At Easter I like to take time to reflect on my faith and spend time with my family which is why I try not to book out to many weddings. However, on Good Friday this year I spent the day with Gemma and Gareth at their nuptials at Oakwell Hall in Birstall near Leeds.

Gemma and Gareth hired me as their Yorkshire Wedding Singer for the whole day from the ceremony to the final dance. Oakwell Hall is a manor house built in the 16th century, the ceremony was held in the hall itself while the rest of the event was in the newly refurbished barn.

Having arrived to set up for the ceremony I was told I would be upstairs on the balcony overlooking the wedding party. I initially decided to stand but quickly changed my mind after realising the balustrade was only up to just below waist height. I envisaged a potential situation in which I came crashing down on top of the bride and groom after getting over enthusiastic during their walking down the aisle song, the ever popular All Of Me by John Legend. Unlikely but, you know, safety first.

I always enjoy performing in old buildings. In the days before electrified amplification building teams had to take into account suitable acoustics so people could be heard naturally. For this reason many old buildings have crisp, clear, reverberative acoustics which help the frequencies to ring out across the wood and stone. It was beautiful, and I, like many other musicians, am hyper critical of my sound. I like it to be perfect so when I enjoy how I sound it makes my day so much better.

On finishing the ceremony we headed over to the newly refurbished barn. Unlike many venues, Oakwell Hall doesn’t provide a planning service, they simply let you have the space and organise everything yourself. Gemma and Gareth opined to me that this was far more preferable to them as they had control over every aspect of the day right down to hiring me as their Yorkshire Wedding Singer and other suppliers such as the bar provided by Love Sweet Love
This method of planning a wedding does result in more work for couples but the also results in something much more personalised instead of a generic plan that many venues will stick to. Neither of these is right or wrong, just different and down to personal preference. I prefer weddings like Gemma and Gareth’s as I enjoy helping couples to shape their day.

For the drinks reception I set up on a small stage provided by Leeds Beckett University, Gareth’s place of work. Gareth is an audio visual technician there so he knows his stuff when it comes to sound and light. Being asked to use my up lighters to light the room was good because I had an expert to work alongside, although I released some of the pressure from him since he didn’t want his wedding to be a busman’s holiday.

Gareth is also social media hungry so he set up a hashtag with a live projection on the wall using #GemmaWedsGareth
I’m also a bit of a social media monster so I joined in the fun tweeting and facebooking my view of the day.

After a gentle drinks reception we floated quietly into the evening when things got a bit more upbeat with three live sets and music in between. Gemma fell in love with Gabrielle Alpin’s version of the Frankie Goes To Hollywood track The Power of Love so I learned it for their first dance.

Evening catering was provided by KK Catering and it was also great to work with Sadie of Baildon Wedding Photography who I always enjoy seeing.

I raise a glass to the happy couple and wish them all the best for the future.

Source: old site

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