Wasing Park in Berkshire | 9th May 2015

On Saturday I was booked to perform as a wedding guitarist at Wasing Park in Berkshire. This is the second time I’ve made the trip down the Berkshire this week. The first time was to play at a private birthday party at Cliveden Hotel.

From looking at the website in the weeks leading up to this wedding, I got the feeling that Wasing Park was not just your run of the mill barn wedding venue.

The main barn is shaped like a castle, it has a miniature house on stilts and a beautiful church set within the grounds. Needless to say it was a pleasure to do a quick but of mooching around this interesting venue before my first performance.

Wasing Park Berkshire

The main barn is shaped like a castle, it has a miniature house on stilts and a beautiful church set within the grounds. Needless to say it was a pleasure to do a quick bit of mooching around this interesting venue before my first performance.

Wasing Park Church
Upon arrival I was greeted by Stephen, head barman at Wasing Park. He showed me exactly where to set up for the ceremony and made sure I had everything I needed. Staff who are well organised at an event are one of my favourite things in the world.  This particular wedding had a lot of wedding suppliers such as myself. It really helps to keep things running smoothly when the staff are as organised and informed as Wasing Park’s Stephen.

As if that wasn’t enough, they also had wedding planner Rachael Corigliano from Serendipity Wedding Planning & Coordination. Rachael had already been in touch prior to the wedding and it turns out we both share the same enthusiasm for arriving incredibly early!  Rachael introduced herself to me as soon as I arrived at the wedding and made sure I had everything I needed for my performances.

Today was a long day for me as I had been booked to play guitar for the ceremony, drinks reception and the wedding breakfast.

First up was the ceremony. The bride was not sure which songs to choose for the ceremony so I sent her a list of popular options. I also shared an article I wrote on the subject which includes some video and audio examples. It’s always easier to choose songs when you’re able to hear the exact versions first.

Wasing Park Wedding Ceremony

For the processional I played Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Because of it’s repetitive nature this piece of music is easy to draw to a natural sounding ending at any point. This makes it ideal for walking down the aisle because you never know how long it will take.

For signing of the register I played 3 pieces in the same key to maintain a sense of continuity from the first song to the last. I’ve written another article about this which will be published on the blog in due course.  The pieces I chose to play today were Green and Golden (Ralph Towner), Birds Flew Over The Spire (Gary Ryan) and Andante in E (Mozart).

For the recessional I played One Day Like This (Elbow). I first performed this at The Upper House in Staffordshire last month. I think it really works as a recessional song so I recommended it again for today.

Wasing Park
Next up was the drinks reception. Usually this involves moving all of my equipment to a different part of the venue. Luckily I was able to stay where I was on this occasion. The ‘Garden Room’ where the ceremony took place had sets of sliding doors along one wall. Once the doors were open I jumped outside and was ready to play again.

For the wedding breakfast I was booked to play 2 sets. The bride requested that I choose more modern songs so I picked from my Pop/Rock set. I’ve added a few new songs to the set recently. One Day Like This (which I played for the ceremony), All Of Me (John Legend) and Against All Odds (Phil Collins). I played the two songs I hadn’t already played earlier. I know Phil Collins isn’t exactly ‘modern’ by most standards, but who doesn’t love a bit of Phil?!

Between sets I took refuge in the unofficial suppliers hang out; the Garden Room where the ceremony had taken place earlier in the day. I had a chat with Rachael and the wedding photographer, Neale James. Being a very amateur photographer myself, I’m always interested to learn about the cameras the professionals use and their opinions on which equipment is best for the job.
Wasing Park Wedding

I could never be a professional wedding photographer as it always takes me too long to figure out the best way to take a shot; getting the composition right, best camera settings and so on. I tend to stick to photographing landscapes, as they don’t move very much!

Neale’s documentary wedding photography is something he does very well.  It was a pleasure to watch him work.  Capturing the moment perfectly without being obtrusive or bossing the guests around.

After my break in the supplier hang out I returned to play my second set. More pop and rock covers to see us through to the speeches. My set drew to a close just as the last of the champagne was being served for the speeches. I decided to take a little break before packing away, as I didn’t want to be a distraction while the speeches were taking place. I opted to get a bit of fresh air and lap up the last of the Berkshire sunshine. What had started out a dismal day had turned into a beautiful late spring (dare I say it, early summer!) evening.

Coco Photo Booth Taxi
The evening wedding suppliers were starting to arrive. I had a quick chat with the photo booth operators who turned up in a revamped London Taxi. The ice cream stand was all set up in the former ceremony room, which had now been turned around into a casino. The magician was also on hand getting ready to showcase his bag of tricks.

Following the speeches I packed my things away and headed off just as the wedding band was arriving. I passed on the musical baton to The Modern Way and headed off on my way home. I’m not sure when I’ll next be performing as a wedding guitarist in Berkshire but I’ll certainly be looking forward to it.

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