One of the great joys of being a wedding singer is turning up at a brand new venue you’ve never set foot in before, knowing for the next 12 hours this beautiful setting will be your place of work.
This was certainly the case when in August 2017 we arrived at Angrove Park in North Yorkshire to perform at the blessing and wedding celebration of Dan and Claire. As we made our way through the picturesque village of Stokesley and approached the venue we were greeted by the great expanse of the Cleveland Hills and North Yorkshire Moors. With ominous clouds on their retreat, exposing clear blue skies and with this stunning backdrop we knew already that this was to be a country wedding where people could relax and enjoy the British summer at its finest. Upon arrival we were greeted by Louise and the team at Angrove Park who helpfully showed us where each part of the day would be taking place. The park itself is a genius idea all round-a camping cabin site for people who don’t do canvas, yet want to experience life in the outdoors. The near luxury venue includes exceptional facilities and complete with tepee, doubles as the ideal outdoor bespoke wedding venue.
Only a few weeks ago we had been playing a destination wedding ceremony in the baking heat of Marbella, Spain and on our return to England it had seemed as though summer was well and truly behind us. Today however, we were all to be treated to the last throes of sunshine and daylight the year had to offer-and used it to our advantage. Having already had their official wedding day the day previous, the ceremony saw the happy couple receive a blessing of their marriage with guests and ourselves gathered at the top of the field with the full panorama of the Cleveland Hills surrounding us. Piles of shaved twisted logs were arranged in a neat semi circle to resemble a rustic setting to carry out the ceremony. Outdoor weddings are a gift to Rock My Reception as we get the freedom to bring our acoustic mobility to the fore. As Claire and her bridesmaids made their way up the luscious makeshift green aisle and we played Snow Patrols’ Chasing Cars, there were less nerves than usual as the couple had got all the formalities of the official ceremony out of the way yesterday for real. As the brief blessing came to a close, Dan was permitted to ‘snog his bride’! The couple then made their way back down the aisle to the strains of our acoustic rendition of Dakota by the Stereophonics.
Throughout the day we performed outside of the tepee around the bar area where guests were seated and would hand us request cards with a wide range of requests from The Clash to The Wonderstuff, Joe Brown to Bruno Mars. We certainly endeavor to bring variety to all wedding receptions and try our best to bring something to the table for everyone!
After being kindly invited to join Claire, Dan and their guests for the wedding breakfast we then made our way back outside for our post meal ukulele set. The ukulele is an instrument that is really capturing people’s imagination at the moment and already we’ve had feedback from wedding couples saying that guests have taken up the uke after seeing us perform at their wedding. It’s portable, dainty-even quite humorous and with its four strings and tiny neck, is a much less daunting for a beginner than a guitar. Indeed Dan’s Uncle Michael explained to us how he’d transformed his electric guitar into an electric ukulele by removing two of the strings and raising the nut. He then joined us for a Joe Brown sing along with Brown’s 1962 hit Picture Of You. We even got the opportunity to play Divine Comedy’s National Express on the Angrove Park’s Double Decker bus, now being used as a bar!
British weather can always be hit and miss so we always try to make the most of good weather should we be blessed by it. One of the ways in which we can utilise this, especially in cases of outdoor weddings, is to suggest having the first dance unplugged outside as not only does it give the occasion a festival atmosphere, but also lends itself beautifully for the perfect romantic photo of the couple dancing with the expansive picturesque scenery in the background. Dan had suggested an acoustic version of Bryan Adams’ Heaven. A joy to play and got everybody singing and joining in dancing with Dan and Claire. We also posed for photo’s perched on the logs with Dan and Claire kissing and playing our ukes as the sun went down!
One of Angrove Parks other hidden gems is the ability to be able to see the stars at night in the North Yorkshire skies, untainted by light pollution. Our evening DJ set was a pleasure to play and Dan’s sister made sure the guests were dancing all night with her Queen requests!
Sadly, all good things must come to an end and for the nights close we ensured everyone was still dancing around Dan and Claire for the couples last dance. What a magnificent day it had been: a superbly run venue in which Louise and her team organised the proceeding to perfection without a hint of stress and a ensured a relaxed and friendly atmosphere at all times, yet the whole team being attentive and on the ball at all times.
It was a real joy to play for Dan and Claire, not to mention all their wonderful guests and we wish them both luck and happiness for their future together.