The Knot Dream Wedding 2015
In late April, Ivy Hill Entertainment was just a fledgling start-up. Started in its current incarnation as a talent and artist development agency at the end of 2014, both Zen and myself (Brian) were both debating our commitment to the venture at the outset of this year. We didn't doubt for a second that it was a worthwhile idea and a sore need in the artist and private event communities but transitioning from our own artistic pursuits to the administrative work and time commitment of running an agency was daunting, coupled with the fact that we were geographically separated and I was looking for the next move. Zen was getting settled in his new home of Los Angeles, while I was on a sabbatical of sorts in Southeast Asia and considering moving out of the Bay Area, where I had lived for 5 years prior. In the end, however, I moved back to Oakland at the end of April with the idea of just seeing how things would go with Ivy Hill Entertainment to see if it would be worth our time.
Our fate was more or less sealed for us on my first full-day day home, when we received an email from The Knot, which publishes one of the most popular wedding websites and magazines in the world, asking about our interest in being involved as a vendor for their Dream Wedding event. Every year, a couple is chosen to receive an all expenses paid wedding, with America voting on essential elements -- the dress, make-up, and flowers -- and featuring some of the industry's most successful players. This year, Jeannie Savage from About Details Details and Jasmine Star Photography were among those rock star wedding vendors. A discovery phone interview was all it took to get us signed on to the biggest event IHE could've hoped for at such a young stage of our development.
We had 6 weeks to prep our rotating group of 6 musicians, which included our acoustic trio for the ceremony and dinner, a duo fronted by Jonathan Devoto for the cocktail hour, and our house band for the reception. This was our first attempt at what has now been dubbed our Build-A-Band program -- building customized musical arrangements to fit an event. Each configuration learned music particular to the needs of the couple, which was far-ranging and included artists as diverse as Tim McGraw, Calvin Harris, Tom Petty, and Bob Marley.
The big day came for Samantha + Taylor, the dream couple, as well as our young team, and looking back on it, I couldn't have imagined it going better. Our groups knocked it out of the park, we pulled off a surprise for the newlyweds, and from this opportunity we've gotten more refined sense of purpose and a sense of what this organization could become. While this event was only the first of many feathers in our cap this year, which included over 80 events, including working with Google, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, and the Napa Valley Film Festival, it was the one that flipped the switch for our four founders who have been all systems go ever since.
Photos courtesy of Jasmine Star Photography.