Brandon and Stacy
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Brandon and Stacy's Wedding Dance

Written by Rick Archer
May 2016

"Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" by Frankie Valli is a wedding song favorite.  A quick glance at the lyrics explains the song's popularity with wedding couples.  

You're just too good to be true, Can't take my eyes off of you
You'd be like heaven to touch, I wanna hold you so much
At long last love has arrived, And I thank God I'm alive
You're just too good to be true, Can't take my eyes off of you

Last year at this time, a lovely couple named Mark and Jill chose this song for their wedding dance.  By chance, this year a new couple named Brandon and Stacy chose the song as well.  And so did Michael and Erica, another one of my wedding couples.  Obviously this song strikes a strong chord with a lot of people. 

When I first met Brandon, he wasn't so sure of himself, but he was game.  Stacy was a bit more tense than usual.  Since neither person had ever spent much time learning to partner dance, they weren't sure what they were getting into.  As always, I made sure to put them at ease as quickly as possible.  While we worked on the basics steps of Foxtrot, I asked them questions like what they do for a living.

It turns out that Brandon is the assistant principal at a Katy middle school.  Stacy works for an engineering firm that provides mooring systems for floating oil and gas production facilities and marine terminals.


Continuing my habit of being nosy, I learned that Brandon and Stacy met in a very unusual way.  When Brandon explained how he met Stacy, he immediately earned my undying respect. 

Apparently Brandon went up to Stacy, a complete stranger, not just once, but twice in the same evening to make her acquaintance. 

To me, one of the most difficult things for a man to do is approach a beautiful woman who is a complete stranger.   The very thought of it has made me weak in my knees for my entire life. 

Oddly enough, my entire dance career grew out of my complete inability to even conceive of such a thing.  As a young man I took years of dance lessons simply as a way to build my lack of confidence in this area.

I figured if I couldn't work up the nerve to talk to a pretty girl who was a complete stranger, I could at least ask her dance.  Fortunately I had no idea how difficult it would be for me to learn to dance.  Over a period of three years, I took one lesson after another to overcome both my shyness and dance ineptitude.

By the time I completed my training, something unusual had happened.  I had inadvertently learned so much about dancing that one of my instructors asked me to substitute teach for her one summer.  The next thing I knew I had a new career. 

The series of coincidences that followed were so unusual that I ended up writing a book about it... Destiny.  I am currently on the last chapter. 

Oh, one more thing... my strategy did eventually pay off.  Indeed, I met my wife Marla by asking her to dance.  Thank goodness she said yes.  (Stroke of Midnight)


The only problem with my approach is that it took me three years to learn how to make my move.  Brandon didn't have that luxury.  Fortunately Brandon had a better idea... when he saw Stacy, he decided it would be easiest to just go over and say hello.

Brandon and Stacy met on a hot summer night in 2014.  Stacy was at Straits, a restaurant that is part of Hotel Sorella in downtown's City Center.

Stacy was waiting for her friend Giny, a co-worker, and Giny's boyfriend Joe to join her for dinner.   Stacy's version was that Giny and Joe were late, Giny and Joe's version was that Stacy was early. 

To pass the time, Stacy went over to the bar to pass the time.  To her surprise, a handsome gentleman materialized.  Brandon had come over to say hi.

Unfortunately, before Brandon could get the conversation going, Giny and Joe showed up.  Stacy decided to disengage and go have dinner. 

A lesser man probably would have gotten discouraged.  In fact, Brandon probably did feel a bit shot down.  Maybe so, maybe not, but what is certain is that once Brandon observed Stacy's single-minded focus on dinner, he disappeared.

To Stacy's surprise, two hours later Brandon reappeared.  After he left the restaurant,  Brandon had gone upstairs to the Monnalisa Bar to hang out with friends of his own.  However, he could not get Stacy out of his mind.  So two hours later Brandon decided to loop back to the restaurant to see if Stacy was still there.  To his delight, Stacy, Giny, and Joe had just finished dinner and were just sitting at the table chatting. 

Brandon invited the threesome to go upstairs to the Monnalisa in the same hotel for drinks and dancing, an offer they threesome decided to accept. 


Rick's Note:
 I asked Stacy what was going through her mind that night.  Stacy gave me permission to share her side of the story.

When Brandon first stopped at the bar to say hi to me, it coincided exactly with Giny and Joe finally arriving.  Brandon was taken aback by their sudden arrival.  He recovered as best he could,  like "Oh, gee, you're leaving?"  Well, yes, because the hostess was waiting to escort us to a table. My response was something like: "I'm hungry". And that was that. I didn't even give it another thought. All my friends who know me and who have heard this story are like "Yep, that sounds about right. Stacy is so clueless when it comes to guys showing an interest in her".

So we were seated and we had a very nice dinner. The three of us had already agreed previously that we would go up to the Monnalisa after dinner.  However, we were in no hurry.  After dinner we were just chatting for a bit before we went upstairs to the Monnalisa. It was kind of funny because it was getting kind of late (9:30-10:00) and the hostess had seated us in a side room by ourselves. I'm not sure how Brandon knew to go to that side room, but I suppose he looked around till he found us.  He walked right up to the table and said "Hi again, I'm Brandon, I came back down here to find you and to invite you and your friends to come upstairs to the Monnalisa. I am up there with a group of people and we've got tables. Please join us.  I would like to buy you and your friends a drink." 

Needless to say, I was stunned!  Where did he come from?  Now it was my turn to be taken aback.  I think I stammered out, "Well, we were planning on going up there anyway, so we'll see you up there."  When he left, I turned to Joe and asked, "Was I nice to him?"

I had to ask because at that point in my life I had the reputation of being less than friendly to men who were strangers to me.  I was always suspicious of the men folk. Ha ha ha.

Joe confirmed that I was indeed nice.  Then he added, "Stacy, you have NO idea the nerve it takes for a guy to approach a woman like that. Especially when she's with people."

So, again, I was stunned; Joe was impressed; and Giny was just smug about it. Because she had been telling me that I needed to "get out more, not to stay home and read my books, go out with her and Joe."   So Giny was, of course, in her semi-cute, semi-obnoxious "I told you so" mode.

The three of us walked upstairs to the Monnalisa, which was packed. Brandon must've been watching the entrance like a hawk.  The moment we went to the bar, he was immediately there.  Brandon made good on his offer to buy us drinks. Then he led us to a table that one of his friends was holding for us. 

Anyway, we made some small talk (of course the place was kind of loud because there was a live band playing, they were quite good). We exchanged basic information…you know… like what you do for a living, do you have any children, etc etc. During the course of the conversation, he mentioned that he used to do some MMA-type training that included wrestling, martial arts, and boxing. The boxing part got my attention because I had been training with a boxing coach very seriously until he died unexpectedly. And honestly, it had only been a few short months since my boxing coach's death and I was still grieving over the loss. And I started boxing to help me handle the grief over my father's death. Life is so ironic, isn't it?

Brandon asked to exchange phone numbers with me and I agreed. We enjoyed talking some more and listening to the band. But I needed to leave around midnight-ish because I was scheduled to teach a Spin class the next morning.  So Brandon walked me to my car and then I drove him to his and that was that.  This was a Friday. 

We talked on the phone the following night, then went out to dinner on Sunday.  Over the course of the next year, I realized just how special Brandon was.   The rest, as the saying goes, was history.


Brandon proposed on February 13, 2015.  It came as a total surprise.  Apparently Brandon had kept Stacy guessing.  He had been torturing her for weeks with hints that were more like riddles.

So on that Friday (Friday the 13th!!) all he told her was to dress up. He drove to the Hotel ZaZa taking the most nonsensical route possible to further confuse and mystify her.

At the hotel they were escorted to a private cabana in the pool area.  The cabana was set up with rose petals, wine, and music. Brandon had already taken care of all the details.  In addition there were promises of dinner... always a direct way to Stacy's heart.

Stacy reminded Brandon he had promised her dancing as well.  Indeed, Brandon played three songs to which they danced.  Stacy told me she couldn't remember the first two.

However Stacy definitely remembered the third song was "Marry Me" by Train.  Blushing a bit, Stacy admitted she was still CLUELESS.  As she listened to the song while they danced, her only thought was this would be a good song for a wedding. 

Just then, Brandon interrupted her thoughts to magically produce a ring out of thin air.  Stacy stopped breathing.

Giny and Joe with Brandon and Stacy

The boys clearly need to take smiling lessons from the girls


"Seriously, Rick, I never saw it coming!"

Fortunately, despite her utter astonishment, Stacy recovered her wits quickly enough to happily accept Brandon's proposal.

Given how beautifully everything turned out, one can only wonder what went through Brandon's mind on the first night he met her in the summer of 2014.  My instincts suggest he spent the two hour gap between first meeting and the second meeting making sure he tried one more time.

Look at it this way... as I wrote this story, I heard a song about a guy who has been camping out on a corner hoping a certain girl might walk by again because he didn't have the courage to act when he saw her the first time.

I am one of those guys.  Had it been me, I imagine I would have taken Stacy's decision to go eat as a polite brush-off and thrown in the towel.  So for Brandon to return two hours later speaks to the heart of a man far braver than most men.

They always say 'Faint heart never won fair maiden'.  I think that phrase sums up this story perfectly. 

I can attest that more times than not my courage has failed me in similar situations.  As a guy who has seen more than a few pretty girls in my time that I did not have the nerve to approach, from one guy to another, I applaud Brandon.

As one can see, Stacy is a very beautiful woman... well worth taking such a dramatic risk.   What a fascinating story.


Given how good these two look in their wedding dance pictures, it might come a surprise that their dance lessons did not go smoothly at first.  They both struggled, but Stacy struggled a bit more. 

I soon realized that Stacy is more analytical than the average lady.  Not that there is anything wrong with being analytical, but it does make learning to dance more of a challenge.

As I have said in past stories, highly analytical people are typically very successful in their careers.  Unfortunately, the tendency to think first in dancing is a problem, especially for the ladies.  Women who are instinctual do better. 

Since it is a woman's role to 'react', when the leads get ambiguous, a girl might trip over her own feet because that moment of doubt wondering what to do next carries a price.

I once wrote an article on this phenomenon.  (Secrets of Following)  I have long been intrigued by this subject since I too am overly-analytical.  It is this curse that has kept me from being a top-flight dancer.  On the other hand, it helped me understand people who struggle for the same reason.

In Stacy's case, there were times when she seemed very frustrated.  If forced to guess, Stacy had never done much partner dancing before.  I think it upset her that this style of dancing was trickier than she expected. 

I had to explain some of the fundamentals of 'following' to Stacy.  Her tendency to use her brain to memorize the patterns often meant that she took a step ahead of the lead.   Fortunately it didn't take Stacy too long to get the hang of it.  By the fourth lesson, Stacy was definitely in her groove. 

Then I noticed that Brandon looked sharper as well.  The metamorphosis was both apparent and curious.  I wondered how Stacy and Brandon had made such a dramatic step forward, so I immediately asked for an explanation.

They both grinned and refused to answer.  Finally under my relentless questioning, they admitted they had done undergone a marathon practice session during the previous week's break while I was out of town on my April Danube River cruise.  

I have to tell you, the proof was right there before my eyes.  There really is something to this 'Practice' stuff.  Brandon and Stacy looked wonderful.  They were locked and loaded.

Performing the infamous Diva Walk


I think Brandon was new to partner dancing as well.  He was a bit stiff at first and took larger strides than necessary.  One thing that made Brandon special was that he took my suggestions to heart and never seemed to mind being corrected.

Since I have been overly sensitive to criticism my whole life, this was yet another characteristic in Brandon that I admired. 

Although the material did not come easily to him, Brandon made steady progress.  Unlike Stacy who can be moody at times, Brandon seemed unflappable.  I was impressed at just how steady this man was.   For example, I said his 'back step' was too large and it made him lean forward.  He took my suggestion to heart and it worked; in every picture, his posture is perfect.  I suggested he make his stride smaller by sliding his feet.  Again the pictures show a perfect stride that makes it easier for Stacy to match her husband's height.

Brandon even let me make him 'the girl'.  I led Brandon through the girl's part several times because there is no more effective way to teach a man how to lead.  The easiest way to learn how to lead is to feel how I do it.  Many men object to dancing the girl's part, but if they will trust me, I can use this technique to improve their leads dramatically.  Brandon was a good sport and it paid off for him.

I attribute much of Stacy's improvement to Brandon's excellent leading skills.  As his lead improved, so did her follow skills.  A real trust developed between these two.

I have often said a woman can learn a lot about a man by how he dances and his approach to learning.  I have never seen a man concentrate harder on learning to dance correctly than Brandon did.  Once Brandon developed his leads, I could see Stacy visibly begin to relax.  She was able to put her analytical mind at ease and just dance. 


The fourth lesson was the turning point.  I will admit to being genuinely surprised when from the moment Brandon and Stacy arrived for their lesson, they were beyond smooth.  Gone was the tentativeness, gone was the lack of confidence.

I asked them what accounted for this dramatic leap forward.  Brandon smiled.  "We practiced a lot this week."

I nodded.  There are several special qualities about this couple, but in particular I noted they had the strongest work ethic I have ever seen.  The awkwardness was gone and replaced by a gracefulness that far transcended their starting point.

Stacy really impressed me.  Now her attitude was so much more positive.  I remember there was a double turn that absolutely bedeviled the lady.  She got so frustrated she went and sat down.  Not any longer.  She did that turn in her sleep.

There was a styling technique that I tried to show her where she crossed her arm over her body... exactly as Stacy is doing in the picture.  It did not click. 

Then one night Stacy watched as I danced the 'follow' part with Brandon to work on his leads and muscle memory.  First she rolled her eyes at me for hamming it up.  Then I noticed her do a double-take when she saw me add the flourish with the arm.  Suddenly Stacy wanted that move too... so she filmed it and mastered it on her own.  I was very impressed.  That is the work ethic in action.


There was one area where Brandon and Stacy excelled.  They didn't have the slightest bit of trouble mastering the Dip at the end.  I call this the Sinatra Dip based on a famous picture of Frank Sinatra dipping his tempestuous wife Ava Gardner. 

Both Brandon and Stacy have some serious athletic ability.  Stacy was totally unafraid of getting hurt.  From the start she launched herself into that Dip with reckless abandon. 

Brandon had perfect timing and posture from the start.  The only thing I needed to correct was to show him how to lock his back leg.  Judging from the picture, he did perfectly.  Indeed, he dipped his lovely wife with reckless abrandon.

Brandon and Stacy are the epitome of two people who understand the value of hard work.  Many people assume that beautiful dancers are natural dancers.  Not necessarily so. 

While it is true that the finest dancers are natural dancers, people would be surprised that partner dancing is an art form that is attainable by practically anyone who puts their mind to it.   If ever there was a testament to the value of two people rolling up their sleeves and doing it again and again until they got it right, it would be Brandon and Stacy.


Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner


If you study the dance pictures of Brandon and Stacy, one might assume they have been dancing their entire life.  Unless they had me badly fooled, Brandon had never partner danced in his life and Stacy had learned what little she knew by trial and error.  The pictures you see are the result of seven hours of private lessons and probably another seven hours of good old-fashioned practice on the kitchen floor. 

Here is another point.  Do you see how trim they are?  Each week Brandon and Stacy came to class straight from working out.  I have never seen a more perfectly toned woman than Stacy.  Furthermore, judging by Brandon's strong and slender body, he matched his shapely wife stride for stride in the fitness department.  

They are not beautiful by accident... they work at it. 

Brandon and Stacy were married on Saturday, April 30, 2016.

Judging by the pictures, Brandon and Stacy came as close to the perfect wedding dance as possible.  They smiled throughout and their dancing showed a wonderful polish born of hard work.  Best of all, they charmed their guests with a marvelous show of grace and considerable warmth.  A cursory glance at the smiles on the faces of their guests speaks volumes to how charming their dance was. 

I applaud these two dancers who looked so wonderfully relaxed and happy together.  I credit their hard work for creating such poise. 


One last note.  I have seen many dance pictures in my lifetime.  I have never seen a finer set of wedding dance photos.  I tip my hat to their very skilled photographer.   Of course, Brandon and Stacy made his job easier by being ridiculously photogenic. 

Brandon and Stacy are two very talented, gifted people.  It is very easy for me to see why they are both such successful in their careers.  They set a goal and they go for it.  I am impressed.  It was a real honor to work with them.

Rick Archer
May 2016

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