Becky & Josh wanted a “piano man” to provide their wedding breakfast entertainment. They had seen a piano entertainer work the audience at a club in Australia and wanted to create the same atmosphere at their wedding. The wedding reception was being held in a marquee at The Citadel in Weston, Shropshire.
When a bride tells you that there will be 200 guests who all love a singsong, you know it’s going to be a great wedding! As guests arrived from the church, I started playing music for the drinks reception. The singalong began almost straight way: Rosé (The Feeling), Heaven (Bryan Adams), Say You Won’t Let Go (James Arthur), Ordinary People (John Legend), Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid) were all instant hits. And I was just trying to perform background music!
There were quite a few rugby players and cricketers amongst the guests, often partial to a drink and a singsong. They did not disappoint. Josh & Becky had requested a few songs for the wedding breakfast: You Got a Friend In Me, Maggie May, She’s Electric, All You Need Is Love, Piano Man (for Josh), Perfect Day, Sweet Caroline, Daydream Believer and a Hey Jude to finish off!
This was one of the best weddings I’ve ever attended. Josh & Becky and their guests were there to party and everyone had a great time. In addition, the venue owner Alex made sure that everything ran smoothly. It was great to work with photographer Sophie Kerr who took some stunning images. I stayed on to let the top table use my spare mic and PA for speeches but then had to head back to Liverpool. What a fantastic day! I wish the new Mr & Mrs Bess all the very best for the future xx
[“Simon, I just wanted to say a quick thank you for Saturday. That was simply incredible. You got the place bouncing and made it a simply unforgettable day. I cannot thank you enough! We will be sure to recommend you and I have a feeling that one set of our friends who were there will be contact for their wedding next year. Thank you again that was beyond brilliant!“]
Since the wedding, one of the guests has indeed booked me to perform at their wedding near Barcelona in 2018… Happy days! x
Last weekend, I finally unveiled my new Liverpool RED piano. Yay! BLISS had very kindly invited me to perform in the VIP Lounge at the Liverpool Wedding Show. The piano looked amazing (see above) and guests really loved this new addition to the portable baby grand collection. I’ve had my other white baby grand piano for 15 years now. But this Liverpool red piano is very RED and very SHINY!
We can set the piano up practically anywhere. We transport it on its side with the legs off so it can fit through a single door. It is actually a mahogany piano body which houses a Nord Stage 2 keyboard. Once on site, set-up takes about 20 minutes. It is connected up to a Mackie PA system which we can also use for playing iPod music during performance breaks.
Repertoire can be anything from background (John Legend, Rat Pack, Bublé, current charts) to full-on party and singalong! There are thousand of songs in my playlists. For evening events, I also set up appropriate stage lighting. In addition, I always carry a spare mic or 2 and an iPad with a ton of lyrics ready for guest singers. Or how about some Live Karaoke?
a) you’re having a red colour scheme (maybe a ruby wedding),
b) you support the Reds,
c) you’re planning a Christmas party with red and white
d) you just want something original and different…
How about a guy in a hat singing and playing your favourite songs on a red piano? x
[Special shout out to John Stock for his help with the piano.]
A white wedding piano for a white wedding? I set up my portable white baby grand piano in Leasowe Castle‘s new “Keep” the other week for a quick photo shoot. What a fantastic space! It’s so light and fresh. Absolutely beautiful! It’s already looking like a real hit with couples who are planning to book their wedding venue. The pews offer plenty of comfortable seating space for your guests. As a result, there is no need for extensive chair dressing. The room looks even more stunning when simply dressed with bows and classic flowers.
This 21st century addition to the 16th century Castle has the feel of a very modern chapel. Work was just completed at the beginning of June 2015. The original pews and vaulted ceiling in particular help create a beautiful setting for your civil ceremony. They look even more stunning when dressed with the sashes and bows (see below). The white wedding piano is an elegant addition to the “stage” area and fits perfectly with the room’s neutral tones. I can perform both instrumentals and piano & vocals songs during the wedding ceremony.
In addition, I have performed in all of the function rooms at the Castle: wedding ceremonies inside and outside in the garden pergola; wedding breakfasts in the Castle Suite; private dinner parties in the Star Chamber and Portcullis Restaurant; Christmas parties upstairs in the Turret Suite… Therefore, as you can see, it is a very adaptable venue for your wedding with a great team that can take care of everything on site.
As a matter of fact, I’m back there tomorrow! Hope to see you at the next Leasowe Castle wedding fair on September 20th 2015 x
At last Saturday’s Sheldrakes wedding in Heswall, I provided the entertainment for Fiona and Ian’s party.
They had actually got married 2 weeks earlier in Las Vegas. This was to be their UK wedding reception.
I had performed at several Sheldrakes weddings before but they had been downstairs. Using the disabled lift, I loaded the piano up to the new function suite on the first floor. What a view! It was a stunning, bright, sunny day and the room was absolutely perfect.
Sheldrakes wedding entertainment: view from the balcony
I’d just started my 2nd set when everybody rushed out to the balcony! Everyone had been really enjoying the music up to that point. Was it the Take That medley?
But then I saw the paragliders fly past (see right) and I stopped playing to take a photo too. These guys were pretty close and flew past 3 or 4 times! How cool is that!
Once everyone had enjoyed the stunning sunset, it was time for the first dance and then some serious charts for the younger guests. Once the lights go down, it has a great small bar / club feel. It’s a great live music venue. So with several more Sheldrakes weddings booked in for 2015, good times lie ahead. Good times!
Vivan los novios! All the best to Fiona & Ian. Thank you for a great party xx
Last Thursday, I was working as a corporate event pianist & singer down in Gloucester. This was a team building corporate event for Nationwide. The plan was for some background music during dinner and then live karaoke around the piano. The team also had a traditional karaoke with larger screens set up for later…
Now, for a corporate event pianist & singer, the evening can be either quite formal or totally nuts! This event turned out to be Option 2. Hosts Maggie & Chris were keen to get the singing started right after dinner. They had prepared some carol sheets so that everybody could join in.
Once everyone was warmed up around the Frozen piano (you see what I did there?), the requests started coming in: Living On A Prayer, All You Need Is Love, Hey Jude, Build Me Up Buttercup, Delilah, American Pie, etc.
I never expected these diners to order so much cheese! Nobody wanted to know about “Do You Want To Build A Snowman“. We were straight into Livin’ On A Prayer! Brilliant!
Finally, after a great night, it was time to dismantle the piano and head home. Wish I had some better shots of the evening’s action… What’s that you say? Father Christmas might be bringing a GoPro? Oh, just 3 more sleeps… Merry Christmas everyone! x
At Thornton Manor wedding entertainment is a key element on the day. I’ve just got back from Si and Claire’s wedding and what a belter it was!
I had initially chatted with Si & Claire just under a year ago at a bridal fayre. They loved the idea of having someone playing and singing their favourite songs on a 6ft white baby grand piano. They were holding their wedding reception in the Lakeside Marquee. Great choice! I was duly booked to help create the mood they wanted for their special day.
As soon as the guests arrived for the drinks reception, I spotted two of my favourite wedding peeps: Mark Anson from Classic Bridal Cars and Phil Ritchie from Prestige Wedding Video & Photography. These guys are also born entertainers so the party was in full swing in no time.
Si and Claire liked a lot of the Rat Pack and swing repertoire, so I included a lot of that in my sets. Guests on the day also requested songs like All of Me (John Legend), A Thousand Years, How Long Will I love You, Lego House and of course You’ve Got A Friend In Mefrom Toy Story. I absolutely love this one too. It’s guaranteed to get the little ones up and dancing around in circles and they didn’t disappoint.
As the champagne glasses were being filled, I could see it wouldn’t be long till speeches. I decided to go for Hey Jude as the last song before speeches and the guests were with me all the way. After some very touching speeches, it was time for me to take my leave.
All the best to Si & Claire, a truly lovely couple! You’re wedding day was a belter! xx
Last Wednesday, I had my corporate event pianist hat on at Hope Street Hotel in Liverpool. I had never played in the Residents’ Lounge before so I called in earlier to check out the piano. It’s a beautiful Boston Steinway grand piano. What a treat!
For an event pianist Liverpool offers a whole host of opportunities. It’s a very popular place for businesses to hold their conferences and events. Our hotels and conference venues offer superb facilities and excellent service.
Liverpool’s Hope Street Hotel is indeed on Hope Street about 100 yards from the Philharmonic Theatre. It is a popular wedding venue . But on this occasion, the business function was held in the Residents’ Lounge downstairs.
The event was being held by a pharmaceuticals company from London. They wanted some background music during dinner and then: PARTY!
The dinner went well and after some laid back sets it was time to start this party! Two “very committed” singers from the company team soon came over to join me. They wanted to sing a bit of live karaoke on the spare mic.
In no time at all, they gave us Champagne Supernova, Perfect Day, Delilah, Daydream Believer… Bring out the biscuits ’cause here comes the cheese! Great night!
I was invited to perform as pianist singer at the Deloitte conference event at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel, London. This is a stunning hotel and venue on the South Bank near Westminster Bridge.
Due to the early set up and soundcheck on Wednesday, I had accommodation for two nights at the venue. So, I headed down with the piano in the van on Tuesday.
That evening, my Wimbledon cousin Paddy gave me a tour of Lambeth and Westminster. This included a quick pint at the Lord Clyde on Clenham Street – the shortest street in London in fact.
The next day, after a brisk walk out to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and a bite to eat, it was time to get to work. I set the piano up in the Thames Suite before a soundcheck with the guys from Metro Broadcast.
The backdrop of the River Thames and Westminster was absolutely stunning (see image).
Interesting idea: each table of guests had an iPad which enabled them to send their requests to the iPad I had on top of the piano. As a pianist singer, I see requests as a key part of what I do.
However, the inherent “risks” in the iPad request format soon became apparent: everything was in good taste but some requests were pretty left-field and others were just not feasible…
Still after a few sets, I had covered lots of requests with a fair bit of banter in between. I’d also made some new friends from “up north” with some Madchester classics – courtesy of Oasis and the Stone Roses.
So, another successful corporate event in the big smoke. Thanks to Liz, Vicky, Alex and the team for looking after me so well and for making everything run so smoothly. I hope to see you all again soon! x
Last Sunday, Pete and Corinna finally celebrated their own Hinderton Hall wedding. Theirs was the first wedding held at the new Hinderton Hall wedding venue after the extensive refurbishment earlier this year.
Pete & Corinna had been guests at another wedding I’d played at in Chester. They were looking at the same format for their own wedding. This meant performing during pre-ceremony, ceremony, drinks reception and the wedding breakfast.
Proceedings on the day were to be shared between the Manor House and the Chapter House. We began in the beautifully appointed Chapter House for the ceremony. I set up my white baby grand in the far corner where it would remain for the wedding breakfast later on.
The music for the wedding ceremony was as follows: Pachelbel’s Canon in D: to walk in to Forrest Gump Theme and
Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid): signing of the register You Are My Sunshine: to walk out to
From here, we moved over to the Manor House for the drinks reception. I had set up a piano keyboard to create a nice backdrop while guests enjoyed the canapés inside and occasional photographs in the sun outside.
By 3:30pm it was time to return to the Chapter House for the wedding breakfast. At this point, I played 2 special requests for the bride and groom: Chocolate by Snow Patrol and The Day We Caught The Train by Ocean Colour Scene. Characters on both tables nearest to me couldn’t wait for a singsong so the singing and banter was in full swing in no time. Perfect!
Bev and the team at Hinderton Hall took care of every detail and nothing was too much trouble. Everybody had a great time! After some very moving speeches at the end of the meal, it was time for a quick coffee before handing over to DJ Pete to take the party up to midnight. I for one can’t wait to come back! Congratulations to the new Mr & Mrs Carter! x
Rob and Iris were looking for a Wirral pianist to perform at their Thornton Manor wedding. We set up a meeting at my studio where I laid out an entertainment programme for the whole day.
They wanted mostly instrumental pieces so I would not be singing as much as usual. I would be playing during guests’ arrival, the wedding ceremony and then during the drinks reception and wedding breakfast.
They were also planning a wedding in China where Iris’ family still lived so there was twice as much organising to do…
I set up a piano keyboard at the back of the ceremony room. The wedding ceremony music was as follows: Pachelbel’s Canon in D for the walk-in or processional. Bella’s Lullaby, The Meadow and The River Flows In You (all Twilight soundtrack) for the signing of the register. Mariage d’Amour (Chopin) for the walk-out or recessional. This is apparently a very popular piece in China.
Once we moved into the hall for the drinks reception, the many Chinese guests were clearly enjoying themselves. When we moved into the Music Room for the wedding breakfast (see image), they were just in awe.
The venue Thornton Manor never fails to impress. I must also mention the fact that the bride looked absolutely stunning and the groom didn’t scrub up too badly either…
It was my privilege to perform at your wedding. Thank you for having a local Wirral pianist to play for you and your guests. It was a fab wedding! All the best to the new Mr & Mrs Anson x