July 2015 is here. So far the British Summer has been throwing at us temperatures of 36 degrees during the day, and lightning and thunderstorms of biblical proportions at night, in equal measure. For Rock My Reception the wedding season has truly begun, in earnest, as we dart our way up and down the British Isles to play wedding couple up and down the aisles!
Saturday 3rd July saw us at the wedding of Paul and Lindsey at Bowburn Hall just off the A1 in Durham, and with Lindsey’s family being Geordies (Newcastle based) and Paul’s being Mackem’s (from over the water Sunderland) we knew that this was going to be a wedding of good natured banter and a good old knees ‘up!
The wedding venue of Bowburn Hall was an easy drive from York up the A1 and nestles within 5 acres of beautiful landscape gardens. At a distance of only 2.5 miles from Durham City it is one of the areas most intimate and luxurious wedding venues, with several wedding packages on offer. We arrived in plenty of time and set up our speakers in the dining hall for the wedding breakfast set and our instruments outdoors for the wedding ceremony.
The weather outside was perfect and we were greeted by the best man-also called Paul-who had a brilliant idea for us to accompany him in his best man speech; more of which later! The registrar came over to introduce herself and told us she was from Sandal, near Wakefield: just up the road from where myself and Kieran grew up! As guests started making their way to the seating area, we were positioned to the side of the venues beautiful Pavilion where the exchanging of the vows were to take place. At one point the male registrar moved his desk into a more shaded area, revealing the female registrars handbag.
One of the guests shouted, “Oi mate, you’ve forgotten your handbag”
To which he replied, “Nah not mine- wrong Colour!”
Lindsey and Paul had chosen a great selection of Indie titles to be played for their ceremony. As musicians who grew up with the sounds of the 90’s bands ringing from our stereo’s it’s always a pleasure to play the music of our youth, especially when it’s the more obscure titles. In this case we had been requested ‘This is the one’ by The Stone Roses, Kodalines ‘The One’ and ‘Gravity’ by Embrace, ending by playing the happy couple down the aisle to The Cures ‘Fridays I’m in love’.
After we had played the ceremony we played a drinks reception in the sun drenched gardens of Bowburn Hall. Soon after, it was time for the wedding breakfast and speeches. As a break from tradition, instead of the usual Beatles ‘All you need is love’ to play as the couple are announced to take their seats for the wedding breakfast, Lindsey had specifically requested us to play Beyonce’s ‘Crazy right now’ which was a fun choice and certainly a first for us! I can honestly say everyone’s speeches were perfect and reduced the room to tears; especially brides father, Con, who brilliantly, and unintentionally, made a Freudian Slip when naming incorrectly one of the bridesmaids;
“Thankyou to Emma..”
“Oh sorry Gemma- I must’ve had my finger on your G”
Cue hysterical laughter and schoolboy giggling!
Paul described how he and Lindsay had met in Arizona: Newcastle’s finest nightclub! Best man, Paul also delivered a pitch perfect speech where he’d previously asked us to launch into the Righteous Brothers famous Top Gun hit ‘You’ve lost that loving feeling’ which worked brilliantly-especially when his girlfriend joined in!
Not only were treated by Paul and Lindsey to sample the fine food of Bowburn Hall, but their guests were so friendly, forthcoming and kept us on our toes with requests. We knew that the evening reception was going to be a great night as everyone joined Lindsey and Paul for their first dance song, Deacon Blue’s beautiful ‘Dignity’. Not only did everyone get up dancing, but they also knew all the words! And it didn’t stop there: guests stayed on the dance floor for the duration of our first set asking for requests-particularly from the 80’s. We eagerly obliged with tracks like Human League’s ‘Don’t you want me baby’ and Spandau Ballets ‘Gold’. The first set had gone amazingly well and the DJ had taken over whilst the buffet was being served. During the break I had the pleasure of chatting one guest who explained that he loved playing the guitar and that he’d love to play on stage but didn’t want to sing. I suggested to him that perhaps he could find someone who had an equal yearning for singing and maybe they could join forces and take to the stage together to play a few songs in one of Newcastle’s music venues.
Taking over for a second set after a DJ can sometimes be a difficult task as the drop in volume to acoustic guitars can be noticeable after the heavy bass and beats from a DJ set. However, there were no worries where Paul, Lindsey and their guests were concerned as they all flocked back to the dance floor and we had the pleasure of playing one of the very best evening sets we’ve had the pleasure to play. We even managed to get some footage of the proceedings and were asked for an enchore, as we played Hey Jude, 500 Miles and Dignity again, to equal delight from the audience.
It was a real pleasure to play for Paul, Lindsey and their guests that Saturday in July. We honestly could have carried on partying with everyone for the entire evening. It was a perfect wedding in so many ways and we wish Paul and Lindsey both a very happy future together.