MR O.K Grooms: Michael Saltsman
Michael Saltsman is the Global Music Supervisor for Ralph Lauren and a part-time wedding DJ.
Michael met Amy during their senior year of college through mutual friends, but it wasn’t until they were both living in New York that they started dating. After five years living in Brooklyn together, Michael played hooky from work and arranged a picnic in Greenpoint’s Transmitter Park where he popped the question, surprising Amy with a weekend trip to Nashville with flights leaving that same afternoon.
What style of wedding ring did you choose, and why?
I wanted something timeless and classic, just our initials and the date engraved on the inside. I chose a 4mm yellow gold, half-round style, which I liked because it fits flush against my finger.
What was your first dance song and how did you choose it?
“Make Me Yours” by Bettye Swann—a soul song that makes us happy that we were really into at the time. Swann is a singer I knew nothing about until a few years ago, but she has a really amazing catalogue. As unoriginal as it can be to have a soul song played as a first dance, I felt there was still something unique about it.
Tell us about your DJ… As a DJ yourself, how did you choose your own?
I hired Ben Boylan. I used to DJ with him for years at two long-term residencies in Brooklyn.
How did you choose your photographer?
We were more interested in getting cool photos rather than staged ones, so we chose Brandon Werth and his wife Chelsea. We liked the work we had seen online, their candid shots in particular. They were absolutely amazing and were two of the nicest people we’ve met. We instantly felt comfortable—it was like they were just like any other guest at the wedding. Our wedding book looks beautiful all thanks to them. We quickly became friends and still keep in touch a year later. I highly recommend him, it’s worth flying him in.
Where did you get married? Tell us a little bit about the venue.
Mill City Museum in Minneapolis, MN. It’s an old flower mill on a river that was turned into a museum after it exploded for the second time. The space has a very unique, open-air courtyard which is in ruins, filled with crumbling walls and twisted metal left over from the explosion. This is where our ceremony was, which was a really unique setting to juxtapose an elegant wedding with the dilapidated surroundings. The dinner and reception were held in the modern interior of the museum, which overlooks the courtyard from large glass windows. It has an industrial but modern feel which was a great contrast to the ceremony space. It was a very unique venue, and one of its best qualities was it had another covered outdoor space which would work as a rain contingency.
What did you gift your groomsmen?
Solid navy ties, and each of them got a unique vintage silver money clip.
Tell us about choosing your suit…
I wore a Ralph Lauren midnight navy shawl collar tuxedo. This is the darkest navy tux I have seen, and I prefer it that way. The only way you knew it wasn’t black was because of the black lapels and pant stripes’ subtle contrast. I got it on sale for a great price and it fit me like a glove. My tux shirt had a pique front bib which I much prefer over a pleated bib. I was considering a custom shirt, but the Ralph Lauren shirt off the rack fit me great and in addition to the right bib, it had just the right amount of collar spread. I wore a solid black satin bow tie to match the lapels, and black Ralph Lauren patent leather shoes. I got vintage pearl and gold shirt studs, and my grandfather’s gold cufflinks engraved with an “S.” I also wore the watch my wife gave me as a wedding gift. I felt great in what I was wearing and it was important to me that it feel special. I also wanted to wear something timeless on the surface, but with finishings that made it unique to me (the right navy, the tie material, the shirt front, etc.).
Was it difficult to find what you wanted? Any advice to other grooms looking for their ideal suit?
I did look elsewhere, but honestly, for a classic look it's hard to beat Ralph. They do timeless formalwear very well, so I would recommend them to anyone going for that look. The Missing Link in New York is an amazing place to find vintage studs, cufflinks and tie clips. The most important thing is to feel comfortable. Don’t buy a suit that is tighter than all of your other suits just because you think it looks cool. You must feel like yourself and be comfortable, first and foremost.
Advice you wish another groom had given you before the big day?
I got a lot of great advice before my wedding so I don’t know if I have much new to offer here. Most of the clichés are true: it will go by very fast, enjoy every moment, remember to be present. Make sure you are not in charge of any real logistics on the day of. Hire someone, put someone in charge of that, or make sure that is all taken care of in advance. My wife and I also decided not to separate during the reception so we could experience the whole event together. Maybe not for everyone, but that was really nice for us.
What was the most important thing to you in the planning process?
I definitely wanted the music to be handled, from a technical standpoint as well as a creative one. I spent a lot of time on the non-DJ’d music (during dinner, the reception, etc.), as well as making sure each of our three spaces would sound great and would have zero technical issues. I also wanted to make sure my guest DJ set was something I could be proud of. This is my area of expertise and it drives me nuts when there are any music or sound related issues at weddings. The venue was also very important to us and took a long time to find one that was right. We wanted to get married outside, but also wanted a place that had a good rain plan. Our food was great, but that was not as high on our list, nobody remembers the food."
What did you obsess over the most when planning your wedding?
The speakers, speaker placement, and the music. I was also very nervous about writing my own vows, but I knew it was the right thing to do and I am glad I did.
What was the hardest/easiest part about planning your wedding?
Finding a venue was easy for me but very hard for my wife. She saw more than 20 venues, I saw less than five. Some of the logistics around the design, printing, and distribution of any printed material (save the date, invitations, place cards, programs, etc.), were very stressful. It may have been easier if we were less involved in the design, or if we worked with someone that handled more of the details. That can be very expensive though, so we did much of that ourselves which was more work than expected.
What was the most unexpected challenge/delight in the planning process of your wedding day?
The cost of literally everything was the most unexpected challenge. The most unexpected delight was that there was never a large family fight. Our families get along great and we get along great with our families, but I’ve just heard so many stories where the stress gets to someone and there’s a crisis moment. We never had the crisis moment, so a lot of the time it felt like, “How is this going so well? When is the other shoe going to fall?” It never did!"
Looking back now, what was the highlight of your day?
Seeing my bride. Seeing nearly everyone we loved in the world gathered in the same room at the same time. Cliché, but really powerful.