Billesley ManorA grand manor house venue for the most intimate wedding I’ve ever played at.  Today was a real treat as I was invited to play guitar at a small wedding ceremony at Billesley Manor.  There were only 5 members of the wedding party; this included the bride and groom, two close friends plus their witness/photographer.  Being such a small wedding ceremony the atmosphere felt delicately poised; a mixture of anticipation and excitement filled the air, which I attempted to ease by playing Mozart’s ‘Andante in E’ and ‘Birds Flew Over The Spire’, along with some other relaxing pieces from my repertoire.

The bride was due to arrive at 1pm and I had been given the brief of playing Pachebel’s Canon for her entrance.  At approximately 12:55pm the groom entered the room to await his bride.  I was all set up and ready to perform Pachebel’s Canon as requested for Julie’s entrance when he leaned in and told me that the bride had changed her mind.  Instead of Pachebel’s Canon she would like to enter the room to “the music from the Hamlet Cigar ad”.  This request was met by a moment of apprehension on my part as I had no idea what piece of music this was, let alone how to play it!  Luckily the bride was running a little late, which afforded me the time to run a quick internet search on my iPad to find out the name of the piece of music.  I had hunch that the piece of music might already in my repertoire but I just didn’t know the name.  I could vaguely recall seeing the ad on one of those ‘greatest TV advert’ programmes however I wasn’t sure whether this was a genuine eureka moment or  just my memory grasping at straws.  Low and behold my internet search revealed that the piece of music was ‘Air on the G String’ which was indeed in my repertoire.  When the groom re-entered the room to await his bride again (who had now arrived by the way!) I discreetly played the opening of ‘Air on the G String’ to him to check that this was the piece of music Julie had requested at the last minute.  I was relieved to learn that this was exactly what she had in mind.  Minutes later the wedding ceremony was under way.  I performed the opening few bars of Julie’s newly requested entrance music as she gracefully entered the room.  The ceremony itself was a very intimate affair and I felt privileged to have been a part of it.

Playing classical guitar to a small number of people is a very different prospect than playing to hundreds, though I have to say that I find smaller performances much more exhilarating than playing to a large audience.  You can hear a pin drop and you just know that your audience are listening carefully and hanging on your every note.  There are moments when you daren’t breathe for fear of disrupting the subtle passages of music you’re playing.  It’s certainly a special feeling and as a musician it’s important to have these moments which really connect you with the music.  When you play the same pieces several times each week it’s easy to become complacent and your performance suffers for it.  Being in a situation like this which sharpens the mind and emotions is critical for ensuring your performances are always engaging for your audience.

Following the ceremony I was pleased to be asked to perform a few more pieces from Julie’s list of requests.  I played Pachebel’s Canon (at last!), Air on the G String, Blue Moon and Wonderful Tonight.  Congratulations to Julie and John, I wish you both the very best for the future!

If you have a wedding coming up, don’t forget to look at my wedding music packages.  I offer music for the ceremony, drinks reception and wedding breakfast.