This particular wedding was ALWAYS going to be a special one to work at, and it didn’t disappoint!
So where do I start?
I first met Tracey a couple of years ago when I provided my Retro Roadshow for her ’80s themed 50th birthday. That particular night was a storm, and the feedback from Tracey said it all
Note the bit about getting married….yes, I was there!
To cut a long story short, Tony popped the question whilst they were on holiday and I was asked to save the date whilst Tracey checked availability with the church – I was the first thing booked!
It was a day of two halves
Sorry – football pun intended as the day was partly themed around Tony’s beloved Norwich City (ala the seating plan and the table names).
I was there for the afternoon reception and evening party, and got set up in good time whilst Tracey and Tony were doing the legal bits down at the local church.
I must say, the venue looked absolutely stunning, and Tracey had been in early in the morning to get everything set up.
Before long, the afternoon guests started to arrive and it’s time to start work.
The afternoon reception
The afternoon reception is a big part of the day which I enjoy. It’s a chance for guests to get to know each other, catch up, enjoy a meal and generally unwind after what’s already been a fairly long day if they’ve had to travel.
As with the whole of this wedding, I was given a massive say in how things worked from the entertainment side of things.
We started off with a Grand Entrance.
Many will have seen this done before where a member of the venue staff lamely asks everyone to be “upstanding” (is that even a real word?) for the bride and groom. I’ve seen it done this way so many times and it can be done so much better.
How did I do it?
Well, the concept is the same. It’s traditional to stand whilst the Bride and Groom enter the room – but I add a little excitement to the occasion, encouraging claps, cheers, whoops and a lot of noise to show appreciation for the occasion.
At the same time as they entered the room, Tina Turner’s “The Best” was cued on the sound system to start at exactly the right moment (one of Tracey’s favourite tracks by the way).
Once settled, it’s into the speeches which were kept nice and short. Again, each speaker is introduced to the room (hopefully with a little laughter along the way to ease their nerves).
And then it’s time for guests to enjoy the food whilst listening to gentle background music allowing for conversation…..not in this case!
It’s not unusual for a lot of more inexperienced DJs to throw a compilation of Micheal Buble or some light jazz music during this part of the day.
Me? I carefully picked songs which I knew were going to get a reaction, such as guests singing and tapping along. It was always going to be that sort of wedding and I planned my side of things accordingly.
The food by the way was absolutely gorgeous. I don’t ask to be fed and usually take care of myself, but Tracey and Tony insisted on setting a place with their guests for me…..who am I to argue?
It actually makes the job of getting to know some of the guests a lot easier, and helps to glean ideas for the evening playlist as well.
And then - the evening party!
The brief for this part of the day was simple – play music from the 60s to the 90s that people will dance to, preferably more 80s based and nothing with actions (so no YMCA, Macarena etc.)
There was ONE exception to that rule. Tracey loves to do “Oops Upside Your Head” (as do a lot of her friends), so that one was allowed through once the alcohol had started taking effect.
The night was indeed made up of music mainly from the 80s and indeed a lot from the 1970’s (a whole hour of pure, classic disco hits).
We even had a big reveal!
No….not that sort of reveal!
At her 50th, Tony surprised her with their holiday destination on the night (I’d had to make a mashup of various American themed songs as the reveal was done that night).
Their wedding day was no different, with only Tony knowing the honeymoon destination!
Guests had taken part in a sweepstake during the afternoon and early evening with the promise of the person guessing the destination correctly taking all proceeds (it all adds to the fun of the day!).
So, microphone given to Tony with a low background bed of Madonna’s “Holiday” and all is revealed – Sri Lanka (enjoy that one guys!).
And then – back to the dancing!
Some photos of the evening
I didn’t actually take too many photos of this one – I was busy dealing with guest requests for most of the evening and it’s not always possible to keep taking snaps, but here’s a few anyway
And so, to the playlist
Afternoon background music
As already mentioned, I like to try to keep things upbeat for this part of the day where possible. It can help to relax guests and indeed even encourage a little early singing and dancing
- Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond
- Baby Love – The Supremes
- Tubthumping – Chumbawamba
- In the Air Tonight – Phil Collins
- Uptown Girl (Clean) (Single) – Billy Joel
- It Must Have Been Love – Roxette
- Love is in the air – John Paul Young
- Love Is All Around – Wet Wet Wet
- I Just Called To Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder
- She’s the One – Robbie Williams
- Lovely Day – Bill Withers
- Suspicious Minds (Clean) (Single) – Fine Young Cannibals
- You’re the Voice – John Farnham
- Love of the Common People – Paul Young
- December, 1963 (Oh What A Night!) – Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
- Hold The Line (Clean) (Single) – Toto
- Higher Ground – UB40
- Take My Breath Away – Berlin
- Superstition (Single Version) – Stevie Wonder
- Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen
- Can’t Help Falling In Love – UB40
- Wonderwall (Clean) – Oasis
- Total Eclipse of the Heart – Bonnie Tyler
- Marry You – Bruno Mars
- Piano Man – Billy Joel
- I Want It That Way – Backstreet Boys
- Africa – Toto
- Blame It On the Boogie – The Jacksons
- Twist and Shout – The Searchers
- The Best – Tina Turner
- Happy Together – The Turtles
- Delilah – Tom Jones
- ABC (Album Version) – Jackson 5
- That’s Amore – Dean Martin, Dick Stabile and His Orchestra
- Hey Jude – The Beatles
- Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Andy Williams
- Soul Banana – Jive Bunny & the Mastermixers
- Soul Brother (Fonky Brown Mix) – Disco Incorporated
- Soul Man – Sam & Dave
The music for the evening was selected mainly by the guests, which is always a nice way to do things.
- Katy Perry – Teenage Dream (First Dance)
- Michael Jackson – One Day In Your Life (Father & Daughter dance)
- Whitney Houston – So Emotional (Tracey had this one dedicated to Tony on the radio that morning!)
- Wham – Club tropicana
- Donna Summer – This Time I Know It’s For Real
- Rick Astley – Together forever
- Black Box – Ride On Time
- Taylor Dayne – Tell It To My Heart
- Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)
- The Human League – Don’t you Want Me
- Michael Jackson – Billie Jean
- Abba – Dancing Queen
- The Nolans – I’m In The Mood For Dancing
- Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive
- Dolly Parton – 9 To 5
- B Witched – C’est la vie
- S Club 7 – Reach
- Wham- Wake me up before you go go
- Soft Cell – Tainted Love
- Depeche Mode – Just Can’t Get Enough
- Madonna – Holiday (background for the honeymoon reveal)
- Bryan Adams – Summer of ´69
- Bon Jovi – DJ Beats: Livin’ On A Prayer
- Dexys Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen
- The Spice Girls – Megamix
- Madness – Baggy trousers (for the Best Man)
- Madness – One Step Beyond
- Bad Manners – My Girl Lollipop
- Queen- Don’t Stop me Now
- Katrina & The Waves – Walking On Sunshine
- The Jam – Town Called Malice
- The Jam – Going Underground
- Kenny Loggins – Footloose
- Phil Collins – You Can’t Hurry Love
- Abba – Mamma Mia
- The Weather Girls – It’s Raining Men
- Steps – Tragedy
- Diana Ross – Chain Reaction
- The Gap Band – Oops Upside Your Head (Tracey’s guilty pleasure!)
- Starship – Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now (Tony’s must play track)
- Toto – Africa
- Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
- Erasure – A Little Respect
- Kelly Marie – Feels Like I’m In Love
- Gibson Brothers – Cuba
- Barry White – You’re The First, The Last, My Everything
- Earth, Wind & Fire – DJ Beats: September
- Bee Gees – You Should Be Dancing
- Kool The Gang – Celebration
- Sylvester – You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)
- The Trammps – Disco Inferno
- Donna Summer – I Feel Love
- Ottawan – D.I.S.C.O
- The O’Jays – Love Train
- Tina Turner – The Best
- Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline
- Ike and Tina Turner – Proud Mary
- The Jacksons – Blame It On The Boogie
- Ed Sheeran – Castle On The Hill
- The Proclaimers – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)
- Rednex – Cotton Eye Joe
- Tony Christie – (is this the way to) Amarillo
- Katy Perry – Teenage Dream (reprise of First Dance to get all guests onto the dance floor for the tunnel of love exit)
- Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes – (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life (“Tunnel of Love” track)
- Daft Punk – One More Time
- Kings Of Leon – DJ Beats: Sex On Fire
- The Killers – DJ Beats: Mr Brightside