“LaRue, you up and ready? I’m gonna swing by and grab you for a quick run to the mall,” I tweeted @CraigBallantyne (to save money on the international texting, because I am just that smart) at around 8:30am on Friday.
Since Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove and Chad Waterbury had gotten in late from the West Coast I figured they would all still be asleep along with other friends and family members staying at the hotel.
But I knew that whippersnapper, Ballantyne would be up and working.
I picked up Craig and we embarked on a journey for some new Vans. I already had a pair I intended to wear with my suit but decided at the last minute that perhaps I could use an upgrade.
It was great to see my old friend and catch up, talk biz and share some funny stories.
Once our mission was completed I called Alwyn.
“Dude! You ready to train? We’ll be there in ten minutes.”
“Make it about 20, I just woke up. “
With some time to kill we stopped for coffee before picking up the Cosgrove’s and Waterbury. Actually I stopped for coffee and Craig informed me that he’s never had a coffee in his entire life. Interesting…
It was my first Starbucks in years and the combination of the higher than normal caffeine, the training session we were en route to and the fact that I was getting married in a few hours had me cranked up and off the wall.
I hopped back in the car and got on the highway en route to Renegade Gym.
“Shit! I forgot to go back to the hotel for those guys!”
As I made my way to the next exit to turn around my friend Andrew aka “Shots” called to recap the epic bachelor party that went down in NYC on Wednesday night.
Everyone was apparently still recovering and trying to piece the whole thing together.
A few deafening laughs later (ask Craig) we arrived back at the hotel.
Amidst the joke cracking and ball busting on the ride to the gym I could feel my heart racing and felt like I was talking like Kramer on too many café lattes.
“Am I talking fast, cuz I feel like I’m talking fast. A-dit-a-dit-a-dit-a….
Doesn’t Starbucks coffee have more caffeine than regular coffee?” I inquired.
About a minute into the discussion Alwyn said, “This is the most boring conversation I’ve ever had.”
We agreed and moved on.
We pulled into Renegade Gym shortly after 11 and met up with my long time training partner, Todd Coker.
Like the fitness obsessed freaks we all are we talked training for a good twenty minutes or so while they all had a look around the gym and examined the equipment.
We discussed warm ups, testing, the Renegade bars, plyos, conditioning, sleds and numerous other topics. Good times for sure.
Eventually we started warming up then moved into a workout I called on the fly (since it was my gym and my wedding day).
We started with box jumps, Renegade Bar low incline presses and front levers. We did five rounds of that then moved on to heavy sled pushes, inverted ring rows and fingertip pushups. I believe we did four rounds of that.
It was an awesome workout and jacked up my CNS even more.
Next up was a stop at a local diner for eggs. Cosgrove and I had differing opinions on where we should eat but since it was my wedding day he conceded.
Before we sat down I got a text from Shots telling me that MCA of The Beastie Boys had died. As someone who grew up listening to them since ’86, I was crushed. I had always hoped to see them perform live again some day.
Back at the Hotel
After eating, Waterbury was still hungry so he went with Todd to the Italian deli down the street and the rest of us went back to the hotel.
I forgot my razor so luckily Cosgrove ran me up one of his. We intended to have a drink or two in the room with all the boys but time got away from me and we had to start doing pictures.
The first few were with my brother Jared in the room then outside for a couple with Chad and Alwyn.
Because I’m half Scottish, Cosgrove honored me by wearing his kilt. This was an awesome sight and went over huge with my mom’s side of the family. He even had a knife tucked in his sock like a true kilt wearing Scotsman.
Finally Jen made her way down in her dress for the first time. She looked incredible. We posed for various pictures then hopped in the limo. Since this was the Renegade wedding after all, and there would be very little “traditional” about it we weren’t going with the old, “you can’t see each other before the ceremony,” deal.
While we were doing pictures at the venue my good friend, John Alvino arrived and brought his usual comedic wit along with him.
Even though I discuss business and training with Johnny Al more than just about anyone else it’s impossible for us to get through more than about two minutes of a conversation without screaming in laughter.
At the Venue
Cocktail hour was scheduled to be outside and luckily the forecast for thunderstorms was wrong and we got a beautiful, 75-degree, sunny day.
Since all looked good inside we decided to run inside and give the place a once over.
Instead of a traditional banquet hall with assigned seating and all the stuffy, boringness that goes with a lot of weddings we wanted something different. We picked a really cool venue that we had turned into a lounge/club for the night.
The food was all farm to table local fare and absolutely delicious. There were cocktail style tables, some regular tables and a bunch of couches. There was also a huge deck outside that had more tables and couches. People could eat wherever and whenever they wanted.
Unfortunately there were a few things we didn’t like so Jared, John and I started hoisting furniture and rearranging the place while sweating through our suits. This was par for the course and fully expected.
“Ya want something done right ya gotta do it yourself, Johnny Al. Remember that.”
After we finished the moving extravaganza I ran outside to start greeting family members and friends while Jen prepped for her entrance.
Sean Hyson, Zach Even-Esh and Keith Scott showed up to round out the fitness contingent in attendance.
I gave Sean a look and he knew that no words needed to be spoken. My work was done, my mission complete. It was now up to him to carry on tradition and do as I would do as single man in the streets of New York City.
Twenty minutes into the cocktail hour the preacher man grabbed me and a quick announcement was made that we were about to get married.
Nobody knew it was coming and thought we had already done a private ceremony before.
I made an announcement for everyone to keep eating and drinking, promising them that if they were up here I would be doing the same.
Angel by Jack Johnson played and Jen made her way outside, looking absolutely amazing.
The ceremony was a quick ten-minute banger then we got back to the food and drinks.
If there’s one thing I hate in life its inefficiency.
So when cocktail hour had been over for fifteen minutes and the majority of people were still outside I started to wonder what was going on. Then I noticed that two ladies were quietly whispering to everyone notifying them it was time to move inside.
I couldn’t stand idly by and witness this so I took over like I was coaching an entire football team during a workout right before the biggest game of the season.
“Alright, let’s wrap it up! We’re moving inside!”
“What are you the groom or the bouncer,” our friend Kenny asked.
“Ya want something done right ya gotta do it yourself, Kenneth. Remember that.”
We made our way inside to the sounds of Jay-Z and I hammed it up a bit for the people, busting out some old 80’s wrestling impersonations while Jen busted a little two-step and looked pretty for the cameras.
After the first hour of eating, drinking and mingling it was party time.
The only thing I was responsible for at the wedding was the music. As regular readers know, it’s my next biggest obsession in life next to training.
I searched high and low for the best DJ I could find. I needed someone with the musical acumen of ?uestlove or DJ AM. Someone who could flow right from The White Stripes to Buggin Out by Tribe and into some James Brown.
Finally I was lucky enough to find a bad ass DJ from NY named Michael and we hit it off immediately when he commented on my old school boom box bracelet and my Public Enemy tattoo, noting that it was his favorite group as well.
I told him we wanted full control of the playlist and would give him all the must have songs for the night. After that I trusted his judgment to call it on the fly. I also wanted to ensure that the majority of songs were not played in their entirety; just a minute or so of each song before flowing right into the next party jam.
Michael and Anthony did an absolutely amazing job and all of our friends told us it was by far and away the best music they had ever heard at a wedding. They didn’t even feel like they were at a wedding, but rather a great party at a private club.
Since I’ve gotten numerous requests to share some of the playlist here’s a sample of what was spun that night:
Cocktail Hour Songs
- Kick Drum Heart- The Avett Brothers
- Sir Your Fashion Has the Cold Heart of a Killer- The Beautiful Girls
- Positively Fourth Street- Bob Dylan
- Trenchtown Rock- Bob Marley
- Round and Round- Bob Schneider
- Missed the Boat- Modest Mouse
- Why Can’t I Touch It- The Buzzcocks
- Let the Drummer Kick- Citizen Cope
- Mine is Yours- Cold War Kids
- Lost +- Coldplay ft. Jay Z
- Mr. Jones (acoustic from Across a Wire Live album)- Counting Crows
- Two Coins- Dispatch
- The General- Dispatch
- Live, Live Laughter- Donovan Frankenreiter
- Your Heart- Donovan Frankenreiter
- How Sweet it Is- Marvin Gaye
- Bonita Applebum- A Tribe Called Quest
- Can I Kick It- Tribe Called Quest
Old School Hip Hop Party Songs
- A 5-minute Beastie Boys medley dedicated to MCA who died earlier that day
- Rebel Without a Pause- Public Enemy
- Bring The Noise- Public Enemy
- Ain’t No Half-Steppin’- Big Daddy Kane
- I Get The Job Done- Big Daddy Kane
- Top Billin- Audio Two
- The Choice Is Yours- Black Sheep
- The Next Episode- Dr. Dre
- Strictly Business- EPMD
- So Whatcha Sayin’- EPMD
- Eric B Is President- Eric B. & Rakim
- You Gots 2 Chill- EPMD
- DWYCK- Gang Starr featuring Nice & Smooth
- I Go To Work- Kool Moe Dee
- Chief Rocka- Lords Of The Underground
- Born to Roll- Masta Ace
- Shook Ones- Mobb Deep
- Express Yourself (Remix)- N.W.A.
- Uptown Anthem- Naughty By Nature
- Hip Hop Junkies- Nice And Smooth
- Slam- Onyx
- Reminisce- Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth
- Nuthin’ But A “G” Thang- Snoop Dogg Feat Dr Dre
- What’s My Name- Snoop Dogg
- I’m the Magnificent- Special Ed
- Check The Rhyme- A Tribe Called Quest
- Award Tour - “
- Buggin’ Out - “
- Scenario “
- Pop Goes the Weasel- 3rd Bass
- Tru Fu Shnick- Fu Shnickens
- Me, Myself and I- De La Soul
- I Get Around- 2Pac
- ’93 Til Infinity- Souls of Mischief
- Gin & Juice- Snoop
- I Know You Got Soul- Eric B & Rakim
- Passin Me By- Pharcyde
- Just a Friend- Biz Markie
- Jump- Kriss Kross
- Got Your Money- Old Dirty Bastard
- Killing Me Softly-The Fugees
- Treat Em Right- Chubb Rock
- Hynotize- Biggie
- It Takes Two- Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock
- Bust a Move- Young MC
- O.P.P.- Naughty By Nature
- Hip Hop Hooray- Naughty By Nature
- Juicy- Biggie
- It’s Tricky- Run-D.M.C.
- California Love – 2Pac
- Fight the Power- Public Enemy
- Peter Piper- Run-D.M.C.
- I Got It Made- Special Ed
- They Want Efx- Das Efx
- Who Got Da Props- Black Moon
- Apache- Sugar Hill Gang
- Childrens Story- Slick Rick
- Woo Hah- Busta Rhymes
- Mona Lisa- Slick Rick
- Same Song- Digital Underground
- Tap the Bottle- Young Black Teenagers
- Flava in Ya Ear Remix
- Come On, Let’s Move It- Special Ed
Plus a bunch of others
Then of course, on top of the old school hip hop we had plenty of new stuff, some Jay & Kanye, Rhianna, Gotye, etc. along with James Brown, Michael Jackson, Prince, Nirvana, Metallica and various rock sets.
The party was epic. I sweat through my entire suit five times over and only left the dance floor for a grand total of about thirty minutes all night. I believe Keith Scott and his wife Lisa did the same. Jen and I came prepared for the jaw dropping set list and were both in sneakers.
Rachel Cosgrove was parked on the dance floor as well and there were various guest appearances by Zach, Alvino and Waterbury. We even got Cosgrove out there for quite a while to do the Glasgow Bounce in his kilt.
With my good buddies Andrew and Mike the following dances were also performed throughout the night:
- The Bernie (inspired by Weekend at Bernies)
- The Flair Walk
- The Vince Walk
- The Crip Walk
- The Wop
- The Bus Stop
- The Cabbage Patch
- The Running Man
- The Shopping Cart
- The Kid ‘n Play
- The Ed Lover
- The Flavor Flav
- The Humpty Dance
- The White Mans Overbite
- The Shovel
- The Scissor Legs Clap Dance
- The East Coast Stomp (my personal all time favorite, go-to dance)
- Various moves from 80’s and early 90’s rap videos
When the DJ came on to inform us that the night was almost over I did my best Walter Payton across the dance floor and negotiated to extend the party another hour.
I performed at least a decades worth of allowable foot contacts that night, doing five straight hours of cardio and plyo’s. My back, hips, knees and calves were completely destroyed the next day. I heard the same complaint from numerous friends who all said it was the best wedding they’d ever been to and most that they’d danced in years.
But the pain was well worth it.
Definitely the best night ever.
I have the best friends in the world and the greatest girl on the planet.
I also have the support of The Renegade Nation for which I am eternally grateful and humbled.
Thanks for your interest and allowing me to share this experience with you guys.