Jemima and Ed’s big day was always going to be a special and fun occasion, and was one of those days where I return home in the early hours of the morning with a big, beaming grin on my face!
Let’s rewind a little bit though….
The venue was a new one to me (in fact it’s only been in existence for a couple of years), the gorgeous Horsely Hale Farm, literally 10 minutes from my own front door. It’s certainly a venue I’m planning on working at in the future as well!
The plans for Jem and Ed’s day were simple. A Humanist Celebrant led ceremony by the lake, a summer garden party for the afternoon, and an evening of dancing in a stunning marquee (and it was certainly one of the biggest marquees I’ve ever worked in!)
I met up with Jem and Ed on the Friday before their wedding (it hadn’t been possible beforehand), to see the venue first hand and to double check the details for the day.
This was ALWAYS going to be a good one!
The weather had different ideas though!
Unusually for August after the hottest day ever recorded just a couple of weeks beforehand, we had winds gusting to 65mph! Bear in mind we’re in the Cambridgeshire Fens, there’s little to break the wind speed up!
So, the plan for the ceremony by the lake was changed to a ceremony on a wooded and more sheltered hill. It was actually a very nice setting with the sun coming though the trees, despite the roaring of the wind.
My job during the ceremony was to play the prelude music during guest arrival (a mixture of easy listening tracks they’d picked), the processional (Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles) as Jemima and Ed walked down the aisle together, and the recessional (Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder) as they were showered in confetti by their guests.
Ceremony done, it’s time for the afternoon drinks reception.
My job for this part of the day is wide and varied.
My main task was to play a selection of garden party orientated background music whilst the guests enjoyed drinks outside. This involved both the main PA system inside the marquee and battery operated wireless speakers relaying the sound outside.
It’s never quite that easy though. I also get involved with things like assisting the venue in the afternoon setups, assisting the photographer with calling the right guests at the right times for the all important group shots (no mean feat with a howling wind), and getting to know the important guests such as the parents of the bride and groom.
Eventually, it’s time for the evening meal (meaning ushering the guests into the marquee) and a quick break until the speeches, one of which required musical intervention from me in a pre-planned surprise.
And so….the the evening party!
As much as I love being a part of the ceremony and the afternoon proceedings, the evening party is my chance to shine.
Jemima and Ed had arranged for their groomsmen to fire off four confetti cannons at a certain point during their first dance (Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen), which was the signal for their guests to join them on the dance floor.
And join them they most certainly did!
Jem and Ed had spent a lot of time in the weeks leading up to the wedding crafting a playlist (it was a lot longer than I could ever possibly play but that’s not a problem). The majority of the playlist was for older music from the Motown and 70s Disco era’s, with just a smattering of later tracks.
In my book, it was always going to be a winner!
Sadly, the allotted end time came around far too quickly (it literally flew by which isn’t unusual when there’s a very full dance floor). Because of local licensing, I HAD to end at midnight (there are no exceptions in this area), so I deployed a cunning trick I like to use at times after quickly consulting with Jemima and Ed.
Play a slow-down song (Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing), followed by a reprise of the first dance which was announced as the last song of the night.
As is usual, all remaining guests joined them for this one, and I fired off a couple more confetti cannons in the same place as the groomsmen had earlier to roars of approval.
Yes, I’d finished 5 minutes early, and getting the expected “one more DJ” chant which myself and the venue had been expecting, played out with Sweet Caroline (one of the playlist choices) to allow a singalong.
As an unexpected bonus (and because I still had time and had cleared it with the venue), Ed got a final request of Groove Amada’s Superstylin’ – which went down an absolute storm!
The result? The guests were happy that they’d got “one more song”, myself and the venue were happy that we’d ended within the allowed licensing time, win-win 🙂
So, some pictures of the evening then
And the playlist I hear you ask?
As already mentioned, Jem and Ed spent weeks crafting a playlist for the evening, consisting mainly of 60’s and 70’s classics, with just a few from the 80’s, 90’s and more modern for good measure.
In the event, I had around three times more tracks requested than I could possibly play, which isn’t a problem as I then tend to choose what’s working from the list.
The 60’s music and 70’s disco tracks were definitely the order of the evening for this one though!
So….without further ado, here’s what was played
- Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (first dance)
- Bryan Adams – Summer Of ’69
- Bon Jovi – Dj Beats: Livin’ On A Prayer
- Bee Gees – You Should Be Dancing (2007 Remastered)
- Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)
- ABBA – Mamma Mia
- ABBA – Dancing Queen
- The Archies – Sugar Sugar
- The Beatles – Twist and Shout
- The Supremes – You Can’t Hurry Love
- Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons – December, 1963 (Oh What A Night!
- Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive (2007 Remastered)
- The Jacksons – Blame It On the Boogie
- Sister Sledge – We Are Family
- Sly And The Family Stone – Dance to the Music
- James Brown – Get Up Offa That Thing
- The Communards – Don’t Leave Me This Way
- Wham! – Club Tropicana
- Aha – Take on Me
- Cher – Believe
- Pulp – Disco 2000 (7″ Mix)
- Scissor Sisters – Filthy/Gorgeous
- Sylvester – You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)
- The Trammps – Disco Inferno
- The Blues Brothers & Aretha Franklin – Think
- Donna Summer – I Feel Love (Edited Version)
- Whitney Houston – How Will I Know (Remastered)
- Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive
- Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out (Single Version)
- Bee Gees – Night Fever (2007 Remastered)
- DeBarge – Rhythm Of The Night (Album Version)
- Shalamar – I Can Make You Feel Good
- Luther Vandross – Never Too Much
- Rufus – Ain’t Nobody
- Justin Timberlake – Rock Your Body
- Backstreet Boys – I Want It That Way
- Tina Turner – The Best
- The Killers – Mr Brightside
- Kings Of Leon – Sex on Fire
- Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
- Toto – Africa
- Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart
- Rainbow – Since You Been Gone
- Elton John – Crocodile Rock
- Fatboy Slim – Praise You
- Fatboy Slim – The Rockafeller Skank
- Daft Punk – Around The World
- Pulp – Common People
- Blur – Parklife
- RUN-DMC vs. Jason Nevins – It’s Like That
- The Doobie Brothers – Long Train Runnin’ (Clean) (Radio Edit)
- Sister Sledge – Lost In Music
- Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’
- Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (dummy ending)
- Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline (one more song DJ)
- Groove Armada – Superstylin (a bonus for Ed)
An absolutely AWESOME day despite many challenges from the British weather (it’s the only thing you can’t really plan for sadly).
A full and happy dance floor, and lots of compliments from guests and the venue at the end of the night, including a hug AND a kiss from both Jem AND Ed!