Wedding at The Hughenden, Woollahra

On Saturday, 1st August, 2015, we played at Andrew and Helen’s wedding ceremony, followed by their reception at The Hughenden, Woollahra.

Wedding at The Hughenden, Woollahra

Helen and Andrew had seen us perform last December at their friends’ wedding in Berry. They actually based their whole wedding date around our availability, which is a wonderful endorsement.

The ceremony was in Centennial Park, and was performed by the Marriage Celebrant, Melissa Soncini. The weather was sublime for the first day of August, and Melissa led a relaxed ceremony. We played at the ceremony in our un-amplified roving acoustic format.

Here’s a photo (below) of Melissa with Blake (from the band).

For more information on Melissa Soncini, please click on this link to her website – http://www.marriagecelebrantonline.com/

Wedding in Centennial Park, Sydney

 

After the ceremony and photos in the park, guests walked the short distance to The Hughenden Boutique Hotel on Queen Street, Woollahra.

Centennial Park Wedding

 The Hughenden, Woollahra

The Hughenden is a classic “old world” styled private hotel, that oozes decadence and charm. The band band set up in a function room they have at the rear of the hotel. Dinner was from a couple of pieces of meat that were roasted over the spit, which keep the guests (who chose to spend time outdoors) salivating in anticipation.

For more on The Hughenden, please go to their website. Here’s the link – http://thehughenden.com.au/

What I loved about Helen and Andrew’s wedding reception was the format. It was a stand-up/cocktail styled event. This type of function is so simple and relaxed. There were chairs for those who wanted to sit down, but then nobody was stuck sitting between two people for hours on end, trying to make conversation. The stand-up style event is also more conducive to dancing. Many guests are already on their feet, so transitioning into dancing is easy.

And (best of all), Helen and Andrew were staying overnight in one of the hotel rooms, so at the end of the function all they had to do was shuffle up upstairs to their room.

How relaxed is that!

Same Sex Marriage and Band Hire

Same Sex Marriage and Band Hire

Last Saturday night we played at a post wedding celebration for Daniel and Damon. There wedding was in New York, U.S.A. last year. Obviously, the wedding was wasn’t in Australia, because that can’t happen here, yet.

Same sex marriage after party

Damon (one of the grooms) is from America. Daniel (the other groom) is Australian. The party was at Icebergs at Bondi Beach. It was a cocktail styled function (a particular format of which I am a big fan). Cocktail style styled functions are wonderful because guests aren’t stuck sitting between two people for half the night. They are free to mingle and move around. The ambiance is far more relaxed. Also, generally people tend to dance more at this type of function.

Icebergs, Bondi Beach

While we have never played at a same sex “wedding“, we have played at three same sex “commitment ceremonies”. These have been exactly like weddings, except that Australian Law doesn’t recognise the marriage as being legal.

I am mostly extremely proud to be Australian, but I must admit a little embarrassment that Australia is so far behind so many other countries around the world when it comes to marriage equality. Hopefully, our country’s leaders with cease stalling on this matter.

In an era where marriage has moved away from the old notion of “until death do us part”, and become more like a “legal partnership”, the current government’s procrastination on this matter is antiquated to say the least.

For your information, here is a list of countries that recognise same sex marriages;

Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, U.S.A., Uruguay

To read more about same sex marriages, you might like to click on these links;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage

http://www.freedomtomarry.org/landscape/entry/c/international

http://www.pinkfamilies.com/same-sex-marriage-how-many-countries-allow-gay-marriage/

And finally… here’s some footage from the night!

Jacqui & Kieran – Centennial Park Dining

Jacqui and Kieran –

Centennial Park Dining, 11th July, 2015

On Saturday, 11th July, 2015 we played at Jacqui and Kieran’s wedding reception at Centennial Park Dining. *(For more information on this venue, please refer to their website – http://www.cpdining.com.au/  )

Jacqui and Kieran are a great couple with heaps of friends and family members who love to dance.

Jacqui is a high school music teacher. One of her close friends is Natalie. She is also a high school music teacher. The two of them met while studying music at University of New South Wales. At the wedding, Natalie was one of Jacqui’s bridesmaids, and as a special treat, Natalie actually sang the song for the bridal dance. The song was “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, (originally recorded by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons). Here’s a short piece of footage of Natalie singing this song with the band, while Kieran and Jacqui dance their bridal dance.

 

I managed to get an awesome collection of photographs from the evening.

This is me and the groom, Kieran.

Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining

 

Here I am with the bride, Jacqui

Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining

 

Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining

Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining

Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining

 

How To Pick A Band For Your Wedding

How To Pick A Band For Your Wedding

We live in an era of short attention. Phone apps such a “Vine” work on the concept that the longest we can concentrate for is six seconds. Therefore, the app limits your video footage to a mere six seconds.

In regards to the music business, television shows such as “Idol” and “The Voice” condense performances to ninety seconds. We are getting more and more accustomed to these short performances, and we sit at home and judge a singer by what they can deliver over these ninety seconds.

The irony is that as singers on television are performing for shorter periods, wedding receptions seem to be getting longer. When I first started playing at weddings back in the 1990’s, all wedding receptions went for four hours. That was the standard. Nowadays, the average length of a wedding reception is five and a half hours, although we frequently get booked to play longer than this. A four hour wedding seems rare these days. So…when looking to book a band, the question you have ask is this –

Can they go the distance?

When I get inquiries, a typical question I get asked is, “Can I come and see you play somewhere?” My response to this is is that unless you actually see us play at a wedding, you will have no idea as to what we are like when we play at a wedding.

Watching a band play one set in a pub shows you little as to what they sound like four hours into your wedding, when it’s time to motivate your wedding guests to dance.

Another consideration is, are the band going to playing throughout dinner, or are they going to be spending this time hitting the bar and drinking up your bar tab. If they are going to play through dinner, will your guests be able to comfortably hold a conversation?

What about pre-dinner drinks? What vibe can the band generate when your guests are still sober and arriving at the reception? Can they play outside without electricity?

A singer with a great voice is one thing, but the ability to read the audience and connect with guests is far more important in the context of a wedding. Other factors that you need to consider are versatility and adaptability. Typically, guests at weddings have a broad range of ages, usually from 18 to 80 year olds. Can the band connect across these different generations? Many venues have idiosyncracies that the band has to deal with. Can they adapt to whatever arises without it affecting their performance?

So, how do you pick a band?

One word answer – references

Consider that you are hiring someone for a job (which is what you are actually doing).

Have you ever applied for a job?

Were you asked to provide references?

Did your employer check the references that you provided?

Unless the employer was desperate, of course s/he checked your references.

Therefore, when hiring a band for your wedding –

CHECK THE BAND’S REFERENCES

If the band is one the venue’s preferred supplier’s list, you need to find out if (A) they have paid money to be on this list, or (B) are they on this list purely on their merits.

If the band has testimonials, can you get in contact with the person who wrote it?

Photographers see a lot of bands. They will have an excellent idea as to what bands are best going around.

And, of course… word of mouth is unbeatable.

To see my band’s testimonials, please CLICK HERE

 

 

Weddings in Review

Weddings in Review

I thought I’d seen everything at a wedding.

I’ve seen the dresses, the cars, played at virtually every venue in this city, played at weddings of kids just out of high school, played at weddings for retirees, seen the different flowers and  room decorations, had brides and grooms sing with the band, or play instruments in the band, seen people dance, seen people fall over, seen the bar completely drunk dry, played at weddings that were completely dry (i.e. no alcohol), played at receptions for two men, played at receptions for two women, seen pet dogs as part of the bridal party, celebrity singers making guest appearances, firework displays  and the list goes on.

But, one thing I saw for the very first time last week was an aerobatic display during pre-dinner drinks.

The reception was at Jonahs, at Whale Beach. This venue is perched up on the top of the hill looking down at Whale Beach below. The view is breath taking. During the pre-dinner drinks, an aeroplane appeared and started a display of flying that made me feel giddy. Roll, loops, stalls, fly overs, upside down flying, you name it!It was totally mesmerising to watch as I sang songs through my megaphone and played my trumpet and trombone. Fortunately, everything I play is memorised, so I could watch the display as I played.

It turns out that the groom is into flying aerobatics in his spare time, and his flying instructors flew across and did the display as a wedding present.