Expert advice about entertainment

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Surrey Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yoursurrey.wedding

 

It's showtime!

It's showtime!

Q. My wife-to-be and I are getting ready to book our wedding entertainment and were wondering what we should ask our chosen supplier before booking?

A. Paul Holgate says: It's important to establish a time frame for the day. Once you've done so, look for any must-have songs and discuss with the venue how long it will take to set everything up. Assuming you've done the groundwork, seen your chosen supplier live or an unedited video and their references look good then you should be ready to get the final quotation. Good questions to ask are:
- Can they play your most important tunes or suggest any better ones? They will have had lots of requests in the past and can offer up some ideas and alternatives for the bride's entrance or first dance.
- What is their usual length of sets? Try to get the maximum amount of playtime for your money but take advice from the artist as to what will be best for your friends and family.
- How do they engage and interact with guests? In my experience, performers are usually best as backgrounds music during the day and interactive before the speeches. This will transform the mood and get your loved ones up on their feet.
- How long do they need to set up and do they require a noisy soundcheck? Most experienced artists will need to place their equipment, check it's working, tune-up and ideally play a tune or two. For solo or small ensembles this can normally be done quickly and discretely but for a larger group expect there to be noise. If the venue needs to turn around the room, then the issue is usually time. If you plan to stay in your seats from dinner to the first dance, then you'll probably need them to set up before the wedding breakfast.
- Can you have a copy of their Public Liabilities Insurance and PAT testing for their equipment? Your venue will usually ask for this, but it's a good indicator as to their experience as wedding professionals.
- What happens if they're unable to play? This is fortunately very rare, but serious illnesses and accidents do happen, so it's important that the act has a contact at the wedding other than yourselves to liaise with. A professional band would normally be able to replace a player at short notice without you even knowing.
- Do they require food, what do they eat and when do they want it? It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but everyone working on the day needs to eat something substantial to give their best performance. Most artists will include any special dietary requirements in their contract as standard. It's worth talking to your caterers in advance and deciding what you can afford to keep everyone happy.

Paul Holgate
www.sugartown.co.uk

 

Dance the night away

Dance the night away

Q. We're getting ready to book our big-day entertainment, but we're a bit nervous about booking someone online that we've never met. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Paul Holgate says: It can be worrying booking an entertained without meeting them first. To help, I've put together my top tips to help you find the perfect supplier.

- Start looking for local entertainers, either to you or your venue.

- Ask for recommendations from a trusted source.

- Most acts will perform at wedding showcases, so ask where and when you can see them live.

- If your chosen act is too far away, request a live, unedited video call and ask for some past clients that you can contact.

- Look for references to gigs where a certain level of audition would have been required, for example, Warner Leisure Hotels or Butlins.

- It may be worth travelling to see your supplier if entertainment is going to be a key part of your day.

- A good talent agent should also be able to help.

Paul Holgate
www.sugartown.co.uk

 

Time to celebrate

Time to celebrate

Q. We're struggling to find an entertainer that's appropriate for our ceremony. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Nick Levy says: - Look for a supplier who will provide entertainment while the guests are arriving.
- Check their repertoire before booking. We can perform a wide selection of music from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons to film music from the Harry Potter score and more modern tunes such as A-ha. - See if your entertainer can be booked for the whole day. We usually play for the ceremony, drinks reception and meal if needed.
- Enquire and see if they have any additional needs. For example, we don't need electricity and can play anywhere, but others may have specific requirements.
- Your loved ones will want to converse, so make sure the music isn't too loud.

Nick Levy
www.phoenixstringquartet.co.uk

 

Snap away

Snap away

Q. We're looking for some fun entertainment for our reception. Do you have any ideas?

A. Ian Leonard and Debbie Kemp says: When it comes to entertainment, you want something that your guests will talk about long after the wedding is over, so why not invest in a mirror photo booth?

- Your friends and family will be able to see how they look before the photographs are taken, interact with the mirror, add emojis and use hilarious virtual props.

- The unlimited prints mean each guest can take a special memento home.

- We offer a guest book option. We'll ensure that everyone who interacts with the mirror, signs the book and includes a copy of their photograph.

- Personalise the experience with customisable animations and photo surround. These can be made to match your theme or colour scheme.

- Make sure your chosen supplier can stay late in the evening. In our experience, the most entertaining photographs are taken towards the end of the night when everyone gets more animated.

- Your wedding is a magical affair with you at the centre of it, your photographer will capture the beauty of the day, and our job is to ensure everyone lets their hair down and leaves with a smile on their face.

Ian Leonard and Debbie Kemp
www.mirrormyday.co.uk

 

Music choices

Music choices

Q. Can you recommend a song which we can use on our big day to best represent the both of us?

A. Dennis Elvie says: I think perhaps the best song which would show the personalities of both the bride and groom is, Take Me As I Am by Faith Hill. Marriage is about accepting each other's good and bad characteristics as reflected in the lyrics:
All I really need is honesty,
From someone with a strong heart,
A gentle hand,
Who'll take me as I am,

Dennis Elvie
www.denniselvie.co.uk

 

The first dance

The first dance

Q. How can I make my first dance original?

A. Emma Brewer says: I have had a number of “original” first dance choices this year; ranging from medleys to a zombie-inspired dance – yes really!

It's hard to be completely original but I think the music has a lot to do with it. Try and think about what you both absolutely love listening to, what means something to you and what you think your guests will love too. A medley works well if you want entertainment value; you can start slow, and then put in any crazy stuff you want, taking your guests by surprise! However, it's good to get some choreographic help on these ones, you can even add props!

The photo shows one of my favourite medleys that I've choreographed this year. Damien and Helen started with Toto Africa, lovely and slow, and then it went on to Sean Paul and Blu Cantrell Breathe, the sunglasses came out and they sang it to each other, and it finished with Rihanna We Found Love, with reference to the cricket club where they met.

For the end of the Rihanna track, the guests joined them on the dancefloor and the party really started. A brilliant first dance that meant a lot to them and the guests raved about it!

Emma Brewer
www.firstdance.co.uk

 

Memorable magic

Memorable magic

Q. For our winter nuptials I'm aware we're not going to be using our venue's grounds for passing time during the day. This means we want to provide our guests with plenty of entertainment. What type of act do you suggest for during the wedding breakfast and throughout the day?

A. Danny Jurmann says: A wedding has friends, families and work colleagues from both sides. They almost certainly do not all know each other. How do you turn them from a group of strangers discussing the weather into a party?

The answer is professional entertainment. The best entertainment will get everyone laughing, joking and going 'wow', providing never seen before experiences, creating talking points and leaving fantastic memories that last.

Magic is ideally suited. Not only does it do all of the above but also works for all ages, in all weathers, at every part of the day and is mobile (so can go with the guests).

Magic during the photographs gets your guests talking, keeps them near the photographer and creates a feel-good factor that lasts all day. Magic during the wedding breakfast gives every table a show with special miracles for the top table. And what about the evening guests? A professional magician will have your evening guests warmed up and ready to party even when the speeches overrun.

Danny Jurmann
www.redhatmagic.co.uk

 

Must be the music

Must be the music

Q. With two royal weddings happening this year, how can we reflect this and add a sophisticated regal touch to our wedding entertainment?

A. Vanessa Gordon says: In recent years, royal weddings have happened when actually there wasn't a lot of money around in the country as a whole, but still there was celebration, fanfares, and plenty of great British music for all to enjoy. There is sure to be the same at the wedding of Harry and Meghan, even though we won't know till the day itself exactly what their personal choices will be. All the same, if you're getting married this year, a few pointers are already clear; it must be your own personal taste of celebratory music that leaves everyone tingling, and, to be truly royal, lots of British music.

We have lots of ideas for our 2018 couples: one or more trumpeters in uniform to play fanfares from the great British fanfare tradition of announcing the bride and groom. A quartet of classical singers during the ceremony singing melting harmonies that make you grow an inch taller; the traditional English harp is the most royal of music, or, an immaculately-dressed string quartet playing Handel's Water Music as the bride walks in.

It's your personal choice that matters. Add the very best of saxophone-led cool jazz for the reception and an amazing band for the night and you can't help but feel royal!

Vanessa Gordon
www.allegroarts.co.uk

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