Today we booked our 48th wedding for the year 2008, and I couldn’t be any giddier. What’s the big deal about 48? It represents the most weddings we have ever booked in a single year. We had 47 events back in 1995, our third year in business, when we were a more budget-oriented studio. Once we became a more upscale outfit a year later, I assumed we would never see that number again, typically booking 30-35 a year since then. But despite a struggling economy and a lingering resistance to hiring professional videographers, we’ve been blessed with a huge upswing in these past couple of years.

What makes this so cool is more than just my own geekiness about numbers. More importantly, this success represents validation for all the hard work we have put into improving the quality of our work, taking care of our clients, and generally trying to do things the “right” way. And it wouldn’t be possible without the 500-plus clients and 100-plus vendors who have supported us every step of the way. I can never thank all of you enough, but I will certainly keep trying my best to continue rewarding your trust in us. (And please keep the calls coming for 2009. We’re nowhere near this year’s pace…yet!)

Jessica & Mark were referred to us by the Indiana Roof Ballroom‘s Antonia Zunarelli as well as her friends Amie & Justin, whose wedding we covered last fall. After their first meeting in the ballroom amidst a beautiful floating sea of floral arrangements by JP Parker Flowers, the couple and the rest of the wedding party walked to Monument Circle for some great shots with photographers Melody & Jeremy Carpenter. Then it was back to the Roof for an elegant ceremony, highlighted by a sweet song performed by Jessica’s sister.

After cocktails and dinner, Dave and Rae took the stage with their full band configuration and rocked out like I’d never seen them do before. (They’re great as a duo, but if you’re considering having them at your reception, trust me – the rhythm section is worth it!) Jess & Mark weren’t shy about getting onstage to add their vocal and percussive stylings to “American Pie.” Through it all, consultant Jacque Comella kept everything running flawlessly behind the scenes.

Photo by Carpenter Photography & Design

Drucie and David Cook (not that one, “Idol” fans) found me fairly last-minute thanks to Dave Cohen of Jerry Goldberg Photography, and their intimate backyard wedding was a welcome change of pace on a gorgeous Friday evening. If my math is correct, they were pronounced husband and wife at exactly 8:08pm on 8/8/08, which should bode very well for their luck and prosperity according to Chinese lore. The reception was intended to be a casual barbeque dinner with few formalities and no dancing, but Dave encouraged the best man and maid of honor to say a few words, and I encouraged the couple to share a first dance on the lawn while harpist Jennifer Midkiff kindly agreed to play an extra song for them. Hopefully this resulted in a few more special moments that they’ll never forget.

After some early preparations in the bridal suite and a first meeting in the Omni Severin ballroom, Adrienne & Ryan enjoyed a gorgeous wedding “in the round,” the second such ceremony I have covered there this year. I particularly like this arrangement because it gives the couple the feeling of being truly surrounded by loved ones as they exchange their vows. The multitude of candles, outstanding decor by Coby Palmer, and eloquence of Rev. Marilyn York only added to the unique ambiance of the event. As a big Beatles fan, I got a kick out of the recessional music, a string quartet version of “All You Need Is Love.”

After some quick shots outside with photographer Zach Dobson (whose wedding I covered a couple of years ago), the couple joined their guests for an evening filled with great food, memorable speeches and nonstop party music provided by DJ Sunny Moon. The candy station outside the ballroom was a sweet way to say thanks to their guests, who in turn bid them farewell at the end of the night with a sparkler sendoff on the way to their horse carriage ride.

Photo by Zach Dobson Photography

Dani & Grant returned to their alma mater to get married at St. Paul’s Catholic Church on the Indiana University campus. They were referred to us by Lauren & Matt, whose wedding Laurie covered back in March, and Laurie was back at it again for this one. Because this was a campus reunion of sorts for the couple’s many fellow alumni, there were some nice Hoosier touches throughout the day, the most surprising of which was the performance of the IU fight song during the recessional.

After a long break on a hot summer day during which Dani & Grant roamed the campus for photos with Kristen & Terri of Blueline Weddings, everyone reconvened at the Indiana Memorial Union’s Alumni Hall for a cool blast of an evening. Tricia Riviere of Social Butterfly kept everything running smoothly while Mark Smith of Platinum DJ Productions provided the tunes that kept everyone in a dancing frenzy. Dani & Grant topped off the evening with my favorite favors ever, personalized bags of breadsticks delivered by a Hoosier institution – Pizza Express. YUM!

Photo by Chelsea Sanders of Blueline Weddings

On a wedding day full of surprises, Elise & John exchanged vows at St. Luke Catholic Church, surrounded by one of the largest groups of flower girls I’ve ever seen. Then it was off to the World War I Memorial downtown for photos with Jessica Strickland – and a goat. This was one of many “baboons” (surprises) that greeted the couple throughout the weekend. One unwelcome surprise was a sudden storm with horizontal rain that nearly ruined my camera, but thankfully Jess saved the day (as well as the bridesmaids’ dresses) with her collection of umbrellas.

The reception took place up the street at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, stunningly decorated by Posh Petals under the watchful eye of consultant Carlie Oakley (who along with Jess referred Elise & John to us). After a wonderful meal by Thomas Caterers along with a few formalities, the band Living Proof rocked the Rite with nonstop Motown and party classics the rest of the evening. The final “baboon” featured a conga line led by a Tarzan & Jane cutout board…and I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence! Anyway, obviously a fun day for a great couple.

UPDATE: Photographer Jessica Strickland already has some great shots up on her blog – enjoy!

By the time I arrived at Castleton United Methodist Church early Saturday morning, Courtney had already been up for several hours getting ready for her big day. Joe was admittedly nervous and tense early on, but a spontaneous jam session by the musically gifted groom with his friends quickly melted the tension away. By the time the ceremony was underway, everyone was relaxed and truly in the moment.

Afterwards, along with photographer Mike Bizila, we quickly captured some fun poses outside the Oak Hill Mansion before ducking inside to escape the heat. The full ballroom looked splendid as decorated by Posh Petals. Joe’s friend Rob, who had sung beautifully at the ceremony earlier, did a nice job providing music and MC duties while armed with only an iPod and a killer song list.

UPDATE: Courtney just sent me this nice e-mail: “Thanks so much– I just watched the video (several times!) and it’s beautiful. You have a great way of highlighting all the little details and little moments of such a big day. I can’t wait to get home and watch it again with Joe tonight! Thanks again!”

Arshad and his brother Aasif found us at the very last minute through a Google search, and fortunately I had availability on Friday & Saturday evenings to cover the highlights of Arshad & Melissa’s big weekend. Everything took place at the Renaissance Hotel in Carmel, and I was amazed at the level of contemporary chic througout the new hotel’s interior. Friday evening’s events included a formal engagement ceremony, a henna ceremony, and some of the best Indian food I had ever tasted.

The wedding ceremony on Saturday took place in an adjacent ballroom and featured some humorous traditions, including seating the bride amidst the crowd before joining the groom and then requiring the bride to agree three times to marry the groom before it was official. The main ballroom was magnificently adorned for the reception by Enflora, the centerpiece being the couple’s table under a colorful canopy, from which they could enjoy the evening’s many highlights. This was easily the most culturally diverse event I’ve ever covered, combining Indian, Muslim, Spanish and Catholic traditions among others.

Krista & Sam arrived at Zion Evangelical United Church of Christ with their wedding party in a Hummer limo clearly warmed up from their time with photographer Joanna Baughn of Randall’s Photography at the Canal and ready to enjoy their big day. After a scary moment early in the processional that is more amusing now in hindsight (and from what I hear is destined for YouTube immortality), the rest of the ceremony went perfectly, judging by Krista’s radiant smile throughout the nuptials.

The reception at the Omni Severin Hotel (who, along with former clients Jill & Steve Biddle, referred the couple to us) was classy from the start, featuring the jazzy sax & vocals of multi-talented DJ Steven Elston early in the evening and gorgeous decor by Royal Creations. The many highlights that followed included a great sight gag by the father of the bride during his welcome, a funny Soulja Boy dance by the couple, and a surprise “Boogie Shoes” serenade by Sam and his backup “dancers” before removing Krista’s garter.

UPDATE: Just got this short but sweet note from Krista: “I love it!! I can’t wait to see the rest! Thanks again!!” Thank YOU, Krista!

Photo by Randall’s Photography

Laurie, who always does a great job videotaping for us, really topped herself with this wedding, which is easy to do when working with a couple so tenderly in love with each other. Tracy & Andrew were generously referred to us by Tracy Heine of Bliss Boutique, and the bliss between them was undeniable. The weather cleared up just long enough for them to enjoy an emotional first meeting at Coxhall Gardens, followed by photos with Rich Walton, who worked alongside us for the second straight weekend.

Then it was off to the Ritz Charles, where Tracy’s reaction to seeing the chapel decor provided by Alan Thompson of McNamara Florist was priceless. The ceremony was a beautiful blend of Jewish and Catholic traditions, and the couple added their own spiritual touch by reading to the congregation a covenant prayer that they had written. The reception, MC’d by DJ Jim Gucinski of Lakeside Entertainment, was filled with plenty of laughter, tears and way too many great moments to fit into the highlight video, and I got there just in time to see them squeeze a cute “mini-hora” into the proceedings.

Photo by Rich Walton Photography