Weddings at Folly Farm, Cripps Barn, Charingworth Manor and Rookery Manor
The last couple of weeks have certainly kept us on our toes, with wedding performances at a few venues we’ve either never played before or only play every now and then.
A couple of weeks ago we arrived at Folly Farm in Somerset, a lovely rustic place out in the sticks. The couple had tied the knot the previous day, so there was a pretty relaxed atmosphere as we set up.
The first dance was “Tenerife Sea” by Ed Sheeran, which we’d managed to learn with only a week’s notice. And it sounded pretty good as well. The rest of the first set went down well, and during the break Chris’ mate Scott (also a close friend of the groom) played a few tunes on his acoustic guitar:
Once Scott had finished we cracked on with a second set that filled the dance floor quite nicely. The bride had asked for “Cake by the Ocean” by DNCE on the disco, but we’d learned that one too and threw it in towards the end of the set especially for the girls who went on the hen party.
The disco was then able to take things up to midnight to complete a satisfying night’s work. As we were leaving Scott could be seen reaching for his guitar once again – perhaps he’s still playing?!
The following Thursday we headed in the other direction to Cripps Barn near Cirencester in Gloucestershire. This is another splendid venue, and once we’d set up we were able to enjoy the amazing scenery as the speeches finished.
There followed a special Oriental Dragon Dance complete with lots of noisy percussion – which gave us the perfect opportunity to make some noise of our own and sound check inside.
The first dance was on the lap top this time (Colour Blind by Counting Crows, for those interested). Then it was a special song for the bride to dance with her Dad, although she spent the first half of the tune tracking him down (we think he’d snuck away for a cigar – nice try!).
Despite it being a Thursday night and not a huge wedding numbers-wise, most guests had a dance and ensured the party wet off really well.
On Saturday it was time for a daytime performance at Charingworth Manor near Chipping Campden. Yes, a bit further than we’d normally travel but what a lovely drive and a stunning spot as well.
The plan was to play for ceremony and drinks, but on arriving we were told we couldn’t set up for 15 minutes. With the bride being American, she was scheduled to have a “first look” at the ceremony set up with her husband-to-be – apparently a tradition in the US but a bit alien to us… surely the groom’s first glimpse of the bride should be in the ceremony?!
Admittedly, it does make sense from a practical point of view, with lots of photos being taken before the ceremony (instead of taking up the whole drinks reception).
Once we were clear to set up, we were delighted that (a) the weather was looking good for an outside ceremony and drinks; and (b) we could use the same set up or both parts of the day.
For the ceremony we played a few songs of our choice as guests assembled, then I Want to Hold Your Hand as the bridesmaids and flower girls entered. Then it was “All of Me” for the bride’s entrance.
The ceremony went well, despite one of those little propeller planes flying past a couple of times and drowning out the registrar… the perils of al fresco weddings! As the happy couple headed inside to sign the register we played a specially learned “Borrow My Heart” and then it was just a case of twisting our chairs round to face the drinks reception and crack on with our drinks set.
We played pretty solidly through the drinks until guests drifted off for the wedding breakfast, then it was time to pack away and head back to Bristol. Another very satisfying day’s work!
Our most recent gig was at Rookery Manor near Weston-super-Mare in Somerset. This is a venue that has eluded us up until now, and more is the shame… the function room is perfectly set up for live music, with lots of drapes to help the sound, a nice stage, and an excellent resident DJ to take care of the disco!
The first dance was “Stand By Me”, and when we hit the chorus the venue set off Roman candles either side of the couple which looked very cool – hopefully the photographer didn’t miss the moment!
The rest of the night was very enjoyable, with the bridesmaids dancing all night to ensure the floor was never empty, the groom buying us a pint, and Nigel the DJ doing a splendid job when we weren’t on stage.
As usual I will end this blog by extending our congratulations to all the newlyweds, and we hope those honeymoons are going well!