We were proud to be part of an historical wedding on Sunday at Verizon Center, home of the Washington Capitals in Washington, D. C. Joe Kurnos asked DJ Jarrod to DJ the wedding ceremony, but as things progressed, Jarrod started to wear several hats, or ear pieces as the case would be.
The wedding of Joe Kurnos and Dera Atwell was one that took a while, but you know the love has always been there. We first met Joe & Dera quite a few years ago when Joe’s Ashburn Sting adult hockey team was playing at game at Verizon Center after a Caps game and Joe contacted SportsAnnouncing.com. Joe and Jarrod hit it off right away and a friendship was formed. Joe’s work with RE/MAX has even led to Joe offering to pay for a bride’s wedding DJ if she purchases a house with him before the wedding, and chooses Metro DC DJs to DJ the wedding reception.
Dera attended most of the games at Verizon Center that Joe played in, but it wasn’t just from those games that the trio began to know each other. Joe is also one of the assistants to the P. A. announcer, Wes Johnson. Since Jarrod works many Caps games in varying capacities, their paths crossed quite frequently. Whether it be on the Event Level before or after a game, or on the concourse during games, these two quickly struck up conversations. Last season, Jarrod even served in Joe’s capacity when he was unavailable to assist for a game when the regular assistant Byron was also unavailable.
What originally began as a simple, play-some-music-pre-wedding and the march out, turned into an entire coordinated show with music, spotlights, videos, ribbon board, an actual goal horn and a complicated network of communication to make sure it all happened perfectly. We worked with Joe’s ideas and facilitated the proper avenues to obtain permissions. Once all was organized via Joe’s itinerary, it was handed over to Jarrod to coordinate with several, including the Caps P. A. announcer.
“This was the most complicated wedding I’ve ever been part of,” said Jarrod. “And it was also a lot of fun putting all these moving pieces together to create an amazing ceremony for this amazing couple.”
The ceremony began with Wes welcoming the guests who began the event seated behind the penalty box. Their attention was directed to the large video board above the ice to show how Joe proposed to Dera (at a Washington Nationals Spring Training game). At the completion of the video, guests were invited by Wes down to walk through the penalty box to the ice where seats were lined up in the neutral zone. As guests took their seats, Europe’s “Final Countdown” played over the sound system.
As the last guests were taking their seats, the families lined up in the Olympia corner to prepare for introduction to the ice. Wes announced all members to Jorge Quintero’s “300 Violin Orchestra”, who walked on a carpet stretched to the red line and to their seats. As the final family members were introduced, Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” played over the sound system. As the 70’s hit faded, Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” began as the officiant Henry Bear made his way to the altar. Following Henry, were members of Joe’s Sting team who lined either side of the carpeted walkway to prepare for the grand introductions.
And then the lights went out.
As Alan Parson’s Project’s “Sirius” began to build, a spotlight ballyhooed down from the rafters before focusing on the Olympia corner. Wes energized the crowd to the now loud and pumping music as Joe was introduced to the waiting guests. Once Joe reached center ice, the spotlight went dim, the music down, and the ribbon boards, scoreboard, and just about every other light possible in the arena went dark.
It was time for the bride to make her grand entrance. In the pitch black, the opening to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” began with “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, for this thing called life,” at which time the spotlight came back up on the Olympia corner to find the bride in her gown. As Wes began her introduction, the crowd rose to their feet and the Sting players, who’d lined the walkway, now formed a stick arch to welcome the bride and her parents.
As Dera was handed off to Joe–oh did we mention that both Dera and Joe were wearing skates–they skated to center ice. Upon their arrival, the music faded, the lights came back on, the spotlight dimmed one final time, but the love from the crowd was still strong.
At this time, Henry took over and helped lead the ceremony through the vows, which included Eli Young Band’s “Crazy Girl” to be played while the couple danced, in skates, on the ice. During the presentation of the rings, the couples canine, Hershey, carried the bands to the couple as a snippet of “Who Let the Dogs Out” by Baha Men played. Once the couple said their “I Do’s”, they participated in a unity puck ceremony, in which the couple skated to the goal at the visitor’s end of the rink, and shot a puck. As they made their way to the goal, the pressure was building, so Billy Joel’s “Pressure” was played.
After the goal, they came back to center ice for the pronouncement as man and wife. As the couple kissed, the goal horn blared and Gianmarc’s version of “Mendelssohn’s Wedding March” was played while the two exited the ice surface.
The guests were invited to remain in their seats while the couple returned with a replica version of The Stanley Cup which the two skated around the ice. This replica would eventually be the guest book as all attendees left well wishes on the trophy. Pictures were taken and guests made their way through the Olympia entrance on their way to the reception. At this point, it was time to clean up, and get the arena ready for that days preseason game between the Capitals and Buffalo Sabres.
It was truly a memorable and historic day at Verizon Center.
Thank you to the following for their great work:
Tim Bronaugh, Washington Capitals and his staff
Katie Millar, and all the facilities folks who helped (Mark, huge on the lights and goal horn)
Dylan McIntosh for the scoreboard work
Maxim Photo Studio, who took some amazing pictures
KMBB Studios did an awesome job shooting the ceremony on video
Our Photo Album From The Wedding Ceremony