Featured Wedding – Richard and Helina’s Big Day at Sandburn Hall, York 30th April 2017

Matthew Stephens All Day Wedding Package at Sandburn Hall

What a long day this one was! For me anyway. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy my day – it’s just that it began early and finished late……………matthew stephens all day wedding package at sandburn hall wedding cakematthew stephens all day wedding package at sandburn hall lapel flowers
Richard first contacted me in June of last year with his enquiry regarding the ‘All Day Wedding Package’ I provide; and after a few emails between us they booked me to play during their ceremony (as the guests were seated, as the bride walked down the aisle, as the register was signed and as the wedding party left the ceremony), during their drinks reception, during their wedding breakfast and then to provide a pro DJ service to finish the evening.

   A few months later we met up in person to put together a few more plans on the POA for the day, talk specifics and just to meet and touch base with each other so that we aren’t meeting each other for the first time on the big day. Doing this benefits me more than it does any couple I’m working with I think. I can imagine that as a couple it’s nice just to meet the actual person you’re hiring face to face – just to get a cut of their jib and to check you’re happy with the general level of professionalism that your chosen musician exudes and provides. But, for me it’s a chance to really get into the nitty-gritty and the specifics. I like to meet the couple and as we are chatting I take out my laptop and, using every detail I can get from the couples I put together a POA for their day so I know exactly what’s happening when and where; and where I fit into everything in relation to timings, etc. Most weddings I do aren’t arranged this way; they’re usually done over the phone or via email, but if I could – I would do this with every one. 
matthew stephens all day wedding package at sandburn hall pre-mealmatthew stephens all day wedding package at sandburn hall wedding breakfastAs this was an all day affair I had to be up bright and early to pack my equipment into my mini-van and to make any last minute preparations to make sure I arrived at the lovely Sandburn Hall with lots of time to spare. Guests were due to start arriving to the ceremony for 12:30 – and as this was an all day booking for me, I set off on the hour drive to York at 9:30 to get there for 10:30. That way I have two hours at the venue before guests start arriving to set up all my equipment and familiarise myself with the venue. Two hours might seem like a long time and sometimes it is, but other times it’s just enough! That’s why I’m always VERY early. There’s too much at stake for me to roll up with just enough time to spare. It only takes an hour or so hold up in traffic and then you have a disaster. By always leaving myself the extra two hours I give myself every chance I can to make sure everything is to plan. That’s the most important thing of all to me. 
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Richard and Helina had chosen some favourite songs of theirs for the ceremony to be played instrumentally on guitar. Amongst those was Coldplay’s Yellow, to be played as the beautiful bride walked down the aisle. I really enjoyed learning and arranging this one. I decided to play it in a very sensitive manner to reflect the occasion and at the tempo of the bridal march to help make the pace feel natural for the oncoming bride! It doesn’t sound a lot, but little musical choices like this are the difference between someone just playing this in a pub and a professional wedding musician tailoring a customer’s choices to suit and blend with the changing moods of a day long wedding. I apply this level of thought to every area I can; and hopefully it’s this attention to detail that is keeping my customers happy. Although I always try to be better – and there were one or two things I learned this day, even at this late stage of my career.

  The weather held out for them and they were able to have their ceremony in the gardens (pictured). It was a bright and fresh morning in York and Helina looked beautiful in her chosen dress with flowers in her hair. It was all very fitting. I have to say too that Richard was the most chilled groom I have ever seen! He was just flowing along, completely relaxed, with a big natural smile on his face. He was there when I arrived at 10:30 setting everything up, moving at his own pace and seemed to have everything completely in hand. I think he found his new hobby. Marriage. 🙂
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After the ceremony I played and sang back in the bar as people enjoyed Pimms and champagne and the photographers did their thing. Then after an hour or so, everyone went upstairs to the gorgeous room (pictured) Richard and Helina had chosen for their wedding breakfast. It’s a lovely space punctuated with exposed wooden beams that are decorated with fairy lights. It looks great with the sun coming in during the day and then as the evening progresses it changes feel as all the decorative lighting starts to come into it’s own. The room also had lovely views! It definitely makes a great wedding space and I enjoyed playing and singing in the background as everyone enjoyed their food. 
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All that was left after the meals were finished was for the room to be turned around by the hotel staff ready for the evening party. Richard and Helina had sent me a HUGE playlist for the DJing evening and I made sure that every song was available to be played on that evening. It’s a really good list actually. I could quite easily play those tracks at most weddings to a good reception I feel. It was such a good list that I told the Richard at the end of the night that I shall put them all on a USB hard drive for him and post them to him free of charge incase he ever wants to have an anniversary party, etc.

   The party was a lot of fun too! The tracks the happy couple had chosen went down very well with the crowd and they were up dancing most of the night. I also got to enjoy, as always, the sight I see more than anything in this world – a room full of women doing the Macarena. If I’m not watching TV – I’m watching that! 🙂
   That’s the lot in life of the average wedding singer/DJ – 15 hour days and the Macarena. Lovely stuff. I really do love this job!

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