Jenny & Shaun’s wedding at Ever After nr Tavistock, Devon

Pat McIntyre - www.guitaristforweddings.co.uk

July 18th, 2015 saw a journey down to Ever After at Lower Grenofen (near Tavistock, Devon) for Jenny and Shaun’s big day. Lots of organisation went into this amazing wedding day, with the bride and groom arranging everything from their home in New Zealand!

Jenny & Shaun booked my all-day package – so that included welcome music as guests arrived, live songs during the wedding ceremony, the afternoon drinks reception and the evening party. Lots and lots of live acoustic tunes!

After an hour or so of music out on the green as guests arrived, we made our way over to the Orchard for the wedding ceremony.

image: the ceremony

Beatles - Here Comes The Sun 
Ben Howard - Only Love 
Bill Withers - Ain’t No Sunshine 
George Ezra - Listen To The Man 
Jack Johnson - Banana Pancakes 
Coldplay - Yellow 
David Gray - This Years Love 
Ed Sheeran - Lego House 
Frank Sinatra - Fly Me To The Moon 
The Kooks - She Moves In Her Own Way

Bridal Entrance: Foo Fighters - Everlong
Recessional: Etta James - At Last

With my PA system already set up on the decking area near the main marquee, I moved down to play some songs during the afternoon drinks reception.

  Ever Afteracoustic guitarist Devon

Jack Johnson - Better Together 
Bob Marley - Three Little Birds 
Bruno Mars - The Lazy Song 
Ed Sheeran - The A-Team 
Jack Johnson - Good People 
Eric Clapton - Layla 
Passenger - Let Her Go 
Jason Mraz - I’m Yours 
KT Tunstall - Black Horse & The Cherry Tree 
Jack Johnson - Sitting Waiting Wishing 
Paul Weller - You Do Something To Me 
Counting Crows - Accidentally In Love

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Time for a rest ready for the evening! I had a chill out on the giant deck chair (pictured!) and Jenny and Shaun were kind enough to provide me with some food – so I refuelled, before moving my PA into the marquee ready for the evening celebrations.

I love playing songs I’ve never heard before for a first dance – and Jenny and Shaun chose “My Baby” by Plush, which worked perfectly with the guitar!

 

First dance: Plush - My Baby
Jackie Wilson - Higher & Higher 
George Ezra - Budapest 
Eagle Eye Cherry - Save Tonight 
Marvin Gaye - Heard It Through The Grapevine 
Lumineers - Ho Hey 
Blackstreet - No Diggity 
Ed Sheeran/Macklemore - You Need Me/Thrift Shop 
James - Sit Down 
Green Day - Time Of Your Life 
Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk

- break -

Pharrell - Happy 
Stevie Wonder - Superstition 
Daft Punk - Get Lucky 
Deep Blue Something - Breakfast At Tiffany’s 
George Ezra - Blame It On Me 
The Killers - Mr. Brightside 
Kings Of Leon - Sex On Fire 
Ed Sheeran - Sing 
Tenacious D - Tribute 
Bryan Adams - Summer of ‘69 
Van Morrisson - Brown Eyed Girl 
Ben E King - Stand By Me
Tracy Chapman - Fast Car

An absolutely amazing day all round – huge congratulations to the happy couple, and I loved discovering this gem of a wedding venue. A really magical little spot, and I’m excited to head back to Ever After next year for Cherie & David’s big day!

The acoustic First Dance

Image courtesy of https://www.grwphotography.co.uk/ – view more of Jenny & Shaun’s photographs at https://lowergrenofen.co.uk/real-weddings/jenny-shaun/

 

 

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

 

The Green, Cornwall: Live unplugged acoustic music at Mark & Shona’s wedding ceremony + canapé reception

Pat McIntyre - www.guitaristforweddings.co.uk

Sat, 30th May and another trip down the M5/A30 – a well travelled road for me this year! Today’s venue was The Green Cornwall, a stunning self-contained wedding venue in the beautiful Cornish countryside.


image: The Green Cornwall entrance image: Wedding at The Green Cornwall
I arrived to the venue in the pretty village of Upton Cross, near Liskeard in the morning to another bright, sunny day – keeping up my 100% record of good weather at weddings this Summer! I’ve often joked with couples that I’m a good luck charm when it comes to weather – more often than not it seems to turn out fair. Maybe the UK weather’s not actually as bad as we think…?!

Anyway, plenty of time for me to get ready for the outdoor wedding ceremony – and a chance for me and the bride’s sister to do some practice; bravely, she sang “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” during the bridal entrance with my guitar accompaniment, which we rehearsed in the morning.

At about 11.30am I made my way down to the ceremony area with my guitar. This venue doesn’t permit outdoor amplification of any kind, so I was playing unplugged today – some subtle ambience!

image: Acoustic guitar at the wedding ceremony

Setting acoustic ambience as guests are seated

The big moment arrived at 12am, and the bride’s sister did an incredible job singing the bridal entrance song – a really emotional moment. We had some more acoustic songs during the signing of the register, then the happy newlyweds exited their beautiful ceremony as I played Higher & Higher by Jackie Wilson.

image: Married at The Green Cornwall

Man & wife!

We then moved up towards the main building where drinks were served and canapés were brought out. As guests mingled, I roamed around playing some acoustic tunes chosen by Mark & Shona. I covered as much area as I could so that everyone could hear the music – it’s quite unusual for me to play completely unplugged but it works nicely for some subtle background ambience.

image: Drinks reception acoustic music image: Drinks reception acoustic music
 

Here’s Mark and Shona’s acoustic playlist:

George Ezra - Budapest
Jake Bugg - Lightning Bolt
Bruno Mars - Marry You
Ben E King - Stand By Me
Ed Sheeran - Thinking Out Loud
Bridal entrance: Somewhere over the rainbow
Signing of the register: The One, Kiss Me
Exit - Higher & Higher
Eagle Eye Cherry - Save Tonight
Beatles - Here Comes The Sun
Jason Mraz - I’m Yours 
MAGIC! - Rude 
Jack Johnson - Better Together 
Joshua Radin - I’d Rather Be With You 
Frank Sinatra - Fly Me To The Moon 
Otis Redding - Dock Of The Bay 
Marvin Gaye - Heard It Through The Grapevine 
Tracey Chapman - Fast Car 
Ed Sheeran - The A-Team 
Passenger - Let Her Go 
Zutons - Valerie
George Ezra - Blame It On Me 
Avicii - Wake Me Up 
Deep Blue Something - Breakfast at Tiffanys 
The Calling - Wherever You Will Go
Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine
Coldplay - Yellow
Lumineers - Ho Hey 
Plain White T's - Hey There Delilah 
Oasis - Wonderwall 
Green Day - Time Of Your Life 
Van Morrisson - Brown Eyed Girl 
Ben E King - Stand By Me
Stevie Wonder - Signed, Sealed, Delivered

A stunning day all round – congratulations to Mark & Shona and hope everyone enjoyed the music. I had a great day… and on the way out had a close encounter with some local wildlife!

image: Cornish rabbit

Friendly Rabbit!

 

Lusty Glaze, Cornwall: live acoustic music at Helen & Andrew’s wedding

Pat McIntyre - www.guitaristforweddings.co.uk

Wednesday, 27th May – a midweek trip down to sunny Cornwall for Helen and Andrew’s beautiful beachside wedding. Arrived in the morning to this stunning view:

Pic of Pat at Lusty Glaze beach Image of Lusty Glaze beach near Newquay

image: Steps at Lusty Glaze

Steps to the beach!

Now, the bride & groom did warn me about the 133 steps down to the beach, which is mainly why I gave myself a couple of extra hours to set up! After five leg-burning trips up and down the steps, I was all set up and ready to play.

With some time to spare, I snatched an hour on the beach on the glorious sunshine – we couldn’t have asked for better weather!

 

image of Acoustic guitar at Lusty Glaze

Set up – what a view!

The guests began arriving at about 3pm, and I began the acoustic entertainment. Here was Helen and Andrew’s set list:

Jack Johnson - Better Together
Bruno Mars – Marry You 
Beatles – Here Comes The Sun 
Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight 
Frank Sinatra – Fly Me To The Moon 
Passenger - Let Her Go
Otis Redding - Dock of the bay 
Plain White T's - Hey There Delilah 
Ed Sheeran – The A-Team 
Bastille – Laura Palmer 
Avicii – Wake Me Up 
The Verve – Lucky Man 
John Legend – All of Me
Jason Mraz – I’m Yours 
Magic – Rude 
Bastille – Pompeii 
Verve - Sonnet 
Newton Faulkener – Dream Catch Me 
Bill Withers – Aint no sunshine 
John Legend – Stay With You 
David Gray – Sail Away 
Christina Perri – A Thousand Years 
Ed Sheeran – Sing 
The Calling – Wherever You Will Go 
James – Sit Down 
U2 – Beautiful Day 
Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl
Killers - Mr Brightside
Beatles - All You Need Is Love

image: Live wedding music Lusty Glaze Cornwall image: Live wedding music Lusty Glaze Cornwall (2)

 

A tiring day once I’d dragged my stuff back up the steps – but an absolutely incredible day and such a memorable spot for the happy couple’s big day! Thanks so much to Helen and Andrew for inviting me down to this incredible place – and huge congratulations to you both!

Laura & Chris: The Manor House, Castle Combe. Wedding Guitarist & Singer – Ceremony + Drinks Reception

logo: Pat McIntyre - guitarist for weddings

Sunday 24th May, and a relatively short journey from my home in East Bristol over to the picture-perfect village of Castle Combe. This little gem in the Cotswolds has been described as “The prettiest village in England” – and as you arrive it’s hard not to pull over and take a few photos! Which, of course, I did!

image: Castle Combe Views image - Castle Combe views 2
 

An incredible place to get married, and as you enter the Manor House Castle Combe the grounds of the venue are just as stunning…

image: The Manor House Hotel Castle Combe image: The Manor House Castle Combe
 

So a beautiful setting for Chris and Laura’s big day. The happy couple booked me for the wedding ceremony + reception package. The morning brought some light rain, so I set up inside ready to play at the ceremony. After playing some background music as guests assembled, Laura made her entrance to an instrumental version of “Let Her Go” by Passenger.

image: Castle Combe wedding ceremony guitarist

Playing during the wedding ceremony

During the signing of the register I played “Won’t Let You Go” by James Morrison, and an instrumental version of “The Woman I Love” by Jason Mraz. The happy couple exited the ceremony to the ever-popular “Higher & Higher” by Jackie Wilson.

The weather cheered up in the afternoon – so a quick change of plan, and I did some rushing around to move my equipment out to the front of the building where the drinks reception took place.

img: Outdoor music at Castle Combe

Outdoor music at Castle Combe

image: wedding guitarist

Thumbs up from the bride! Enjoying the tunes 🙂

All in all, a beautiful day and I had a great time. Congratulations to Chris and Laura, who travelled down from Newcastle for the big day – hope everything was absolutely perfect for you both, and that everyone had a great evening as well!

Their acoustic playlist from the day:

Sixpence None the Richer - Kiss Me
Paolo Nutini - Last request
Michael Buble - Crazy Love 
The Lumineers - Ho Hey
Jason Mraz - I'm Yours
Ben Howard - Only Love
Ed Sheeran - Thinking out Loud
Passenger - Let Her Go (instrumental)
James Morrison - Won't Let You Go
Jason Mraz - The Woman I Love (instrumental)
Jackie Wilson - Higher & Higher
Eagle eye cherry - Save Tonight 
George Ezra - Budapest 
Jack Johnson - Better together
David Gray - Babylon 
Ben Howard - Only Love
Frank Sinatra - Fly me to the moon 
Jason Mraz - I’m Yours 
Passenget - Let her go 
Lumineers - Ho Hey 
Sixpence None The Richer - Kiss Me 
Avicii - Wake me up
Mumford and Sons - Lover of the Light
Ed Sheeran - Bloodstream 
Mumford and Sons - The cave 
George Ezra - Blame it on Me 
Paolo Nutini - Last Request 
Michael Buble – Crazy Love 
Jack Johnson - Good People 
Lighthouse Family - Lifted 
Train - Drops of Jupiter 
Lionel Richie - Dancing on the Ceiling 
Jackson 5 - I want you back
Van Morrison - Brown eyed Girl 
Tracy Chapman - Fast car 
Ed Sheeran - Thinking Out Loud

Wedding Guitarist Blog: Vicky & Scott’s Ceremony & Drinks reception at Coombe Lodge

logo: Pat McIntyre - guitarist for weddings

Saturday, 23rd May 2015 – a trip down to the incredible Coombe Lodge for Vicky and Scott’s big day. Summer so far in Britain has been a bit of a let-down, but thankfully we were blessed with incredible weather – hot and sunny!

image: Coombe Lodge views - Blagdon Lake

Views over Blagdon Lake from Coombe Lodge

Thank to the lovely weather, the wedding ceremony took place outside, and I set up my gear near the front entrance to the venue – ready to play some acoustic music at the ceremony and following drinks reception.

image:Coombe Lodge wedding musicimg:Coombe Lodge wedding music2
 

After some background songs as guests arrived and were seated, it was time for the happy couple’s big moment! Vicky chose “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis as her entrance song to the ceremony. During the signing of the register I played “Better Together” by Jack Johnson and a special request by the bride & groom: “I Swear” by All 4 One. They exited the ceremony on a high with the brilliant “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder.

image: wedding ceremony

 

There was ice cream, cold beer, warm sunshine and chilled acoustic music. A perfect afternoon! The tunes went down a treat…. here was Vicky & Scott’s playlist:

Adele - Make you Feel my Love 
Joshua Radin - I’d Rather Be With You
Lifehouse - You and Me
Jack Johnson - Banana Pancakes
Beatles - Here Comes The Sun
Sinatra - Fly Me To The Moon
Elvis - Can't Help Falling In Love (bridal entrance)
All 4 One - I Swear
Jack Johnson - Better Together (signing of the register)
Stevie Wonder - Signed, Sealed, Delivered (exit song)

image: Wedding ceremony guitarist Bristol

Bruno Mars – Marry You 
George Ezra – Budapest 
Ed Sheeran – Lego House 
Ben Howard – Only Love 
Jason Mraz – I’m Yours 
Otis R – Dock of the Bay 
Bob Marley – Stir It Up 
Al Green – Let’s Stay Together 
Deep Blue Something – Breakfast at Tiffanys 
Daft Punk – Get Lucky

Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk 
Train – Drive By 
George Ezra – Blame It On Me 
Christina Perri – A Thousand Years 
Lumineers – Ho Hey 
Ed Sheeran – Sing 
Michael Jackson – Man In The Mirror 
The Jam – Town Called Malice 
Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl 
Ben E King – Stand By Me 
Beatles – Hey Jude 
Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud

Tracey Chapman - Fast Car 
Green Day - Time of your life
Killers - Mr. Brightside

img: Wedding Reception Guitarist Coombe Lodge

Huge congratulations to the happy couple! It was a pleasure and a privilege to play at your beautiful big day 🙂

Nicola & Ryan: The Grange Hotel, Winterbourne, Bristol North – Drinks reception live acoustic music

logo: Pat McIntyre - guitarist for weddings

After yesterday’s road trip to Cornwall, today’s wedding was a much more local affair! A short 20 minute journey North to The Mercure Grange Hotel in Winterbourne, Bristol for Nicola and Ryan’s big day. The happy couple booked me to play during the break between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast.

image: Live Music at Mercure Hotel Bristol North

Setup and ready to play at Nicola & Ryan’s drinks reception

Despite a chilly wind (good old British Summer!), we managed to hold the drinks reception outdoors in the beautiful grounds of the hotel. The rain held off thankfully, and the photographer made the most of the beautiful surroundings, getting some great group shots and pictures of the happy couple. Meanwhile, I serenaded the wedding party with some acoustic covers picked by the newlyweds.

image: wedding guitarist Bristol

Playing at the drinks reception

Nicola & Ryan picked a bang up-to-date playlist, including songs from Ed Sheeran, George Ezra, One Direction and John Legend. This was mixed in with some classics such as Fast Car by Tracey Chapman and Higher & Higher by Jackie Wilson. I captured some of the set on film so will get this onto the YouTube page soon!

Guitar selfie: image

Guitar selfie!

A great afternoon and the music seemed to go down well! I spotted the bride dancing away to “What Makes You Beautiful” while having photographs taken 🙂 And I managed to squeeze in a request for the lads. Massive congratulations to the happy couple – thanks for inviting me to be a part of your big day. Hope you had a fantastic day and that married life is everything you hoped for!

Nicola & Ryan’s acoustic playlist

Eagle Eye Cherry - Save Tonight
Jack Johnson - Better Together
George Ezra – Budapest
Alex Clare - Too Close
Ed Sheeran - The A Team
Bob Marley - Three Little Birds
Jason Mraz - I'm Yours
Bryan Adams – Heaven
The Lumineers - Ho Hey
James Blunt - You're Beautiful
Bon Jovi - Livin' On A Prayer
The Calling - Wherever You Will Go
Bruno Mars - Marry You
Pharrell – Happy
John Legend - All Of Me
Maroon 5 - Moves Like Jagger
The Killers - Mr Brightside
The Kooks - Naive
Kings of Leon - Sex on Fire
One Direction - What Makes You Beautiful
Daft Punk - Get Lucky
Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk
Jackie Wilson - Higher & Higher
Jackson Five - I Want You Back
Tracey Chapman - Fast Car
?Green Day - Time Of Your Life
Bob Marley - No Woman, No Cry
Oasis - Wonderwall (request)

Claire & Mike: Watergate Bay, Cornwall (near Newquay) – Wedding ceremony & drinks reception live music

logo: Pat McIntyre - guitarist for weddings

An early start this morning for Claire & Mike’s wedding at the amazing Watergate Bay Hotel in Cornwall. Just North of Newquay, Watergate Bay is a new destination for me, and I’m so glad I got to play at this incredible venue! The views as you walk into the hotel restaurant are just breathtaking – the restaurant looks out over the beautiful sandy beach, and fortunately we had a lovely sunny day.

Watergate Bay Hotel - picture

Stunning beach views from the restaurant

I set off just after 7am this morning and made it to the venue before 10am – plenty of time to get set up and ready for Claire & Mike’s 1pm ceremony. The events space is small, intimate and beautiful – and the styling looked fantastic for the ceremony. There was around 60 guests at the ceremony, which apparently is one of the larger weddings hosted at this venue.

Guitar picture

My guitar getting cosy!

Guests started to filter in at about 12.30pm, at which point I began playing some acoustic songs. Claire & Mike selected today’s playlist (see set list below) with some lovely choices, from The Beatles right through to Kodaline. The bride entered the ceremony to the traditional wedding march “Here Comes The Bride”, played on acoustic guitar. For the signing of the register they chose “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis and “Only Love” by Ben Howard – and they exited the ceremony to rapturous applause as I played “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles.

Image: Wedding Guitarist and Singer Cornwall

Love is… an acoustic guitar!

Canapés were served and guests had an afternoon drink while I played some acoustic tunes at the drinks reception. I had an absolutely fantastic day – I’d like to extend my congratulations to Claire & Mike and thank them for inviting me to play on their big day! Hope the evening was just as fantastic as the daytime… I wonder if anyone got carried away and decided to go for a swim!!

The Beach at Watergate Bay

The stunning Beach at Watergate Bay

Today’s wedding set list:

Better Together – Jack Johnson
Rude – Magic!
Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles
?Marry You - Bruno Mars
The One – Kodaline
Fly Me To The Moon - Frank Sinatra
Blame It On Me – George Ezra
?Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
The Bridal March "Here Comes The Bride"
Ben Howard - Only Love
Elvis - Can't Help Falling In Love
Beatles - All You Need Is Love
Save Tonight – Eagle Eye Cherry
Three Little Birds – Bob Marley
Mash up – Get Lucky / Counting Stars
Budapest - George Ezra
Hey Ho – The Lumineers
Let Her Go - Passenger
The Cave - Mumford & Sons
Love Machine (acoustic version) – Girls Aloud
I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor - Arctic Monkeys
Uptown Funk – Bruno Mars
Sing – Ed Sheeran
Superstition - Stevie Wonder
Heard It Through The Grapevine - Marvin Gaye
(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay - Otis Redding

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

 

Wedding Guitarist Blog: Live music at your wedding – Hints, tips and what to expect!

It’s mid-April and things are starting to hot up here in Bristol… and I’m not just talking about the weather. Us folks in the wedding industry are readying ourselves for the Summer season. I’ve had a few beautiful Spring weddings already, but the real fun starts next month!

With a couple of weeks before my next wedding, I was doing a bit of admin and chatting with brides-to-be, and it occurred to me that many of the same questions come up time and time again. So I thought I’d put together a little blog post about booking a live musician such as myself. I’m getting married myself next year, so I can completely sympathise with brides and grooms-to-be who are planning their big day! If there’s one thing I can definitely help with, it’s music… so, from my personal experiences, here’s my hints & tips – and things to avoid – when booking a live musician for your wedding.

Vintage GuitaristPre-booking: Finding a musician

When arranging your wedding entertainment, finding the right musician is undoubtedly the hardest bit. Everyone’s wedding planning experience is different. Some people will know exactly what they want, some have a rough idea of how the day will pan out, and some don’t know where to start! There’s a bewildering choice of wedding suppliers, and music is no exception.

Budget

Yes, it’s a dull and practical place to start, but the first thing you should do is set a limit for how much you can afford on entertainment. I’ve read bridal magazines that suggest you should set by at least £2000 for entertainment – but then I’ve read blogs and articles that put the figure nearer £650. Although us wedding musicians don’t like to admit it, we are usually one of the later considerations when it comes to budget. Essentials such as the dress, the venue, flowers and photography are always going to take priority – so I don’t ever take offence when people say my prices are over their budget, because I know how quickly costs can add up!

I would take advice from magazines and websites with a pinch of salt – your budget is as much as you can afford. Set a figure you’re happy with – if you come in under budget, brilliant, but also be prepared to go a little over budget if you find a band or musician you really love.

Pat with Sam & Andy at Aldwick Court

What time of day is best for live music?

This is another factor which will affect what type of musician you choose. An obvious time for music is during the evening – I’ll look at this in a moment, but there’s lots of options for the daytime too. I’ll approach this question purely from my position as a singer and guitarist – I get bookings for all parts of the wedding day, so this is just my personal opinion on what works best.

Every wedding schedule is different, but most commonly I’m booked to play at the wedding ceremony and following drinks reception. This always works well in my experience – as guests arrive I’ll play 20 minutes or so of music to set a relaxed atmosphere, then I’ll play during the ceremony and for an hour or so afterwards, before guests head in for the wedding breakfast.

If you hadn’t thought about the time following the ceremony, you may well want to consider booking someone like myself to entertain guests while you’re having photos taken, and people are having refreshments. It can be a great way to fill the gap between the ceremony and wedding breakfast. This is especially true if you’re lucky enough to hold your wedding outdoors with good weather. Something about acoustic guitar and sunshine just works!

Bristol Wedding Tweet Ups image 1

Cheers!

Another increasingly popular option which works really well at weddings is afternoon tea. What’s better than sitting outdoors on a warm British Summer day with a cup of Earl Grey and a slice of cake, or a lovely cream tea?! Live acoustic music is a perfect accompaniment for this kind of setup.

Live wedding ceremony music – tips

  • most live musicians will take requests, so if you have a particular song in mind for the walk down the aisle, and/or the exit of the married couple, ask if they can play your song. I send the bride and groom an mp3 version of their song at their request, so that they can hear how my acoustic version will sound.
  • bear in mind that the walk down the aisle often doesn’t take very long! Most songs are 3-4 minutes long, and the walk is often less than a minute. In this case, I would adapt the length of the song to suit, so that it ends at an appropriate moment.
  • the signing of the register is another nice time to have a couple of songs – in my experience this usually takes about 5 minutes, so time to have a couple of songs played. Again, for my weddings I welcome song requests.

Image of Pat playing at the Chosen Wedding Fair

Evening entertainment

I think many people would love to have a great band play at their wedding – but it can be difficult to pick one. The internet is great for finding people, but you really need to see them live to get a flavour of what they do. This can be a bit tricky for dedicated wedding bands – because they’re always at weddings!

One of the best ways of finding a band is by word-of-mouth recommendation. Maybe you saw a band at a friend’s wedding, or people were raving about a band they saw at someone else’s event. If you’ve found someone on the internet, see if they have any public performances you can go to. For a good function band, you should realistically be expecting to pay in the region of £1000-£1500+

DJ’s again are a tricky one – there’s many out there of varying quality (I have a couple of recommendations on my site for DJs) and unfortunately you don’t really have the option of seeing them do their thing before the big day (unless you’ve seen them at a friend’s wedding). So again, word-of-mouth is your friend here, and if you are booking someone you found on the internet, try to meet up with them to get an idea of their personality. You can usually expect to pay around £400 for a good DJ. Make sure they have good quality equipment which is PAT tested yearly, and bear in mind that some venues will require public liability insurance. These two points apply to bands and musicians as well.

*sales pitch* You may not associate an acoustic guitarist with the evening party, but my acoustic guitar/vocal style works really well if you’re after some high quality live evening entertainment which won’t break the bank. I regularly play at a couple of late-night venues in Bristol, so I know which tunes to play to get everyone up on the dance floor! *sales pitch over!*

image of Pat playing outdoors at a wedding

I hope that some of this blog is helpful if you’re planning your wedding and looking for live music. Good luck with your search for the perfect musician, and of course please do get in touch if you’re considering my acoustic guitar/singing for your wedding day!

Blog Part 2 – Common mistakes/Things to avoid

 

Written by Pat McIntyre, guitarist for weddings based in Bristol.

logo: Pat McIntyre - guitarist for weddings