The 15th June saw XO Party Band return to the wonderful De Vere Wotton House Hotel, Dorking, for the wedding of Catherine and William. We had so much fun celebrating with the new Mr and Mrs Simpson and all their guests. Congratulations guys!
We absolutely love this venue and were delighted to go back. Wotton House Hotel is part of the De Vere group, a beautiful 17th century house with the perfect mixture of original features and 21st century style.
The venue has a brilliant collection of rooms to use for different parts of the day – beginning in the Old Library for the wedding ceremony. The room is the perfect setting for any marriage, with pillars lining the aisle and incredible ceiling detail, it is truly stunning. The extensive Grade II listed Italian gardens are also beautiful on a nice day for an outside ceremony.
The drinks reception can either be held outside in the Italian gardens, or within the equally pretty Morning Room. All these locations would be perfect for wedding photos, any photographer would be spoilt for choice!
The wedding breakfast is held in the Evelyn Suite, as well as the evening party. The suite is a great size to accommodate a large party for the sit-down meal, as well as holding a party band for the evening, with the venue’s dance floor. It works well perfectly, as everything can fit in one room and keeps the guests together for the evening. The venue has a separate bar (1877 bar), which can be used throughout the day, but a small bar is also erected in the Evelyn Suite during the room turnaround for the evening – great for easy drink access!
The Set Up
We arrived at the venue at 4:30 – we’ve played here multiple times before, so we already knew the set up situation. With the Wedding Breakfast in full swing in the Evelyn Suite, we were able to set up a few things in a nearby area to save time later on. Once we’d done all we could in the space, we headed to the 1877 to have our hot meals to set us up for the busy night ahead!
After we were sufficiently full and the suite was free once guests had finished their food and speeches, we were able to access the room. The venue staff quickly cleared the performance area of tables and we moved our gear in. We usually need around 90 minutes to load in, set up and soundcheck, but as we’d saved time earlier on, we were ready much quicker.
The set up and sound check went smoothly – making sure everything sounds great is very important with a live band, as no-one wants any horrible screechy noises from a microphone part way through a set! (and no, I don’t mean Greg’s singing!)
Will and Catherine had also hired a separate DJ for the evening, who was great to work with. He provided some extra lights to surround the dance floor, which really bought the room to life!
Once the room was set and the sound check was sorted, the staff encouraged the guests back into the suite for the couple to cut their wedding cake. Next on the agenda was the first dance!
The First Dance
Feel So Close – Calvin Harris
Mr and Mrs Simpson chose a great song for their first dance and one we’d never played before – ‘Feel So Close’ by Calvin Harris. The reason we loved this is because it’s not one you’d initially think of when you’re choosing a romantic first dance. However, if you listen to the lyrics, it is perfect and brings a great atmosphere to the party from the very start!
We really enjoy unexpected first dance choices as well as classic favourites, and the Simpson’s choice was a lot of fun! After the couple enjoyed their moment on the dance floor, they encouraged their friends and family to join them, and soon enough the floor was absolutely packed.
Live Party Band
For Catherine and Will’s evening we had three sets of live music planned. After the brilliant first dance, we continued with ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, ‘December ‘63’ and Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’. With the crowd singing along, we played our ‘Disco Medley’, including The Jackson 5’s ‘I Want You Back’, Justin Timberlake’s ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’ and ‘Valerie’ by Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse. We finished the first set with Stevie Wonder’s hit ‘Superstition’, leaving everyone wanting more.
We returned for the second set with some rock classics, like Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, ‘Brown Sugar’ by The Rolling Stones and ‘Summer of ‘69’ by Bryan Adams. We love playing a good mixture of genres, and these tunes were perfect for keeping the dance floor busy! We finished the set with our favourite Arctic Monkeys track ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’. It’s so much fun performing this one, and the crowd went wild!
For the third and final set we kicked off with ‘24K Magic’ by Bruno Mars, and Beyoncé’s hit ‘Crazy In Love’. These floor fillers were the perfect soundtrack for some brilliant dance moves to be thrown about by the guests, and we kept them going with ‘Shut Up And Dance’ and Whitney Houston’s classic ‘I Want To Dance With Somebody’.
To really bring the night to a climax, we hit the crowd with ‘Sweet Child Of Mine’ by Guns N Roses, before kicking into Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ – we really know how to get everyone singing!
Before we knew it, it was time for the last song of the night, and what better tune than ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’. Circles were made and arms were thrown in the air for the classic singalong by Oasis (who doesn’t know the words?!)
When the song came to an end, the guests cheered for more, and we couldn’t turn them down. Time for one more tune, and for the encore we played Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’.
We gathered everyone into a circle to surround the bride and groom for one last special moment. Guests joined in till the very end when it was time for the DJ to bring the night to a close.
What an incredible evening! We were spoilt with the amazing crowd, and such a great couple. Will and Catherine – thank you so much for having us as your entertainment on your special day, we’re so honoured to have been a part of it. Congratulations!