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Thursday, 29 October 2009

// DEBIT & CREDIT CARDS NOW ACCEPTED //

We now have our debit / credit card payment processing facility in operation. You can now pay your deposit or any remaining balance with any of the following:

Maestro
Solo
Mastercard
VISA
Mastercard Debit
VISA Debit
VISA Electron

There is a 2% surcharge for credit card transactions. Debit card transactions are free of charge.

If you are paying your remaining balance by credit/debit card, we would recommend you do so no later than 10 days before your wedding date.

If you want to make a deposit or remaining balance payment you can do this at any time by calling: 0800 61 22 995.

Payments can also still be made by cash or cheque.


James Barlow - The Wedding Singer

Monday, 26 October 2009

// GIG REVIEW - IAIN & EMMA, LODORE FALLS HOTEL - 12TH SEPTEMBER //

On 12 September I provided wedding entertainment for Emma & Iain at the fantastic Lodore Falls Hotel in the Lake District.


A little different from a regular job, Iain & Emma are good friends of mine. Both school friends, particularly Iain who I have known literally since birth. In fact there's a picture of us, both a few months old looking rather cute - I won't post it here though!



I also had the great honour of not only being Emma & Iain's wedding singer, but a guest as well. Unfortunately, I didn't make it in time for the actual ceremony - I had a very busy couple of days beforehand - South Wales on the Thursday, and Leicestershire the night before. So, after a fantastic wedding breakfast (a special mention goes to the sticky toffee pudding!), I set-up ready for the arrival of evening guests.

Emma & Iain danced to 'What The World Needs Now' by Dionne Warwick before I started my first singing set. It's always more nerve-racking singing in front of all your friends, but at least they are a good crowd and always up for lots of enthusiastic dancing!



We took a break part-way through the evening and all assembled outside for a surprise firework display. To the soundtrack of Take That's - Rule The World, we watched a very impressive display before going inside to continue the dancing.



Continuing with more singing and DJing, a particular highlight was the invasion of some OAP wedding crashers! They were all very enthusiastic dancers and displayed some particularly impressive moves to my rendition Robbie William's Rock DJ!

I finished the evening with a sung reprise of 'Rule The World'. We all circled the new Mr & Mrs Shannon and sent them off on their way to the honeymoon destination - Singapore.



Emma & Iain have sent me the following testimonial to add to the web site:

We wanted to say a HUGE thank you for the fantastic job you did at our wedding. We left the playlist in your capable hands and you got everyone up and dancing including the 'OAP gatecrashers' they had a great time! All of our guests since have been commenting on your great performance and your fabulous voice. We loved that you sang our requested last song- Take That's Rule The World- and everyone sang along. It was the perfect end to our perfect day.

We would highly recommend you, thanks for everything.

I big thanks to Emma and Iain for letting me part of their day!


For past gig reviews click here

Photography by Jane Fox Photography

Friday, 23 October 2009

// THE CHOREOGRAPHED FIRST DANCE //

The bride and groom's first dance is often met with much fear and dread. I am commonly told, moments before the happy couple take to the dance floor, that they feel that this is most nerve-racking part of the whole day!


Whether you are unsure of your dancing skills, of what kind of movements to make on the dance floor, or just hate the idea of getting up in front of your nearest and dearest - one way of alleviating your fears is by spending some time choreographing a first dance. Not only will the preparation help you achieve a level of comfort with your dance but a dance teacher will be able to suggest some simple, yet effective moves suitable even for the most incapable of movers!

A common trend of late is to learn something a little more elaborate. Often dramatic, often funny, the popularity of more and more extravagant dance routines appearing on YouTube, many gaining millions of hits, has only served to make learning something a little different for your first dance ever more popular. Also, to add an element of surprise, I am increasingly being given mixes of several songs fused together, often starting with a more traditional, slow track, then surging seamlessly into something much more upbeat, giving the bride and groom opportunity to break-dance, body pop, corkscrew, knee drop etc etc!

There are many companies that have appeared in the last few years offering first dance lessons. Two of the bigger, nationwide companies are: First Dance UK & Dances4U offering one to one tuition for as many or as fewer hours as you need to perfect your moves!

If you are stuck for first dance ideas, I have lots of suggestions - from traditional, popular choices to more upbeat, unusual suggestions to give your guests something a bit more of the unexpected. Feel free to get in touch or take a look at my Top Ten First Dance Songs article.

So, to finish off - I'd like to show you one of my favourite ever choreographed first dance videos. This is actually my friends Jon & Hannah who got married in April. This was a complete surprise to all the guests on the day and, as you can see they have chosen a lively, upbeat track - Queen's Don't Stop Me Now, and very much gone for a comical, light-hearted feel! They actually had no professional lessons in preparation for this, just a few run throughs in their front room - which I think, makes it all the more impressive. Watch out for the knee slide (he lost the deposit on his wedding trousers!)

Enjoy!


video



Written by James Barlow - The Wedding Singer

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

// FOLLOW THE WEDDING SINGER ON FACEBOOK & TWITTER //

In a continued effort to improve my services and in an attempt to become more active in my communication with potential and existing clients, I have now set-up Twitter and Facebook accounts.


Fully synchronised with this blog, you can now add The Wedding Singer on Facebook and Twitter and receive regular updates including details of: new services/equipment/package add-ons, repertoire additions, demo updates, gig reviews and advice about all things wedding-related to help your big day go as smoothly as possible.

Click on the Facebook & Twitter logos to the right to add me to your feed now and feel free to Tweet, Facebook, blog comment, e-mail or phone me if you have any questions!


James

Monday, 19 October 2009

// RAT PACK / SWING PACKAGE ADD-ON NOW AVAILABLE //

I have a new package add-on available. I can now offer an additional 30 minute Rat-Pack / Swing set when you book the Standard Package. The set features all the great Rat Pack / Swing songs such as: Come Fly With Me, Ain't That A Kick In The Head, Fly Me to The Moon, That's Life, Mr Bojangles, Can't Take My Eyes Off You and more! The perfect way to kick off your evening reception.




The Rat Pack / Swing add-on is available for just an extra £50 and can be added on to you existing package if you have already made a booking. Call or e-mail for more details.

James Barlow - The Wedding Singer

Friday, 16 October 2009

// WEDDING ENTERTAINMENT OXFORDSHIRE //

As one of the UK's top wedding singers I often find myself providing wedding entertainment in Oxfordshire.


Based in Stafford, I am more than happy to travel south and provide entertainment anywhere in Oxfordshire.

As 'The Wedding Singer' I sing some of the best pop, disco, rock and soul songs from the last 40 years. Also, an experienced wedding DJ, I am able to provide a full evenings entertainment, anywhere in Oxfordshire for as little as £525.

I have provided wedding entertainment in some of Oxfordshire's top wedding venues including:

* Ardington House, Wantage
* Barcelo Hotel, Oxford
* Bear Hotel, Wantage
* Blenheim Palace, Woodstock
* Didcot Civic Hall, Didcot
* Weston Manor Hotel, Weston-on-the-Green

Here is a recent testimonial from a happy Oxfordshire couple:

Both Simon and I just wanted to drop you a line to say a huge thank you to you! Everyone was raving about you and thought that you were brilliant! The atmosphere was fantastic and they loved your live performances. Once again, a big thank you. I know that you had a long way to travel, it was really appreciated

Victoria & Simon Calcutt
Married at Ardington House, Wantage. Oxfordshire on 25th April 2009




For more information visit my Wedding Entertainment Oxfordshire page or call now on: 0800 61 22 995

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

// NEW LIGHTING - EQUINOX MICRO BAR //

I am constantly improving and updating my equipment and have, this week, bought some new lighting to add to The Wedding Singer set-up.

My light show is split into two distinctive sections: My 'stage' lighting - to light myself up during my singing performances so guests can see what I'm up to(!) and my 'effects' lighting - lighting for the dance floor that paints patterns / shapes all around the room to encourage people up on the dance floor.

The new lighting has replaced my old stage-type lighting which has replaced my old par 56 lighting cans with a new Equinox LED System. The old style lighting was heavier, larger and used a great deal more power. The new system also gives off no heat - it wasn't uncommon for my stage area to hit 30 degrees! So, you can expect considerably less perspiration from your wedding singer from now on!


Being powered by LEDs also means that the new system is a lot more flexible in the colours and chase patterns that are available. The LEDs can also seamlessly fade from one colour into another giving some excellent atmospheric lighting before the dancing begins at the start of the evening and during some of the slower songs towards the end.



Here is a video of just one set of the lights in action. I have two sets as a part of my set-up. This is a video made by the manufacturer, not myself, so excuse the shocking choice of music!!


video


If you have any questions about The Wedding Singer lighting system or any other aspect of my set-up, feel free to get in touch!

Friday, 9 October 2009

// JANE FOX PHOTOGRAPHY - SUPPLIER SHOWCASE //

As a professional wedding singer, I often bump into the same wedding suppliers time after time. One of those is a Staffordshire based photographer, Jane Fox who I have worked with on numerous occasions.


Jane fox is a wedding photographer based in Stone, mainly covering venues around Staffordshire and Cheshire, but in some cases travelling far and wide over the country to capture couples magical days.


Jane takes a contemporary approach in her style of shooting, aiming to capture the mood of the day by photographing people unaware as they are enjoying themselves having a glass of champagne or are swinging around on the dance floor! This reportage photography also enables the bride and groom to enjoy their day, spending more time with their guests and taking in every moment that their day has to offer. Jane also understands that 'Great Auntie Ethel' may want a more traditional image for her mantle piece, so staged images of family can also be popped into the day if requested by the bride and groom.


Please go to http://www.janefoxphotography.co.uk/ to view more of Jane’s work or to email her directly for a quote.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

// WEDDING ENTERTAINMENT BIRMINGHAM //

As one of the UK's top wedding singers, one of the many areas of the country in which I provide wedding entertainment is, Birmingham.

Based in Stafford, I am ideally situated to provide wedding entertainment throughout Birmingham and the West Midlands.

As, 'The Wedding Singer' I sing some of the best songs from the last 40 years with the option of additional rat pack / swing sets during your wedding breakfast. Also, an experienced
wedding DJ, I am is available to provide you with a full evening's entertainment from as little as £525!

I have provided wedding entertainment at some of the West Midlands premier wedding venues including:

* Clarendon Suites, Birmingham
* Copthorne Hotel, Dudley
* Gables Hotel, Solihull
* Hogarth's Hotel, Solihull
* Moxhull Hall Hotel, Sutton Coldfield
* Marston Farm Hotel, Sutton Coldfield
* Mill Hotel, Alverley
* Paragon Hotel, Birmingham
* New Hall Hotel, Sutton Coldfield
* Plough & Harrow Hotel, Birmingham
* Ramada Hotel, Solihull

Here is a recent testimonial from a happy West Midlands couple:

We just wanted to express our thanks for helping to make our big day so special. The music you played really got our guests going, the dance floor was packed all evening. Everyone has commented how great the entertainment was, when you sang a Michael Jackson number, several guests didn't realise it was actually you singing!! We wanted something different than the usual wedding disco, and you certainly delivered and exceeded our expectations. We wouldn't hesitate in recommending you to anyone looking for a professional and entertaining function.

Thanks again.

Emma & Terry Naisbett
Married at Marston Farm Hotel, Sutton Coldfield. West Midlands





Monday, 5 October 2009

// CAVERSWALL CASTLE - VENUE SHOWCASE //


I have provided wedding singer / DJ services at Caverswall Castle a number of times.

Caverswall Castle is a 13th Century castle is naturally hidden by mature oaks and lyme trees, and is set in over 35 acres of private grounds.

Now privately owned, the Castle has undergone complete restoration. The grand Medieval and Jacobean architecture has been combined with modern luxuries, making Caverswall Castle an ideal setting for a wedding reception. Just as royal visitors have done in years before, you can relax and entertain your guests with style, imagination and freedom.

Caverswall Castle is not a hotel and is only available on an exclusive basis, with a choice of wedding packages.

So, just imagine a place which brings the past back to life, with awe-inspiring splendour and a greeting to make your guests feel immediately welcome.

Champagne and canap├ęs are taken in the ornate courtyard overlooking the moat, or for the more adventurous, the Castle battlements, with breathtaking views over the surrounding countryside. Fairytale locations for your wedding photographs are plentiful….whatever the weather.

For your Wedding Breakfast, two adjoining dungeons, seat up to 90 guests and provide an atmospheric baronial setting. For smaller parties, the Dining Room seats up to 22 guests and the Ceremonial Hall, up to 50 guests.

Caverswall Castle can accommodate a maximum of 150 guests for your evening wedding reception and dancing/entertainment is permitted until midnight.

Guests also have use of the castle grounds, games room with its magnificent 19th century billiards table and our reception rooms, steeped in history.


Guests dancing at Gareth & Sarah Reynolds' wedding reception in the Castle Dungeons at Caverswall Castle. For a review of my performance at this wedding reception, click here


For more information about Caverswall Castle, visit their web site: http://www.caverswall-castle.co.uk or call: 01782 393 239.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

// GIG REVIEW - CHERYL & KEVAN, RIDGEMONT HOUSE - 19TH SEPTEMBER 2009 //

I was wedding singer for Cheryl & Kevan Seddon a couple of weeks ago at the fantastic Ridgemont House in Horwich, Lancashire.


They sat down for a late Buffet Wedding Breakfast at 6, so they were able to book the Standard Package and I was happy to shift my 7pm - 1am timings forwards and be set-up and ready for 6pm and finish music at Midnight. After some short speeches I played a pre-recorded selection of Jazz, Swing and Love Songs as guests dined.

I officiated Cheryl & Kevan's cake cutting and 8.30 and then they did their first dance immediately afterwards. I sang Take That's Greatest Day, for which Cheryl & Kevan had learnt a specially choreographed dance routine! 'Greatest Day' was not previously a part of my repertoire so I learnt the song especially for them.


After the first dance I sang my first singing set, getting everyone involved on the dance floor. The dancing continued as I DJ-ed and sang my second and third sets - I think we had everyone up on the dance floor at some point during the evening!

Towards the end of the evening there was a surprise in store for everyone. Cheryl had secretly organised a pair of Naked Balloon Dancers to entertain everyone. Even Kevan was unaware and looked as surprised as everyone else as the naked dancers jumped on to the dance floor!



Cheryl & Kevan have sent me the following testimonial from the day:

A big thanks to you James for helping make our wedding day so special, all our guests loved you and commented how good you were. You sang your heart out all night and did a wonderful 'Take That - Greatest Day' for our first dance. All our guests were up dancing all night and the bubbles look fantastic on our photos (very romantic ones of our first dance!)

I hope we didn't shock you too much with our surprise Streaking Balloon Dancers, they certainly ended the night with a bang!!

Thank you with lots of love from Mr & Mrs Seddon xx

So, best wishes to the new Mr & Mrs Seddon and I hope to return to Ridgemont House again soon!