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

Charlton House: live acoustic music at James & Sally’s wedding reception + first dance

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I met with Sally and James a few months back at the fantastic Charlton House – a stunning venue and one of Duncan Bannatyne‘s hotels, of Dragon’s Den fame. Back then it was a dark Winter’s evening, but thankfully it was a completely different day for the happy couple’s big day!

There was rain around in the morning but thankfully the clouds cleared and the sun even made a brief appearance in the afternoon. I set up outside and played some acoustic music as guests arrived and mingled for the drinks reception. Sally & James chose an eclectic playlist, and the live music went down a treat!

image of the bride and groom entering the drinks reception

Sally & James arriving at the drinks reception as I played “Marry You” by Bruno Mars

Here was the afternoon playlist:

Bruno Mars - Marry You (as bride & groom arrived)
Jason Mraz - I'm Yours
Ben Howard - Only Love
Otis Redding - (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
Beatles - Here Comes The Sun
Bob Marley - Three Little Birds
Ed Sheeran - The A-Team
Joshua Radin - I'd Rather Be With You
Plain White T's - Hey There Delilah
Christina Perri - A Thousand Years
Counting Crows - Accidentally In Love
Jack Johnson - Better Together
Jason Mraz - I Won't Give Up
Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars
Kodaline - The One
Lumineers - Ho Hey
Deep Blue Something - Breakfast At Tiffanys

Later on, I played a second set inside as the main room was turned around for the evening reception. Here was the second playlist:

Eagle Eye Cherry - Save Tonight
George Ezra - Budapest
OneRepublic - Counting Stars
James Blunt - Bonfire Heart
Coldplay - Yellow
Mumford & Sons - The Cave
Amy Winehouse - Valerie
The Kooks - Naive
The Killers - Mr. Brightside
Tracey Chapman - Fast Car
Jackson Five - I Want You Back
Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl
Bryan Adams - Summer of '69
Ben E King - Stand By Me

And just before I left for the evening, I played the happy couple’s first dance acoustically – the incredible “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran. What an amazing song!

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James & Sally wowing the guests with their acoustic first dance!

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!

CanapĂ©s 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 ÂŁ2000 for entertainment – but then I’ve read blogs and articles that put the figure nearer ÂŁ650. 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 ÂŁ1000-ÂŁ1500+

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 ÂŁ400 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

Sun, 29th March: Bristol Vintage Wedding Fayre

It was wild, wet and windy here in Bristol this morning. Combine that with the fact that I was out gigging until midnight, and that British Summer Time had the nerve to steal an hour of sleep from us, and I must be honest – I didn’t fancy getting out of bed when my 8.30am alarm sounded this morning!

However, drag myself from my pit I did, and I had a great day playing acoustic songs for the Bristol Vintage Wedding Fayre at Freemason’s Hall. It was lovely to meet lots of brides and grooms-to-be and chat all things wedding music. Lovely to see lots of friendly faces and mingle with fellow wedding suppliers too!

That’s my last wedding fair of the year (unless I book in any last-minute) – so if you want to catch me singing live, keep an eye on the gigs page 🙂

Image of Vintage Wedding Guitarist Bristol

Thanks to The Little Wedding Helper for this photo!

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

Thu 12th March, 2015: Preferred Venues

I’ve played at a lot of fantastic places over the last few years, and this year I’m linking up with some of my favourite venues across Bristol, Bath and South Wales.

This first to announce is Aldwick Court Farm and Vineyard – an amazing wedding venue located in the Mendip countryside, within easy reach of Bristol. I love playing weddings at Aldwick – a perfect location where you can have exclusive use of the venue, in a relaxed setting with a great vibe. It’s also licensed for Civil Ceremonies, so you can host the whole wedding at one venue.

I’ve played guitar at Aldwick many times, and have loved it every time! I’ve played at the wedding ceremony in the old barn, and played drinks receptions/evening events in the new barn. It’s also possible to have live music outside when the weather is good.

The kind folk at Aldwick have included my on their suppliers lists, so it’s great to link up with one of my favourite venues in the area!

Contact me here for more information.

Aldwick Court Farm & Vineyard

Sun 8th March, 2015: Bristol Vintage Wedding Fair

I was a last-minute addition to the Bristol Vintage Wedding Fair today! Fortunately there was a spot for me to play, so I dusted off the acoustic guitar (to be fair, it was probably still warm from last night’s gig at Smoke & Mirrors!) and headed on down to Clifton Pavilion at the Bristol Zoo Gardens. I played three sets, showcasing some of my favourite acoustic tunes – and it was a great day meeting brides and grooms-to-be and mingling with the finest wedding suppliers that the South West has to offer. My next wedding fair performance will be at The Vintage Wedding Fayre in Bristol on the 29th March. If you want to hear me sing and have a chat about wedding music, pop along to Freemason’s Hall from 11am to 3pm.

 

Vintage Guitarist

Lighting courtesy of LightHaus Events – picture courtesy of The Little Wedding Helper

image of Pat McIntyre performing at Bristol Vintage Wedding Fair

Action shot! Performing at Bristol Vintage Wedding Fair

 You can read my blog entry on the Bristol Vintage Wedding Fair site here.

Sun 1st March, 2015: Wedding fair performances

 

Image of Pat playing at the Chosen Wedding Fair

Playing at the Chosen Wedding Fair. Photo credit: Simon Morgan

I had a great time playing guitar at the Chosen Wedding Fair last weekend! Lots of fantastic suppliers turned up to exhibit – and despite the wild Welsh weather in Cardiff, lots of brides and grooms-to-be turned up to get some wedding inspiration.

The space at Portland House in Cardiff Bay was great – particularly good for me as there is a large stage area where I was able to set up my gear and perform some acoustic songs to the whole wedding fair. I also exhibited at the fair, displaying my showreel and offering demo CDs. I have another announcement coming up regarding Portland House – more details soon!

Image of Pat Exhibiting at Chosen Wedding Fair

Exhibiting at the Chosen Wedding Fair

The Little Wedding Space is Bristol has now closed it’s doors to the public. A pop-up wedding exhibition, the LWS was only open for three weeks, but in that time many wedding couples visited to get inspiration and ideas for their big day. I was honoured to play at the launch night, and would like to thank The Little Wedding Helper aka Kirsten, and Ruth Garner Photography for inviting me to play, and including my demo CDs in the inspiration corner. Keep an eye on the LWS website for details of the next pop-up!

image of The Little Wedding Space

Playing guitar at the LWS

The next wedding fair I’ll be performing at will be The Vintage Wedding Fayre in Bristol on the 29th March. If you want to come down to hear me sing and play, and chat all things live wedding music, pop down to Freemason’s Hall, Bristol from 11am til 3pm.