Saturday saw our longest ever day on site for Mel and Chris’s wedding at High Rocks in Tunbridge Wells. Mel had booked our SoundProof package over a year ago which means we cover all the music, lighting and DJ’ing along with photography from the bridal preps, arrival, ceremony, group shots, bride and groom photos, cake, speeches and first dance through till the last song of the night. With an 830am start for the photography and a 2am finish for the disco it ended up being a marathon 20 hour day by the time we got back to base.
Mel & Chris – High Rocks, Tunbridge Wells 21/9/2013
venue – website
music preferences: – Latest Charts, R&B, Hip Hop, House, 90’s, Garage, Drum & Bass, Guest Requests
all images on this website: – © choicedj.co.uk & soundproofweddings.co.uk
With an early ceremony scheduled for 12pm, the day had started earlier than usual for our SoundProof package… but it had started much much earlier for an excited Mel who had been up since 0230 !!! With the music prep for this one taking longer than usual as it was due to be a 6.5 hr set in the evening, I had been up till 0245 on the Friday night organising the playlist for the evening, little did I know that the bride had woken up 15mins earlier !
The first 4 hours of the evening were scheduled to be worked around the guests and Mel’s requests with Chris and his mates from London enjoying his preferred tastes in the last two hours which was mainly centered around Drum & Bass and Rave through to the close at 2am. I was also taking care of the background music during the meal and the music for the ceremony so all this meant that we had to be down at High Rocks by around 1030 to get everything in and set up, with Julia then needing to be in a position to photograph Mel as she arrived in her car at the venue.
Julia arrived at Mel’s parents house in Wouldham at 0830 to capture all the bridal prep shots of Mel and her 7 bridesmaids. It was a wedding close to home for Julia as she has known the the family for many years and has done plenty of portrait photography for Mel & Chris previously at the SoundProof studio, including a boudoir shoot and their engagement shoot. Julia had also previously covered Mel’s sister Leanne’s portrait photography of her children as well as Mel’s dad Masonic events, in fact she had even shot Elaine’s wedding who was Mel’s hairdresser.
With little time to spare following the bridal preps we set off straight down to Tunbridge Wells as we started the day off flying by the seat of our pants …but we both prefer to be working under pressure as it keeps you on your toes.
With the equipment quickly unloaded into The Great Hall Barn at High Rocks ready for the ceremony …and all the blue uplighters installed which showed up well during the daytime, we were ready to go with plenty of time to spare as Mel arrived in her limousine just before noon. After a few recent weddings where the weather hasn’t been quite so favourable, mother nature fortunately ensured that it stayed warm and dry as Mel’s big day was about to unfold.
The Great Barn Hall is the largest of the suites at High Rocks, thanks to its recent extension it can potentially hold up to a staggering 400 people for the sit down meal which easily surpasses most venues. With its own bar the barn is a great environment to take care of the whole day as there is plenty of space for all the guests to relax inside and out of the venue, whether its in the gardens, taking in the sights and sounds of the added steam railway attraction or wandering up to the rocks themselves which offering enchanted walks and stunning rolling views across the Kent countryside.
Access for a performer is great as you can pull right up to the suite and unload straight into the room before parking your vehicle in the generous sized car park just over the road. The room itself is laid out very nicely and sanctioned for civil ceremonies, this takes place on a raised stage area at the far end of the room. The acoustics in the room are great, the ceiling in true barn fashion is high, there are no issues with the use of haze and I’m pleased to say there is no disruptive sound limiter in the room.
In an emotional ceremony Mel had made a slightly delayed entrance as she entered to “When You Wish Upon A Star” before her sister Leanne read a special poem she had written for the service. The ceremony lasted for around 30 mins with the bridal party that also included Mel’s other sister Vicky and Chris’s daughter, not to forget the grooms son as best man.
Everyone is then taken up to the rocks which is a great location for the group shots, although our plans to shoot the bride and groom on their own had to be slightly delayed till after the meal due to the volume of group shots and additional family photo requests on the day. However the delay did give us an opportunity to get right into the rocks and get a couple of lovely backlit photos and silhouette shots as we started to lose the daylight.
With an additional 150 guests the evening got off to a great start with guests dancing even before the first dance had taken place …and after a brief delay to readjust her hair Mel then took her first dance as Chris’s wife to “Beauty & The Beast” followed by an dance with her father which drew a few tears from a couple of guests in the room as well as the bride herself.
Despite it being a 6 hour night, it was an evening that went extremely quickly. Two familiar faces in attendance during the day were Kayleigh and Ross, who’s wedding I had DJ’d at during the summer of 2012 at Turkey Mill. Having only recently just celebrated 1 year of marriage it was great to grab a few words with Kayleigh during the evening as it was one of last years most memorable weddings. In fact this reception had a very similar flow music wise and I made sure to put on a few of her favourites from their wedding night that went down particularly well with the crowd.
The DJ booth in the room is actually in a caged area which makes it feel quite clubby so I used our four new colour tubes which I hung from the entrance to the booth which created an excellent DJ backdrop, we also used a couple of extra subs to accommodate the garage, r&b and drum and bass requests.
Despite it being a very long day it was great to see so many of the guests still enjoying themselves late into the night as Chris’s section of the night started with “Chopper” just after midnight… and before the end of a great night Julia even managed to get the couple outside to grab some additional shots of the couple before we finally wrapped it all up around 215am to begin the pack down process. 90 minutes later with all the kit loaded we were on our way back to get some sleep before Sundays wedding… and then on Monday the editing work begins on the photos from this one.
An extra bonus to come out of all the fun of the day was that I had managed to conveniently forget the £10 I had paid to BT OpenZone for the pleasure of watching Charlton lose yet again to Millwall in Sky Sports early kick off. I managed to see bits of it from time to time on my phone but just for once I was more than happy to be missing it all whilst my mate endured yet another Charlton defeat on his own following a pretty dreadful start to the season.
So with the wedding season winding down slightly in October the year has conjured up some excellent memories and nights and this was yet another jewel in the crown from 2013, we wish Mel & Chris all the best for their future as they begin married life together and their upcoming honeymoon to Florida.
Tomorrow night we are back for the 3rd time this year at The Little Silver Country Hotel for Chelsea & Matthews wedding, its a much smaller affair but another playlist focused on the 90’s upwards so I’m looking forward to that.
If you were at Mel & Chris’s wedding how about leaving us a comment at the bottom of this page
First Dance Beauty & The Beast
Father/Daughter Daddy Dance With Me Krystal Keith
Dance With My Father Luther Vandross
Mysterious Girl Peter Andre
Rock Around the Clock Bill Hayley & The Comets
Shake, rattle and roll Jerry Lee Lewis
Brown Eyed Girl Van Morrison
Celebration Kool & The Gang
Le Freak Chic
Two Can Play That Game Bobby Brown
Show Me Love Robin S.
Push the Feeling On (The Dub of Doom – Short) Nightcrawlers
212 (feat. Lazy Jay) Azealia Banks
Moves Like Jagger Maroon 5
Wake Me Up Avicii
I Gotta Feeling The Black Eyed Peas
Crazy In Love Beyoncé
Firework Katy Perry
Good Feeling Flo Rida
#thatPOWER (feat. Justin Bieber) will.i.am
Give Me Everything Pitbull
Satisfaction Benny Benassi & The Biz
We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris) Rihanna
California love Tupac & Dr Dre
Here Comes the Hotstepper Ini Kamoze
Hey Sexy Lady Remix (feat. Sean Paul) Shaggy
Rock Ya Body MVP
Be Faithful Fat Man Scoop (Ft. Faith Evans)
Yeah Usher Feat. Lil’ Jon and Ludac
Never Leave You (Uh Ooh, Uh Oooh) Lumidee
Turn Me On Kevin Lyttle
Pon de Replay Rihanna
Ni**as In Paris JAY Z & Kanye West
Lean Back Fat Joe, Remy & Terror Squad
Dirt off your shoulders Jay Z
Gangsta’s Paradise (feat. L.V.) Coolio
Blurred Lines (feat. T.I. & Pharrell) Robin Thicke
Hotel Room Service Pitbull
Danza Kuduro (Throw Your Hands Up) Lucenzo & Qwote
Party Rock Anthem LMFAO
Sexy and I Know It LMFAO
Play Hard (feat. Ne-Yo & Akon) David Guetta
Blame It On the Boogie Jacksons
Staying Alive Bee Gees
Respect Aretha Franklin
Locked Out of Heaven Bruno Mars
Forget You Cee Lo Green
Cupid Shuffle Cupid
Cha Cha Slide (DJ Düse Mix) DJ Casper
Saturday Night Whigfield
Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of…) Lou Bega
Reach S Club 7
Footloose Kenny Loggins
Wake Me Up Before You Go Go Wham
Place Your Hands Reef
Mr. Brightside Killers
Sex On Fire Kings Of Leon
Don’t Stop Believin’ Journey
Pass Out (Radio Edit) Tinie Tempah
Chopper (Shy FX Remix) Ray Keith
Barcelona (feat. Stamina MC) [Radio Edit] D. Kay & Epsilon
Lk (Original Mix) [feat. Stamina MC] DJ Marky & XRS
Incredible (feat. General Levy) M-Beat
Original Nuttah (with Shy FX) UK Apachi
21 Seconds So Solid Crew
Sambuca Wideboys ft. Dennis G
Do You Really Like It? (Full Length Original Version) DJ Pied Piper & The Master of Ceremonies
Gold Dust (Shy FX Re-Edit) DJ Fresh
Shake Ur Body (feat. Di) Shy Fx & T-Power
Born Slippy Underworld
Ebeneezer Goode (Beat Edit) Shamen
Blue (Da Ba Dee) Eiffel 65
It’s a London Thing (feat. MC Styles) [Original Mix] Scott Garcia
7 Days (Sunship Remix) Craig David
Body Groove Architechs & Nana
Gimme the Light Sean Paul
Jumpin’, Jumpin’ Destiny’s Child
Thrift Shop (feat. Wanz) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Gold Digger (Radio Edit) Kanye West & Jamie Foxx
Party Up DMX
Boom! Shake The Room DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
You Can Do It Ice Cube
Galvanize (Beginning) The Chemical Brothers
Hypnotize Notorious B.I.G.
Sweet Love (Original Mix) [feat. Nazlyn] M-Beat
Blind Faith Chase & Status
Through the Night (feat. Tom Cane) Drumsound & Bassline Smith
No Limit 2 Unlimited
What Time Is Love ? KLF
Charly (Alley Cat Remix) Prodigy
Sweet Harmony Liquid
Open Your Mind 007 U.S.U.R.A.
Believe In Me (12\” Mix) Utah Saints
Operation Blade (Bass in the Place) Public Domain
The Bouncer Kicks Like a Mule
Trip to Trumpton Urban Hype
Your Love Prodigy
On A Ragga Trip Sl2
Encore Jumping all over the world Scooter