Monday, January 30, 2012

Our Wedding: The Reception...First Dances and Cake!


Sean and I, along with great friends, spent a weekend in "the land where the blues was born," Clarksdale, Mississippi for our friends' wedding a couple years ago. We spent an epic night we will never forget at Ground Zero, the blues club co-owned by Mississippi native Morgan Freeman. We felt like we'd been transported to another era, in the city known for its deep blues heritage. Up until that night, my now husband, was not a dancer. But the raw, earthy rasp of the night's act, Super Chikan, and rhythm of the slide guitar teamed up and crawled up inside him that night...and he's been a dancin' blues machine ever since! During a brief break to sit at our checkered table, we decided that this was what we wanted our wedding reception to feel like.

We scouted numerous blues bands in Memphis, and kept our ears open each time we spent a night out on Beale. We set our sights on James Govan and the Boogie Blues Band at Rum Boogie, but they were happily playing every weekend there and were not available for weddings. The band was number one priority for us so I weeded through every name on my researched list, thinking, "Too pop. Too laid back. Too jazzy. Too old."

It dawned on us that instead of getting a band that might give us the same bluesy sound from that night...Why not just get that same band?? We knew Super Chikan was probably too big for our standards. (What? You haven't heard of him??) But nevertheless, Sean got in touch with his agent and they said he was willing to play our wedding reception! But he alone would cost the same as most bands and him with his band was the cost of a hotel room for all members for the night. We considered. But knew there was something more perfect.

We finally had dinner at Huey's one night to hear the night's entertainment, The King Beez, former house band for B.B. King's Blues Club. The very first song they sang was by my favorite, Otis Redding. Done.

They were so much fun!


We wanted our first dance to set the tone for the night. "This Year's Love" just would not do. Ray LaMontagne's "You Are The Best Thing" was the most perfect upbeat and bluesy choice. I listened to it a million times in the months leading up to the wedding and couldn't wait to finally make it to that moment when all the work and formalities were behind us. The moment the horns would blare and the band would sing,

"Baby, It's been a long day, baby.

Thing's ain't been goin' my way,
You know I need you here

Here by my side, all the time.

And baby, the way you move me, it's crazy.

It's like you see right through me and make it easier

You please me and you don't even have to try.

Oh, because, you are the best thing

You are the best thing

You are the best thing

Ever happened to me.

Baby, we've come a long way, baby

You know I hope and I pray that you believe me

When I say this love won't ever fade away.

Because, you are the best thing

Ever happened to me.


I had heard this song, an all time favorite of mine, a MILLION times before. Sang it. Hummed it. Heard it while Sean was proposing. But never thought of it as a song for me and my Dad. It magically clicked when I was deep in the trenches of wedding planning. I opened a new tab on the laptop to break the silence and listen to this song that always put me in a good mood. It had a whole new meaning to me when I heard Amos Lee open Southern Girl with:

Farewell, my sweet.

Well the time that was coming
The road has begun to move beneath my feet.

Good things come to an end

Well I hope through the pain
The heartache and strain
That we can still remain friends

Something bout a southern girl, Make me feel right
In a Mississippi mornin', She's an angel in flight.

In the blink of an eye, She'll be out of your sight.

Somethin' bout a southern girl.

Your a soft melody.
Well I swear that I heard
From a lost mockingbird stuck up in the tree
We got alot goin' on.

Even though I'm not here, please don't shed any tears for me
Day when I'm gone.

Something bout a southern girl, Make me feel right
In a Mississippi mornin', She's an angel in flight.
In the blink of an eye, She'll be out of your sight.
Somethin' bout a southern girl.

I never meant to leave you lonely
It was only, in your mind
I never meant to leave you lonely

It was only a matter of time.


Sean's Mom wanted the same upbeat feeling that we were going for with our first dance. Our reception was no time for a sappy, sad moment. It was a fun celebration! So she chose Stevie Wonder's You Are the Sunshine of My Life. So appropriate, because he is her pride and joy.

You are the sunshine of my life

That's why I'll always be around,
You are the apple of my eye.

Forever you'll stay in my heart

I feel like this is the beginning,
Though I've loved you for a million years

And if I thought our love was ending,
I'd find myself drowning in my own tears

You must have known that I was lonely

Because you came to my rescue,
And I know that this must be heaven.

How could so much love be inside of you?

You are the sunshine of my life, yeah,
That's why I'll always stay around.

You are the apple of my eye.

Forever you'll stay in my heart

And let them eat cake!

You're first, my dear husband!

Look at how beautiful that place is.

And how funny that face is!

I can't for the life of me remember what the cake tasted like. The bite we fed each other was all we ate so I don't really know!

This, for some reason, is one of my absolute favorite pictures of the wedding. I know it's bizarre, but I've pictured it blown up in my dining room. I'm sure it would cause most guests to lose their appetite, but it just looks so full of life to me.

I love all the twinkles in the background.

I do not, however, love whatever face that is. :)

My poor eyes were getting blood shot. We still had a long night ahead!

He is so satisfied with himself.

But always takes care of me.



Ok, time to get cleaned up.

And hit the dance floor!

Next up in the wedding installments...The hot and sultry, down-home bluesy reception dancing!

You won't wanna miss it!

Visit our wedding page for more.

~The Grays


  1. One of my all time most favoritest posts!! Love it!

  2. Thank you!! ...who are you by the way:)

  3. Me ;) I thought you'd be able to figure it out by what I typed!!

  4. Hello! I found this site when I was researching wedding locations...I'm getting married next year at The Memphis Waterworks (ceremony and reception). Your photos are beautiful and it looks like such a great time was had by all. Thank you for publishing this. I'm a little nervous because I booked sight unseen! I live in California and have only been to Memphis once (my fiance's home town). We are heading to check it out at Christmas. Your photos have helped put me at ease. Where did your guys get their suits? Love them! Love the whole look. Great job and congrats!

  5. Thank you for posting this. In researching wedding venues in Memphis, I found your blog. I'm getting married at The Waterworks next year. I'm an out of state bride and I've never seen the place in person. Your photos and blog helped put me at ease that everything is going to be just beautiful if I can work it all out. I would love to ask you some questions if you don't mind! Let me know if you would mind emailing a bit? Gorgeous wedding, and congrats (a couple years late). :)


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