If there is one thing you're guaranteed not to escape in Great Britain, that's the weather. Planning a wedding in the U.K can be like Russian Roulette, especially when organising an outdoor wedding party and even in the summer months, one week of glorious sunshine will often be followed by a vengeful fortnight of downpours.
Not for couple Amy and Gary who booked their wedding over a thousand miles away at the idyllic and sunkissed Southern Spanish resort of Benahavis near Malaga. And it was Rock My Reception who's sounds they chose to provide the soundtrack to their wedding. Amy, who works for The Granary Estates wedding venue, near Newmarket, saw us play at the venue in November 2016 as part of The Wedding Industry Awards regional ceremonies and had been impressed by our after-show sing-alongs. It was there she decided that they would be ideal to play at their ceremony and wedding party in Spain in June 2017.
Luckily, we had the weekend free and had previously played many destination weddings before, so were therefore au fait with the logistics of performing abroad. Neither were we phased about air travel or taking time away from their families which can often be a major sticking point with many musicians! After months of organising, we flew over to Marbella.
The bus ride and taxi journey from Malaga airport to was swift and we were able to settle into an apartment in Benahavis and go through the itinerary for the next day. Luckily, the wedding venue was only a short taxi ride away and was easy to get to. As the big day arrived, temperatures soared to 38 degrees and it was obvious that this was a wedding like no other that we had played before. Upon arrival at the stunning venue of Casa del Rio, a peaceful luxury villa set beside the Guadalmina river, we gazed in awe at the magnificent sights of fresh orange trees and the mountains surrounding the villa. Because this was the closest wedding we'd played to the equator, it had an almost 'other worldliness' to it. Certainly a new experience to be playing with the sound of crickets chirping and other strange wildlife noises accompanying them! We then met Bride and Groom to be, Amy and Michael who were both readying themselves for the afternoon ceremony. The villa itself has been designed in a traditional Andalusian style which contained the strong local Moorish influence. In the early 1990's, Princess Diana had even frequented the villa with photo's of her stay adorning the sitting room walls. By ceremony time, 4:30pm the temperature had dipped to a more comfortable level and seating was arranged on the manicured lawn. All the proceedings were highly organised, including the registrar who was originally from Ireland and had settled in Spain several years earlier. The first choice of music as the bride and bridal party made their way down the Aisle was 'Moon River', followed by Rock My Reception playing a their version of The Pogues 'Love You Till The End' for the signing of the register. One of the unforgettable highlights of playing at Michael and Amy's wedding was the very notion of playing outside and taking requests from guests, alternating between the ukulele and guitar. Kieran had given Amy an offering of her own mini harmonica to play! When it was time for Amy and Michael to make their grand entrance for the wedding breakfast, we accompanied them with a Ukulele/Guitar rendition of Madness's 'It Must Be Love'.
One of the reasons that our musical set up works so well at destination weddings is the simplicity of what they bring: 2 guitars, a uke and our voices. The secret is never to bring what you don't really need: travel light. After enjoying the dj's evening set accompanied by a saxophonist, we opted to walk along the country lane from the villa back to their hotel. Amidst the heat and almost deafening sound of Spanish insects, they had a distinct feeling they were being watched. As they crossed over a bridge a wild boar bounded across our path. This really did feel like David Attenborough territory and they were both more than glad to reach the safety of the hotel! Not only had we been booked for the Wedding party on the Saturday, but also the pool party on the Sunday-an opportunity for the remaining guests to relax and unwind by the villa's pool. Also, an opportunity for us to instigate a pool sing-along, which they did with numerous requests of Oasis anthems. Occasionally the clouds did break and subjected the party to the odd downpour. This only lasted a few minutes each time and the heat of the reappearing sunshine ensured everything dried in no time at all. The pool party was a fitting and joyful end to the perfect Spanish wedding party. However, this wasn't the end of Rock My Reception's Spanish trip....