We have recently been clocking up quite a tally of weddings in the North-West; this area covering a wide expanse ranging from Warrington to Clitheroe and recently, to Burnley. If there’s one thing to be said for these Lancastrians, they sure know how to party!
Quite often, especially if we’re booked after a viewing on our website, we will play a couples wedding, say our goodbyes and leave them to begin their lives of happily married bliss. Sometimes however, we may get the pleasure of meeting the couple again at a future wedding. This was the case at Stephanie Brown’s wedding at The Oaks Hotel in Burnley where we caught up with one of our previous brides, Joanne, whom we had played for during their reception at Mitton Hall in Clitheroe early on in the year. Another great venue and another great wedding in the north west; Joanne was still laughing about how she’d tripped up during the first dance!
As we pulled up to the Oaks Hotel, you would be forgiven for thinking that you have arrived at a stately home on approach to this beautiful old building. This imposing hotel was in fact once the private home of a local tea merchant and has retained its original stunning features to give visitors an amazing sense of grandeur and history. The building has in recent years been modernised to accommodate a function room ideal for holding wedding ceremonies and breakfasts, though the building has lost none of its charm, for example, the main lobby being flooded with light from the 25ft high stained glass window towering over the original sweeping staircase. The stunning gardens also displayed beautiful views of nearby Pendle Hill and offered perfect photo opportunities for the couple and their guests.
It must be said at this juncture that the staff we’re really helpful, friendly and jovial, which is a quality we’ve noticed in many of the Best Western hotels we’ve played in.
We started off by playing a couple of pre-ceremony tunes before Stepahnie made her entrance down the aisle. The bridesmaids all were beautiful as was the bride herself; the whole ceremony running very smoothly and we played Jack Johnson’s ‘Better Together’ during the signing of the register. As the newly weds walked back up the aisle as husband and wife we played Queens ‘You’re My Best Friend’.
‘Now, let the drinks flow!’
We all then convened to the Hotels cellar bar, which had been sectioned into cosy alcoves and provided some great acoustics for our voices and guitars. There were also quite a few familiar faces from Clitheroe and was lovely to see them again and to play their favourite songs.
We had already set up our equipment in the dining hall, so when the wedding breakfast came around we were all set to play. As is customary with all our weddings, Kieran asked if they would like us to play a song for their grand entrance to the wedding breakfast, which they did, and we played ‘All you need is Love’.
What struck us by this wedding was how friendly everyone was; the photographer was a great communicator and before the ceremony we had a brief chat about music and his sons band called ‘The Feud’ who were touring in Europe. We were positioned quite close to the guests, which was fantastic as many of them came over with cards asking for their requests to be played: and what brilliant choices there were, too! Quite often we do get asked for similar songs at weddings; the staple diet songs, such as ‘Just the way you are’ by Ed Sheeran and ‘Human’ by the Killers. This is never a chore and we’ll happily play them, however, every now and then we will play a wedding and the guests will throw us some curveballs; this was a brilliant example! We got ‘Deeply Dippy’ by Right Said Fred, a really obscure Beatle track called ‘Baby’s in black’, the 1974 classic ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet’ by Bachman Turner Overdrive and the 80’s band Mental As Anything’s ‘Live it up’. All songs we had never been asked for before, never played before, but we have them our best shot and will certainly be keeping them in our future repertoire!
One particular guest was brilliant-she told us she had played for the Doncaster Belles and, as we told her we were Huddersfield town fans, she kept feeding us the results of the live match between Huddersfield and Blackburn: she even got up and sang Postman Pat with us for one of the younger guests!!
The whole wedding was a real hoot for us and we even got our faces and guitars adorned with felt moustaches and stick on jewellery!
As we packed up to leave this was definitely an afternoon reception for us to remember in the years to come.