May 15, 2009 12:24 PM Back By A. Stan Wiest Music
For the wild and the wacky, the funny and the foolish, there's no wedding perspective quite like that from the bandstand.

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"We were playing at a high-society wedding where the bride's mother was very, very proper and so concerned that everything be perfect because, well, ‘it's my daughter's wedding.' The reception was at the Old Field Club in Stony Brook, which is right on the shore, and there was somebody who was waterskiing around the area. During the first course—after we did the first dance, the toast, the blessing—the best man flagged down the boat. He had a little conference with them, and suddenly the skier was taking off his skis. The best man took off his pants, and before we knew it, he was just whooping it up, waterskiing in polka-dot boxer shorts and a tuxedo top in full view of this incredibly proper blue-blood crowd.

"I had another bride who wanted her dog as the maid of honor, so she had a designer dress made for the dog to match her bridesmaids' outfits. She spent $5,000 or $6,000 on this little dress. The only problem was that she wanted to have a wedding in the church. She told the priest about the dog, and he said, ‘Absolutely no way.' So she had to move the ceremony to a private party space.

"At the Old Westbury Golf & Country Club, we did a very elegant Korean wedding, and they had a special wedding cake baked by one of their baker friends. It was absolutely gorgeous. But I guess the baker was worried the cake would fall and used something extra to hold it together. Whatever he used, it solidified the icing—it was like cement. The bride and groom are standing there with a regular knife. It doesn't work. The maître d' goes into the kitchen and gets a sharper knife. Even he can't cut the cake. So then he brings out a serrated knife. That doesn't work either. He goes back into the kitchen, and now he comes out with a coping saw—what you use to cut metal with—and, struggling very hard, gets a single slice out of the thing. After they dug into it for a while, all the bride and groom could get was a tiny bit in the middle to feed each other. The rest was totally inedible.

"Then there are the people who say, ‘Gee, my cousin sings great. Can she sing with your band?' Once, at the North Hempstead Country Club, the bride requested that her cousin sing ‘All I Ask of You,' the lead song from The Phantom of the Opera. It ends up at a very high note. As soon as we began playing it, we knew that when this girl got to that part, she wouldn't be able to make it. She just didn't have the voice. I can see it now, all in slow motion: The girl comes to the end of the song, totally oblivious to everything; one of the waiters has just finished clearing a table and is walking across the bandstand. He's got a tray of dirty dishes—roast-beef scraps, wineglasses. At the moment she hits the high note from the song, he's crossing the dance floor. The girl cracks it, and this huge screech comes through the sound system. The waiter trips, and everything he's carrying goes crashing across the dance floor."
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