Archive for the 'Real Weddings' Category


Guest Star: The Doctors Durkin know how to party

On June 16, 2012 we were honored to play for Doctors Julianne Ruppel and Michael Durkin’s wedding at the elegant Drake Hotel. After the couple and their guests celebrated the ceremony and cocktail hour, the Stitely Orchestra welcomed the newlyweds into their east-coast celebration with “Just What I Needed” by the Cars, before transitioning into their first dance, “La Vie en Rose.” Once the guests had taken their seats, the Stitely Orchestra serenaded the Drake Hotel staff’s champagne parade with their signature mashup of the “Colonel Bogey March” and “The Night They Invented Champagne.”

Tara Moser of LOLA Event Productions did a great job coordinating the details of an evening filled with special toasts, speeches, and of course dancing throughout! After cutting the cake to “It Had To Be You”, boogie-ing down to a few songs, a sweet speech from the Bride and Groom, and enjoying some post-dinner coffee and cake, we kept dancing going with the special dances. Julie danced with her dad to “My Girl,” Mike danced with his mother to Louis Armstrong’s “Wonderful World,” and the couple celebrated the longest-married couple in attendance with an anniversary dance set to “In My Life” by the Beatles.

Guests enjoyed photo booth snapshots thanks to Photo Booth Express, and rocked out to lots of Motown, 80s dance hits, and Classic Rock right up until the last dance, “Don’t Stop Believin’”. But the party didn’t end there; DJ Vincent shook things up and took this party into the early hours of the morning! Kudos to Bill McCluskey at the Drake Hotel, Stephanie at Anthony Gowder Design for her beautiful work, and to Dennis Lee for capturing some great photographic memories that will last this loving couple a lifetime!


Guest Star: Ally and Daniel party East-Coast style

The adorable couple!

Allison Blum and Daniel Rosenbloom were married on July 21, 2012 at the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort. Their ceremony took place in the Marriott’s gorgeous Grand Marquee Tent. The duo of piano and violin played classical selections such as “Arioso” by Bach and Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” Ally was simply stunning as processed down the aisle to the Andre Rieu’s “Love Theme” from the 1968 movie Romeo and Juliet. As soon as they tied the knot the couple started the fun with their recessional- “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles.

Immediately following the ceremony a Stitely solo pianist serenaded the guests during cocktails. He then joined the Stitely Orchestra bassist, drummer, guitarist, saxophonist and vocalist for a 6-piece group to play during dinner. Ally and Daniel had a typical East Coast timeline that allows for dance sets in between meal courses, so Stitely played Motown, Classic Rock, R&B, and jazz music that appealed to guests of all ages.

First dance

Before even sitting down for the first course, Ally and Dan celebrated their first dance as a married couple to “Marry You” by Bruno Mars. They followed their first dance by cutting their cake to the Phillip Phillips version of “Stand by Me.” The guests then joined them on the dance floor for “Amazed” by Lonestar to kick off the first dance set. After the first set, family members performed the kiddush and hamotzi, followed by speeches. After the salad course, female vocalists Andrea Amos and Joan Collasso joined the band to make a full 8-piece Stitely Orchestra. They kicked off another dance set with some powerhouse tunes like “Rolling in the Deep” and “Respect.” Next came the entrée and a speech by the bride and groom.

Blessing the hamotzi

The next dance set began with the parents sharing their special dances with the bride and groom. Ally choose “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton for her father/daughter dance, while Daniel danced to “What a Wonderful World” with his mother. Then the room came alive with guests dancing the Hora and Krenzel. The rest of the evening the couple, their friends and family partied down to a mix of contemporary music, classic rock, and Motown.

Ally and Daniel chose not to do the garter toss, but enjoyed tossing the bouquet to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” The band kept the energy going strong all the way to the end with their final song “Raise Your Glass” by Pink. After the band departed, Stitely’s DJ Vincent finished up the night beginning with “Don’t You Want to Stay” by Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean and “Glad You Came” by The Wanted.

Thanks to all the vendors who made this party so successful! Kudos to Day-of Planner, Melinda of To The Point Events, Laura at the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort, Daniel with Joseph’s Florist, and to David from Jolie Images.


Guest Star: Gettin’ down with Gina and Tyler

Gina Bucciferro and Tyler Neill tied the knot on May 26 at Chicago’s Holy Family Church. This super-sweet couple chose a Stitely solo pianist for their ceremony, creating an atmosphere of intimacy in the beautiful old church. The bridal party processed in to Frank Mills’ “Music Box Dancer” by Frank Mills, while Gina walked down the aisle to “Forever” by Ben Harper. (Such a great song!) They chose a fun, distinctive recessional- “Linus and Lucy” by Vince Guaraldi from Charlie Brown & the Peanuts.

Gina and Tyler’s reception took place at the gorgeous Rooftop Terrace of the Harris Theater in Millennium Park. The couple really enjoys new music, but their parents really like oldies and Motown, so they booked the ultra-versatile 10-piece Stephanie Rogers Band. And SRB totally rocked the joint!

After a brief cocktail hour of solo piano, the bridal party was introduced to a raucous rendition of “Get up Offa That Thing” by James Brown, followed by the parents’ who entered to the sweet sounds of “This Will Be an Everlasting Love” by Natalie Cole. A quintet of bass, drums, keyboard and singers serenaded the guests as they enjoyed their delicious dinners provided by J & L Catering.

The real party kicked-off with Stephanie’s rendition of “We Got Something” by Adaline for Gina & Tyler’s first dance. Then they played an acoustic, “less-romantic” version of Kaci Brown’s “Thank You” for Gina and her father’s special dance, followed by Tyler’s dance with his mother to “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts. Since the couple and their guests wanted a lot of different musical styles Stephanie played a lot of new tunes like “Rolling In The Deep”  and “Party in the USA” peppered with classic hits. Said Steph, “We had an amazing moment in a circle of ‘Last Dance,’ which they loved because of the recent death of Donna Summer and the whole disco/Motown vibe they wanted.”

Kudos to Chrissy from Big City Bride for planning a wonderful evening, A Stem Above for gorgeous flowers and decorations and Robyn Rachel Photography for the fabulous photos! We love working with you guys!


Guest Star: Dance ’til you Drop at the Dorner-Combs Wedding

Christine Dorner & Mike Combs married on April 21, 2012 at the beautiful Germania Place in downtown Chicago. We were already familiar with this lovely couple since the Stitely Orchestra played for Mike’s sister’s wedding last August. (Remember Liz and Hank? Liz is Mike’s sister and Christine was her maid of honor. Christine returned the favor; Liz was her maid of honor too!) Christine and Mike also chose the Stitely Orchestra after hearing them at Liz and Hank’s wedding.

After a relaxing cocktail set played by Stitely’s jazz trio, the couple and the bridal party burst onto the scene to the Chicago Bulls Entrance Theme. After a couple of toasts Mike and his mother, Gail, cut a rug to “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder. Christine and Mike danced to “The Best Is Yet to Come” by Frank Sinatra before cutting their cake to the sounds of “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” by Marvin Gaye.

Then the real party began. Christine tossed her bouquet with abandon to Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” while Mike tossed his garter to the sultry “Stripper Song” by David Rose and his Orchestra.

Christine and Mike like a mix of classic Motown and rock, along with more recent tunes, so throughout the evening Stitely flooded the dance floor with hits like “We Found Love,” “Party Rock Anthem” and “Dynamite.” The night ended with the Ray LaMontagne’s sweet serenade, “You Are the Best Thing.” What a wonderful way to end such a wonderful wedding!

Thank you to Amy and Carolyn at An Event Less Ordinary for their coordination throughout the evening as well as the planning process. Thanks also to Cristina G Photography, Sally O’Brien from Sally Films, Katie at Kenmare Catering and Germania Place. You made this night a smashing success!



Guest Star: Mike and Shaska’s Chicago soiree

Shaska & Michael were married in a beautiful ceremony on May 12 at the Chicago History Museum. The Stitely Orchestra was thrilled to be there as this super sweet couple tied the knot.

This modern couple shook up the traditional in more ways than one, beginning the evening with an hour of cocktails followed by their ceremony. Stitely’s solo pianist played a few of their fav. indie tunes like “Chicago” by folkie Sufjan Stevens for the processional and “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel for the recessional. During the the delicious dinner catered by Food For Thought, Stitely’s contemporary quartet serenaded the guests with songs by artists like Wilco and Radiohead.

After dinner, Mike & Shaska kicked off the party with their first dance- a special version of “Wonderwall” by Oasis that segues into the fourth verse of “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen. Then Shaska and her father danced to “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King, followed by Mike & his mother’s dance to Elvis’ hit “Wonder of You.”

With the cake cut, toasts given, and special dances danced now it was time to party! The Stitely Orchestra packed the dance floor with an evening filled with hits from the ‘90s, 2000s and 2010s for the modern bride and groom. A favorite moment was watching Shaska, Mike and all of their friends rock out to “Fire” by Bruce Springsteen. After the band played their last song, “Remix to Ignition” by R. Kelly, DJ Vicente stepped in to spin and keep the energy going until the very last minute.

Congrats again to Shaska & Mike, we wish you nothing but the best! Thanks to the wonderful vendors who helped this evening shine: Zeena & Savira at Oliveaire Artisan Events, Robert at REM Video and Photography & Jennifer from Food For Thought.


Guest Star: Kaitlin and Frank’s St. Paddy’s Day Soiree

The luck of the Irish was with Kaitlin Wylder and Frank O’Hare as they tied the knot this past St. Patrick’s Day at the Atrium Events space at Architectural Artifacts. They couldn’t have asked for a more warm and sunny day in the middle of a typically frigid Chicago March! Keeping with the festive spirit of the day, Frank & Kaitlin looked fabulous with their emerald accents like her adorable green shoes!

The ceremony began with a Stitely string trio playing some classical selections, including Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and Handel’s “Allegro Maestoso” from Water Music. However, Kaitlin’s processional down the aisle was extra special with a surprising performance of “Theme 1 (Waltz)” written by Chicago native and Indie whistler, Andrew Bird.

With the buzz of the ceremony still in the air, the couple socialized with their guests until dinner. Their fantastic venue made for some excellent photos as they and their family and friends mingled amongst antique lighting fixtures, drawings, and architectural relics from around the world.

During dinner the Stitely contemporary quartet serenaded the diners with some of Kaitlin & Frank’s favorite indie tunes from artists like Radiohead, Wilco and Weezer. For their first dance together as husband and wife, the Stitely Orchestra opened the dance floor to Frank & Kaitlin with a jazzy version of “First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes. Next Kaitlin danced with her father to Marvin Gaye’s classic, “How Sweet It Is,” and Frank danced with his mother to Smokey Robinson’s “Shop Around.”

Then Stitely kicked off the party with tons of Motown, R&B and Soul, and kept the floor packed with a mixture of party classics and modern hits like “Moves Like Jagger.” To satisfy Kaitlin & Frank’s love of ‘90s R&B and hip-hop, DJ Vincent spun during band breaks, playing hits from artists such as Boyz II Men. DJ Vincent kept the celebration rolling even after the band ended with Ray Charles’ “Shake Your Tailfeather.” But all good things must come to an end, so at midnight he fixed his final tune, “All Night Long” by Lionel Richie before sending the couple off.

Congratulations again to Frank & Kaitlin! We’re so pleased to be a part of your special day and we wish you nothing but the best in the future. Thanks also to our fantastic vendor partners: Food for Thought, Atrium Events, Victoria Sprung Photography and Hollie Smith from Sweet Chic Events!


guest star: The Klein-D’Souza Rock ‘n’ Roll Wedding

Emily Klein and Katen D’Souza were married in the beautiful courtyard of Galleria Marchetti on September 25, 2011. Their wedding was such a blast!

The couple booked three different forms of Stitely entertainment for their big day including a soloist for their ceremony, a guitar/vocal trio for dinner and a rockin’ 7-piece band for dancing at their reception.

The ceremony began in the courtyard with pianist Josh Cooper playing Yiruma’s “River Flow Through You” as the groom’s parents, bridesmaids and maid of honor proceeded down the aisle. Bride Emily dazzled in white (complete with a bright pink flower headpiece) as she walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” After the ceremony, the couple celebrated their marriage to Carrie Underwood’s version of the Mötley Crue classic, “Home Sweet Home.”

Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed dinner and the musical talent of Josh Cooper on piano, Jeff Stitely on drums and John Sabal on guitar and vocals. The amazing trio played hits including Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida,” Jason Mraz’ “I’m Yours,’ and Rascal Flatts’ “Bless the Broken Road.”

The Stitely Orchestra definitely satisfied Emily’s and Katen’s love for the 80’s especially during their first dance song, “Patience” by Guns ‘N Roses. Other 80’s hits of the night include Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time,” Young MC’s “Busta Move,” Guns ‘N Roses’ “Sweet Child ‘O Mine,” and Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.” Starting the night with The Black Eyed Peas hit “I Gotta Feeling,” the reception began with a pumped up crowd that lasted all the way until their last song, Pink’s “Raise Your Glass.”

Thank you Robert at R.E.M. Video & Photography, Allison from Stems Chicago, and the amazing staff at Galleria Marchetti for putting on such a wonderful day for Emily and Katen!


Guest Star: Randall and Liz poptastic party

Randall Hunt and Liz Doukas were married on June 11th 2011 at The Rookery in Downtown Chicago. The couple chose the 8-piece Stitely Orchestra to play at their wedding and reception, featuring special guest singer Suzanne Palmer, singing all the latest pop hits.

The couple chose the Stitely Orchestra because they were impressed with the band’s wide repertoire and ability to learn a few extra songs at their special request. Music played a huge role on the couple’s big day because they wanted a night where everyone was dancing away and having a great time.

A classic string trio led by violinist Jeff Yang played during the ceremony with traditional pieces such as “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Bach and “Canon in D,” but Liz and Randall started the fun right away with “All You Need Is Love.”

The reception began with a solo piano for the cocktail hour on the second floor balcony, followed by a modern quartet of piano, drums, bass and guitar for dinner in the main lobby. Guitar/vocalist John Sabal satisfied their love of contemporary music with songs like Outkast’s “Hey Ya,” Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire,” and Katy Perry’s “Firework” throughout the night.

Liz and Randall wanted a nice mix of pop, contemporary music and classic, 80-style tunes that get people on the dance floor. The dancing began with a bang and included tons of contemporary hits like “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz, “Only Girl (In the World)” by Rihanna, and “Tight Rope” by Janelle Monae. Great classics were also played like Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.”

Liz said the couple has two favorite memories from their wedding:

1) “When the band played Katy Perry’s “Firework,” all of Randall’s friends surrounded me, jumped up and down, and belted out the lyrics to the entire song.”

2) “Randall and I were dancing together and slowly became the center of a circle where people were dancing around us and cheering us on.”

Thanks to all the vendors who helped make this wedding a smashing success: Laura at The Ideal Day, Dana at Jewell Events Catering, Colin Lyons Photography, Amy & Jessica at Blumen Floral and Deborah from the Art of Imagination.


Guest Star: Colleen and Jarod’s Summer Spectacular

Colleen Grogan & Jarod Garbe were married on May 21, 2011 with their reception at the La Grange Country Club.  Their wedding was an absolute riot!

Colleen and Jarod knew they had to have The Stitely Orchestra after they played for Erin, Colleen’s sister, at her 2007 wedding. And after hearing Stitely rock out at Colleen & Jarod’s wedding, Frank O’Hare, Jarod’s best man, chose us to play at his wedding on St. Patrick’s Day this past Saturday.

The evening began with Stitely’s classic jazz trio of piano, drums & saxophone, followed by an 8-piece reception band that included singer-trumpet player, Andew Distel. Colleen and Jarod really like oldies and classic rock, Motown, and 80’s hits, as well as a handful of songs from the 90’s & 2000’s. Their special songs and requests definitely reflect their musical tastes:

  • First dance: “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke
  • Father/daughter: “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole
  • Mother/son: “The Wonder of You” by Elvis Presley
  • Last song: “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey

Other special songs requests included:

  • “Better Together” by Jack Johnson
  • “Buddy Holly” by Weezer
  • “Keep on Loving You” by REO Speedwagon
  • “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins
  • “Nothing Can Change This Love” by Sam Cooke

Together Colleen, Carly (Stitely’s Event Planning Coordinator) and Lindsay Uyeda from the La Grange Country Club planned a fantastic fiesta. Thanks to Lindsay, Jason from Jason Kaczorowski Photography and Diane from Diane Michelle Florals for such a great event!


guest star: Stitely’s Real Weddings- Liz and Hank’s “heck of a party”

Liz and Hank’s First Dance

Liz Combs and Hank Thompson were married on August 27, 2011 at St. Josaphat in Chicago followed by a rocking reception at Galleria Marchetti. Now these two are a couple who know quality music. In fact, Liz’s father, Larry Combs, was the principal clarinetist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for 30 years, from 1978-2008! Fortunately, we had the opportunity to talk with Liz about her and Hank’s super shindig.

Stitely Entertainment: What kind of style or vibe did you want for your wedding? What role did music play in your vision?

Liz Thompson: Given that my parents are both professional musicians, music played a very important role at both the ceremony and at the reception.  We wanted the music to set the tone for the entire day from start to finish.  Hank and I wanted a clean, modern feel to our wedding with some traditional elements tied in.  Our musical choices followed suit perfectly from the classical brass ensemble during the ceremony, to the jazz trio which provided a swanky modern feel which paired perfectly with our garden cocktail hour in the city, to a full on dance band that embodied the celebratory feel to our reception.

The Stitely Orchestra

Liz and Hank’s cocktail hour began with a jazz trio of piano, drums and saxophone. Stitely added bass guitar and vocalist Bruce Henry for dinner, playing jazz standards such as “My Kind of Town” by Frank Sinatra. A 10-piece Stitely Orchestra, including trumpet, trombone and three vocalists, kept the dance floor packed all night.

SE: What kind of music or which bands do you and your partner enjoy?
LT: We enjoy everything and anything… from classic rock, to hip-hop to country – literally we like it all.  The bands currently playing on our iPods the most are Mumford & Sons, Foster the People, Widespread Panic, Bon Iver, Coldplay and David Guetta.

SE: What were your special dances? Why did you choose them?
LT: We both love a good classic – so most of our songs we fell into that category.  Our first dance was to “Your Song” by Elton John.  A few years back we went to the Elton John concert at Wrigley Field and had such an amazing time at the concert.  So when the time came to pick a song – we thought it was perfect classic song that we would always look back on fondly.

  •  First Dance- “Your Song” by Elton John
  •  Cake Cutting- “Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding
  •  Father/daughter Dance- “You Make Me Feel So Young” by Frank Sinatra
  •  Mother/son Dance- “Long As I See the Light” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
  •  Bouquet Toss- “Single Ladies” by Beyonce
  • Garter Toss- “Cissy Strut” by The Meters
  • Last Dance- “Dancing in the Moonlight” by King Harvest

SE: What was your favorite wedding memory?
LT: It’s hard to pick one favorite memory but we would say that dancing to our first dance together was incredibly special.  It was amazing to have the moment to share with your new husband/wife and be surrounded by all of your family and friends.  But we certainly can’t overlook the hours that everyone spent on the dance floor together – it was one heck of a party.

The Stitely Orchestra will be working with the Combs family again in April with the marriage of Mike, Liz’s brother, to her maid of honor Christine. We’re all really excited to work with such a fun group again!

Many thanks to all of the fantastic vendors who helped make the Combs-Thompson weddingsuch a success! Joan Cinquegrani at Five Grain Events did a fabulous job of planning and coordinating the wedding, and the beautiful centerpieces were provided by Flowers-Flowers. Jill Brazel Photography shot Hank & Liz’s great photos, and Keith at Poetic Productions filmed their special day. Well done everyone, and congrats again to Hank & Liz!

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Delivering a mind-blowing musical performance at an event is an art and planning it is a science. Stitely Entertainment has mastered both by planning and executing thousands of events.

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July 2020