On 9th June 2018, XO Party Band travelled to Blackmore End, Braintree, for Ed and Tanith’s wedding. Our keyboard player, Ross, is a close friend of Ed’s and was one of his groomsmen. We were lucky enough to play music throughout the day for the new Mr and Mrs Ilsley – what a special day!
Ed and Tanith were married at the Parish Church, Shalford – a beautiful church for the ceremony. After this the wedding breakfast and evening party were held in a marquee erected on Tanith’s family farm. Her parents have a stunning house on the grounds, and the marquee was set up on the grounds. It was a lovely personal touch to have a large part the day on home ground, albeit within a purpose-built marquee.
The marquee had been decorated to suit the couple’s theme with colourful lanterns hanging from the ceiling, ribbons from the chairs and photos of the couple on each table. I love that marquees are a blank canvas that can be decorated to really reflect your own personalities and style. The large space was perfect for a wedding party – with plenty of room for lots of tables, a bar, decoration and, of course, a band! The stage and dancefloor at one end really brought the venue to life.
Carl and I played at the Ilsley’s wedding ceremony, so we arrived at the church at 12:30. The ceremony was scheduled for 14:00, so an hour and a half was more than enough time for us to set end the small amount of gear for the acoustic duo. We then changed and waiting for the guests to start arriving!
When guests started entering the church, we began to play some chilled acoustic songs as background music. This was lovely the set the scene before the ceremony!
As their ceremony was in a church, Ed and Tanith had chosen to have the organist the play the aisle march and the exit music. This was definitely the right choice for them, as they chose the theme to Jurassic Park as the aisle music! This was epic being played on the organ, and everyone loved it!
During the signing of the register we had two songs as requested by the couple – ‘More Than Words’ by Extreme, and ‘You Are So Beautiful’. These were so romantic and perfect for the moment. Soon the organist played the exit music and it was time for us to rush over to the venue for the drinks reception!
The Drinks Ceremony
We also played for the drinks reception as an acoustic duo – guitar, male and female vocals. After the ceremony we packed down the gear and set it back up outside the marquee quickly before the guests arrived.
We played a mixture of our favourite acoustic songs, including ‘Stand By Me’, ‘When You’re Gone’ by Bryan Adams, and a special request ‘There She Goes’ by The La’s.
The Evening Set Up
Finally, for the evening set up, we had the amazing stage ready set up down one end of the marquee. As I already mentioned, Ross was a groomsman for Ed on his wedding day, and so had travelled and stayed over the night before. Being the good sport he is, he managed to load in the majority of the gear the night before to save on time and make sure it looked professional. Fast forward to the wedding day, and once we’d finished the drinks reception acoustic duo, the rest of the band had arrived and we managed to finish the remaining set up before the guests sat down for their wedding breakfast. After the food was finished and the speeches completed, we jumped back into the marquee to do a quick sound check. We also had the horn section for the evening, consisting of a trumpet player and saxophone player – so it was even more important to get a good sound, both for the audience and for us onstage!
The First Dance
It Must Be Love – Madness
Tanith and Ed chose the brilliant ‘It Must Be Love’ by Madness for their first dance as man and wife. This was a wonderful song choice – it’s a classic tune that everyone knows and it created a fun atmosphere to kick off the evening. We’d not played it before and it was a pleasure, with the horn section too, it sounded awesome!
Mr and Mrs Ilsley took to the dance floor surrounded by their family and friends. Everyone was singing along and soon enough they joined the couple for a dance, and the evening had truly begun.
Live Party Band
We had three sets of live music planned for the evening ahead, including plenty of great floor fillers. We carried on after the first dance with some soul numbers, which sound great with the horns included, like’ Car Wash’ by Rolls Royce. To follow on perfectly, we got stuck into our ‘Disco Medley’, with my favourite by The Jackson Five – ‘I Want You Back’, along with Justin Timberlake’s ‘Rock Your Body’ and ‘Sax’ by Fleur East. To end the first set and leave everyone wanted more, we played Van Morrison’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ and ‘I’m A Believer’ by The Monkees.
For the second set we started with a bang – ‘All Night Long’ by Lionel Richie into ‘Play That Funky Music’, into ‘Proud Mary’ by Tina Turner. Our aim of keeping the dance floor full was going to plan! Part way through the set we played a special request from Tanith and Ed – they had asked us to perform ‘Never Enough’ from the film ‘The Greatest Showman’. As a big fan of the film, it was a treat to be able to sing this one, as well as a challenge! We played some rockier numbers to finish off the set – ‘Summer of ‘69’, ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ and ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ by The Darkness.
After a short break, it was time for the third and final set for the evening. We kicked off with ‘Let Me Entertain You’ by Robbie Williams. Everyone was back on the dance floor, singing all the words, so we continued with a couple of 90’s classics. No-one can resist joining in with ‘Wannabe’ by The Spice Girls or ‘All The Small Things’ by Blink 182!
We love being able to let loose and jump around the stage a bit, so the specially requested tune ‘Dude Looks Like A Lady’ by Aerosmith was so much fun! With everyone in the crowd singing back at us on stage, the atmosphere was electric.
The bring the night to a close, we played ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis, which only made the crowd cheer for more, which we couldn’t resist! For one more song, we gathered the remaining guests round the dancefloor as we began opening section to ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, and they everyone sang it to the wonderful couple. Once the beat kicked in, everyone jumped around the room and it was the perfect end to a great day.
Thank you so much to the new Mr and Mrs Ilsley for having us on your wedding day, we were so honoured to be a part of it. Congratulations again, and we wish you all the best for your married life!