 40 songs for you to listen to and it helps you organize the music for your wedding. That is the MyWeddingMusic app on the Apple App Store.
Before we get started with our special guest Keri Wootton today who is a wonderful, experienced wedding coordinator in the Austin area, we’d like to encourage you to send in your letters and let us know your questions and maybe we’ll read them out over our podcast. Please send your letters to Will@WillTaylor.com.
Will Taylor: Well hello there, this is Will Taylor and you are listening to part 2 of my conversation with wedding consultant, Keri Wootton, and I would love for you to check out her website at leavethedetails2me.com.
All right, I am here with Ms.Keri Wootton, wedding planning extraordinaire, a wonderful person that she is, and we are going over funny stories from our wedding history.
As we are talking about this I have got all these images flying through my head of multiple locations around Austin. Here’s one – the Salt Lake Pavilion in Austin is right by that creek and the water is constantly moving. People don’t realize that if you are in the audience and if you are a guest you won’t be able to hear the ceremony. So in this situation, I might need a little amplification and I have actually bought a Bose speaker system to help out with that.
Keri Wootten: Or you book your venue 18 months out and then we have a drought and now you have no water behind your beautiful lake.
Keri Wootten: You didn’t know 18 months later there was going to be a drought.
Will Taylor: That’s right, and so this last night I was at Mercury Hall and we had a little rain, at least in our location, I walked in and the lot of the area where we had to play there was some grass but there is a lot of mud. And then the sun came out and another thing about the sun is that if you are doing a wedding at around dusk, the sun will change. So it was really funny because we had set the quartet up in one position and then it changed and we were in direct sunlight and then we had to move it again. It worked out; we laughed about it but it was funny and the couple was fine with it too.
But again, outdoor weddings – you never know. There’s just so many things to think of so just be prepared to have a sense of humor about it!
Keri Wootton: Be prepared to have sense of humor and also trust the people around you for they are giving you good advice. None of your guests have been involved in the whole planning process so they will not know what was supposed to be there anyway; it’s like if you are an actor in a live theater show.
Keri Wottoon: No one in the audience knew that ‘xy’ is the line that you missed.
Will Taylor: That’s right, I know.
Keri Wootton: As long as you act like that line wasn’t supposed to be there either, no one is going out. It’s just going to be something that makes it look like you are brilliant and it wasn’t on purpose.
Will Taylor: Unless you make a big deal of it, then people know.
Keri Wootton: Again, trust the professionals around you! I had a bride and groom; we made a decision within four hours of a ceremony to move the entire ceremony reception indoors because of rain. Big, nasty rain, so it didn’t end up actually pouring but it did sprinkle a little bit. This was quite a few months ago out in Burton, Texas at kind of a hotel/camping ground, Harvard Spring venue. We moved everything inside and actually it ended up with everyone being thrilled because it was in September and even though it didn’t end up raining, we were so glad to be inside. We turned it into this fun thing, I mean the inside face for the reception was awful and ugly. The ceremony inside was beautiful. Floor to ceiling glass, you could still see the lake, beautiful venue, rooms inside and air-conditioned, they were comfortable. We had an outward four hours to fix it. My team was there. All of their bridesmaids and grooms men got together. We all went over to the location and started moving things, hanging lanterns, and putting up extra décor. We made it really fun and beautiful; the bridesmaids and groomsmen and friends and family ended up helping us like ‘come together and tackle this’. They all ended up enjoying the reception more because they were part of it.
Will Taylor: That’s great.
Keri Wootton: Because they helped solve this thing it actually turned out more beautifully than it would have been outside. Just like after the wedding just with them partying with their friends and after the reception was over, in the place where we were supposed to do the outside reception when the moon came out; it was beautiful night and the bride was able to just trust and said, “All right Keri, if you need to make this decision, we are going to make this decision and we trust you”.
Will Taylor: And that’s memorable…
Keri Wootton: No one stressed and we just got it done and it ended up being lovely.
Will Taylor: Karen, can you chime in on the wedding that we did last February?
Karen: No, it was in March.
Will Taylor: It was in March?
Will Taylor: So it was actually Karen’s, where I was the lead musician on it – Karen Mal, through Nancy Fly and Nancy Fly put us to play in Indian wedding which is sneaky, at their Falden…how do you spell it?
Keri Wootton: Falkenstein Castle.
Will Taylor: Falkenstein Castle.
Karen: The Indian wedding who wanted Celtic music.
Keri Wootton: Yes. It was a ‘her’ big theme for the whole four days of events, which is typical with Indian weddings; there’s four days of events. Every event had a fusion of Indian and another culture, and a big part of that was music. So Thursday night for the mehndi, it was a Indian/Western theme and so I had an iPod full of her favorite country music and we had cowboy hats everywhere. Then, Friday morning was another ceremony and we got went full blown Indian; that part was one of the most religious part of the four days. That evening we had an Indian/Arabian fusion, so we had a middle-eastern band come and play. Then, Saturday morning was the actual wedding ceremony.
Will Taylor: Well I have got to say, we were driving in central Texas and I look on the horizon and I see a castle growing larger in the middle of Texas. This falls under the theme of this podcast, which is more than a couple of themes that have been running which is ‘Trust your providers; trust your vendors’, especially trust your wedding planner because she/he is overseeing the whole entire production.
Keri Wootton: And sometimes for a year.
Will Taylor: For a year in this case. Also unseen or unplanned things can happen, this is an example of that in that wedding in the weather.
Keri Wootton: It was very cold and rainy.
Will Taylor: So basically we had come upon this castle.
Keri Wootton: So the bride had seen the castle when it was built five or ten years ago whenever it was, and said, “I don’t have a fiancé yet but this is where I am going to get married”, and she met her fiancé and so now this is why we are having this ceremony there, and originally the bride wanted the ceremony indoors.
Will Taylor: This is her dream. So she is holding tight to her dream and we got to make this happen.
Keri Wootton: We make it happen but inside they thought it was going to be too small to fit all of the people that they had so then the coordinators decide we need to do it outside. So we had been planning for outside but the mother is thinking that her dream is to have it outside, and all along the bride’s dream was really to have it inside. So it’s the mother who is very obsessively tied to this dream of her daughter’s and making sure she gives her daughter this dream. It was raining and you have women coming in saris; we cannot be outside. We have to move this inside. I told her, “I will make it beautiful, I promise. Please trust me. Let me move it inside.”
Karen: Well it was raining and we showed up on the scene two hours ahead of time to setup the sound equipment.
Will Taylor: We went inside and we setup our full PA system inside which takes about 30 minutes to load up on this platform and get ready to go, and then…
Keri Wootton: The mother says ‘I don’t care what you have to do; this wedding is happening outside’. So we move it back outside.
Will Taylor: And that’s quite a humorous scene I have to say.
Keri Wootton: Guests arriving early…yeah, it was definitely humorous.
Karen: There was only one little doorway to get out of the church first of all and get all of the gear out. So people are moving around in these beautiful, beautiful clothes and we are trying to load this giant sound equipment through the aisle of this church. We were trying to navigate all these people and just get out the door to get back outside where it was still quite cold.
Will Taylor: Luckily we had plenty of folks who were willing to help us but I remember when I walked out just seeing a young man chasing after items that were being blown around and trying to hold items down.
Will Taylor: Yeah, we are going to make this happen. It will change. It’s going to change.
Keri Wootton: Then the bride and her mother arrive and they step outside of their limousine and go, “We can’t have it out here. It’s awful.” That’s what I have been saying since 6:00 a.m. because it’s now 10:00 a.m. – an hour late already.
So finally we start the ceremony two hours later inside and it was actually, once it started, it was beautiful and everyone cried and she looked beautiful and the music was stunning.
Karen: You forgot the part about how we moved the entire sound equipment back inside so we setup this PA system, just the two of us, three times. Surprisingly, the ceremony didn’t get started that late. It was an hour-and-a-half…
Keri Wootton: Maybe two hours.
Karen: And luckily, we didn’t have another wedding to hurry on to, so it was okay.
Will Taylor: Then one thing that folks may not realize is that the fingers or digits don’t work below certain temperature. There is such thing as windchill factor and I remember Karen standing outside; “I can’t move my fingers. I don’t know how am I going to pull this off”, and I felt the same.
Keri Wootton: And vocal cords, it’s got to affect vocal cords.
Will Taylor: Does it?
Karen: Yes, vocal cords, yes.
Will Taylor: All right, I have video from that to prove it too. I actually videotaped all of that.
Keri Wootton: Actually at the end of the evening, that night when we were back at the lake on the resort and having the reception her mom pulled me aside and said, “I know, I made today hell on earth for you and I thank you for what you did, and I know it came from the pit of your stomach and you worked really hard. I didn’t make it easy on you”. So, at the end they were grateful, understanding, and appreciative, and I knew that. It ended up being really beautiful but it didn’t have to be so hard to get there. If you had trusted me at 6 o’clock in the morning before any guests had arrived to let me make the decision, things would have gone more smoothly. We are not trying to take away the dream; we want to make the dream better.
Karen: I was like on death row. I knew and was so desperate, we were moving this thing inside and outside. I knew there was no way I was going to be able to play outside and I was just calm. I was just on death row hoping for a stay of execution, at the last minute I just was hoping and trying not to have a heart attack at the thought of trying to play. It was about 45 degrees or something, and then everything worked out.
Will Taylor: Maybe you guys out there can email me reasons, I would like to know: what are the reasons for having your wedding outside in either extreme cold or extreme heat? That way, we can share that with our listeners, now that we have 1400 subscribers to this podcast. By the way, isn’t that awesome?
I love the outdoors and there is something about having a moving and spiritual connection with nature and your family, and Texas is beautiful. What I would say, if you want to have a great experience in central Texas, plan your wedding in October or in November. What would be the best months besides that?
Keri Wootton: Well I think there’s also some good dates in April and March, but with those comes rain. As long as you have a good venue I would say if you are really wanting the outdoor/indoor thing, find a venue that’s got both and where both options make you happy. Find a venue that is indoors but has windows so you still have the outside coming in.
Karen: Does anybody do a ceremony indoors and then just take everybody outside for some part of it?
Keri Wootton: Not the ceremony, but people do have reception or cocktail hour outside so you still get that outdoor. With your ceremony, don’t risk it. To me, the ceremony is the most important part of the day.
Will Taylor: It’s the centerpiece. The wedding we performed for last night, that’s a great example of location in the Mercury Hall. It’s beautiful and indoors so you can go inside if you need, but they also have the outside with such beautiful trees.
Keri Wootton: Tent insurance is also a great thing.
Will Taylor: Tent insurance?
Keri Wootton: Yeah, tent insurance, where you can reserve a tent and you have up till 72 hours to let it go and then you only lose a piece of what you would pay for that. Peace of mind and also wedding insurance. I highly recommend wedding insurance. What if your groom died and you decided to call the wedding off? They will cover all of the deposits you paid for all of your vendors and wedding insurance policy costs nothing.
Will Taylor: What is the price based on?
Keri Wootton: I think it may be based on your budget. Yeah, it’s based on your budget. The policies range from $200.00 to $1000.00, I mean it’s nothing compared to when you are spending $20, $30, $40, $50 or $60… whatever thousand dollars.
Will Taylor: A one-time payment.
Keri Wootton: Yeah, it’s like a home-owner’s insurance policy but it’s for weddings.
Will Taylor: Wow! My experience, I haven’t had a lot of weddings cancelled. I think in 20 years I have had four maybe that were cancelled maybe. It doesn’t happen often.
Keri Wootton: No, it doesn’t happen often. I have only had about three.
Keri Wootton: It doesn’t happen very, very often but it happens, I mean it’s happened to me. I mean fortunately I had a pretty big team so they can usually step in. I also have a really, really good support system of other coordinators in Austin and I only had to reach out to them once.
Will Taylor: Keri Wotton of Leavethedetails2me.com is your website, and your phone number is?
Keri Wootton: (512) 228-1728.
Will Taylor: She can handle everything for your wedding in the Austin and central Texas area. I am sure that she’d be willing to do it anywhere in the world as well. So check her website out! Thanks a lot, Keri, for discussing our wedding-war stories.
Keri Wootton: Absolutely any time.
Will Taylor: Any better way to put that?
Keri Wootton: No, and there are war stories but there are also war memories. I mean none of us would be in this business if we weren’t passionate about it and we do really love sharing those special days with our couples.
Will Taylor: Absolutely. The music is part of emotional fabric of the whole event and I get people coming to me all the time saying, “Hey, you did my wedding” at a show, and I may not remember, it’s 15 years ago. I don’t always place them immediately but I had it happen all the time – ‘you played our wedding’.
Keri Wootton: Tell me the venue and then I’ll remember it, right? I just recently did the wedding of a girl whose Bar Mitzvah I did, which was pretty cool to then get a call for her wedding. It was great but it also made me think, “Oh gosh, I have been doing this and after a long time now!”
Karen: Everyone comes in to a place with one common, beautiful attitude which is the undying, eternal hope of the possibility of true love. Everybody believes that, for that moment together and it’s such a wonderful thing to share in that hope and no matter what happens in life, no matter what goes wrong, those moments keep happening. People still are getting married to each other and it’s so beautiful to be a witness to that and to help elevate it and to help shine more light on it, to help shine beautiful music that will just highlight the experience that they are already having.
Will Taylor: Yeah, and there are some musicians who will say, “Oh you do weddings? Oh I don’t feel that way at all. I absolutely don’t.” It’s an honor and it’s a pleasure especially to play a lot of these weddings to meet the brides and their really specific, personal requests. We enjoy playing songs that they want, rather than just the same classical wedding fair and Pachelbel’s canon and Wedding March. It’s getting to be really popular to have pop music done with the strings and just without vocals. We are doing things like Stevie Wonder. We have even done ‘So Fresh and So Clean’, which is like a rap tune for strings, and they loved it.
Karen: We once had a wedding that was entirely music from movie soundtracks.
Will Taylor: Oh yeah, movie soundtrack themes from ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’, that’s right. Often, we are surprised what folks pick when we look at the lyrics, but that’s fine. If it means something to you, then we want to make that happen and I think it’s very interesting that even an instrumental version without lyrics seems to work. Thanks, Keri!
Keri Wootton: You are welcome.
Our music on the podcast can be purchased on iTunes under the album ‘A Bridzilla’s guide to classical wedding music’ or you can get it contained within the free app at the Apple App Store called My Wedding Music. For any of your questions we’d love to help you out. Just email us Will@WillTaylor.com and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.