I had the pleasure of being selected as the Wedding DJ by Chris and Rebecca for their Wedding Celebration at Crook Hall and Gardens in Durham City in County Durham.
A wedding meeting several weeks before the wedding allowed me to get a clear idea of the Bride and Groom's hopes and expectations for their wedding.
Together we created a plan reflecting the music choices and key spotlight moments with a timeline set against it.
The planning is always an important part of ensuring you have a successful wedding reception, without this too much is left to chance on the most important day of your life.
As hoped for this was an an absolutely top drawer wedding party for Chris and Rebecca at the quirky Crook Hall and Gardens tucked away in Durham City Centre.
Kicking the night off with the beheading of the caterpillar wedding cakes a particular favourite of mine.
A First Dance to Frankie Valli and the original version of Can't Take My Eyes Off You got the night off to a great start and it just took off from there.
A good mix of tunes in line with the Bride and Groom's wishes incorporating some classic rock, 90's pop, indie, some dance classics and the best of the current hits.
Many congratulations to the brand new Mr & Mrs Liddle who are off to a fantastic honeymoon destination on Monday.
Alex and Kirstie took full advantage of the fantastic February weather to hold their wedding ceremony outside on the decking at the amazingly quirky and unique Alnwick Treehouse.
Kirstie's processional song was the ever popular John Legend All of Me and Kirstie and Alex left the ceremony as a married couple to Beba Rexha and Florida Georgia Line's Meant to Be.
This wedding had a distinctly international feel with many of Alex's friends and family travelling from Romania to see his marriage to English Rose Kirstie.
Drinks reception and canape's were served in the potting shed and on the decking as guests enjoyed the weather and the views.
The guests moved into the Treehouse for the wedding breakfast to return to the potting shed later for the evening Wedding Reception.
A First Dance to Darius Rucker and a blend of Romanian, Latin, R&B and pop dominated the evening party taking in lots of requests along the way.
Another awesome wedding celebration with yours truly providing the music from the start till the end along with the Master of Ceremony Services and managing three separate set ups in a virtually seamless transition.
Congratulations and all the very best to a fabulous couple Alex and Kirstie
Kat and Mikayla travelled to Le Petit Chateau in Otterburn Northumberland to tie the knot and celebrate their marriage.
A double bouquet toss from the beautiful brides followed by a choreographed First Dance to Pink's Raise Your Glass.
An eclectic mix of music throughout the night and plenty of requests from the guest who were all up for a party.
Fabulous celebration and many congratulations to Kat and Mikayla.
As a Wedding DJ I just love weddings like this where the guests are really up for a party.
Mikayla had this to say:
"Ian was absolutely amazing and had the dance floor busy all night. Played something for everyone and got in all of our key songs. Could not recommend highly enough. Thank you for helping to make our day so special!"
Stephen and Bethan chose As You Like It in Jesmond, Newcastle as the venue for their wedding and evening wedding reception.
A first dance to James Arthur and Anne-Marie Rewrte the Stars kicked the night off which also included a Cake Cutting and Bouquet Toss.
As a Wedding DJ you never quite know what songs will really resonate with the guest well for Bethan and Steve the real winners were the party dance action songs.
Lots of requests and a night full or upbeat cheesy songs were the order of the night.
A fab night was had by all.
Congratulations to the brand new Mr and Mrs Ouetting.
Bethan and Steve had this to say:
"We had our wedding on Wednesday at as you like it and ian was amazing.. couldn't do enough from start to finish..Nothing was a problem. so easy going our guests loved him. played requests straight away and made our night so fun! everyone was up dancing and enjoying themselves thanks to ian! anyone looking for a wedding or party/events dj hes your man! he even took loads of photos as well bless him! highly recommend"
Daniel and Karis celebrated their wedding with family and friends at the fabulous Eshott Hall.
I prepared all of the day time music including the prelude, wedding ceremony, drinks reception, wedding breakfast and during the room changeover.
A mix of 90's pop, indie, R&B and a bit of cheese on top was the order of the day for the Evening DJ Set at the Wedding Reception Celebration Party.
Highlights included a first dance to Kodaline - The One and a father daughter dance to Michael Bolton - Fathers & Daughters and a Mr & Mrs Shoe Game organised by the Chief Bridesmaid also went down a treat.
A fab night was had by all. Many congratulations to the new Mr & Mrs Scott who had this to say:
"Ian was our Wedding DJ and was amazing from even before we booked him. We can't recommend him enough!
His professionalism in his approach to providing a personalised quote really meant he stood out from the rest. The quote itself was also very reasonable.
He was very responsive when we had anything to query in the run-up and we met about a month beforehand where he put our minds at ease knowing the music was in safe hands! At this point we went through what music we wanted at each stage of the day and he demonstrated his knowledge with his very good suggestions and opinions.
Ian not only DJ'd the night but he provided all the music for the rest of the day on an iPad for the venue to just press play, including editing some tracks!
In terms of the night, he kept the dancefloor busy by judging people's reactions to different song types. He did a tremendous job of keeping the evening flowing and everyone commented on what a great night it was!
Thank you so much!"
Frankie and Lauren chose the Lord Crewe Arms at Blanchland to host their wedding celebration.
A slightly unconventional wedding with Frankie and Lauren having some very clear ideas what they wanted.
A chilled out relaxed atmosphere from the start kicking off with a drinks reception, then the wedding breakfast followed by a 7pm wedding ceremony and then an incredible party from the outset.
Frankie from Irish roots who married English Rose Lauren so it provided a great contrast in the music selections.
It was a pleasure to work closely with three other outstanding professionals as well as the staff at Lord Crewe Arms Blanchland who were an absolute pleasure.to work alongside.
Special mention to Kevin Neary Music who travelled from Dublin who did an awesome set featuring some Irish Classics, to John Gatenby Music who did an incredible job with drinks reception and the ceremony music and a fabulous set featuring some English Classics and to Dan McCourt. who captured the event on photographs that will make my snaps look even more amateur than they already are.
As the wedding DJ I got to play some great tunes knitting it altogether with a smaller set up than usual but popping some uplighting in the reception lounge and party venue to add a touch of sophistication and warmth.
Brilliant super awesome and what a start to married life for the New Mr and Mrs Kenny ... many congratulations.
Ben and Katherine had a mixed group of guests of all ages and wanted a good variety of music to cater for everyone’s tastes.
Some of the guests were staying overnight at the venue and hotels close by others were travelling home.
They chose the Fig House at Middleton Lodge Estate near Richmond.
I put together playlists for the drinks reception and wedding breakfast.
The couple chose some of their own music and invited their guests to put forward some suggestion as well.
It turned out to be an absolutely fantastic night from the First Dance never a moment when the Dance-floor wasn't bouncing.
Lou Reed's Perfect Day was appropriately chosen as the song for the first dance.
A bit of all sorts including the weirdest wedding request ever bearing in mind its nowhere near Halloween ... Bobby Picket and the Monster Mash which surprisingly lots of people danced too.
There were also lashings of cheese the perfect complement to the wedding breakfast and evening buffet.
On the Do Not Play list a few wedding favourites
Pharrell Williams - Happy, John Legend, Bruno Mars, James Arthur, Ed Sheeran, Shut up and Dance, Fast car, Maroon 5 and the Macarena
Many congratulations to Mr and Mrs Hodgkinson.
An absolutely beautiful venue in the heart of County Durham was chosen by Alex and Gareth for their wedding with breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
The Black Horse at Beamish certainly didn't dissapoint.
I put together a series of playlists for the Alex and Gareth to use for their day time music covering the prelude as the guests arrived, the wedding ceremony, drinks reception and the wedding breakfast.
To ensure a smooth transition into the evening party I set up the disco the night before along with some uplighting in pink to create a warm striking contrast to the drapes of the marquee.
The wedding disco playlist was an eclectic mix of songs chosen by the couple with some special songs selected for some of the guests and of course supplemented with requests to the DJ on the night.
Ben E King - Stand By Me a Motown classic was chosen as the first dance.
Last song of the night Frank Sinatra - New York ,New York
A fab celebration all round and many congratulations to the new Mr & Mrs Hoole.
A fusion of English and Asian music was the order of the day at Adam and Iraa's Wedding the Le Petit Chateau in Otterburn. A night of great music kicking off to a seasonal first dance with Michael Buble's cover of All I want for Christmas" moving into some Bollywood & Bhangra, R&B, Indie, Charts and Trance.
The playlist strongly influenced by the happy couple. The Bride and Groom choosing to wear some more casual attire for the evening celebration. A fabulous wedding at an amazing venue.
Why not get in touch to discuss your wedding requirements and see how I can help you have the wedding you've always dreamed of.
#Wedding #Northumberland #Otterburn #DJ #LePetitChateau
Over the years I've presided over many weddings but this one was really special.
I planned this one to perfection with Andrew and Angela meeting them at their home on two occasions and exchanging numerous emails as everything was refined up to the day of the wedding itself.
Despite the planning there was an awful lot of improvisation on the day as I reacted to the mood and what was happening the result was magical.
We hoped for an outside wedding as it was nearing the end of September but planned for an indoor ceremony just in case. As it happens the sun came out after a few days of rain and all was well.
As a professional Wedding DJ with over 20 years experience I thought I would provide you with a tip of the day to make sure you have a fantastic wedding.I’ve presided over hundreds of weddings over the years and I was reflecting on how things have changed.
There are now lots more different types of venues available from castles to country manors, from barns and marquees from hotels to specific functions suites and many in between, all of varying shapes and sizes.
In line with the choice of venues there are now more things on offer to keep your guests entertained throughout the wedding from photo booths to roulette wheels, from caricaturists to table magic, from candy carts to chocolate fountains and many more besides.
Now whilst I’m sure all of these have their place, there is also a danger that these water down the main event and rather than enhance the day actually act as a distraction to it.
If you want a packed dance floor you need to focus your guests attention in the room where the music is.
If you are offering a range of other activities it will take your guests away from the room where you want to focus your party.
Consider how the venue is configured, what additional entertainment you really want and where this is located. Think about where the bar is located compared to the room where the music and dancing takes place. If the bar and entertainment is elsewhere it will mean your guests will gravitate towards it and away from the party.
The day is all about two people, it’s about the Bride and Groom, if you want your guests to be on the dance floor, then if that’s where the Bride and Groom can be found, then it will come as no surprise that that's where your guests will be too.
As a professional DJ with over 20 years experience I thought I would provide you with a tip of the day to help you get the right DJ for your wedding.
There are lots of DJ's out there and the prices vary significantly.
If you believe that all DJ's are the same and that the only difference is the price then let me enlighten you ... this is not true.
If you want a quality DJ for your Wedding Day it's unlikely that you will be able to secure their service for the lowest price.
DJ's are no different to most things in life, if you want quality it is likely that you will have to pay for it.
Don't just employ a DJ on the basis of their price.
And don't be fooled by the claims a DJ makes on their marketing materials.
I spotted this one recently. A DJ claimed that he was "the number 1 Wedding and Party DJ" and low and behold two weeks later he declared he had done his "First ever party".
So be wary.
Meet with the DJ first before you book them.
Quiz them about their experience, their approach, ask to see feedback from previous customers and find out how their involvement will enhance your wedding day.
Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life.
If you're looking to book a DJ focus on quality and not the lowest price.
I was asked to DJ at this event for over 100 business and MP guests at the Sage in Gateshead for Foundation Futures to help raise funds for a new Mini Bus to support this outstanding organisation.
They had never put on an event like this before and MP Ian Mearns compered the evening.
Foundation Futures are a specialist teaching service working with the most at risk, most vulnerable and most disadvantaged young people in NE secondary schools. Many of them are excluded from school, some are at risk of becoming so. All of them are full of untapped potential but have faced deprivation and poverty of expectation. Many if not all have suffered some kind of abuse or neglect. They work long term with them 2 days a week for a full academic year. They expose them to activities, visits and opportunities they would never normally have access to. Throughout they work on their social, emotional and behavioural difficulties and are consistent, and sometimes very tough.
The event was to showcase this approach. It’s to galvanise the local business community in the spirit of helping each other find those reliable young people to staff their businesses and bridge the skills gap.
It’s to showcase these young people’s potential and help others understand that instead of shaking their heads and turning away there are things that everyone can do to reduce the problems these young people suffer and cause.
It was also an attempt to raise £10,000 to buy a new mini bus as the one they use at the moment won’t pass its next MOT!
I offered my services and set about supporting the delivery of the whole event, liaising directly with the Sage at Gateshead to agree the set up area, access and parking arrangements. This included a site visit and arranging early access to reduce the inconvenience to the guests and disruption to the event.
A great night was had by all and significant funds were raised towards this very worthwhile cause.
"Just a quick note to thank you once more for your time and the entertainment. You nailed it! The perfect end to the evening" - Phil - Foundation Futures, Fundraising Evening at Sage Gateshead
"Ian Conway is a top bloke. His disco is just fantastic. He knows how to play to the crowd and please his audience. Professional and reliable and utterly great value. What a nice man. He played at our charity fundraiser for Foundation Futures #championingfutures event at Sage Gateshead and did a great job. I would highly recommend him! Thanks Ian" - Sue Gorton-Davison, Foundation Futures
Choosing a Wedding DJ Top Tip 9 - Ceremony Music
As a professional DJ with over 20 years experience I thought it might be helpful if I offered a few tips to help you get the right DJ for your wedding.This is the ninth in my series of bite sized tips which will look carefully at the music you choose for your wedding ceremony.
The wedding ceremony music is normally made up of three distinct parts:
When choosing your music think carefully about songs that carry an appropriate message and importantly are songs that have some significance to you both as a couple.
Listen carefully to the songs you select as it is important to remember particularly with the processional and recessional songs that it is extremely unlikely that the whole song will be played.
Make sure you are clear on which version of the song you would like as there are often many versions of the same song.
The best you might hope for would be around a minute or so of the song.
Think about your venue and the time you have and how the music you have chosen fits so the right part of song is played at the right time.
Songs with a long introduction before the melody and lyrics kick in might need to be edited so that the right part of the song is played e.g. whilst walking up the aisle.
In terms of the recessional song it is likely that you will want this to kick in immediately at the first chorus and again some editing may be required.
A professional DJ can cue your songs at the right part in a live environment and ensure the song is played at the right time and even if the DJ isn’t going to be present during the ceremony ask if they can edit the music for you.
Finally if you aren't engaging a Professional DJ or musician for your ceremony music double check you have the music in the right format for the venues play out system, make sure you know who is going to press the button to start and stop the music and finally make sure they know their cue.
Rachel and Camron were married at 4pm at the Assembly Rooms in Newcastle.