The date was Valentines Day 1993 and the wedding was planned for a beautiful home in the Ventura, California area. Some folks have the privilege of having enough property on their property to have their favorite family and friends over for a nice, elegant wedding reception and this one was to be held on the tennis courts of the family estate under the shelter of a tent.
As our DJs were setting up for the event in this huge tent, one of them noticed the wedding party and it caught her eye that they were all wearing black. Even the parents had on black, which really took this DJ by surprise.
“You don’t wear black to a wedding,” she said. “It’s an Italian tradition – you just never wear black to a wedding.”
“What could happen?” asked her working partner for the day.
“I don’t know but you just don’t do it,” she responded. What an ominous start for the day.
As the guests begin to arrive for the ceremony both DJs were really impressed by how well they were dressed. The plan was to have the ceremony on a bridge over the pool but as the time came for the ceremony to start, it appeared that the gray skies were turning against any outdoor function as rain began to fall on the day. Somewhere, one of the guests must have commented that rain on a wedding day brings good luck but the comment was inevitably made to a guest who was already displeased with the weather. Still, there was no stopping love,and endless planning, so the Chupah was pulled from the pool and everything got quickly hustled into the gigantic tent.
For those unfamiliar with Jewish tradition, one of those is to get married under a ceremonial cover known as a Chupah. It’s held up with four poles – one at each corner – and has its roots set in history and tradition.
Despite the quick change of locale, the ceremony went great and our story tellers noticed that the weather began to improve a bit afterward. Meanwhile, all the guests and wedding party were inside the tent and the caterer requested that one of the DJs ask the guests to remain on the dance floor so the caterers could convert the tent from a temple to a restaurant, as it were.
As this is happening, the weather began to change course once again and the caterer was beginning to have a hard time resetting the room as the guests were stuck inside the tent with the caterers, who were trying to completely reset the room while preparing the meal.
While the tent where all this was happening certainly was, by normal description, a tent, it actually was much more than that. It was a huge assembly of metal beams and cloth and had several extensions to the side including the one where a complete kitchen had been set-up for preparation of a wonderful feast.
Unfortunately, as the weather became worse the area where the large main tent was joined with the offshoots to the side begin to leak.
The nice thing about a tent is it has such an airy feel and, in the summer, can really be a beautiful way to celebrate. The bad thing is, only material separates you from the outside world so as the rain got more forceful, it became louder in the tent as the guests try to out-talk the rain beating on the canvas. Meanwhile, the caterer and the DJs are all trying to do their job and mother nature is having a good laugh at the moment.
As water accumulated on the canvas and the rain became more forceful in its fury, the caterer’s decided move everything from the extensions of the tent to the main area as the part where the extension of the tent joined the main area was no longer able to stave off the onflow of water.
Yep, the tent was leaking.
The caterer asked the DJs to ask the guests to prepare for this major shift but the rain was now so forceful that the guests could no longer hear the DJs. Instead, the rain on the tent sounded like a huge audience constantly applauding.
“Nobody can really hear the announcements – all you can hear is the applause sound,” said our DJ story teller.
So, the guests began to get nervous as the caterer is clearly moving their pieces into the main tent and most of the guests could see that the tent was beginning to leak. A lot. Again, Mother Nature would have no part of watching this go off successfully so as soon as the caterer began to make headway, the winds started.
Even our DJs were getting nervous but they were assured by the caterer that the tent would be fine.
“This tent can handle up to 15-20 mile per hour winds so we’ll all be fine.” said the caterer.
But nobody said anything about hail. Big hail. In Southern California. Hail the size of golf balls, according to the DJ.
Now people really started to get nervous because the caterer is reconfiguring the tent and the sound is incrementally louder from the hail and it’s clear that the tide is changing, so to speak.
Behind the DJs was the section of the tent that held the kitchen and suddenly our DJ hears, “it’s falling, it’s falling” coming from the kitchen section. Sure enough, she looked up at the tent above her just as one of the massive poles that was previously holding up the canopy began to bend and creak and the entire center section of the tent slowly collapsed under the weight of tons of water and hail.
Of course this frightened the guests who begin to stampede out of the now collapsing structure into the full force of Mother Nature with their absolute finery as their only protection against the elements. One of our DJs said to the other, “let’s get the hell outta here!” so even they make a dash for the door and, fortunately, their transport is set up right outside the tent so it’s a short trip with one interruption.
On the way out one of our DJs takes a brief pause to grab one of the bottles of champagne that is on a table just in case there’s a celebratory emergency. In the short distance between the tent and the truck our DJ steps into a puddle of water, mud and hail so deep it literally splashes up to her knee. So much for those new suede pants.
But a good thing about Southern California is that the weather can change very quickly and, in this case, it did once again. The hail and rain that had plagued the reception and collapsed the massive tent just moments before cleared quickly and, after eyeing what was left of the tent from the outside a few times, our DJs went back inside just to see what everything looked like.
“It looks like we were in the Poseidon Adventure.”
About the only things that weren’t destroyed was the DJ system and the wedding cake, fortunately enough. It turns out most of the guests had made a bee line for a large pool house near the tent and when the DJs found the guests, the father of the bride asked them to move all the equipment down a hill and into the main house, where the party was to continue in underground racquetball courts.
There wasn’t much party left in most of the guests and it only took a few songs before they were ready to head home. As of last we heard the bride and groom were still together and doing fine.
What was planned as a very memorable event certainly was one and the couple had even appeared twice on the Oprah Winfrey show with their tale.
And, to sum up the day at the very end one of our DJs said to the other, “See, that’s why you never wear black to a wedding.”
Filed Under: Weddings
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