I’m not going to lie…this is a wedding reception I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time!
In fact, Kathryn and James booked me for their evening reception in a marquee in the grounds of The Dower House over a year ago.
Right from the first meeting, we all seemed to hit it off, with very similar ideas on how things should go for the evening.
Now, Kathryn and James admitted they’d never actually been to a wedding in the past as guests, so had a LOT of questions on how things should and shouldn’t be done.
In reality, there IS no right and wrong way of doing things. Tradition with things like the order things like speeches, first dances and cake cutting disappeared long ago and to be honest, I prefer the more flexible way of doing things….it makes the occasion more unique.
In fact, right up until I arrived in the evening, the order of events was still very “flexible”. More on that shortly.
They married at the Shuttleworth Collection earlier in the day (James is a pilot) and held the evening reception in a gorgeous marquee in the grounds of The Dower House. The moment I arrived I was made to feel welcome by the owner – it’s a lovely place for a wedding reception!
As already mentioned, the evening was to take place in a marquee. Now I work in a lot of marquees each and every year, but this one was gorgeous. It was an “L” shape and, well, very uppy-downy on the roof.
All set up with my Rustic style booth, lighting and speakers to match the size of the marquee, it was time to finalise the plans for the evening.
This meant working very closely with the official photographer and videographer, both of whom have much more important jobs than me in that they have to capture everything that happens during the evening.
The timeline of events was still unclear, so between us, we came up with a plan of action, put it to Kat & James and got the go-ahead to run with it.
A relaxed and enjoyable evening to work at
This was ALWAYS going to be a relaxed and informal reception. Kat & James were so laid back about how the evening was to work that they were an absolute pleasure to work with.
There were no formal seating arrangements in the marquee, meaning no traditional top table. The first problem for those doing the official filming then was “where will the speeches take place?”.
Simple – I placed a microphone stand in the middle of the dance floor allowing them to set up their equipment to capture the shots they needed – everyone was happy.
Then onto the cake cut (a gorgeous chocolate cake), which was introduced with a countdown and a LOT of cheering (was James really safe to let loose with a big knife?)
Because the cake was next to the dance floor where the speeches had just taken place, the guests were already in place for this part of the evening…a little clever planning makes the job so much easier sometimes ;).
And finally, the first dance as husband and wife (Heavenly Day by Patty Griffin).
Both Kat and James were keen to invite their guests on as soon as possible, so I left it to the photographer and videographer to signal when they’d got the shots they needed before opening the ‘floor to everyone.
Then, it’s onto the buffet. Unfortunately, this had the effect of clearing the dance floor (as was expected) for around an hour whilst guests ate, chatted, ate more and generally relaxed. No big panic….they’ll come back.
It was certainly worth the wait!
It took a little while to get the guests on their feet and shaking their moves on the dance floor (and in the bar area too!), but once they were up there was no stopping them.
Music varied from half a dozen pre-requests from Kat & James, along with guest requests aplenty and music from the ’80s to the current day. Everything went down an absolute treat.
Grandparents were bouncing along to Mr Brightside and Chelsea Dagger!
And here's the proof!
What was the playlist?
Regular followers will know that I don’t have pre-determined playlists as such, because they just don’t work.
I prefer instead to get ideas from the bride and groom (Kathryn likes ‘the 80s and ’90s, James is more into Rock….completely different tastes), plus respond to what’s actually happening on the night.
So….here’s what was played. Brace yourself…it was an awesome night even if I do say so myself!
Background music during “cocktail hour” when the guests were arriving
- I Ran – Flock of Seagulls
- Dreams – Beck
- Send Me On My Way – Rusted Root
- Don’t You Forget About Me – Simple Minds
- Do I Wanna Know? – Arctic Monkeys
- Don’t Give In – Snow Patrol
- This Is How It Feels – Richard Ashcroft
- Perfect Day – Lou Reed
- This Ain’t A Love Song – Scouting For Girls
- Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
- You & Me Song – The Wannadies
- Dancing in the Moonlight – Toploader
- You Stole the Sun from My Heart – Manic Street Preachers
- Marks To Prove It – The Maccabees
- Beloved – Mumford & Sons
- She’s So Lovely – Scouting for Girls
- She Moves In Her Own Way – The Kooks
- You’ve Got The Love – Florence + The Machine
- Dear Life – Beck
- The Man – The Killers
- America – Razorlight
The main event...
- Patty Griffin – Heavenly Day (first dance)
- Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop The Feeling
- Mark Ronson Feat. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
- Phil Collins – You Can’t Hurry Love
- Amy Winehouse; Mark Ronson – Valerie
- Scissor Sisters – I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’
- Daft Punk – Get Lucky
- Michael Jackson – Billie Jean
- Madonna – Like a virgin
- Whitney Houston – How Will I Know?
- David Bowie – Let’s Dance
- Maroon 5 – Sugar
- Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa – One Kiss
- Calvin Harris & Sam Smith – Promises
- Nu Shooz – I Can’t Wait
- Was Not Was – Walk the Dinosaur
- Wham – Club Tropicana
- Black Box – Ride On Time
- Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
- DNCE – Cake By The Ocean
- Justin Timberlake – SexyBlack
- Kool The Gang – Celebration
- Earth Wind and Fire – September
- Bee Gees – You Should Be Dancing
- Whitney Houston – I Wanna DanceWith Somebody (Who Loves Me)
- The Spice Girls – Megamix
- S Club 7 – Don’t Stop Movin’
- S Club 7 – Reach
- Vengaboys – Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!
- Rednex – Cotton Eye Joe
- DJ Otzi – Hey Baby
- B’Witched – C’est la vie
- Chesney Hawkes – The One And Only
- Talking Heads – Once in a Lifetime
- Electric Light Orchestra – Mr. Blue Sky
- Calvin Harris Feat. Rihanna – We Found Love
- Walk The Moon – Shut Up And Dance
- Darude – Sandstorm
- Faithless – Insomnia
- Bizarre Inc – Playing With Knives
- Urban Cookie Collective – The Key, The Secret
- M.C Sar & The Real Mc Coy – Another Night
- Steps – Tragedy
- Beyonce – Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)
- Beyoncé – Love on Top
- Bryan Adams – Summer of ´69
- Bon Jovi – Livin On a Prayer
- The Fratellis – Chelsea Dagger
- Kings Of Leon – Sex On Fire
- The Killers – Mr Brightside
- Aerosmith & Run-DMC – Walk This Way
- Kaiser Chiefs – I Predict A Riot
- Blur – Song 2
- Blur – Parklife
- Guns N Roses – Sweet Child O Mine
- Aqua – Barbie Girl (note – this was a song from James’s stag night!)
- Rupert Holmes – Escape The Pina Colada Song (the first song Kat & James put the on the playlist….it’s a family thing)
- Chumbawamba – Tubthumping
- Peter Andre – Mysterious Girl
- Inner Circle – Sweat
- Salt-N-Pepa – Push It
- Beyonce feat. Jay-Z – Crazy In Love
- Drake – Nonstop
- Sean Paul Feat. Alexis Jordan – Got 2 Luv U
- Shakira feat. Wyclyff Jean – Hips don’t lie
- Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline
- Frank Sinatra – Come Fly With Me (requested for James by Kat as the last song of the evening)
Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and to my mind, this one ended far too early (the venue’s license dictates an 11:30 pm finish to amplified music as it’s outdoors). I could have continued for several more hours with these particular guests without even breaking a sweat!
Congratulations Kat & James, and all the best for a very long and happy marriage!