Wedding venues in the Southwest – the BIG list!

Wedding Venues in the Southwest

Following on from my previous blog post, where I put together a list of 10 of my favourite wedding venues, here’s an exhaustive list of every venue I’ve played at down the years! I’ve arranged them by area, and each has it’s own web link so that you can check out what they have to offer…

Wedding venues in Bristol

The Avon Gorge HotelHotel Du VinMercure Bristol North HotelPaintworksNumber 4 CliftonBerwick LodgeThe Bristol Golf Club AlmondsburyClifton Pavilion (Bristol Zoo)The Square ClubColliters Brook FarmGlassboat BristolGoldney Hall (The Orangery)The Bristol Packet (a boat!)The Grain BargeMerchants Hall, Ashton Court Mansion

The Orangery, Goldney Hall, Bristol

Wedding venues in Bath, Somerset & Wiltshire 

Aldwick EstateThe Roman BathsOrchardleigh HousePriston Mill Tythe Barn and WatermillWick Farm BathCoombe LodgeAmerican MuseumBathwick Boatman RestaurantClevedon Hall,  Haberfield HallCadbury HouseRookery ManorThe Gathering BarnCornerhouse HotelNailsea Tithe BarnCharlton HouseBishopstrow House HotelCombe Grove ManorBailbrook HouseKilver CourtAbbey Manor Centre YeovilCourt Farm BanwellThe Old Mill BathMoonraker HotelHuntstile Organic FarmLimpley Stoke HotelHomewood ParkFolly Farm PensfordBatch Country HouseBabington HouseYarlington BarnHare & Hounds (Lansdown, Bath),  Haselbury MillBrympton House, The Battleaxes, Quantock Lakes

The Roman Baths, Bath

Wedding venues in Gloucestershire and The Cotswolds

Kingscote BarnCripps BarnStone BarnBerkeley CastleGreat Tythe Barn TetburyThe Manor House Hotel (Moreton-In-Marsh)Westonbirt ArboretumThe Manor House (Castle Combe)The Matara CentreThornbury CastleThornbury Golf ClubThe Hare & Hounds (Tetbury)Eastwood ParkManor By The Lake CheltenhamHatton CourtRendcomb College, Elmore Court, Egypt Mill

Manor By The Lake, Cheltenham

Wedding venues in Cornwall, Devon & Dorset

Watergate BayTunnels BeachesTrevennaDunster Tithe BarnLusty GlazeThe Green CornwallMill End HotelThe Lynhurst (Lynton)Ever After – A Dartmoor WeddingPolhawn FortSt. Elizabeth’s HouseYeoldon HouseBovey CastleWoolacombe Bay HotelBridwell ParkBranksome Dene, St. Audries Park

Trevenna Barns, Cornwall

Wedding venues in Wales

Canada Lake & LodgeGlen-Yr-Afon HotelWest Usk LighthouseLlancaiach Fawr ManorThe Barn at West FarmFforestOxwich Bay HotelNew House Country HotelCardiff Marriott HotelClearwell CastleManorbier CastleBarn at BrynichBryngarw HouseFlorin, Llechwen Hall

Clearwell Castle

Others

Friars CourtCaswell HouseSpittleborough FarmhouseSulgrave ManorOaks Farm (Surrey)Bordesley ParkBirtsmorton CourtBrockencote HallAldwickbury Park Golf ClubMorden Hall, Little Channels, The Mill Barns

Birtsmorton Court

Wedding Venues in Bristol, Bath and the South-West

Wedding Guitarist Blog – Wedding Venues

As a wedding musician, I get to see a lot of fantastic venues. Based in Bristol, I’m lucky that there is a big, varied choice of amazing places to get married nearby. There’s hidden gems right here in the city, and in the neighbouring counties of Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire you’ll find everything from country manor estates to tithe barns, boutique hotels to castles. Heading West towards Wales and South to Dorset, Cornwall and Devon you’ll find stunning beachside venues, farms… I’ve even played at a lighthouse once!

It’s hard to have favourites when there’s so many brilliant venues around, but here’s a few of my top picks. I must say, it was very hard to narrow it down to just 10 and there are lots more I’d love to include. For a list of ALL the venues I’ve played at in my time as a singer/guitarist for weddings, see my full list of venues here.

Without any further ado then, here’s 10 of the best!

 

Wedding venues – Top 10 picks

1. Aldwick Estate

I’m lucky enough to visit Aldwick quite often – it’s a popular spot to get married and for good reason! It’s in a fantastic location, just half an hour South of Bristol near the beautiful Mendip hills. A perfect blend of countryside chic with a modern twist, it’s a working vineyard so you’ll have the opportunity to test their British wines, and if you get married here there’s some fantastic photo opportunities in the grounds!

There are two adjacent barns, one which holds the wedding ceremony and the larger barn which is set up for the wedding breakfast during the daytime. Later on, there’s plenty of space to hold a wedding band or DJ to keep the party going until late.

There’s a large outdoor space which is absolutely perfect in the Summer if the sun is shining. I have many fond memories of playing live acoustic music out on the terrace as guests mingle and the married couple have photos taken.

Apart from the stunning surroundings, I think my favourite thing about Aldwick is the people – you’re always greeted with a friendly welcome and the staff and catering team are so helpful!

2. Coombe Lodge at Blagdon

Just down the road from Aldwick is the bold, imposing building that is Coombe Lodge. Similarly to Aldwick it’s in an amazing location, just outside the village of Blagdon, adjacent to the Mendip hills. With stunning views of Blagdon Lake, out to the Chew Valley countryside, it really is an amazing spot and on a clear Summer’s day the views are hard to beat.

It’s a country house building with exclusive use of the house and gardens for weddings so you can truly make the place your own. I’ve never been to a wedding at Coombe Lodge that hasn’t been full of fun! I think the staff are a big part of what makes this place special – they always go out of their way to make sure everything runs perfectly and are always friendly and helpful. It’s always a pleasure to play guitar at Coombe Lodge, whether I’m out in the gardens in the Summer sun, or inside in the cosy surroundings in the Winter – it’s one of my favourite places to visit.

3. The Kingscote Barn

Set in the middle of the beautiful Cotswolds countryside, this barn venue is absolutely gorgeous – pay it a visit and you’ll fall in love with it instantly! They’ve won many awards at Kingscote and it’s easy to see why. Apart from the incredible views and the fantastic buildings, the team at Kingscote are just brilliant and always on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly.

I’ve played guitar in various locations at Kingscote Barn – in the main barn for the wedding ceremony, near the bar and in the reception room as guests have drinks and canapés. There’s also an outdoor area, and in the Summer you can get married outside with views of the glorious countryside as you walk down the aisle. I can play acoustic music outside if the weather allows, and the gardens out the back are quite a sun trap when the sun is shining. Drinks, relaxing in the sun and live acoustic music – perfection!

4. Tunnels Beaches, Ilfracombe

On the North-Western Devon coast, Tunnels Beaches is surely one of the most amazing places in the UK to get married. The location is simply jaw-dropping – you even get your own private beach if you’re married here! After walking down the famous tunnels which were hand carved in the 1820’s, you enter the venue, nestled neatly into the rocky coastline. The vibe is stylish and relaxed – seaside chic with a modern twist.

The open plan layout of the venue means that you always feel like you’re outside, even if you’re not – and you have that relaxing sea view at all times. It’s a spectacular place to get married, and I always have a tingle of excitement when someone books me to play their wedding music at Tunnels!

I’ve played here during the daytime, in the evening, inside and outside and each time it’s been an fantastic occasion. A word of warning if you’re interested in getting married here though, it’s highly in demand as you could imagine, so you may have to book well in advance to secure this amazing place as your wedding venue!

5. Wick Farm Bath

Wick Farm Bath is actually a venue I’ve not visited that often, but I wanted to include it on the list because a/ it’s stunning and b/ I got married here! I also think it’s a little under the radar – although it’s certainly very popular as a wedding venue, it seems that not that many people I speak to have heard of it. So a worthy mention for this lovely barn venue. The owners are relaxed, friendly and are happy for you to really make the place your own. They were tremendously helpful when we were planning our wedding, and equally as welcoming when I came back to sing at a wedding a few months later!

The inside of the barn is cosy and warm with underfloor heating if the weather isn’t so great, so perfect for Winter weddings. In the Summer sun, guests can mingle outside in the beautiful grounds so it’s a winner in all seasons. I love playing guitar here – the acoustics in the main barn are beautiful for wedding ceremony music, and if the sun is shining you can’t beat a bit of acoustic music out on the terrace!

6. Priston Mill

Priston Mill, not far from Bath, comprises two separate buildings – the Watermill and the Tythe Barn. Both equally stunning in their own right, the Watermill is totally unique and the Tythe Barn is warm and inviting. You can host your wedding in either of the venues – the Tythe Barn has a bigger capacity but the Watermill may be on your list if you’re looking for somewhere a little more quirky.

Both venues are perfect for music, especially if the weather is good. Guests can wonder the gardens and enjoy the beautiful North East Somerset countryside… whilst listening to some live acoustic music in the sun!

7. Clevedon Hall

If you have your heart set on a stunning manor house with beautiful grounds and plenty of amazing photo opportunities, Clevedon Hall may be just the place for you. Located in the sleepy seaside town of Clevedon, the beach is just a stone’s throw away – so as well as getting amazing photographs in the extensive grounds (you may even see some deer if you’re lucky!), you could also pop over the road and get some pictures by the sea, or by Clevedon’s famous pier.

Acoustic music works fantastically at Clevedon Hall – the grand main hall plays host to the wedding ceremony, where I’m often booked to play during the bridal entrance, the signing of the register and as the married couple make their jubilant exit. Afterwards it’s outside for drinks in the sun, weather permitting, where I’ll play some music as people mingle and enjoy their afternoon. Later on, the place is transformed for the evening party and it tends to get pretty lively! I’m often booked to do a kind of ‘warm up’ set before a DJ or live band take over for the rest of the evening.

8. The Great Tythe Barn, Tetbury

There’s a lot of wedding venues in the Cotswolds, but this stands out as one of my favourites. Just outside the picturesque town of Tetbury, it’s main feature is the beautifully restored 16th century barn, and it also has accommodation on site with self-catering cottages which can be used by the wedding party.

Equally beautiful inside and out, it doesn’t matter if it’s raining at the Great Tythe Barn – the grounds are lovely in the sunshine but it’s just as good inside if the British weather isn’t playing ball! Again, at this venue I tend to be booked for the wedding ceremony and drinks reception but I’ve also done a few evening events here which are always good fun!

 

9. Ever After – A Dartmoor Wedding

Now, this venue I think falls into the ‘hidden gem’ category! Not far from Tavistock in the Dartmoor countryside, this venue is truly one of my favourite places to visit. The word ‘magical’ sounds a bit cheesy, but there really is something other-worldly about this place. From the moment you drive through the large wooden gate, you realise this is no ordinary wedding venue. It sits next to a small river, and as you walk around you notice unique personal touches everywhere – the attention to detail makes this spot really stand out from the crowd.

As well as having a beautiful location for the wedding ceremony, there’s also a grand luxury marquee which hosts the wedding breakfast and evening celebrations. Some of my favourite memories are of singing in the sunshine as guests mingle and explore this unique place.

However, I think the thing that really makes Ever After tick is owner Nicola and her team. Nicola works with you to ensure you get your perfect big day – she’s incredibly knowledgeable, helpful and will even style the wedding to make your vision a reality. It’s a truly personal service, and every time I have the privilege of playing a wedding at Ever After, it’s clear how much time and effort has been spent preparing for the big day. Just a really special place, with wonderful people.

10. Stone Barn

Last on my list but most certainly not least, it’s another barn venue (you’re probably realising that I really love converted barns by now!) – and one of the most spectacular ones you’ll find. In the heart of the Cotswolds, you drive down a country track to get there and at first you may wonder where you’re headed! As you drive on, the barn emerges in front of you, almost hidden in a little dip amongst the fields that surround it. The first thing that strikes you is the corrugated iron roofs over the Dutch Barns, which gives it a rustic, traditional feel.

When you walk in, it really takes your breath away. It’s a big space which can accommodate up to 250 guests if required, and is tastefully decorated with draped lighting and a stunning open plan layout. The other thing you’ll notice is the smell of food being freshly prepared in the open plan kitchen, as the chefs flame grill delicious offerings right in front of your eyes. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

The ceremony room is equally as stunning with it’s stone walls, high ceilings and traditional styling. Outdoors you’ll find a relaxed area where guests can enjoy drinks and canapés, and later on the fire pits are lit to create a warm, cosy atmosphere. It’s an absolutely amazing place to play live acoustic music and I just love visiting this gem in the Cotswolds.

 

So there you have it. 10 of the best wedding venues in the Southwest – but there’s plenty more to choose from! If you want to see a full list of venues that I’ve played at, arranged by area, click the link below.

Wedding Venues Southwest – the Big List!

I hope this blog was informative – if you’re planning your wedding and found this article useful, let me know! Or if you have some feedback about wedding venues I’d love to hear from you… drop me a line at info@guitaristforweddings.co.uk or via the Contact Page.

 


Pat McIntyre is a singer and acoustic guitarist from Bristol, UK. An experienced live performer and music aficionado, Pat is available to book for weddings and other events.

For more information about booking Pat for your wedding, click here – or get in touch here.

The Wedding Industry Awards 2017

wedawardsselfie

The red carpet shot!

The Wedding Industry Awards – Regional Finals awards presentation

This year I was nominated for an award at the prestigious Wedding Industry awards. I attended the regional finals last Wednesday at Old Down Estate, Bristol. Did I win? Well, more on that in a moment, but first – why I entered, and some background.

Taking the plunge…

Well, I must say it’s been an absolutely amazing year for me and my little wedding guitar business. It’s my second full year of being a full time musician, specialising in live music tailored specifically for weddings. I’ve been a working musician for over 10 years now, but in the past I’ve always fitted it around other jobs. Last January I took the plunge and made the business my 100% focus.

It was a little scary at the start, as I’m sure anyone who’s dived headfirst into self-employment can relate. I spent the whole of January promoting my business, redesigning my website, filming new promotional videos, arranging performances at wedding fairs and doing all I could to move things forward. Slowly but surely, my little snowball got bigger and bigger. At the turn of the year, before I took the plunge, I think I had six bookings in the diary. I ended up playing at 40 weddings in 2015 and 55 in 2016. Add to that private parties and gigs at my regular venues in Bristol; all-in-all it’s been a very busy year!

I’m now at a point where, unfortunately I seem to be turning down more bookings than I can take on – obviously great news for me business-wise, but also such a shame! I hate having to send that “sorry, I’m already booked” email.

regionalfinalist_3_hi

Entering the Awards

Anyone who’s planned a wedding, or worked in the wedding industry will most-likely have seen the above logo – it’s the Wedding Industry Awards symbol, a body that recognises the very best suppliers in the business. I’ve thought about entering a few times, and this year I was nominated on more than one occasion so thought the time was right to put myself forward.

I contacted my wedding clients, and was thrilled to received such support, positivity and enthusiasm from everyone! The comments I received were absolutely incredible – you can read all my feedback from voters here, it really blew me away.

voterscores

Scores from voters – almost perfect 10s across the board!

When I received notification that I was a Regional Finalist, I was over the moon! In my first year of entering I’d made it all the way through to the finals, and was in with a chance of winning an award.

And the award goes to…

Well, sadly it was not meant to be this year! The award was picked up by the very talented Evertide – worthy winners for sure. Naturally I was a little disappointed to miss out – despite assuming that I probably wasn’t going to win, when it came to the point where the award was being announced I couldn’t help but get my hopes up! Never mind, there’s always next year – and I’ll be looking to up my game in every area to see if I can secure an award next year!

Despite not actually winning the award, the feedback I received was just incredible. It’s so satisfying to know that you’ve done a good job, and contributed to someone’s perfect day. I was really moved reading some of the comments received.

My philosophy has always been to create a rapport with my wedding couples – that’s why I’ll never work for an agency. The personal interaction is what makes it special. I’d like to take a moment just to thank every single bride and groom who have booked me to play at their special day. Every occasion has been unique, memorable and an absolute pleasure to be at.

People who know me will have heard me say this on a regular basis:

I HAVE THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD!

Here’s to 2017 🙂

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At the awards with Lauradana of Wedding Creations UK and make up artist Charlotte Tillyer

26/11/16 – Richard and Sarah: The Porch House, Stow-on-the-Wolds

Ok it’s Monday the 28th November and I’m well aware I haven’t updated my wedding guitarist blog for a longggg time! I was trying to blog about every wedding I attended; I missed one, then I missed another…. before I knew it I’d missed nearly a year of weddings! Time to get back on it. I’ll also be backfilling the blog, so hopefully at some point I’ll catch up on all the posts I’ve missed.

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So, Saturday saw a trip up to picturesque Stow-on-the-Wold in the Cotswolds. The venue: The Porch House, the occasion: Richard and Sarah’s big day. I arrived at roughly 1.30pm and bumped into Kirsten, aka The Little Wedding Helper who was busy working her magic to make the place look amazing, as she always does. With some amazing calligraphy and stationery from de Winton Paper co and floristry from The Rose Shed, the place was looking classy and absolutely stunning!

I set up ready for the drinks reception and awaited the guests arrival. The ceremony began at 2pm in the nearby church, and from 3pm people started to filter in from the cold, crisp day outside. The log fire was very welcoming, and I began some acoustic music as people mingled.

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We had just over and hour and a half of acoustic tunes (playlist below). It was an absolute pleasure to meet the newlyweds, and to be a part of such a stunning occasion. Congratulations Sarah and Richard!

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Afternoon playlist:

Adele - Make You Feel My Love
Ed Sheeran - The A Team
Christina Perri - A Thousand Years
Ellie Goulding - How Long Will I Love You
Justin Bieber - Love Yourself
One Direction - Little Things
Bastille - Pompeii
The Calling - Wherever You Will Go
Ed Sheeran - Lego House
Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars
James Bay - Let It Go

American Authors - Best Day Of My Life
Adele - Rolling In The Deep
Amy Winehouse - Valerie
George Ezra - Budapest
Walk The Moon - Shut Up & Dance
The Fratellis - Whistle For The Choir
Paolo Nutini - Last Request
Sam Cooke - Wonderful World
James Bay - Hold Back The River
Tracey Chapman - Fast Car
Ed Sheeran - Thinking Out Loud

 

Top 10 Wedding Ceremony and First Dance songs

Pat McIntyre - www.guitaristforweddings.co.uk

Wedding Guitarist Blog: my top 10 most requested songs for the wedding ceremony/first dance – and some alternative choices

Choosing the music you want at your wedding is a tricky thing! Making your own song selections is the norm now, particularly at civil ceremonies but also at more traditional church weddings. While the bride may opt to enter the ceremony to the traditional Bridal Chorus performed by an organist, there is still usually space for some music before the ceremony, during the signing of the register, and as the married couple exit.

As a live guitarist and singer, I’m often booked to perform at the wedding ceremony. When I meet with couples to discuss the music, I’d say 90% of couples aren’t sure what music they want – so if you’re planning your wedding and scratching your head, wondering what on earth you should choose – don’t despair! You’re in the majority.

image: Jo & Mark's first dance at The Great Tythe Barn, Tetbury.

Jo & Mark’s first dance at The Great Tythe Barn, Tetbury

A question that crops up time and time again when I speak to couples is “what songs have other people chosen?” This can good be a good starting point if you have no idea which songs to pick. It may be also a good guide as to which songs you don’t want! Eliminating the most popular songs may be a good idea if you want something more unusual. You may stumble across a gem of a song that fits perfectly. Look out for my next blog: Top 10 most unusual wedding ceremony/first dance songs I’ve played.

The perfect song for the ceremony or first dance will ideally be one that:

  • you both like (although the bride will usually have the final word when it comes to her entrance music!)
  • sets the atmosphere you’re looking for (romantic? upbeat?)
  • has lyrics that are meaningful to you
  • reminds you of a significant moment in your relationship

If you manage to find a song that fills all the above criteria – well done! Realistically it’s pretty difficult to find one that ticks all boxes, so if you find one that fulfils two out of four, you’re onto a winner.

first dance song

Steph & Tom’s first dance at Hunstile Organic Farm


Without further ado, here’s my top 10 list of the most requested songs. I’ve also included an alternative option for each song in a similar style, for those looking for something a little less popular:


#10 – Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran

Only released two years ago, this song became an instant wedding favourite with it’s beautiful lyrics and classic melodies. Ed’s soulful voice and skilful songwriting come to the fore on this track, and I’m certain it’ll be a popular choice for years to come.

Download “Thinking Out Loud” on my acoustic wedding album

See also: Tenerife Sea by Ed Sheeran


#9 – Let’s Stay Together by Al Green

Heartfelt, soulful, timeless – this song is a popular pick, with lyrics that perfectly express what the wedding day is all about. From the first line “I, I’m so in love with you” to the chorus “Loving you whether times are good or bad, happy or sad” – it’s almost like all your wedding vows wrapped up in a neat musical package!

See also – At Last by Etta James


#8 – A Thousand Years by Christina Perri

Another modern song to make the top 10 list, this has been one of my most requested at wedding ceremonies over the last couple of years. The soaring chorus melody and beautiful lyrics make this a firm favourite with the hopeless romantics!

Download “A Thousand Years” on my acoustic wedding album

See also: Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding


#7 – Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles

Uplifting and positive, this is a lovely song to have at any point during the wedding ceremony. Works perfectly for the bridal entrance, during the signing of the register or the exit of the married couple. However if you’re superstitious and hoping for a sunny day, you may not want to choose this and jinx the weather!

See also: All You Need is Love by The Beatles


#6 – Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder

This is the perfect song for the wedding ceremony exit – upbeat, joyful and the perfect confirmation song that you’re officially a married couple! Also works really well as a first dance song if you want something to get the party started rather than a slow dance – although be warned, you may have to bust out some dance moves in front of your wedding guests!

See also – For Once in My Life by Stevie Wonder


#5 – Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presley (aka Falling In Love With You)

A little while back I made a recording of this song in a modern acoustic style, and it seemed to instantly connect with people – quickly becoming far and away my most popular video on YouTube with well over 100,000 views to date. Heartfelt and timeless, there’s just something about the melodies in this song that touch the soul. If you like my version and would like to use it at your wedding, please show your support by downloading using the link below (grabbing the mp3 via YouTube is illegal and it only costs 99p to do it the legal way!)

Download “Can’t Help Falling In Love” on my acoustic album

See also: Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton


#4 – I’m Yours by Jason Mraz

It seems amazing to me that this song was released in 2008 – it’s nearly 10 years old! It still feels fresh as ever and remains a very popular pick at weddings. “I’m Yours” – the perfect sentiment, what more do you need to say?!

See also: I’d Rather Be With You by Joshua Radin


#3 – Stand By Me by Ben E. King

So, we move into the top 3 with this classic soul track. Recorded in the early 60’s, this song remains as popular today as ever – it’s one of those tunes where everyone knows the chorus lyrics, no matter their age! A genius moment in songwriting history, and Ben E. King’s incredible soulful vocals are the icing on the cake. Another great song for the recessional (exit song) at the wedding ceremony.

See also: Wonderful World by Sam Cooke


#2 – Better Together by Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson’s chilled out voice, laid-back guitar style and knack for writing interesting/unusual but universally appealing lyrics all contribute to this modern classic. “It’s always better when we’re together” – of course it is, that’s why you’re getting married! It’s one of my favourite songs to play at weddings – a genius piece of songwriting, and one that will continue to be popular for years to come I’m sure.

See also – Somewhere over the Rainbow by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole


#1 – (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher by Jackie Wilson

And the no.1 goes to the brilliant Jackie Wilson! This song has all the elements to make it the perfect wedding song – it works brilliantly at the ceremony, or as a funky upbeat first dance song. Jackie Wilson’s soaring voice and the infectious energy in the song is perfect to get everyone feeling upbeat and happy.

I think it’s popularity at weddings is also down to the fact that it’s not necessarily as well known as some of the other songs on the list, so while it’s a familiar song to hear, it doesn’t feel tired or overplayed. It’s one of my favourite songs to play at weddings!

Download Higher and Higher on my acoustic album

See also – My Girl by The Temptations


Guitar selfie: image

Pat McIntyre is a singer and acoustic guitarist from Bristol, UK. An experienced live performer and music aficionado, Pat is available to book for weddings and other events.

For more information about booking Pat for your wedding, click here – or get in touch here.

6th October – Updates!

Well, 2015 has been an amazing year for me I must say! I’m proud to say that being a musician is now my full-time occupation, and I’ve watched my little business go from strength to strength in the past couple of years.

2015 saw a 300% increase in wedding bookings, and 2016 is lining up to be my busiest year yet.

I’ve been busy filming and recording audio from many of my 2015 weddings and have a huge amount of footage to work through! So that means there will be lots of new live videos coming soon, along with some new professional demos – so keep an eye on my video page and YouTube page throughout the Winter.

On every booking form this year I’ve included an optional section for website feedback and improvements. I’ve been listening to everyone’s comments and will be implementing lots of the great suggestions that have come in – thanks everyone! One of these was an option to sort the repertoire by era rather than just list it in alphabetical order. This is the first improvement I’ll be bringing in, so keep an eye on the repertoire page which will have a new look for 2016.

 

 

Bailbrook House, Bath: live acoustic music at Ricky & Ali’s wedding ceremony and drinks reception

Pat McIntyre - www.guitaristforweddings.co.uk

Saturday 20th June saw a short trip to scenic Bath for Ricky and Ali’s big day at Bailbrook House.Bailbrook House live wedding music - imageGuests began to gather in the grand Brunel Suite for the wedding ceremony as I played some background music. For Ali’s big entrance, she chose the beautiful ‘A Thousand Years’ by Christina Perri – an ever-popular wedding song with its romantic lyrics and lovely melodies. The happy couple exited the ceremony to one of my personal favourites “I’d Rather Be With You” by Joshua Radin.

Bailbrook House wedding music - image

Then we moved down to the elegant Conservatory Bar for the drinks reception, during which I entertained guests with some music chosen by the happy couple. A fantastic day and a pleasure to be a part of the big day! Here is their playlist:

Beatles - Here Comes The Sun
Eagle Eye Cherry - Save Tonight
Ellie Goulding - How Long Will I Love You
Ronan Keating - When You Say Nothing At All
Frank Sinatra - Fly Me To The Moon
Christina Perri - A Thousand Years (bridal entrance)
Jason Mraz - I’m Yours (signing of the register)
Jack Johnson - Better Together (signing of the register)
Joshua Radin - I’d Rather Be With You (exit)
Lumineers - Ho hey
James Blunt - You’re Beautiful
K-Ci and JoJo - All My Life
One Direction - Little Things
Newton Faulkener - Dream Catch Me
McFly - It’s All About You
Bruno Mars - Marry You, 
Ed Sheeran - Thinking Out Loud
Take That - Never Forget
Blackstreet - No Diggity
Marvin Gaye - Heard It Through The Grapevine
The Calling - Wherever You Will Go
Van Morrisson - Brown Eyed Girl
Bon Jovi - Livin On A Prayer
Beatles - Twist & Shout

 

Bishopstrow House, Warminster: Live acoustic music at Mike & Kelly’s wedding

Pat McIntyre - www.guitaristforweddings.co.uk

Friday, 19th June 2015 – British Summer seems to have started warming up finally! We had beautiful blue skies for most of the day and it was lovely and warm when I arrived at the stunning Bishopstrow House Hotel.

image: Bishopstrow House

Mike & Kelly booked me to play during the break between the wedding breakfast and the evening party. With the weather set fair, I set up outside on the patio area.

image: Bishopstrow House live musicimage: Live Music Wiltshire

 

I kicked off the live music at 6.30pm – here’s Mike & Kelly’s acoustic playlist:

Eagle Eye Cherry - Save Tonight
Beatles - Here Comes The Sun
Jack Johnson - Better Together
Magic! - Rude
Jason Mraz - I’m Yours
Ellie Golding - Love Me Like You Do
Bob Marley - Stir It Up
Eric Clapton - Layla
R.E.M. - Losing My Religion
The Verve - Bitter Sweet Symphony
The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army
The Lumineers - Hey Ho
Mumford and Sons - Lover of the Light
Amy Winehouse – Valerie
Avicii - Wake Me Up
Bastille - Pompeii
John Legend - All of Me
Lifehouse - You and Me
Ed Sheeran/Macklemore - You Need Me/Thrift Shop mashup
The Killers - Mr Brightside
MGMT - Kids
The coral - Dreaming of You
Oasis - Champagne Supernova
Green Day - Time Of Your Life

image: Singer and Guitarist - live wedding entertainment

 

And, before I left, there was just time for one more song! A very important one – Mike & Kelly’s first dance as man & wife. They chose “Still Into You” by Paramore, I played a stripped back acoustic version which worked really nicely. Huge congratulations to the happy couple and hope you had a great day and evening!

Wedding Guitar blog: Common mistakes made when booking a live band or musician

As a follow-on from my last blog piece about live wedding music, I’ve also put together a few thoughts on what tends to work less effectively, in my experience:

  • Too much music! I’ve had plenty of emails in the past along the lines of “we’d like you to play at the church, then the drinks reception for a couple of hours, then we want you to play background music during the meal, then if you could do a couple of hours before the DJ starts”. When you’re booking a musician, you want value for money for sure – but as a solo performer, this is physically impossible! It would amount to 5 or 6 hours of almost constant singing/playing – and if I had any voice left by that point, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to feel my fingers!
  • Beware of a tight schedule. Now this affects the live music for sure, but also applies to the whole day. If you’re the control freak type who wants your day planned to the minute, unfortunately you do have to prepare yourself for unexpected situations which could delay the day. Try not to cram too much into a short space of time. You may have to look really closely at your timings, and allow for some leeway, especially if your ceremony is starting later in the day. Speeches usually take longer than you expect… the bride is often not on time for the ceremony… the photographs invariably take longer than you’d imagine. Your venue or wedding co-ordinator, if you have one, will usually guide you. If they take a sharp intake of breath and say “ooh, it’s a bit tight”, they’re probably right. It only takes one of the waiting staff to go off sick, or a problem in the kitchen, and all of a sudden you’re behind schedule, which can be a huge problem if you’ve left no wiggle room. I’d say at least 80% of the weddings I play at run behind schedule! One wedding I played at ran 3 hours behind schedule due to one thing and another – yikes!
  • Try to avoid live music playing while food is served in the evening. This follows on from the last point, in a way. If the schedule is very tight and something runs late, this may be unavoidable. However, this is something I always try to advise people when booking for the evening. If you have a buffet, hog roast, pizza oven – whatever – arriving in the evening, try to make sure the band or live musician isn’t playing because of course, the dance floor will empty as soon as food arrives. If I’m booked for an evening, I’ll usually play my 2 x 1 hour sets after the evening food is done – or, I’ll play one set before the food arrives, have a break during, and then resume after people have eaten. There’s nothing worse for the bride & groom than booking a band (or someone like me) and having them play to an empty room!
  • Does the layout of your venue lend itself to live music? The wedding couple book their dream venue, and fork out on their choice of band or musician, then find that they end up having a largely empty dance floor in the evening. Fortunately this doesn’t happen often, but there have been times where I’ve felt so sorry for the wedding couple because people are just not up on the dance floor in the evening. This is rarely the fault of the band or musician, so how can you avoid this happening? Often the layout of the venue can be a factor. Is the bar in a separate room, away from the area where the musician or band is performing? Often people will gravitate towards the bar (especially the men – come on men – up your game, get on that dance floor!!) and in some cases that’s where they’ll stay all night. If your venue has multiple rooms or large grounds, that can also be a factor. Just something to bear in mind that I think is often overlooked.
  • It’s too loud!! In some ways this is part of the previous point. If your venue is on the smaller side, a band may not be suitable. As soon as you introduce live drums and electric guitars, things start getting LOUD. Bear in mind that this may be overwhelming, especially if you have more elderly guests. Of course, at this point I’m going to say that a singer and guitarist like myself is a fantastic alternative! Some venues have sound limiters which will cut the electric supply when the music reaches a certain volume level.
  • In the evening, try to pick songs that will appeal to all. As a wedding musician, my repertoire is large and varied because at a wedding you have all tastes and ages. I always let my wedding couples choose the songs they want played, but it’s always worth throwing in as many songs as possible that are well-known and will appeal to the majority. It’s your day, and of course you should definitely have the final say on what is played, but also have a think about who will be attending. You won’t ever be able to please everyone, but as long as the majority are having a good time, you’re onto a winner!

image of Pat McIntyre guitarist and singerWritten by Pat McIntyre, acoustic guitarist & singer for weddings based in Bristol, UK.

logo: Pat McIntyre - guitarist for weddings