Wedding pianist for Alex & Jess at Heaton House Farm

wedding pianist Heaton House Farm CheshireOn Monday, I returned to Heaton House Farm as wedding pianist for Alex and Jess’ wedding. We had spoken at length about playlists and this happy couple had pretty clear ideas on songs.

I was performing during the drinks reception and wedding breakfast. Their wedding set lists included a few new songs along with other more familiar requests:

Video Killed The Radio Star
Where Is My Mind
Don’t Stop Believing
We Built This City
Swing Life Away (Rise Against) &
It Must Be Love
amongst others…

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the venue, Heaton House Farm offers exclusive use of 2 barns which are connected in an L-shape. The team generally set up the Wedding Barn for the ceremony, drinks reception and subsequent evening entertainment reception.

If the weather is fine, the team usually set up for the ceremony and drinks outside beside the Oak Pagoda. This is a great venue for photography too. The backdrop and views outside are absolutely amazing and span 3 counties! When the ceremony is outside, I perform on a second piano keyboard. More recently, although I usually work as a wedding pianist, I’ve also performed on guitar as a special request.

I set up my white baby grand piano at the bar end of the wedding barn. Then, just before inviting guests to go through to Steele’s Barn for the wedding breakfast, we slid the piano through the curtain which separates the two barns. It took less than 2 minutes. This way, I could play in the newlyweds and then entertain everyone during the meal up until it was time for speeches.

After a few nerves and some very heartfelt words, the father of the bride, groom and best man had finished their speeches and it was time for me to take my leave. All the very best to the new Mr & Mrs Carr! x

Cheshire Pianist Vocalist at Sarah & Chris’ Rookery Hall wedding

Cheshire Pianist Vocalist at Sarah & Chris' Rookery Hall Wedding

I returned to Rookery Hall as Cheshire pianist vocalist at the Nevins’ wedding last Friday. Sarah & Chris asked me to sing and play during their extended drinks reception. As the weather was superb, I set up the white baby grand piano outdoors. With a fine cast of characters, there was an abundance of requests and spontaneous singalongs – just the way I like it.

At previous weddings at Rookery Hall, I have performed during both the drinks reception and wedding breakfast in the Worleston Suite. Sarah & Chris decided to use the rear terrace for the drinks as the weather was so fantastic. As canapés and drinks kept appearing, out on the terrace was a great place to be!

The guests were soon in full party mode as the drinks reception eventually went on for nearly 3 hours! After a short break for more water, I sat back behind the piano myself for Living On A Prayer and a few other rock anthems. Classic! The bride’s father then asked for Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold“. While not widely sung, this song clearly meant a lot to him.

The best man and ushers posed around the groom and “pianist vocalist for a day” Chris for a great shot at the piano.  I rather cheekily hijacked this wonderful set-up (see image) by local wedding photographer Jane Hockey. The whole wedding party was then ushered away for the wedding breakfast to party on. Time for me to get a cup of coffee: rock n roll! x

Rebranding Marco’s New York Italian Restaurant Hoylake

Corporate rebranding event pianist at Marco's Hoylake

I performed at the corporate rebranding event for Marco Pierre White’s New York Italian Restaurant last Thursday. The restaurant is situated inside the new Holiday Inn Express in Hoylake, Wirral. Hoylake has become even more popular following the Open Golf tournament at Royal Liverpool which is less than a mile away. With this rebranding event, The Holiday Inn Express now also boasts a fine dining restaurant on site.

Many local business owners and personalities were in attendance on the night. The organisers even arranged to have a big yellow NYC taxi parked by the front door for this New York themed event. I set up my piano just inside the open bi-folding doors to perform for guests in the patio area outside.

There was of course a rumour that Marco Pierre White himself would be making an appearance. I know he’s a busy man. Despite his absence, the kitchen was sending out some delicious canapés. The bar staff, meanwhile, were gliding past with a myriad of colourful cocktails. The level of service was very impressive. I had my eye on the calamari… Only time would tell.

Pianist vocalist at corporate rebranding event Hoylake

With the help of GM Matt Knight, restaurant manager Aldo Bove and all the team, the evening was a great success. With such an elegant setting, delicious canapés and no end of cocktails, the event went on until the early hours, far beyond what was expected. I chatted with some local guests who are friends of the family. They vowed to come back soon to have some dinner inside the restaurant. In the meantime, canapés on the patio in the summer air would have to suffice.

What a great night! And as if things couldn’t get any better, I didn’t have to dismantle the piano. Yay! I left everything there ready to perform at Kerri and Ian’s wedding the following day. Happy days!

 

Liverpool Wedding Pianist at Elaine & Michaels’ Wedding

 

Liverpool wedding pianist at Knowsley Hall drinks receptionThis afternoon, I returned to the stunning Knowsley Hall to perform Elaine & Michael’s wedding. They had been searching for a Liverpool wedding pianist and a friend had given them my website details. I really appreciate it when past brides and grooms recommend me to others.

Due to the high winds, the team had to set up for the drinks reception inside the Hall rather than outside on the terrace. I set up the baby grand in the reception hall. As requested, I played instrumental When You Wish Upon A Star followed by Bella’s Lullaby as the newlyweds arrived at the venue.

For the next 2 hours or so I took requests and chatted during breaks. There were some familiar faces of couples who had also booked me to play at their weddings. It is lovely when you bump into couples a few years down the line and they now have young families.

As at previous Knowsley Hall wedding, the drinks reception lasted more like 2 hours so I played slightly longer sets. I had already set my piano keyboard up in the dining room ready for the wedding breakfast. So there was no problem moving from one area to the other. I had prepared everything ready for that seamless transition…

Liverpool wedding pianist at Knowsley Hall wedding breakfast

Once guests had taken their seats, I played in the new Mr & Mrs Walsh with their song: Marry You. Elaine & Michael had given me a list of requests including:

One Day Like This
Wonderwall
I Just Haven’t Met You Yet

That’s Amore
and plenty of others.

Guests were now enjoying their main course, so I put the iPod on and took my break. I had a quick main course myself near the bar. Delicious! Thank you very much!

For the final half hour or so over desserts and coffee, I went for the old Hey Jude rousing finale. I would like to thank my dancers (you know who you are!) and past groom Mr Steve McKenna for leading the singing and the arm waving. We ended the wedding breakfast on a real high note…

Congratulations to a lovely bride and groom wishing you every future happiness! xx

Wedding Pianist Singer at Irene & Tony’s Bartle Hall Wedding

Bartle Hall wedding entertainment pianist singer Simon Brown

Last Wednesday, I provided a full day programme of Bartle Hall wedding entertainment for a very special couple. Irene and Tony had contacted me after searching for a wedding pianist on the internet.

At our initial meeting, we decided on the program. First of all, I would perform for the ceremony with a piano keyboard in one room. In addition, I would set up my white baby grand piano and lights in the main room ready for the evening function.

The couple’s choice of ceremony music was as follows:
Pachelbel’s Canon (processional).
I Giorni (Einaudi) and
Butterfly Waltz (Brian Crane’s PS I Love You) for signing of the register.
You’ve Got A Friend In Me (Toy Story soundtrack) to walk out into married life having a bit of fun.

I introduced the evening reception with Tony and Irene’s first dance Come Rain Or Come Shine. After a first set of dancing, guests were quite happy to chat and have a drink at the tables. The team had set out the tables around the piano like a small jazz bar. As a result, I was able to chat with most guests as everyone was fairly close. I was therefore able to take requests and have a singsong with guests throughout the evening.

However, towards the end of the night, I played a long medley of “slowies”: Lady In Red, The Last Waltz, you get the picture… Before we knew it, it was midnight with only time to reflect on what had been a fantastic wedding day surrounded by friends and family. Well that and a cuppa and a slice of wedding cake!

This was my first wedding at Bartle Hall. Big shout out to Hannah and new manager Stu and the team. They took care of everything without a hitch.

Having taken another booking from a guest on the night, I look forward to seeing the happy couple again in a few months’ time. Happy days indeed! x

Wirral Wedding Band at Jacqui & Phil’s West Tower Wedding

Wirral Wedding Band 40 Thieves at West Tower

Wirral wedding band 40 Thieves performed at Jacqui and Phil’s wedding at West Tower last Saturday. Jacqui & Phil contacted me in March last year when they started looking for wedding entertainment.

They wanted me to perform during the day on piano & vocals and my live band for the evening. They were planning their 2013 wedding at top Lancashire wedding venue West Tower.

Happily, they decided to go with solo piano and vocals sets to cover the drinks reception and wedding breakfast. After turnaround, that fine Wirral wedding band The 40 Thieves (trio) would provide their evening entertainment. We also decided to rely on the Ipad to mix their chosen playlist between the live band sets to keep the party going throughout the evening.

40ThievesTrio-Take_Your_Mama_demo

Our regular bass player Mark was unavailable so we offered the alternative trio with sax: I played piano & vocals, bass keyboard and drum loops with Jon on guitar & vocals and Geni on sax, flute & vocals. It’s a great format and a great sound. Jacqui and Phil had decided against the 4-piece format with our drummer to limit the overall volume and space taken up by the band.

After their first dance “Greatest Day“, we kept everyone up on the dancefloor for the rest of the night as promised. We played quite a few chart requests and plenty of rock n roll. One of the best dancers on the night was a very young 90 years old. How about that! Since our success at West Tower, two of their guests have already booked the same format for next year. Yay!

Unless you have a particular set theme, your wedding entertainment should offer something for everyone. We have been playing together on and off since we were at school. An accomplished, live wedding band who are intent on having fun are going to wow your guests and guarantee a great night. Now, isn’t that what weddings are all about?

Wirral Wedding Fayre at Thornton Hall and Thornton Manor

Wirral wedding fayre pianist & singer Simon Brown

Wirral wedding fayre exhibitor: pianist & singer Simon Brown

Welcome to Wirral wedding fayre season! Following my busiest year yet in 2012, I’m now looking forward to Wirral wedding fayre season 2013. Let’s get this show on the road!

I really enjoy meeting all the new brides and grooms who have recently become engaged. In addition, we see some couples returning year after year as they plan their wedding over time! I’m always interested to listen to their ideas and offer tips or advice to add to their special day. I love it!

Nowadays, different venues hold wedding fayres or bridal fayres on the same day. On 13th January, Thornton Hall put on yet another very successful wedding fayre. I met lots of brides and grooms on the day. It is definitely one of the best wedding fayres on the Wirral for quality of exhibitors and organisation on the day.

Last Sunday 20th January, County Brides organised the first fayre at Thornton Manor in 5 years. The exhibitors were certainly of a very high standard and many of the visitors seemed very keen to proceed with bookings.

Clearly, when exhibiting I want to engage with visitors but without being pushy or overbearing. I find it easier to begin a conversation from behind the piano. I’ll play a few bars from what I think might be a visitor’s favourite song. If I’m unsure, I’ll play the riff from A Thousand Miles (Vanessa Carlton) – a hit with pretty much everyone…

I like to include a little bit of humour too. It can be quite daunting when you have so many options at once. A light-hearted but professional approach always helps the brides and grooms relax. It doesn’t have to be just about entertainment. I think it’s good to discuss all aspects of your wedding day with people who are working full time in the industry. We are all happy to share our experience. This may consist of recommending other suppliers, discussing the running order or just reminding you to breathe and savour the moment on the day! x

Wedding Pianist & Singer at Sara & Scott’s Special Day

Wedding Pianist & Singer at Heaton House Farm Cheshire

Wedding pianist & singer at Heaton House Farm

As a wedding pianist & singer, I perform often at Heaton House Farm Cheshire. On Saturday, the day had finally arrived for Sara and Scott to say “I do”.

For their wedding, I performed during the ceremony, drinks reception and wedding breakfast. Team member Dom helped me roll the piano very discretely from one area of the barns to the next – only taking about 2 minutes each time…

Sara & Scott had requested all instrumental wedding ceremony music:

Kissing You (Des’ree) for the walk-in.
Loch Lomond for the Scottish contingent in Scott’s family and
The Power of Love (Frankie Goes To Hollywood) during the signing of the register.
Release Me (Agnes Carlsson) to walk out as newlyweds.

Once again, this was a combination of wedding ceremony music that I had never done before. Many other details of Sara and Scott’s wedding on the day were also very personal to them. In addition, they had asked the Heaton House team for a white wedding. Not a problem! The team dressed the whole floor of the ceremony area of the barn in white. It looked absolutely stunning!

Christmas_wedding_Heaton_House_Farm

White wedding at Heaton House Farm

I picked out the characters in the wedding party to join me in some singalong during the wedding breakfast. With a good singsong to finish off the meal on the run up to speeches, it was time for me to get my Christmas coat.

It was a fantastic day for a very special couple. More than that, they packed the day with details that they and all their guests would remember for a long time. Thank you for having me and letting me play my part. All the best! x

Jen & Richard’s Rowton Hall Wedding Chester

Rowton Hall Wedding Entertainment Chester

Rowton Hall Wedding Entertainment Chester

For Jen and Richard’s special day at Rowton Hall wedding entertainment was absolutely key. As Christmas is around the corner, I have a few caroles prepared. There’s mistletoe above the door and love is definitely in the air…

First of all, I set up the white baby grand piano in the conservatory ready for the drinks reception. However, I was also providing piano music for the couple’s wedding ceremony. So, new roadie Ben set up a piano keyboard in the main room for me.

The couple had asked me to play some instrumental piano music for their wedding ceremony:

Bella’s Lullaby to walk in to;
Love Letters from Sex & The City soundtrack and
Make You Feel My Love for the signing of the register and
Skinny Love by Birdie to walk out to.
All great pieces with very different styles: certainly an interesting selection for any wedding pianist.

Once I had played the newlyweds out, I moved over to the baby grand piano with vocals this time for the drinks reception. As requested, I started off with Love & Marriage. I followed this with a selection of Rat Pack and more current songs from Jen and Richard’s requests list. Ben managed to hijack this great photo (see image) set-up by wedding photographer Jane Hockey.

Due to a quick turnaround by the Rowton Hall wedding team, the room was soon ready for the wedding breakfast. In summary, Jen and Richard are a fun couple and I thank you for letting me be a part of your special day. I wish the newlyweds every future happiness xx

Inglewood Manor Wedding Entertainment for Kristen & Daniel

Inglewood Manor wedding entertainment Wirral

Inglewood is one of my favourite venues and the team regularly put my name forward for Inglewood Manor wedding entertainment. Last night, I performed at Kristen and Daniel’s wedding celebrations.

In our first meeting, I discovered that Kristen’s family used to live in my old piano teacher Mrs Cameron’s house. What a coincidence! She only taught me piano until I was 8. Then, she retired. I think I might have tipped her over the edge! But she did open up a whole world of possibilities so I wanted to do her proud.

I would usually set up in the middle room facing the terrace with a typical wedding party of 60-70 guests. However, on the day, the team had to find space for 103 guests!

After some consultation, I set up the piano in the restaurant ready to start playing after the wedding breakfast. Guests came out in high spirits following some very impressive speeches and we went straight into a marathon singalong. It Must Be Love, Dakota, Everything, Shine, That’s Amore… I played even more Rat Pack for the father of the bride, Arthur…

I have performed at lots of daytime weddings at Inglewood in the main rooms. It was a nice change to play rather more upbeat sets at the evening reception in the restaurant area with such a great atmosphere all around. Thank you Fi for the photos and to the rest of the Inglewood Manor wedding team…

I think we all had a great night! I hope your pupil did you proud, Mrs Cameron… x