Friday, 26 October 2012

Groom's First Looks

Us wedding singers rarely get to see this part of the day but I absolutely love these!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Caroline and Rory at Curradine Barns, Worcestershire on 22nd September 2012

I spent a fantastic evening with Caroline, Rory and their friends and family at Curradine Barns in Shrawley, Worcestershire on 22nd September.

It was my first time at Curradine Barns and it's a truly stunning barn venue. Situated amoungst the stunning Worcestershire countryside, the barns were originally constructed as an agricultural grain store. Restoration of the barns began in autumn 2004 and continuous improvements and loving care have created a stunning contemporary and atmospheric wedding venue.

wedding singer worcestershire
The stunning couple!

Caroline and Rory booked me at their wedding singer back in January and opted for my Standard Package (Evening Singer & DJ). Their evening reception was held in the Granary Barn where I was able to set up whilst the wedding breakfast and speeches were concluding in the adjoining Barley Barn.

Carradine Barns Granary Barn
My sound and lighting set up in the Granary Barn


Rory contacted me a couple of months before the big day to say he played guitar and was thinking about playing something for Caroline as a suprise in the evening. Would he be able to play along on guitar whilst I sang a track? I said - "no problem"! Rory decided on Elton John's Your Song as the track, which I sourced (minus guitar part) and forwarded on to Rory to get learning!

In the meantime, a shortly before that wedding day, Caroline rang me sounded slightly flustered asking if it was okay if she could surprise Rory with, you've guessed it... a song! Obviously a musically talented couple! Caroline is a pianist and wanted to play Adele's Make You Feel My Love on the day, especially for Rory.

Obviously I was sworn to secrecy by both and had two simultanious plans to set in place which included an awful lot secret collusion mainly about the arrangment of performance times but also about the hiding and movement of instruments. Neither could know what the other had planned!

Both with differing ways of dealing with their performance anxiety, Caroline opted for just before the first dance for her song - to get it over with as quickly as possible, and Rory waited until near the end of the night - "so everyone's had a few drinks"!

Caroline's song!

The plans worked perfectly and Rory and Caroline were both delighted and surprised with each other's performances. I know so well that there's nothing more nerve-racking than performing in front of your nearest and dearest; they did a fantastic job of both playing and keeping their nerves in check!

As an added element to the story, Caroline has since told me that she very nearly performed 'Your Song' rather than 'Make You Feel My Love', meaning both bride and groom almost surprised each other with exactly the same track: great minds think alike!

Set lists

I thought it would be an interesting idea to include all the tracks I played and sang on the night. I must emphasise at this point that my singing and DJing set lists change from wedding to wedding and take into account: the bride and groom's requests made prior to the day, guests' request on the night, and crucially my experience at interepreting of the crowd and usuing my knowledge of playing the right track at the correct time to keep the dance floor busy.

Caroline and Rory requested L.O.V.E by Nat King Cole as their first dance, which I learnt to sing for them. They made only a few requests from which I was able to build a play list on the night mixing in similar tracks to their requests based on the reaction of the dance floor.

wedding singer worcestershire
Hard at "work"!

Here you can see songs sung live in grey and songs played during my DJ sets in black. Songs followed by a * are songs / artists particularly requested by the bride and groom:

First Dance: L-O-V-E    Nat King Cole 

Crazy Little Thing Called Love     Michael Buble   
You To Me Are Everything The Real Thing
Dance The Night Away  The Mavericks

Brown Eyed Girl   Van Morrison 
Stuck In The Middle With You   Steelers Wheel            
All Night Long   Lionel Richie   

You're The First, The Last, My Everything       Barry White  
Walking On Sunshine     Katrina And The Waves           
I Gotta Feeling       Black Eyed Peas *           
Sexy And I Know It       Lmfao   
Where Have You Been        Rihanna   
Call Me Maybe     Carly Rae Jepsen   
Domino    Jessie J *  
What Makes You Beautiful    One Direction  * 
Year 3000       Busted *       
Uptown Girl      Westlife *  
Love Reallly Hurts Without You    Billy Ocean
Valerie (Backing Track)  Amy Winehouse            
Relight My Fire Take That *    
Build Me Up Buttercup The Foundations
Billie Jean - Michael Jackson   
I'm A Believer    The Monkees   
I Want You Back Jackson 5   
Celebration     Kool And The Gang   
Cee Lo Green - Forget You *

Hey Ya       Outkast *  
Jump Around       House Of Pain   
Walk This Way       Run Dmc Feat.
Can't Touch This       Mc Hammer   
Boom! Shake The Room       Dj Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince    -
Everybody Get Up (Radio Edit)    Five    Everybody Get Up       
Place Your Hands       Reef   
Don't Stop Believin'      Journey   
Don't Stop Me Now       Queen   
Livin' On A Prayer    Bon Jovi   
Respect – Erasure   
Don't You Want Me Baby    Human League, The              
Y.M.C.A.    The Village People *  
Blame On The Boogie    The Jacksons   
The Grease Mega-Mix       Grease   
I Wanna Dance With Somebody       Whitney Houston             
Dancing Queen       Abba   

Love Is In The Air   John Paul Young   
Can’t Take My Eyes Off You    Andy Williams
My Girl  The Temptations   
How Deep Is Your Love   Take That  *      
Elton John   Your Song
You've Got The Love    Florence + The Machine *      
Sex On Fire    Kings Of Leon *

A full (and happy) dance floor, always the main aim!

When they returned from honeymoon, Caroline and Rory sent me the follwoing comments about the day:

We have just got back from our honeymoon and we wanted to email you to thank you properly for performing at our wedding on 22nd September.

We had such an amazing day and have enjoyed remembering all the different moments from it, in particular the party in the evening and dancing to your wonderful singing and song choices! We have had many compliments from our guests about you and we too were really impressed... from the moment we first contacted you, you were so professional and helpful and on the day we were so happy with how you kept the dance floor busy, played all the songs we requested and sang fantastically!

Of course we have to thank you for keeping both of our secrets about performing for each other! Neither of us had a clue what the other had planned and it was wonderful surprise on the day. We hope it wasn’t too stressful for you! We are just pleased we didn’t choose to play the same song, as I (Caroline) had practiced ‘Your Song’ as well as ‘Make You Feel My Love’!!

We have voted for you for your award and will be recommending you to everyone we know! We hope you can use this as a testimonial for your website.

Thank you so much!

All the very best to Caroline and Rory and thank you so much for inviting me to share your day with you. I partcularly won't forget the night of two surprise songs!

Also many thanks to David J Perkins for the stunning shots of the day, which I have used in this post.

James Barlow
Wedding Singer Worcestershire