I meet many photographers at the many weddings we play at. One of the best around has to be Milton Gan.
For more on Milton Gan…
On the October long-weekend we played at two weddings. The unusual thing with both weddings were the absence of speeches. I’ve played at an abundance of weddings and have seen many variations of what makes a truly memorable reception. It’s rare to see people skip speeches as part of their reception, but having observed this twice in one weekend, I now think it’s an excellent option to consider.
Both wedding receptions actually had two things in common. Firstly, neither wedding reception had any speeches. Secondly, they were both held at surf clubs on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
David and Kelly had their ceremony on the balcony of the surf club overlooking Curl Curl Beach. Immediately after they were pronounced ‘man and wife’, they had about twenty minutes of informal speeches. The reception then followed straight after these, inside the surf club.
The reception was a cocktail-style affair with a relaxed ambiance. David and Kelly did their bridal dance to the second song we played. This encouraged their guests to dance which they did throughout our first set. Dinner was served about an hour into the reception, so we pulled back the intensity of the music to allow for eating and dinner conversation. After guests had eaten, the party really got going! Without the interruption of speeches we played solidly, performing five sets over the five hour reception.
Gary and Cara’s ceremony was outdoors on the grass area between the club house and the beach. Celebratory drinks were served immediately following the ceremony. During these drinks, we played in our roving acoustic format.
Here is a clip of us playing during this part of the reception
Dinner was then served inside the surf club which was followed by dancing. There were no speeches and there was no bridal dance. Often, guests won’t dance until after the ‘bridal dance’, but this was not the case with Gary and Cara’s guests. Everyone danced with very little encouragement. They were a very receptive crowd. Gary and Cara did actually dance. They simply chose not to do a formal bridal dance.
I’ve played at hundreds of weddings. My one word of advice is…
There are no rules when planning your wedding. If you are not into speeches, don’t have any. If you really don’t want to do a bridal dance, then don’t. If you want something informal, book a surf club. If you don’t want to spend a fortune on flowers or theming, then don’t.
On Saturday 3rd September, we played at the Trish Foundation Ball. The event was a charity fund raising event and was held in the Ballroom at The Sydney Hilton Hotel.
Money raised at this event will go towards research into finding a cure for Multiple Sclerosis.
The M.C. for this event was Leigh Sales, who is well known for hosting the 7:30 Report on ABC TV.
We received a very complementary thank you letter from the organisers of the event (see below).
Everyone present had a wonderful night. Here are a couple of shots of guests enjoying the evening.
We played at Alex and Sarah’s wedding reception on Friday, 26th August.
Their venue was Aqua Ding at Milson’s Point. This venue has spectacular view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is nestled in between North Sydney Pool and Luna Park.
Their reception was a cocktail style event. This is my favourite format for wedding receptions.
For more details on this remarkable venue, please refer to their website – http://www.aquadining.com.au/
The photographer for the event was James Rose from Rose Photos.
For more information on Rose Photos, please go to this website – http://rosephotos.com.au/
James was generous enough to share some images of the night with me. Here are some selected images.
On Saturday, 27th August we played at Alison and Andy’s wedding at The Gunners Barracks, Mosman.
This venue is like a second home to us. We are a popular choice for The Gunners Barracks because we fit in perfectly with the unique layout of the venue.
For more information on this venue, please refer to their website – http://www.gunnersbarracks.com.au/
Alison and Andy’s wedding and reception were during the day. Blake and I played at the ceremony (at 10:30am) and then the rest of the band joined us from 11am. The reception ran until 3pm.
The ceremony was held in the courtyard. Pre-lunch drinks and canapes were also in the courtyard. After drinks, all guests were seated for lunch out on the balcony. The main room was kept clear and used as the dancing area. This arrangement worked perfectly, especially for a daytime wedding.
On Sunday, 4th September we flew up to Port Douglas to play at Tim and Rosy’s wedding.
Guests had flown in from all over Australia to attend this tropical wedding. Most turned Tim and Rosy’s “destination wedding” into an opportunity for a short holiday.
We flew up on Sunday morning. Thankfully, everything ran smoothly and exactly to plan.
The venue was Sugarwharf, which had breathtaking views across the water.
We always fly with Virgin, as they offer superior service for musicians and bands.
Also, the staff are always so friendly and accommodating.
Tim (the groom) played a wonderful version of the Hunters and Collectors’ classic, “Throw Your Arms Around Me”.
We were very fortunate to have Mark Williams from Pacific Music in Cairns provide the PA, lighting, amplifiers and drum kit. If you are ever in the need of backline up in Cairns or Port Douglas, Mark Williams is highly recommended. He is a thorough professional. For more information on Pacific Music, please refer to their website – http://www.pacificmusic.com.au/
On Saturday, 30th July we played at Richard and Shona’s wedding reception. This was held at The Gunners Barracks Tearooms, Georges Heights.
This venue is historic, but quirky in that there are four distinct spaces.
We seem to work at Gunners Barracks frequently, and this is because of the adaptive and versatile nature of what we can do. Whereas most bands would simple set up in the back room and play for only about 40 – 90 minutes of the entire reception, our ability to play in a roving acoustic format enables us to play throughout the entire reception, from start to finish. The venue has four separate spaces, and we can play in all of them
For more information on The Gunners Barracks, please refer to their website –
On Friday, 12th August we played at Siobhan and Mike’s wedding and reception.
The ceremony was at Blackburn Gardens, and the reception followed shortly afterwards at Zest, Point Piper (Royal Motor Yacht Club).
I’ve played at this venue many times over the years, and it never fails to impress. It features stunning views across Rose Bay, but also boasts great food and impeccable service.
For more on this venue, please refer to their website – http://zest.net.au/
Mike (the groom) is originally from U.S.A. His mother, father and siblings all flew out from America to attend the wedding. They all loved the band.
The photographer for the wedding was the talented Emma Hampton. She was kind enough to send me through some of her photographs from the ceremony and the reception. For more information on Emma and her work, please refer to her website – https://emmahamptonphotography.com.au/
We had the pleasure of performing at Andy and Jessica’s wedding at The Balmoral Bathers Pavilion on Saturday, 20th August.
This venue is one of my favourite places to play in Sydney. This renowned restaurant has a function room upstairs with an adjoining balcony. This area is superb for pre-dinner drinks, and is also a sublime place to have a wedding ceremony.
To find out more information about The Bathers Pavilion, please refer to their website – http://batherspavilion.com.au/
Andy and Jessica utilized the balcony for their ceremony. They made their ceremony unique with their wedding vows. These were personally composed by the bride and groom. They were sincere, personal yet humorous, and many tears were shed by friends and family.
We performed at the ceremony as a duo (i.e. me with Blake, my guitarist). I learned a song for Jessica to walk down the aisle to. The song was, “I’ll Be Seeing You”. A rendition of this song by Michael Buble was used in the film, “The Notebook”.
After the ceremony, the rest of the band joined us to play throughout pre-dinner drinks out on the balcony. The balcony has spectacular views that look straight out across the water through Sydney Heads. In between songs, the guests did a trivia quiz with questions about the bride and groom.
Later on, we played throughout dinner, and then for dancing. Immediately prior to dancing was the bridal dance. Andy and Jessica put an original spin on this, by actually performing a song by themselves. Andy (the groom) is originally from Scotland. He dabbles in playing guitar. Jessica (the bride) is Australian and loves to sing. In reference to Andy being from Scotland, they performed the song “500 Miles”, originally recorded by the Scottish band, “The Proclaimers”. After their “un-plugged” rendition of the song, the band performed the song again with full amplification. Dancing then continued until the end of the night.
For this wedding, I wore my kilt. Considering that the groom was originally from Scotland, I anticipated that there would be plenty of men wearing kilts. Alas, I arrived to find that I was the only person wearing one.
I took up playing trombone way back in 1979. For over 35 years, I’ve been spitting into the narrow end of a long piece of extendable metal pipe. Who would be crazy enough to take on such a humbling pursuit? And, of all the musical instruments available, why the trombone?
Was the trombone the best choice of instrument for me to play? I don’t know. The simple reason for taking it up was that it was all that was left in the music department storeroom. I had already developed an interest in music early in high school. Inspired by Norman Gunston, my first musical pursuit was to teach myself to play the harmonica. I saw an advertisement in the ‘New Idea’ with the selling pitch, “become the life of the party”. Excited by this prospect, I posted off my money and a few weeks later received my first harmonica along with a booklet explaining how to play it. Forthwith, I took my first steps along the road to a career in music.
The following year, I bought myself a ukulele. I really wanted to play the guitar, but the ukulele looked easier having only four strings instead of six. In addition, the price of $5.00 made it very accessible. I also purchased a tutor book and I was off again in my next musical quest. Once I could strum a few chords, I bought a neck brace for my harmonica so that I could play both instruments together.
By Year 10, I felt that I was ready to move onto something more serious, so I approached the school’s music teacher and inquired about taking up a ‘proper’ instrument. Being halfway through the year, I was disappointed to discover that all the ‘good’ instrument had already been borrowed. So…what was left?
The music teacher opened the music storeroom, and there were about a dozen trombones. Nothing else. No other instruments. The choice was made for me on that day. We picked out one and I took it home. The following week, I started lessons. I have been playing ever since.
There was never any real love of the trombone. That’s what was available, so that’s what I played. I plodded away and even got accepted into the N.S.W. Conservatorium Of Music. It was there that I picked up the nick-name “Slide”, which I have adopted as my actual name.
Becoming a singer seems to be a natural addition for trombone players. Well known examples are Trombone Shorty (Troy Andrews), Nils Landgren and Fred Wesley.
For information about playing trombone, try these links…