Hannah Forrester married Rick Dolan on September 4th, 2010. I've yet to meet Hannah personally but my connection to her family goes way back to my hometown of North Platte, Nebraska where Hannah had her wedding and her mother Tami did, too.
Tami and I went to high school together. When Tami married her high school sweetheart, Pat Forrester, I was so honored that Tami and her mother, Jan, asked me to sing in the wedding.
That, my friends, was over 20 years ago. When Tami and I reconnected recently via Facebook she honored me again with the request to sing in her daughter's wedding. Though I said a very moved YES and was so excited to be part of another wedding with this wonderful family, the distance (I've been a New Yorker for nearly 13 years) and the finances just weren't going to allow me to be there in person.
But Hannah would still have a Custom Wedding Song written by me, which Tami decided would be a special surprise gift for the Bride & Groom.
This was the first time I'd ever written a song for a bride without actually getting to communicate directly with the bride. I was really nervous that I'd somehow get Hannah's story wrong or not hit on the special things (memories, images, feelings...) connected to her relationship with her hubby-to-be that would make this song one that she truly loved and would be proud to share.
And I wanted the song to be special to the groom, too, of course, which might be difficult for Tami and I to do together in secret.
Luckily, Tami was a wonderful source of info about Hannah & Rick's courtship. Some of the details I knew I wanted to use in their Custom Wedding Song were...
- Hannah met Rick on Rick's 21st birthday (which is March 21st). At that meeting, he wanted to kiss her and she wouldn't let him. They became friends first and eventually started dating on Sept 4th. They got married one year after their first date, to the day.
- Both Hannah & Rick love the song "White Lightning" and were surprised to learn that about each other. Pat, Hannah's dad, used to play that song in his truck when his daughters were young. I wanted to somehow mention white lightning....as well as Hannah's relationship with her Dad and her Grandfather...as key elements for her lyrics.
- Rick seemed to know right when he met Hannah that she was his girl. Before Rick and Hannah started dating, Rick handed her his class ring and told her she could have it because he was going to marry her someday. Rick's immediate sense of Hannah being The One is the main theme on which I based the entire song, moving me to title it "From Moment One."
- Other sweet details like Rick calling Hannah his "Purdy Girl".....Rick pacing outside the jewelry store until they finally opened their doors on the day he went to buy Hannah's engagement ring....in fact, Rick himself really became the driving force of this whole song as I imagine he was when convincing Hannah that he was the right man to love her from moment one.
Not really knowing what kind of tempo & tone Hannah would want for her own Custom Wedding Song, I just winged it with Tami's input, writing something slow and loving.
I played the 1st draft of the song for Tami over the phone. She liked it so much she had me call her mother, Jan, and play it over the phone for her, too.
The recording of Hannah's song was easy and quick. Working with my Emmy-nominated recording engineer, Robert L. Smith in New York City, I played my acoustic guitar and a bit of electric guitar in addition to the lead and backing vocals.
I knew that Tami was happy with the song, but would Hannah & Rick love it, too? I waited anxiously for Hannah's wedding to come and go so I could find out what her reaction would be.
I was thinking that Tami would share this song with the bride & groom at their wedding rehearsal dinner, which was the original plan when I was going to be there in person to sing it for them.
But Tami and her co-conspirators put together a Custom Song Surprise so special I wish I had been a fly on the wall when it was played during the wedding ceremony itself.
Here's how Tami describes how they pulled off the surprise....
"We played it right after The Lord's Prayer. We put a copy of the lyrics in the programs so they [Hannah & Rick] wouldn't see it. Then the preacher gave them a copy right before it played so they could listen and see the words. They were totally surprised, they loved it!!"
I was so thrilled to hear how Tami and family sprung this song on Hannah & Rick in such a creative, touching way! Here are the song lyrics to "From Moment One" and you can listen to their Custom Wedding Song by clicking the player below or at the top of this blog, too.
From Moment One by Jennifer Haase by JenniferHaaseMusic
From Moment One by Jennifer Haase by JenniferHaaseMusic
From Moment One
(For Hannah & Rick)
Words & Music by Jennifer Haase c 2010
He knew it when they said hello
And even when she told him no
He knew he’d kiss this girl
And give his heart for real
She made him wait for their first date
Now one year later, to the day
She vows to love this man
And loves how they began
From his birthday, like white lightning
To two friends changed with one class ring
So lucky to find love so young
This love for two that grew from moment one
She’s grateful how their story goes
To add him now to her heroes
Like Dad and Grandpa Ed
The men who love her best
He’d paced outside the jewelry store
Not waiting for a minute more
To ask her for her hand
And make good on his plan
One “Purdy Girl” he loves as much
As those first days he asked her to trust
That his hope for them was true
And big enough for two
This love that grew for two
Somehow he always knew from moment one
He knew it when they said hello…
"The song was AMAZING! Everyone wanted to know when the cd for it was comin' out! They loved it ....my 15 yr old nephew teared up~he wanted a copy. Everyone was blown away by it, Hannah was crying and Rick was so surprised. You touched many lives by that song and I am very blessed to have you as a friend Jennifer!!! I said it before, I think you have a hit with that one~ I know @ least 250 people that would buy it." --Tami Forrester
SPECIAL THANKS to....
Tami & Pat Forrester, for flattering me with the opportunity to be part of your daughter's wedding, which was just as wonderful as when I was part of your own.
Jan Barnhart (Grandmother of the Bride) for the GORGEOUS hand knitted throw you gave me as a Thank You gift, which is so pretty I can hardly bring myself to use it for fear of ruining it! Thank you for your thoughtfulness, very much.
And special thanks, of course, to Hannah & Rick. Writing this song for you was a sincere pleasure. I hope you and your family enjoy it for many years to come. Congrats to you!
To discuss the details for your own Custom Song Commission for your special event or loved one, please contact me at CustomSongsByJenniferHaase@gmail.com