Having played at another short wedding at Inglewood Manor earlier in the day, I was keen to make good time to perform at Andy and Louise’s wedding at Ryecroft Hall last night. I managed to get the baby grand up to the first floor function room in the lift and performed a first set solo before the other 4 members of the band joined me for the first dance: The Chain by Fleetwood Mac as both the bride and groom are mad F1 fans.
From the first dance on we kept everyone on the floor. Songs that went down particularly well were Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me and Suspicious Minds where drummer Carl played an absolute blinder! We’d forgotten he used to play in an Elvis Vegas band and nailed all the breaks with untamed aggression! A great night!
I had met Alasdair at his Auntie Jen’s house when I played at her birthday party last year. He had been busy restoring his beloved old Land Rover so that it would be ready to be used as the wedding car to take the bride to the church and then up to the marquee which had been set up in the field at Church Farm. Apparently, he and some friends slept in the marquee the night before the wedding to finish setting everything up and keep an eye on things. His other Auntie Sally from Pipedreams Cake Design had made a fantastic wedding cake for him and Laura.
The massive marquee had a window side looking over to the Welsh Hills which looked superb as the sun began to set. As requested, I set up the white baby grand next to where the dance floor would be and after performing my usual sets at the piano – including a fair selection of Tom Waits for Alasdair – I finished off the evening with couple of DJ sets before farewell to guests who were apparently returning on the Sunday for a picnic… They certainly picked a great spot and I’m sure I’ll be seeing them again soon…
On Saturday, I performed at Tammy and Dave’s wedding at West Tower Country House Hotel in Aughton – undoubtedly, one of my favourite venues. Tammy had contacted me initially from Azerbaijan where she and Dave live and after discussing options had decided that I should set up a piano keyboard outside for the drinks reception and the white baby grand inside for the subsequent wedding breakfast.
Dave was a fan of Robbie Williams and particulalry the swing material he’d covered so the likes of Have You Met Miss Jones, Mack The Knife and Mr Bojangles were definitely on the playlist. Tammy was keen to hear some new versions of Beatles classics while they were home in Liverpool.
The weather on the day was great so everything went according to plan. With an abundance of real characters amongst the guest, a full-on sing song was guaranteed and a good time was had by one and all.
I may meet up for the invitational golf classic they organise in Dubai as I am performing in Dubai at the end of October but in the meantime I wish them both all the best!
On Saturday I travelled down to Leominster in Herefordshire to perform at Nicky and Colin’s wedding at the impressive Hampton Court Estate. Nicky had found me on the internet and as she and Colin were based in London I proposed a chat over Skype where I could also link up my desk in the studio and play through some requests for them live… I discovered that the piano they wanted me to perform on for their drinks reception and arrival of evening guests was actually the venue´s own Blüthner concert grand which had been tuned just days before. Oh joy! As requested, I played instrumentals for the drinks reception and then began the more upbeat evening sets with piano and vocals.
The Blüthner concert grand at Hampton Court
I was the perfect day! Nicky and Colin made a very beautiful couple. Many of her family were originally from Liverpool and and I soon felt I had become a friend of the family.
The photographer on the day was Susie Mackie who has very kindly forwarded a few images from the day
On the Friday evening, I set up the piano again for Laura and Stu’s wedding at a fantastic new venue in Thornton Hough, Wirral – Mere Brook House, owned by Lorna and Don. With just close friends and family, Laura and Stu had chosen the perfect venue for a very welcoming, intimate setting where guests are invited to go to the kitchen to have their food served so that they can take as little or as much as they wish and also try more than one particular dish. All food is apparently locally sourced and I must say it all smelled absolutely delicious.
After playing through the wedding breakfast, I followed guests out onto the terrace for some fresh air before setting up the lights as darkness fell – just in time for the barbeque around 10pm supplying bacon, sausage and black pudding to keep the dancers dancing… and dance they did!
On Friday, I was playing at Stacey & Jason’s wedding at the nearby Holiday Inn in Ellesmere Port. As it turns out, we all have birthdays on consecutive days in October and also share a love of music with Stacey an energetic performing arts coach.
She and Jason visited the studio a few months before the wedding to go over playlists and final timings for the day particularly for the transition from drinks reception to wedding breakfast as some helpers were required to slide the baby grand from the reception area to the dining area. This was quite easily done on the day as the doors at the Holiday Inn are all wide double doors.
Drinks went well and during a lovely wedding breakfast the singing began culminating with the hands in the air for the finale Hey Jude…. la-la-la la-la-la-la….! To the bride and groom!