If there was ever a day with contrasting fortunes and emotions then this was most definately it… as the gods worked against us in the daytime following a 5.5 hour journey that should of lasted 90 minutes, the day swung the other way as every possible element came together to provide a memorable wedding reception, not to mention a dance floor that had moved a metre by the end of the night and a large crowd still singing their hearts out at 1am.
Gemma & Philip O’Leary – St Annes Manor Hilton, Wokingham, Berkshire 28/9/2013
venue – website
music preferences: – Irish, Through the decades 50’s-10’s, Guest requests
all images on this website: – © choicedj.co.uk & soundproofweddings.co.uk
So what makes a day memorable from a suppliers perspective ? Well after spending hours (sometimes days) preparing for a wedding, you wouldn’t think it would be a never ending torrential downpour (Liz & Stephen), blowing a tyre at 70mph on the M20 (Sharon & David) or getting delayed 4 hours en route to a venue (Gemma & Philip).
This summer when fate has thrown a tantrum the parties have ended up being a classic case of “well after everything that’s happened that’s the last thing I was expecting”. I guess its a similar feeling to when you go out without dressing up and it ends up being the best night ever…
After leaving at 12pm for the journey to Wokingham, we should of arrived at St Annes Manor at 1:30 giving us 3 hours to set up for the background music during the meal, but at 1:30 we had already spent an hour stationary at Clacket Lane services, however with 3 hours to spare theres still that degree of confident that everything will be ok, but as a precaution I decided to make a point of calling Sian (St Annes Manor wedding coordinator).
It’s around 9 miles from Clacket Lane to the M23/Gatwick turn off, usually takes about 10mins, however 2 hours later we had only managed to crawl just short of the M23 …Charlton were already a goal down away at Burnley courtesy of Sky Go via 3G and I was now starting to grab frantic screen shots of traffic updates and videoing things just to prove that I hadn’t got out of bed late.
A major accident involving 5 cars causing severe delays had cost us our 3hrs buffer time and with Police and emergency vehicles still trying to get through the chaos we decided to try and get to Wokingham cross country, so we nipped down the M23 and got as far as Reigate before hitting a gridlocked town centre with thousands of other people with the same idea.
After another hour lost we eventually made it back to the M25 the next junction up and fortunately we were ahead of the incident and on our way. After a few stops here and there thanks to the M25’s ridiculous speed control system which actually causes delays in itself we got onto the M3 and arrived at the venue around 5:30 where I was very grateful to Sian for sorting us out with some coffee and for organising some music onto an ipod for the wedding breakfast.
I was relieved also to find Irishman Philip (groom) extremely understanding and just pleased that we had made it with plenty of time to spare before the evening, by way of compensation we upgraded our package free of charge to include all the disco photography to make up for any inconvenience.
We got into the suite at about 7:30 during the room turnaround time, as far as the venue is concerned the access is great as you can drive round the back building past the tennis courts straight to the rear access point and set up is just inside the door, the dance floor is butted right up against the back wall so the set up is to the side. I’m not sure of the name of this particular room but like all of the Hilton Hotels I’ve played at its a classy contemporary environment, Gemma had also hired in a white starlit backdrop for the top table/eve buffet table which looked great and some blue uplighters which added a subtle bit of colour throughout. The venue set up a bar at the back of the room which is great as it keeps guests all together in the room throughout the eve.
Gemma and Philip hadn’t actually made any specific music requests for the evening, which I thought was a good move because it allows you to go with the natural flow of the evening …all she had asked is that I started with the 50’s then played through the decades upto the latest charts.
Every great evening has a trigger moment, tonight it was during the buffet! With the evening food out quite soon after the start, Gemma & Philip had asked for a selection of Irish folk songs to be played during this time and to gauge the reaction. They need not of worried, it was THE trigger moment I had half expected having done a few Irish weddings before. I played the slower songs at the outside just to get the singing started saving back “Irish Rover” as the final song of the set, by which stage all hell had broken loose on the floor with guests singing from their seats and standing on chairs, they really were memorable moments… Ireland came to Wokingham and had one hell of a party 🙂
After a slightly extended Irish set I had to keep one eye on the clock as I still had a few decades to cover but filled the 80s and 90’s with either jump around songs or well known sing a longs that i new would work with the crowd that ranged from 20s-60s, a typical family party age range. I managed to get a few club classics in from the 90s also with a couple of hand movement tracks as requested by the groom including “Oops upside your head” before using some of the biggest floorfillers of the last couple of years to finish off the night.
After its birth last night at Fanhams Hall, the tambourine did the rounds again adding interaction and excitement to partygoers, check the “Tabourine Watch” album on our facebook group to see what guests from this wedding made it into the new feature.
There was only going to be one song to finish on that summed up the whole night and guaranteed to ensure the final scenes replicated the previous 3.5 hours that had gone before it and that was “Irish Rover”, a great way to end a great night. Something I’ve never seen before at the end of a night is a dance floor move, it shifted at least a metre over the course of the evening and with the singing still continuing an hour after the end I can only imagine that this one went long into the night in Wokingham.
All the very best to Gemma & Philip, we wish you all the every best for your honeymoon and future together, we will get the photo’s over to you soon for you to add to your wedding collection. It’s probably one of the most animated sets of photos and we hope you enjoy reliving the memories, it’s certainly a day I will never forget.
If you were at Gemma & Philip’s wedding how about leaving us a comment at the bottom of this page
First Dance At Last Etta James
I Loved Her First Heartland
Rock Around the Clock Bill Hayley & The Comets
Shake, rattle and roll Jerry Lee Lewis
Lets Twist Again Chubby Checker
Jailhouse Rock Elvis Presley
La Bamba Ritchie Valens
Run Around Sue Dion & The Belmonts
December 1963 (Oh What A Night) Frankie Vallie
Brown Eyed Girl Van Morrison
Pretty Woman Roy Orbison
You got it Roy Orbison
I Saw Her standing there Beatles
Johnny B Goode Chuck Berry
The Red Rose Café The Fureys
Dubliners – Molly Malone
Dirty Old Town The Pogues
The Fields of Athenry The Dubliners
Irish Rovers – Whiskey In The Jar Irish Rovers
Poor Old Dicey Riley The Dubliners
The Galway Girl Steve Earle
The Irish Rover The Pogues & The Dubliners
Crazy Little Thing Called Love Queen
Don’t Stop Me Now Queen
Y.M.C.A. Village People
Come On Eileen Dexys Midnight Runners
Geno Dexy’s Midnight Runners
One Step Beyond Madness
Wake Me Up Before You Go Go Wham
I Wanna Dance With Somebody Whitney Houston
I Think We’re Alone Now Tiffany
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Cyndi Lauper
Heaven Is A Place On Earth Belinda Carlisle
Uptown Girl Billy Joel
(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes
Happy Hour House Martins
Dizzy Vic Reeves & The Wonder Stuff
Common People Pulp
Jump Around House Of Pain
This Is How We Do It (Radio Mix) Montell Jordan
Two Can Play That Game Bobby Brown
Show Me Love Robin S.
One More Time Daft Punk
I Luv U Baby (Dancing Divas 1995 Remix) The Original
If Ya Gettin’ Down Five
Mysterious Girl Peter Andre
Saturday Night Whigfield
Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of…) Lou Bega
Reach S Club 7
Oops Upside Your Head (Album Edit) The Gap Band
Crazy In Love Beyoncé
Blurred Lines (feat. T.I. & Pharrell) Robin Thicke
I Love It (feat. Charli XCX) Icona Pop
Wake Me Up Avicii
We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris) Rihanna
Thinking About You (feat. Ayah Marar) Calvin Harris
Gangnam Style PSY
The Irish Rover The Pogues & The Dubliners
Pride (In the Name of Love) U2
Galvanize (Ending) The Chemical Brothers