Today’s wedding all took place at Hogarth’s Hotel in Solihull, just south of Birmingham in the West Midlands. The couple and their guests could scarcely have been more fortunate with the weather. As the band arrived, the sun was shining, the birds were singing and there was a delightful atmosphere.
Outdoor Wedding Ceremony
The couple took something of a gamble with their wedding ceremony – planning a fully outdoor arrangement in the well groomed grounds of Hogarth’s Hotel. You’d hardly think you were a stone’s throw from the bustle of Birmingham with the grounds immersing the wedding guests in beautifully kept natural surroundings. Despite a persistently rainy summer so far – causing last minute weather contingency planning by the bridal party – there was scarcely a cloud in the sky for the 2pm ceremony. Father of the bride told us that if they could bring themselves to make one complaint it was that it was almost too hot! But we mustn’t complain he said, so they just enjoyed the sunshine they’d been blessed with!
Stereophonic First Dance
We played tonight’s first dance live for the couple. A slightly obscure track by the Stereophonics – You’re My Star. While not the Stereophonics’ most dynamic offering, the couple just loved it. We watched and played as they danced and mouthed sang along to every word. It’s always lovely as a wedding band to get to play a song live that’s so special to the couple. It’s always our aim to keep as close to the original as possible, but playing the song live always adds a vibrancy to a first dance that you don’t necessarily get from a recording.
Sunny Wedding Days
This being the first significant day of sun after the summer we’ve had so far, we predicted that the guests would remain on the terrace for the first set. It was an early one (as is often the way on Sunday weddings) being 8-9pm. The sun was still blazing at that time, and the garden so lovely we certainly didn’t hold any grudges about many of the guests enjoying the music from outside the room! Still, the dance floor had a steady stream of visitors, the high point probably being Haven’t Met You Yet by Michael Buble.
Our first break was filled by us wolfing down our dinner. After a bit of a mix up with the food after our set-up (being served a bowl of chips and 10 buffet sandwiches between 4 of us – see photo below!) we were definitely ready for some hearty food during the break. It’s easy for these things to get lost in the planning of a wedding – and we’d never want a couple to get at all stressed about it. The usher we spoke to did a great job of liaising with the venue and soon we were replenished and ready to rock for the second set!
Very wisely the bride and groom had planned their evening to end at 11pm. While many plan to party long into the night, on Sunday’s guests often have work the following day, and so the congregation tends to thin out past the 10pm mark. A hard core of revellers, many of whom were staying at Hogarth’s Hotel remained throughout and demanded not one, but two encores in the end! Don’t Look Back in Anger and an impromptu rendition of Wonderwall (as requested by the chief usher) fit the bill and the eager mob were satisfied.
As many venues, and indeed brides and grooms, have other plans for the duration of the Olympics, we now have an uncharacteristic break in the middle of the wedding season. In truth it comes as something of a welcome break, and we’ve all made plans to recuperate with something of a siesta. After a little spending spree last week, it’ll give us a good chance to make a few subtle alterations to the set-up for the remaining weddings this season – watch this space for more wild combinations of music and technology! Until then have a great time watching the Olympics!
Today’s wedding all took place at Hogarth’s Hotel in Solihull, just south of Birmingham in the West Midlands. The couple and their guests could scarcely have been more fortunate with the weather. As the band arrived, the sun was shining, the birds were singing and there was a delightful atmosphere. […]
Today’s wedding at Bix Manor was drenched in the long awaited sun. The band chatted over their dinner in the garden at Bix Manor, while enjoying the early evening sunshine, that a week ago no one would have expected such great weather – here in Oxfordshire or anywhere throughout the UK! But shine it did, and it made for a glorious wedding at Bix Manor.
Weddings in Oxfordshire
Weddings in Oxfordshire are great fun for us. They take us out of our regular circuit of local wedding venues around Coventry and the West Midlands, without adding too dramatically to the journey time! Today, it was just under 90mins door to door – most of that on the M40… Good stuff.
On arrival we had, as we expected, some time in hand. The wedding guests were on their mains, and still had deserts, coffees and speeches; so we had just a little time to explore. We found a table outside in the court yard where we could enjoy the sun, and tucked into our food.
Bix Manor Weddings and Wedding Bands
Our first time at Bix Manor it was great to meet such friendly and effective staff. Gary, the man in charge, saw to it that everything ran smoothly and in a timely fashion. During our discussions about the set-up, it became apparent there was a tight turn around. We were allotted only 45 mins – half what our contract requests, and 15 mins shorter than an uneventful set-up would usually take. Gary assured us that the tables in the performance area would be cleared in under 10mins – and when his end of the bargain was kept, it felt the gauntlet was truly thrown down!
I didn’t manage to time it exactly, but we certainly managed one of our speedier set-ups; bringing things back on track after longer than expected speeches.
Suffice to say, our experience of being a wedding band at Bix Manor was one of well managed, efficient delivery – and by the time we took to the stage everyone was truly in the spirit!
Hall and Oates First Dance
Tonight’s first dance was something of a curve ball to us – Hall and Oates’ You Make My Dreams Come True. It’s a great, up-beat but remarkably fitting song. We played the song live and it was great fun. It made a change from the often chosen ballads and seemed to sum up the way the bride and groom felt about one another. Playing these new songs as first dances live, it’s often the first time the band have played the song live at an actual show – so it’s great for us when the reception is as warm as it was tonight. It seems we did a suitably faithful rendition, and the dance floor was soon lively and bustling!
Curfew at Bix Manor is 11:30pm; half an hour before we’re usually finished. It didn’t seem resented by the guests, who after an encore (a rapid version of 500 miles) were in good spirits. For us, it gave us a head start on getting home – which was well appreciated with another wedding tomorrow! As such, off to bed now. We’ll leave you with some photos from one of our phones…
Today’s wedding at Bix Manor was drenched in the long awaited sun. The band chatted over their dinner in the garden at Bix Manor, while enjoying the early evening sunshine, that a week ago no one would have expected such great weather – here in Oxfordshire or anywhere throughout the […]
Update: The bride from this performance has just got in touch with this lovely testimonial of the band.
It was a top priority for us to have a great live band at our wedding and you really were that. It made my evening to see so many people on the dance-floor for so long and the feedback from the guests has been amazing.Jenny and Alex Sweet
Read more on the wedding band testimonial page.
Tonight saw a trip to the nation’s capital for the wedding band – London, and about as central as you can get, on the outskirts of Regent’s Park! The Royal College of Physicians didn’t strike us as your typical wedding venue, but with it’s unique blend of modern architecture and fascinating history, there’s no doubt it steps up to the role nicely!
London Wedding Bands, and those from Further Afield
It’s a funny thing that London Wedding Bands are known to not enjoy leaving the M25 perimeter. It’s certainly true that there’s plenty going on in lively London, but they certainly miss a trick, in our view. Saying that, there can often be some trepidation on travelling inside the M25 for those of us who aren’t London Based Wedding Bands… I suppose it is as they say: “Better the devil you know!”.
Olympic lanes, not yet enforced we don’t think, made a quirky change to the usual bus lane avoiding weaves we’re used to. This was, however, the only sign we saw of the Olympics, besides road signs telling us to avoid London during the games. We don’t have tickets, so I think we’re safer back home!
We arrived, fortunately, in good time at the postcode. As is often the way in densely packed city centres, it’s hard to tell exactly where you’re supposed to be. After driving past the entrance a good couple of times, we found our way in with about 20mins to spare.
The helpful staff at the Royal College of Physicians directed us to the loading entrance, and we set to work.
Straight Forward Sound Checking
It’s great when you’ve travelled 2 hours, and spent another hour loading equipment into the venue to find that the room sounds lovely (and not too lively!) The library had a great high ceiling, thick carpets and was, as you’d imagine’ lined with books! The sound in there was ideal – and the photographer, himself an ex professional sound engineer, commented on how good it sounded after the first set.
An Interesting First Dance
Sunny by Bobby Hebb was the first dance – a lovely upbeat track with more key changes than you can shake a stick at! I think we pretty well managed each one in unison, and the bride and groom kicked off the dancing in fervent style.
And from there we played two and a half hours of live music! It’s not infrequent that we are asked to extend the live music during an evening – though often on checking the schedule more closely it’s recognised that two hours would be plenty. Not this evening though – and the guests got to dance away for 25% longer than usual. It’s nice to be able to roll together a few tracks that don’t often get aired together, and to really extend areas of the live set like the pop section that kicks off the second half. Tonight this was 10 songs long, and saw the dance floor lively throughout.
We’re always surprised how much traffic remains on the central London roads through the night – and this night was no exception. Fortunately for us, it was all moving, and before we knew it we were back in the spacious greens surrounding the M40!
The Olympics will be long gone before we return to London… Until then – enjoy our photos of the night!
Update: The bride from this performance has just got in touch with this lovely testimonial of the band. It was a top priority for us to have a great live band at our wedding and you really were that. It made my evening to see so many people on the […]
Last night’s gig was at a product showcase for a large computer firm – and as such, right up the band’s street! Always drawn by the latest gadgets and gizmos the time between sound check and set one was filled with testing out the latest line of laptops and workstations… Much geekery ensued!
The venue itself, the ballroom, is set in spectacular grounds. It was a good 5-10minute drive from the main road, through the Heythrop Park grounds to the conference facilities.
Load in was straight forward, giving us time to appreciate the room itself. The tables were decorated by Table Art, and curtains adorned the walls. It was pretty funky feeling, while having an air of class.
Where Music Meets Technology
The CoverUps have always been fans of the judicious use of technology in their music, being pioneers of new techniques amongst a growing number of bands using laptops and gadgets to produce the highest fidelity of live sound. We’ve been known to use laptops running amp simulations, vocal effects and driving all kinds of keyboard sounds from faithful piano simulations to authentic synthesizers – it’s all in the name of giving the best possible live sound.
As such, having a foyer full of the latest technology was something of a treat for the band. Once set up and fed, there was an hour or so to kill while the guests ate their dinner. As you can see in the photos below there were a few fun moments with equipment sadly beyond our price range – it may be a while before you see one of this company’s laptops on a gig!
A Great Atmosphere
With a demographic like this one – mostly male – the live music generates a great atmosphere. Musical aficionados and musicians alike get so much more out of a live band than recorded music. The bar remained lively throughout both sets – and the organizer asked the band to play well beyond their prearranged midnight curfew.
Only a day now to recoup before Saturday’s wedding in Regents Park! Fun Times!
Last night’s gig was at a product showcase for a large computer firm – and as such, right up the band’s street! Always drawn by the latest gadgets and gizmos the time between sound check and set one was filled with testing out the latest line of laptops and workstations… […]
Tonight’s show was a corporate party at Anstey Hall in Cambridge. The beautiful grounds played host to a corporate team building/fun day in the theme of a music festival. 60s attire seemed to be order of the day, and the festival theme was capped off by the perfect amount of mud and rain!
In House Support Acts
The day was filled with a number of activities – from Circus skills workshops to a Creation Station where people could make things – there was a nice variety, and hopefully something for everyone. Before and as we arrived, there were a few bands playing. These guys were all the musicians from the company – and while perhaps lacking something of musical professionalism, they were all warmly received by the friendly crowd!
The day had been filled with severe weather warnings across the country. We ourselves did wonder if the event was even going to happen! But rain certainly didn’t stop play in this instance, and those revellers who had braved the conditions didn’t let it dampen their spirits.
We had a fantastic reception for our performance – a straight 90 minute set, filled with classic rock tracks, and brought more up to date as the evening went on. As you can see from the photos, the audience were really in the festival spirit – and it made us feel really appreciated!
The event was all done and dusted by 9pm – a rather early finish for us, and one that was much appreciated! You can see all the action below!
Tonight’s show was a corporate party at Anstey Hall in Cambridge. The beautiful grounds played host to a corporate team building/fun day in the theme of a music festival. 60s attire seemed to be order of the day, and the festival theme was capped off by the perfect amount of […]