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Entertainment: Andy Kushner, Creating the soundtrack to a perfect love story.

> Written by Bob Curley

 Think about the music at almost any wedding you’ve attended. You probably remember what was played during the processional and possibly the couple’s “song” played during their first dance. They’re great memories, but Andy Kushner thinks weddings deserve many more memorable musical moments than that.

Just as an event designer plans out every decorative aspect of a wedding, Kushner designs entertainment: a musical theme that helps tell the story of the wedding day, like a movie score creates the mood for a dramatic and inspiring scene.

“We orchestrate every minute of the wedding,” says the owner of Kushner Entertainment, who has collaborated with top-shelf wedding designers like Colin Cowie and David Tutera to seamlessly integrate music with their unique vision. “We’re creating a soundtrack to the wedding, but it’s deeper than that—we’re creating an emotional atmosphere by playing the right music at the right time.”

Kushner meets with couples to learn their musical tastes, personalities and dreams for their wedding day. The demographics of the guest list and even the color scheme are factored into the choice of music and band. Working through Kushner’s Noteworthy Songs, couples can have professional songwriters craft an original theme song for their wedding, which can be played throughout the event and later given to guests as a keepsake.

Careful planning goes into the music played from the moment guests arrive until the last encore. “There’s never any thought given to what’s being played when people are entering the ceremony and getting seated, but that’s a huge opportunity to create atmosphere,” says Kushner. For example, French cabaret music adored by one couple might have killed the vibe during the after-dinner dance party, but adaptations played by Kushner’s Pop Culture Strings band helped set the mood the couple wanted even as friends and family found their seats in church.

The cocktail hour is another chance to let the couple’s personality shine through: Kushner even incorporated some Phish songs for one bride and groom who were fans of the legendary jam band. Cocktail music and the songs played during dinner are not separate thoughts, he insists, but must propel the overall flow of the event, helping build excitement and anticipation from when the band hits the stage to when the party truly gets rocking.

Even Kushner’s nationally-famous Sound Connection band tailors how they dress, present themselves and interact with guests to match the mood of each event. “I want to see the guests hugging the singers at the end of the night,” says Kushner. “The bride and groom are literally transformed during their wedding, and I want to create a musical experience that transforms the crowd.”

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