Wedding Receptions in Cornwall and Devon

Wedding Music Cornwall

Lost In Music

Looking for the perfect musical match for your wedding day?


We’ve got some sweet-sounding advice from the experts who love to belt out those best-loved tunes

W-days come in lots of varying guises, from low-key and laidback to a riotous rumpus. But whatever style of ceremony and reception you go for, the chances are at some point during the day you’ll require a musical backdrop. And whether a string quartet, a Michael Bublé tribute act, a crowd-pleasing DJ, live band or one helluva playlist loaded with the finest ditties of the last five decades is your idea of musical utopia, there’s something for everyone. But where to start?


TOP NOTES

Welcoming your guests, ceremony interludes while you sign the register, entrance songs for the aisle and reception, cocktail hour, the first dance, and of course, the evening party: there are plenty of moments during W-day that could be filled with a myriad of melodies. Firm favourites from the book of tradition include the string quartet, while singing waiters and flash mob-style choirs are becoming increasingly popular. Recent groom David recently surprised his bride Ali with a gospel choir organised on the mezzanine level of their ceremony venue. “The sound was incredible,” she remembers, “it just came out of nowhere and slowly the choir began to stand so all our guests could see where the singing was coming from.”


Ben Selway

FOOTSTEPS ON THE DANCE FLOOR
Ever-popular live bands and DJs are on most couple’s must-have lists for some or all of their day. But DJs aren’t what they used to be – and much-lauded DJ Matt Maurice’s Discotheque Couture is testament to that. Having gathered together one of the UK's most discerning collection of DJs, he offers “A luxury DJ service that includes your DJ, sound system and lighting for the dance floor. We'll select the most suitable DJ to complement your ideas and thoughts on what works for you,” says Matt of Matt Maurice Event Music (mattmaurice.co.uk). So we’re talking a proper production using the latest technology tailored for each individual party with the likes of PA sound systems, stage hire in any colour, interior and exterior venue lighting and large-screen video and projection. Impressive, huh? This one-hit approach also means fewer tasks on the to-do list for the bride and groom. “Many DJs now offer numerous options, from upgrading the lighting to dance floors and photo booths, alleviating the need to deal with many different suppliers,” says Matt. And who isn’t going to get on board with that?

Those clever tune-spinning DJs come in all shapes and sizes too. Quirky Vintage78DJS (vintage78dj.co.uk) make their noise on original 1930s’ gramophones. “We have great experience in providing music for the big day,” they say. They are super flexible too, providing “entertainment at various points, including the ceremony, drinks reception, wedding breakfast or as a lead in-to your evening’s entertainment and also playing the first dance.”


Paul Keppel

Take a step even further back in time with The Arcadia 78rpm DJ Orchestra (arcadia78rpm.co.uk). These Cornwall-based DJs love to spin tunes outdoors using old-fashioned 78rpm players, which they wind up by hand. Using clockwork technology, they play records made from the 1930s to the late 1950s, encompassing jazz, blues, rock ‘n’ roll, boogie-woogie, cha-cha-cha and a whole lot more. And the real bonus? Electricity isn’t required, so you can enjoy the atmospheric sounds anywhere, from clifftop to beachside to deep in the woods.

Robbie Toner, leader and singer of Big Band, The Time Bandits (thetimebandits.info), offers an all-inclusive approach with his band, specialising in bespoke performances offering various performance styles at different points throughout the day. This includes easy jazz for a wedding breakfast, classical music for the church or formal ceremony, and a full-piece party band for the reception. His ten-piece Big Band performs songs from all eras, ranging from the golden age of swing through the classic 1950s, soulful ‘60s, funky ‘70s and up to the present day. “We have a classic jazz/swing line-up of rhythm section (guitars, double bass and drums), with a four-piece horn section (two saxophones, trumpet and trombone) and male and female vocalists,” says Robbie. “Our musicians are multi-talented on other instruments too, so where a keyboard or violinist is required, this is also easily realised,” he adds. Matt agrees with this idea of flexible extras: “DJs are hugely versatile in terms of the music that can be played, but if you’re looking for an extra dimension to your DJ set, you can add live percussion, saxophone and vocals to play alongside your DJ,” he says.


Debs Ivelja

PARTY PLANNING

An essential part of planning the music for your wedding is personalising the day’s soundtrack. “A DJ can advise and help with the music selection from their vast experience of what makes a dance floor work,” says Matt. But the happy couple needs to give their DJs freedom to be creative. “From experience [if the couple don’t allow the DJ any freedom], this can kill the party. If you’re paying top money for your DJ, you’re paying for experience,” says Matt. “Whether it’s a special song for your first dance, or something with sentiment, we can provide the perfect playlist,” says Robbie.

But what about deciding on a set list for guests who span the age gap from toddler to old-timer? A family wedding often brings together different generations with varying tastes, so a wide repertoire is essential. “Our DJs will program genre sections of the set to appeal to all your guests,” says Matt. “Classic swing tracks (including the popular Michael Bublé Songbook) are loved by old and young alike, and while current chart hits may appeal more to your younger guests, the skill is performing a wide range of tunes which will cater for everybody,” adds Robbie. Flexibility, experience and knowledge of music and the crowd is imperative. “We read the crowd and adjust the mood accordingly,” says Matt.


Louise Roberts

So the skill to a successful musical framework, it seems, is evoking the feeling of a constantly evolving experience, rather than a regimented structure. “Good DJs know and have tracks that will link your request list together to create a DJ set that is as seamless and flowing as possible,” says Matt. Good planning is key and also means you can allow time to deal with any hiccups that may arise on the day. But even the best-laid plans can sometimes go awry. “Crucially,” adds Robbie, “you need to have the capability to adapt to any little surprises that will arise with any schedule, however well planned, so don’t be afraid to ask. Our musicians are happy to help with anything they can; whether it’s a master of ceremonies’ roll or an impromptu ‘Happy Birthday’, most of it has already been asked for before.” And his last piece of advice is invaluable. “Dealing with a less-than-professional or inflexible music group is never a good idea, so your initial conversations are vital!” he says.


McKinley-Rodgers

NOTE PERFECT
Strike a chord with the perfect playlist. From toe-tapping rhythms to soul-stirring strings, we’ve picked out some top local musicians and DJs for a stellar and so-you soundtrack

OFFBEAT ENTERTAINMENT
Offbeat Entertainment provides personality-packed playlists that reflect the tastes of each individual couple while converting your venue into the perfect party space through an eye-catching combination of sound and light. Think advanced live mixing techniques, an image and video projector, and high quality lighting equipment including laser effects, up-lights and LED colour washes to create a wow-worthy scene. Having worked the DJ scene from Exeter to London, gained residencies across a number of top venues, and played at festivals including Boomtown and Bestival, Sebastian employs a similar approach to his wedding bookings, considering every element and angle to achieve top-notch, sensory-filled entertainment of the most crowd-pleasing kind.
offbeatentertainment.co.uk

YOUR BIG EVENT
Andy Harris of Your Big Event is one of the most experienced and well-known entertainment experts in the south-west, boasting over 25 years in the industry. His vast range of services and bespoke packages includes everything from dance floor and red carpet hire to staging, silent discos, LED tables, LOVE letters, dance floors and lighting. With a massive music database (with over 88,000 tracks), decades of professional industry experience and working relationships with some of the region’s top wedding venues, Your Big Event is perfectly poised to deliver dazzling and distinctly ‘you’ wedding entertainment.
yourbigevent.co.uk

FISTRAL STEREO
Cool, Cornish and contemporary are the hallmarks of Fistral Stereo’s uber stylish sounds. Combining his musical production and industry experience with a natural passion to deliver your preferred tunes with gusto, DJ Robin Parris is guaranteed to kick-start a party to remember as he seamlessly moves from track to track with a soundtrack expertly tailored to your tastes and timings.
Whether you favour funk, house and drum and bass or indie anthems, pop and R’n’B, Robin mashes old and new to create an irresistible soundtrack in his mission to make your guests dance like no one's watching.
fistralstereo.com



ARB Photography

Ross Talling

SOME LIKE IT HOT

Add some sass to your celebrations courtesy of the sultry sounds of vintage band, Some Like It Hot. Oozing old school glamour with their sweet tones, covering everything from classic jazz renditions to vintage covers of contemporary tunes, the band will bring a brilliantly unique sound and look to your day. Led by vocalist ‘Molly the Moocha’, Some Like It Hot perform an ambient and dance-inducing set that could take you from Beyoncé to Billie Holiday and Miss Dynamite to Marilyn Monroe as they journey through some of the best songs of the past century in signature, showstopping style.
somelikeithotuk.com



SWINGOLOGY

Opt for a stirring vintage soundtrack by enlisting the musical talent of Parisian swing band, Swingology. Offering an inspired alternative to more traditional groups, the Django Reinhardt-inspired gypsy swing jazz quartet is available as a duo, trio or quartet. A pair of guitars, double bass and clarinet combines to transport you and your guests to another time, as their romantic repertoire signifies a truly soulful start to married life.
swingology.net



CLASSICAL STRINGS

Fall in love with the charm of a string soundtrack. Highly acclaimed string specialists, Classical Strings, will professionally arrange your favourite song – from film, rock and rap to pop, folk and classical music – which can be played by either a string quartet, trio or solo violin. The music can also be arranged to accompany a singer or instrumentalist should you wish. With a spectacular ability to play virtually any song, whether you plump for Adele or ABBA, Jason Mraz or the Star Wars soundtrack, the talented team of musicians will merge modern music with a classic framework to create some soul-stirring sounds.
classicalstrings.co.uk



THE GREAT LITTLE BAND
Acoustic wedding band, The Great Little Band, is a ‘good vibe’ duo renowned for fusing soaring harmonies with utterly enchanting guitars and piano. Revamping old classics with their unique performances, brothers Dave and Mart’s songbook covers everything from The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to Stevie Wonder, Kings of Leon and The Killers. Also available as a fantastic four-piece band, The Choons, simply pick your preferred line-up, along with a personalised list of songs, to co-create the most memorable of party soundtracks.
thegreatlittleband.co.uk



words Elizabeth Chester

Copyright Wed magazine 2017