The Wedding Industry Awards 2017

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Laura & Matt’s wedding at Nailsea Tithe Barn: Singer & acoustic guitarist Pat McIntyre

logo: Pat McIntyre - guitarist for weddings

The weddings season is in full flow now, so I thought it would be nice to document as many events as I can on my blog! Well, May kicked off with a bang as I had a great night playing a private birthday party at The Station Kitchen, Bristol. Didn’t manage to get any photos of the event unfortunately, but it was a great evening with an eclectic mix of songs, from the Jackson Five right through to George Ezra!

The second weekend of the month involved a typically loud Friday night gig at my resident venue Illusions Magic Bar, followed by Matt & Laura’s spectacular wedding at the beautiful Nailsea Tithe Barn.

Image of Pat playing at Nailsea Tithe Barn

The stage is set!

I play at a lot of wedding ceremonies & drinks receptions, so it was nice to play an evening set! Matt and Laura picked all the tunes on the night, with quite an indie/rock feel to the set list. I kicked off the night with their first dance – a song I’d actually never heard before “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede. Stripped back, it worked brilliantly on acoustic guitar, and it was a lovely moment. I captured quite a bit of the evening on film – so when I get a chance to sync the audio/video, splice together the footage and make it look a bit prettier, I’ll upload some videos.

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 Later on, Laura & I surprised the wedding guests with a rendition of “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse! The bride joined me on stage to sing, and was absolutely brilliant! Maybe slightly too brilliant 😉 but if anyone’s allowed to outshine me, surely it’s the bride!!

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The bride showing me how it’s done!!

It was an absolutely brilliant evening, I loved every minute. We had a full dance floor all evening, despite the hog roast, cheese board and LOADS of cake!! So thank you to everyone who danced, sang along, and made it an evening to remember. And massive congratulations to Matt & Laura… I’m sure we’ll see each other soon as we live 5 minutes down the road from one another! Here’s last night’s set list:

Blue Swede - Hooked on a Feeling (first dance)
Jack Johnson - Better Together
Maroon 5 - Moves Like Jagger
Olly Murs - Dance With Me Tonight
Amy Winehouse - Valerie (sung by the bride!)
Lumineers - Ho Hey
Train - Drive By
Arctic Monkeys - Mardy Bum
Jake Bugg - Lightning Bolt
Kooks - She Moves In Her Own Way
Kings of Leon - Use Somebody
Marvin Gaye - Heard It Through The Grapevine
Avicii - Wake Me Up
The Calling - Wherever You Will Go
Pharrell - Happy
Stevie Wonder - Superstition
Killers - Mr Brightside
Arctic Monkeys - I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor
Fratellis - Whistle For The Choir
Kings of Leon - Sex on Fire
Lady GaGa/Eurythmics medley - Bad Romance/Sweet Dreams
Rihanna - Umbrella
Maroon 5 - Payphone
White Stripes - Seven Nation Army
Razorlight - Before I Fall To Pieces
Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Dani California
Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl
Fratellis - Chelsea Dagger

 

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!

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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

Thu, 26th March 2015: Preferred Venues – update

An update on my Preferred Venues list. Along with Aldwick Court Farm & Vineyard, I’ve now added Wick Farm Bath and Portland House, Cardiff Bay. You can read more here.

Wick Farm Bath

 

Portland House Cardiff

Sun, 15th March 2015: Live recordings from the Bristol Vintage Wedding Fair

Last Sunday I played some acoustic tunes at the Bristol Vintage Wedding Fair, hosted at the Pavilion, Bristol Zoo Gardens. I recorded some of my set and am just in the process of editing/uploading some live videos from the event. Here’s the first one, a cover of George Ezra’s “Blame It On Me”.

George is a local boy, from right ‘ere in Brizzle town! I love his album “Wanted on Voyage” – his voice is amazing and the album’s full of upbeat, Summery songs. I’m also looking forward to seeing him live in Bristol this Summer!