You’re right in the middle of the planning stage of your wedding. You’ve been to numerous wedding fayres, collected handfuls of leaflets and brochures advertising all kinds of accoutrements to add to the special occasion. The one thing thats playing heavily on your minds is that all important venue to house the big day. There’s a venue you’ve both got your eyes on. It’s near perfect- the setting is beautiful and idyllic, the staff are friendly and accommodating and it’s well within your budget. Sadly, there’s one thing that let’s it down; there’s a troublesome neighbour who complains relentlessly about noise coming from the venue whenever a wedding function takes place. The environmental health bods have been round and the upshot of it all is the venue are only allowed to have totally acoustic music so as not to upset said neighbour. Hmmm…
The good news is that this isn’t a too common occurrence. Granted, many venues do have a curfew of around midnight, but then so do pubs and hotels alike. For most people midnight is usually a good cut-off point after many hours of revelry and imbibing. However, how do get round a problem of severe noise restrictions? Well, here’s a venue we had the pleasure of playing at recently where they do things a bit differently…!
The Secret Garden is a wedding venue located in Gringley On The Hill near Doncaster just off the A631. It is a beautiful grade II listed building surrounded by a courtyard and 5 acres of land including expansive, uninterrupted south facing views. It certainly lives up to its name as the property is surrounded by closely bunched trees which give the setting an ethereal quality, especially when the different coloured lanterns are lit at night, hanging from their many branches.
Several months before we were due to play at the wedding rock my reception were informed that the venue was noise restricted and asked if we could play completely acoustic throughout the whole day and evening. This basically meant that no amplification was to be used at all. This was great for us as it cut out the business of setting up and packing down the equipment, and that we were free to move from location to location at any given point in the day. The only requirement from us was to project our voices more than had we had microphones.
The day had arrived and the sky looked ominous, however, a few bars of ‘Here Comes The Sun’ put pay to that and glorious sunshine prevailed! The ceremony was, as planned, completely acoustic whereby we played a selection of Beach Boy hits and, for the bride to walk down the aisle, Always look on the bright side of life- The hit song from
Monty Pythons ‘Life of Brian’: a great rousing song to belt out! Equally bold and strident, the walking up the aisle tune was Divine Comedy’s Songs of Love- theme tune from Father Ted. Both songs suited for acoustic performances.
The afternoon at The Secret Garden was perfect-afternoon receptions always being suited to background music. The atmosphere was serene and guests were asking for many song requests ranging from Manic Street Preachers to Bob Dylan- all of which we happily played. It wasn’t until the evening that we noticed a marked difference in the proceedings. Usually, even for an acoustic wedding duo such as Rock My Reception
, it is customary to plug in and become amplified for an evening set. People are more likely to be in the party mood and to want to get up to dance so it would make sense to crank up the volume to 11! It is at this juncture that full praise should go to The Secret Gardens owner Pat who completely utilised the fact we had no wires prohibiting our movement so encouraged us to follow her around the seated guests, gathering a conga-like chain of guests on our way round strumming and singing. As we returned back to the dance floor we must have collected around 20 guests who remained there for the rest of the duration of our evening set, dancing and singing wildly along to classics such as The Maveriks ‘Dance the night away’,The Monkees ‘I’m a believer’ and Hey Jude by The Beatles as we wove in and amongst them. Here is some great footage of Rock My Reception playing the predominantly Scottish audience.
The whole day was a complete success and will remain as one of our favourite weddings. It was a learning experience for us and fitted in completely with our own ethos that you can make any situation, come rain or shine, amplified or non-amplified, an enjoyable one. As it happened, the remainder of the evening was taken up with a silent disco whereby guests each wore a set of headphones and danced together listening to the music without any noise filtering through to the public. It was a sight to behold to watch guests laughing and singing along to,seemingly, silence!
The Secret Garden is a fine example of how you can overcome a noise abatement or noise restriction problems and still have a vibrant party atmosphere. The staff were all hard working, friendly and the owner Pat really puts her life and soul into the precedings. It is also a gorgeous venue and location for the perfect wedding.