This weekend saw me at Rosewood Pavillion for the wedding reception of Helena and Duncan, a really nice couple who I first met with way back in April this year.
This was to be a long day. Helena and Duncan had booked me for my all-day service, meaning I was set up at the venue before the wedding party arrived for the wedding breakfast. In reality, that means I’m going to be on-site for around 12-13 hours of the day (see….I said it was going to be a long one!).
Did I mention the venue?
The venue itself is a permanent marquee situated within a private stud just outside Newmarket. Helena and Duncan had taken advantage of the fact that you can personalise the marquee with your own decor and really went to town….it was absolutely stunning!
My equipment had to be set-up between a set of D&H light up letters, which was done quite easily and the photographs don’t actually do the look and feel of the setup justice. For this occasion, I also used the white, starlit booth to match the white dance floor they’d hired in for the occasion. The rest of the equipment was black for this particular wedding because the disco setup area is draped in black curtains – a pure white setup would have looked too stark. All of this had been agreed with Helena during many email conversations in the weeks leading up to the wedding.
Eventually, the guests filtered in and it was time to start work.
I had company for this reception!
I should mention that this wedding was made much easier from my side of things because Helena and Duncan had also hired the services of a professional Toastmaster (aka Toastmaster Ronnie Booth….a fantastic person to work with who really brought the reception to life!).
Once the guests where at their tables, the formal introduction of the wedding party commenced, with Ronnie making the announcements and Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars used (again, at Helena’s request) as the various members of the bridal party entered the venue.
It was then time for some light background music whilst the guests enjoyed the wedding breakfast provided on this occasion by Seb Barker and his team from Cantab Catering. I can vouch for the quality of the food on this occasion because myself, the photographers and the Toastmaster also enjoyed some of it 🙂
Planning on the fly!
Whilst the guests were eating, Ronnie and myself formulated the plans for the tossing of the bouquet, the cutting of the cake and the introduction to the first dance. The plan was to do the bouquet toss with a massive buildup (Ronnie being the Toastmaster obviously did all of the speaking whilst I played Single Ladies and provided the correct lighting for the moment).
Bouquet toss completed, it was down the other end of the marquee for the cake cutting. This time, Ronnie needed a microphone and I provided the soundtrack for the all-important event.
The next challenge, getting the guests from the opposite end of the marquee back to the dance floor for the first dance. Again, Ronnie had a brilliant idea….a human arch. I often use a human arch when a couple are leaving the venue…it’s a lot of fun and just adds that little bit of extra sparkle to the occasion. For this one, Ronnie worked the guests at his end of the marquee whilst I took a microphone and worked on the guests at my end.
Getting guests to form a human arch is always a bit like herding cats, it takes a lot of effort….but with a lot of good humour between the two of us on the microphone, we got there eventually.
Helena and Duncan entered the dance floor to Uptown Funk (the same track as they’d entered the venue with) and it was time to start the all-important first dance. Once again, it was an appearance from Mr Sheeran with Perfect (which is an ideal first dance track…just listen to the words).
We also did a special dance for Duncan’s parents, the Lady in Red by Chris De Burgh (and it’s a long time since I played that one!).
After these two dances, the guests moved to the outside seating area to enjoy the cigar Fumidor which had been provided whilst I started working on the playlist for the evening.
The playlist was to be mostly current chart tracks and some Kisstory. Now, Kisstory can mean a lot of things to a DJ (they cover a lot of decades and genres with those terms). In this case, it meant UK Garage. At this point in the evening, it wasn’t working unfortunately.
There are times in this job when you have to make a decision to maybe break from the specified playlist (although not too far from the requested genres and definitely NOT stray into the territory of those tracks which have been requested not to be played). This was one of those occasions.
So, after a request from one of the bridesmaids to play Thriller, we went into a brief 80s set with a full dance floor (yes….I was a happy DJ at this point). The music moved through the 80s to the 90s, back to the current chart and then into some Garage. Once the assembled guests were on the floor, they didn’t leave and the requests came in aplenty 🙂
Closing down time came around far too quickly, and it was time to call “carriages”, having the satisfaction of a job well done (hugs from the bride and handshakes from the groom sealed the success of what I’d done).
So, it was a long day (as all day weddings always are), but the reward of guests enjoying themselves on the dance floor always far outweighs that.
All the best Mr & Mrs Easton for a very long and happy future together….it was a real pleasure to provide the entertainment for you and your guests.