December 6th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
A DJ and live music are the types of entertainment that instantly spring to mind for brides and grooms to consider when planning their wedding, but there are further acts that can be incorporated into the day to make it all the more memorable.
Magicians being one such offering – and we’re not talking seen-it-all-before pulling a rabbit out of a hat style tricks, but mesmerising magic that will leave guests impressed, stunned and enthralled.
We know just the man who can help wow you and your guests with his amazing skills – talented north-west based magician, and Brides Up North Sponsor, Danny Jewell.
Having been practising magician for more than 12 years, Danny has developed a fabulous range of close-up magic that works particularly well as an ice-breaker among guests and keeps all ages entertained during the ‘slower’ points of the day, such as during photos and the switch over from the wedding breakfast to evening reception.
Jess Yarwood Photography
When did you first start performing magic and how did you get into it?
danny says: I started performing magic at the age of 13 (I’m now 25!). I saw a magician on holiday in Dominican Republic blow up a balloon, pop it and a live dove appeared on stage! It was the first time I’d seen live magic, so I decided to buy a Marvin’s Magic Set with some pocket money I had saved from my holiday spends. I practised every magic trick for hours then ended up doing my first family show that night. I then found myself a mentor and I started learning all the techniques used with cards and coins.
I ended up performing in Salou, Spain at the prestigious House of Illusion magic dinner theatre show entertaining more than 200 guests per evening six nights a week. All the hard work was worth it in preparation for all the lovely bride and grooms I’ve met over the years. Evidently, I learnt a lot more about the performance side of magic and being a top-class entertainer specialising in wedding entertainment.
Is there a certain type of magic that you specialise in?
I predominantly specialise in close-up magic around Manchester, Cheshire and the North West, performing at weddings to guests of all ages using cards, coins, ropes and other everyday objects. In my opinion, performing high quality magic with plenty of audience participation for adults and children is important because the bride and groom are purchasing a package that they can trust for their wedding day. I have the ability and experience to accommodate the magic to the situation of the event too. For example, performing around tables or mix and mingle magic for guests in groups of two to ten people, who have a drink and are relaxing in the bar area of your chosen venue.
Every single routine I utilise has been tried and tested at more than 150 weddings, so you can be sure to receive the very best in wedding entertainment for your special day!
For what points of the day do wedding couples tend to book you and what type of magic do you perform at these times?
Drinks Reception – shortly after your ceremony finishes, you will be having photos taken with your photographer so your guests will need entertaining until you sit down for the wedding breakfast. This is the perfect time for me to break the ice for all your guests by performing interactive close-up magic for approximately five to ten minutes per group of two to ten people. Most of the magic I do can be done in the spectator’s hands and I always work my hardest to ensure everyone is involved during the wedding performance.
Wedding Breakfast – the show usually continues from the drinks reception around tables in between the courses of the meal. The magic doesn’t interfere with service and I perform a varied routine which adds a lot to the atmosphere of your special day. I have the experience to work the tables in a professional manner ensuring guests have a fantastic day!
Changeover Section – this is probably my favourite place to perform at a wedding because everyone has eaten, the atmosphere is a lot more relaxed and guests are up for high quality entertainment before your evening party starts. I’d perform magic for people in the bar area and around tables.
Jess Yarwood Photography
In your opinion, why is a magician a good choice of entertainment for a wedding?
Every bride and groom want their wedding to be unique, memorable and to stand out from the rest! A magician is the perfect way to do this because magic is an interactive personal form of entertainment suitable for adults and children. People presume magicians are cheesy however, this is definitely not the case! The right magician with plenty of experience will entertain guests with magic, laughter and plenty of applause throughout the drinks reception, around tables or during the changeover section at your wedding.
Magic has also been revitalised from shows such as Britain’s Got Talent. Therefore, the public understand that a good magician stands out from the rest and is definitely something to squeeze into the plans for your wedding day.
What makes you different from other magicians?
Most magicians are remembered by an audience from one particular trick they did, such as walking on water or bending a coin in the spectator’s hands. The main difference with me is the fact that I have an extensive repertoire whereby every magic trick I do flows in a routine and I have the ability to change my act if people start following me around. This is important on a professional level and develops from a lot of experience performing at many types of events.
What do you enjoy most about performing, and particularly at weddings?
I’ve always had a passion for acting and a strong interest in performing arts. I think magic combines both of these together and enables me to express myself as a performer. I love meeting new people and putting a smile on their faces and after all, there’s not one person I’ve met that doesn’t want to be entertained! Magic enables people to remember a special moment in their lives that they can talk about for years to their friends and family and that means a lot to me.
I love performing at weddings because each wedding is different. Brides and grooms always put their own spin on their wedding and it’s fantastic to see so many people come together and celebrate the wedding of their loved ones. Everyone has a smile on their face and wants to be entertained which makes everyone more approachable and encourages a much better performance.
November 21st, 2017 | Rachel Parry
With many talented musicians out there, even those with their finger firmly on the live music pulse can struggle when it comes to narrowing down the options to just one act to perform at their wedding.
And even once you’ve found a potential entertainer, you’ll need to check where they’re based, how far they will travel, what type of formation they have and what type of music they can play. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll also need to know that they’re reliable, and it’s imperative that they will deliver a performance to be remembered for all the right reasons.
To help make the search easier for those of you tying the knot in Yorkshire, our fabulous Sponsor Alive Network Entertainment Agency, has culminated a list of the hottest bands that are guaranteed to fill the dancefloors of weddings taking place across the county.
Here they share the essential info on their top ten Yorkshire wedding bands, so you can cut to the chase. It’s a right mix of rock, indie, chart, jazz, swing, rat pack, and rock and roll – meaning there really is something for all.
Better still, a place on Alive Network’s books mean that the agency can vouch for the reliability and performance skills of each act, so all you need to do is find the one that best fits the bill for your big day.
Wild, jumping and energetic – think The Blues Brothers meets ska, and you’re half-way there. Blue Note Mitch and The Red Hot Jacks are a fab five-piece, who’ve all performed at amazing venues world-wide, such as the Royal Albert Hall and Madison Square Gardens, to name just a couple… Their wide range of fun vintage music will fill your dancefloor big time.
Sinatra, Chuck Berry, Madness, Louis Prima, James Brown, Elvis, The Killers… their repertoire includes classics and funky takes on newbies. Dare you not to dance.
If it’s a big sound and a big night of supercool and ultra-luxe entertainment you’re after, West-Yorkshire based The MBB Band can bring it. This ten-piece jazz orchestra specialise in classic swing, jive, and pop in a swing style. They also offer a fun ‘singaoke’ option, where you can take centre-stage – could this be the most classy karaoke ever? We think so! The band embodies the smooth glam of the Rat Pack in sound, style and appearance, wearing dinner jackets and performing with professional vintage instruments for the classy 1940s Glenn Miller orchestra look. Members of the band have performed world-wide, including at prestigious music venues like Ronnie Scotts and Bridgewater Hall. So, if you want a memorable first dance and a band that will have you and your guests dancing (and maybe even singing!) your hearts out, look no further. Shake your tail feather to that!
November 10th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Here at Brides Up North HQ we’re the first to recommend using trusted and experienced suppliers to contribute to your big day, which should greatly reduce the risk of any aspect of the celebrations going wrong.
Through our ‘Suppliers We Love’ online directory, we highlight those from across the North that we know are talented, skilful and creative, and that will enhance, not hinder, your special day. One such supplier is entertainment agency Bands for Hire, who are here today to offer their top tips on securing a professional wedding band.
As providers of jazz bands, party bands and more throughout the UK, including Liverpool, Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and the North East, the agency team are well placed to reveal the best way to secure top entertainment for your big day…
bands for hire say: Let’s face it – you’re pouring so much time and effort into all other aspects of your wedding that only the best and most professional band on the circuit will do. And although there are a lot of contenders out there for this title, there’s also quite a wide margin in terms of quality if you don’t know where to look or what to look for. The following is a quick checklist to help you identify and book yourself a band worthy of this happiest of occasions.
How do they present themselves?
When trying to attract new clients, presentation is everything to a wedding band. This includes how they conduct themselves on the phone, how frequently they update and monitor their online presence, and the quality of the photos and videos they submit. Low production values suggest a lack of professionalism that you don’t need to be dealing with come your big day. You want a band that cares about what they do, and wants you to know it. In a tough and highly competitive business climate, a band must cover all of its bases, and if to you they don’t seem to be, you’ll soon be able to find another act that does.
Can you book them via an agency?
We always recommend going through an agency. While there are a lot of untethered wedding bands out there that we’re sure are fantastic, using a live music agency will give you the assurance that your chosen act has been thoroughly quality checked – plus, they’ll have all the requisite experience, so you can trust you’ll be getting hitched without a hitch. An agency is also a handy way to compare services and rates of a selection of wedding bands, so your search time would be cut in half.
You may think that the rates at which agency bands are available seem astronomical in comparison to your local pub band, but in reality you’re forking out for a far superior service you can rely on to deliver – and, at any rate, every agency will be vying for your custom, and will therefore be keeping their prices competitive. You may be fortunate enough to know a great wedding band personally – in which case, take advantage of those mates’ rates – but an agency is otherwise your safest bet. This way, your act is contractually obliged to both show up and entertain for the agreed fee. Heaven forbid anything should go wrong, but at least you’ll be covered for any eventuality.
What’s their track record like?
Wedding and function bands will more often than not list for you their past gigging experience – most likely dropping the biggest client names they have in their arsenal. While these won’t necessarily be a sure-fire ascertainment of the standard of the service they’ll deliver to you, a band that can boast a recommendation from the BBC, Apple, Virgin or another major corporation will be able to perform at a certain level – and should at least be able to behave themselves. Bands worth their salt will also list any other achievements they’ve had during their careers, such as quotes from satisfied customers, prominent appearances or awards.
What services do they provide?
It’s one thing to book a band to play two 40-minute sets for you; it’s another entirely to receive a tailor-made service that follows you through each stage of the ceremony, from the cutting of the cake to the knees-up at the reception. Even a solo performer will have a range of music for you to pick from, and a real pro will know precisely what to put where. Bands should also clearly state what their protocol is when it comes to their own requirements – if providing their own PA and lighting rig is extra, this needs to be confirmed well in advance. Nobody wins if they just show up with nothing to plug into. Furthermore, if the band is expecting to be fed and watered, they should give you a heads up regarding any additional costs or dietary requirements.
It’s not unheard of to have live musicians provide the music for one part of the ceremony and for a DJ to provide the other. Often, bands will include a DJ set (or something similar) in their wedding packages, whether it be an additional performer or one of the band members themselves. It’s definitely worth sorting this out early on – you don’t want to get caught short with a spell of radio silence, or have to go on a mad dash for a last-minute DJ on the day. The best course of action is to have a clear idea of what you want from the outset, then clarify with the band exactly what it is they’ll be doing for you, then see if anything else needs addressing. A proper professional wedding band will most likely offer everything you could possibly want, and will be willing to work with you to maintain a tight ship.
Now you’re a little more clued up on the subject, we hope you can make your choice with confidence. Remember – there are professionals out there who’ll do the hard work for you, so you can concentrate on the other aspects of your perfect wedding. It’s always going to be tempting to cut corners wherever you can when the budget’s hurtling through the roof, but with something as integral to the wedding experience as the music and entertainment, risking an anything less than excellent wedding band is not one you can afford to take.
July 24th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
This afternoon on the blog, we’re catching up with our fabulous Sponsor Entertainment Nation, to hear their latest news whilst also getting some pro tips and advice on picking the right acts to enhance your big day.
Offering something for all, Entertainment Nation has an impressive choice of bands, musicians and performers to choose from, each reliable, professional and sure to delight and excite your wedding guests.
In this post, the friendly team are bringing us up to date with their wedding entertainment offering, but you can also find out more about their amazing services on their easy-to-use website and also via their fabulous Live Loft videos as detailed below. Take it away guys…
Can you give us an overview of the types of entertainment that you offer?
entertainment nation say: We offer a huge range of bands, performers and entertainers – including bands, soloists, duos and classical performers, plus tribute, themed and speciality acts. We provide anything from a rock and pop band, to a carnival show, a classical quartet to a DJ, a magician to a football freestyler! You name it, we’ve got it!
Do you have any exciting new acts or news to tell us about since we last spoke to you?
We are always hiring exciting new acts to our roster – so we encourage readers to go and check out the fresh blood we have on the site! We are branching out to all different kinds of acts at the moment and we can’t wait for them to head out and perform at our clients’ weddings
We’ve also had a brilliant start to our Entertainment Nation Live Loft series. A great range of acts have come in to perform in our live lounge style studio and we’ve loved hanging out with them! Every act performs two live acoustic covers, as well as taking part in an informal interview and a few ‘Guess the Intro’ games. There’s plenty more in the pipeline for the Live Loft, so keep an eye out for more videos!
In your opinion, how can entertainment at a wedding enhance the day and make it more memorable?
Live entertainment is the only way to go in our eyes! If you book a professional live band, you are guaranteed a spectacular show that will wow all of your guests. Our bands are all very experienced performers, meaning your wedding is in safe hands. Our acts know what works for each event and can tailor their sets to cater for a particular audience. That dancefloor will be full until the early hours, for sure!
Wedding entertainment isn’t just restricted to the evening reception either – a classical string quartet or acoustic duo for your ceremony/drinks reception will add an elegant and romantic atmosphere. Trust us – there’s an act for every part of your big day!
How do you pick the bands and acts that you select and ensure that they are reliable?
We take the process of selecting new bands and acts very seriously. The acts we promote are a reflection of Entertainment Nation and we only want the best entertainment on our books. Acts are required to provide professional promotional material and accurate information regarding their act if they wish to sign up. Our expert team also read through the acts’ testimonials from previous clients – which tends to highlight anything that we might have missed.
What do couples love about your service and what sets you apart from other entertainment companies?
Entertainment Nation stems from a background of experienced musicians who have played at thousands of weddings. We know how weddings work and can see both sides of the process. We bring the personal touch and will take time to answer every email and discuss every last detail of a couple’s wedding entertainment, to make sure it’s perfect on the day. During our many years of experience in the wedding entertainment industry, we have seen what happens when things aren’t done properly and we don’t want anyone else to suffer that experience – we do it right.
One of most attractive things about booking with Entertainment Nation is that we are available from 10am until 10pm, seven days a week, meaning we are always there to answer any questions or queries about the act you’ve booked.
What are your top five tips for couples when choosing their wedding entertainment?
Book early – We can’t emphasise this enough. We advise that clients book at least 12-18 months in advance to make sure they get plenty of choice when it comes to booking their entertainment. You don’t want to find the perfect wedding band and then be told they were snapped up six months ago!
Talk to your venue – Most venues know exactly what to tell a client regarding live entertainment. However, you need to ask the right questions. You need to know: if the venue allows live entertainment, if they have a sound limiter and how big the performance area is.
Explore the options – When searching for an act, make sure you look at different line ups, different genres and different styles of entertainment. We advise that clients explore all possible options to make sure they don’t miss out on their ideal act.
Watch promo videos and listen to demos – most bands and acts provide professional promotional videos or demo tracks on their profile. They are a great representation of what the act will be like on the day.
Book with an agency – Booking with an agency means you have someone to contact at all times as well as the security of a contract. We oversee everything from initial enquiries until the big day itself, and are on hand in case of an entertainment emergency.
July 18th, 2017 | Julia Braime
Whether you want to book a simple string quartet, a rocking live band or Britain’s Got Talent finalist-worthy entertainment for your wedding day, it’s helpful to know a place you can browse and book online with pro advice and tips to hand.
Our fabulous Sponsor, Warble Entertainment, offer one such easy-to-use service and have more than 1,000 acts on their books making them a must-look-up company when planning how to set your big day scene and wow your guests.
From musicians to comedians and look-a-likes to sword swallowers – you’re bound to find a fitting act when browsing their site and will have peace of mind when booking through the experienced and trusted business.
Here to tell us more about Warble Entertainment’s fabulous service and selection – and to offer our readers a 10% discount from the booking deposit when quoting “Brides Up North” – is founder Tracey Warren.
When was Warble Entertainment set up and how has it grown since that time?
tracey says: Warble was established in 2007 by myself and my husband Matt. Ten years later we have a brilliant team of 14 who are all just as dedicated and passionate about providing exciting, fun and professional entertainment for more than 6,000 weddings each year, as we are!
What does Warble Entertainment aim to bring to the wedding industry and what types of services does it offer?
Matt and I set up Warble to help couples find the perfect wedding entertainment for their big day no matter what their budget, style or theme. We wanted to make the whole process easy and enjoyable as we understand how busy couples can be and how stressful planning a wedding can get.
We literally provide any entertainment you can think of, from live bands magicians, caricaturists, string quartets, fire jugglers, walking trees, photo-booths and so much more!
In your opinion, how can live entertainment help to enhance a wedding day?
The first thing I would do is encourage couples to look at the feedback page on our website. There are literally thousands of references from genuine couples and they explain perfectly what entertainment brought to their big day. For example: “This band were one of the best things that could have happened to our wedding. They were incredible. They bought life and soul to the evening and everyone wanted the music to last forever.” Booking the right entertainment will elevate a wedding from being lovely to absolutely amazing! It can also augment and bring your chosen theme to life as well as making the day flow easier and it can take a lot of pressure off the bride and groom from having to entertain their guests.
What are the benefits of couples arranging their wedding entertainment through Warble Entertainment and how does your website help to make the process simple?
First of all we have literally thousands of acts to choose from that have all been through a vigorous vetting process so you know whatever act you book will be professional and do exactly what is expected of them. This saves the couple so much time and worry of searching and vetting acts themselves.
We make the whole process simple, easy and fun. You can enjoy browsing acts on our friendly and easy to use website and we’ll make sure all the important bits are sorted including any paperwork your venue may require such as insurance certificates etc.
We have a 24 hour emergency helpline. Acts and entertainers are only human so occasionally they may fall ill or be unable to make your wedding for some reason. If this was to happen and you booked an act direct you would most likely be left without a band or the entertainment you booked or having to spend part of your day calling round trying to find an alternative. If you book via Warble we would take any of this worry away and ensure a suitable alternative is in place – in most cases without you even noticing!
Lastly, we are experts in booking wedding entertainment and so have so much invaluable advice and tips and will be able to answer any questions you or your venue may have.
What sets you apart from other wedding entertainment companies?
Our customer service. We absolutely understand this is the biggest day of the couple’s life, that it can be stressful and it is likely to cost a lot of money, so we do everything in our power to make sure the entertainment they book from us is not only perfect for them and their big day but the whole process is fun and easy. There are never any strings attached. We are passionate about weddings and entertainment and it shines through in everything we do.
How do Warble Entertainment select the bands and acts that they represent?
We have a full artist liaison team in place who will respond to our customers’ requirements. If there is a gap in our roster they will fill it. They have a full process to vet and sign-up acts and we would never work with an act that didn’t fully meet our requirements and also share the same passion and outlook on weddings and customer service as we do.
June 13th, 2017 | Julia Braime
This morning on our pretty pages we have suggestions on how to make your wedding entertainment both personal and poignant, courtesy of our guest writer, the lovely Carrie Marsden of our media partner Love Our Wedding Magazine.
carrie says: Your wedding day is a beautiful opportunity to play out your own personal love story. Now that you’ve found the dress, the venue, the caterer, the flowers, the transport (and, er, the man), thoughts may begin to turn to wedding day entertainment. But let this not be a final flourish, an add-on, or an afterthought. Here is where the magic of your story lies for you and your guests. Here is the place where the story unfolds in magical and memorable chapters. To that great, timeless, enduring and blissful love story – shared by many the world over – here is the chance for you to add into the mix your own unique experience.
The heart of your day belongs to the love you two share, but how that love is honoured, cherished and celebrated will find expression in your choice of wedding entertainment. Be authentic. The entertainment should reflect you both – what you enjoy, what you share, what makes you giggle, what moves you. Don’t be distracted by a ‘theme’, for how often is one person so easily defined, let alone two? Instead, go with what you love. Here are our favourite wedding entertainment ideas, which might just help inspire your choices:
Inspired by our favourite Liam Neeson film (and a mandatory watch every December despite what that hubby says), we love the thought of making a grand entrance (or departure) in the ceremony itself. A regal fanfare troupe of trumpeters to walk you in or out will set the occasion off with a bang. Even better if your guests are the musical type and can surprise everyone and join in! (Don’t discount the groom’s talents either: one memorable wedding included the groom serenading the bride mid-way down the aisle after the service with a surprisingly pitch-perfect version of Bruno Mars’ I Think I Want to Marry You!).
The traditional meet-and-greet line-up is making a bit of a comeback and I have to say, I love it. Whether you do or don’t go down this path (excuse the pun!), a common theme from guests themselves is that the wait around between the service and the breakfast can be, well, a little bit dull. Leaving guests the only option of drinking heavily, which is – and I speak from personal experience here – worth avoiding. So dazzle and delight to swerve a lull!
Perhaps a cocktail pianist tinkering away on the ivories, which lends the occasion a certain elegance, class and panache (even better if he or she will take requests).
Choose activities that work well inside or out: oversized Jenga, skittles and chess are great fun, weather-proof and age-appropriate. (I’d draw the line at Twister, though, unless you’re happy for things to take a decidedly eventful turn…)
Celebrity lookalikes who mix and mingle with the guests might liven things up, as will a caricaturist, although I’ve always thought a nice twist on this would be to employ a caricaturist before the event. Give him or her pictures of some of your friends/the wedding party and dot them around for people to giggle at! An organised and willing chief bridesmaid might be persuaded to rustle up baby pictures of the guests for a ‘Guess Who?’ board, too.
Children can be a wonderfully exuberant and joyful addition to your day, without whom, the day just wouldn’t be complete. But they can also become, a little restless. You want everyone to have an awesome time – parents and kids alike, so bubbles, face-painting and old-school sweet stalls with candy floss are brilliant ideas. Also consider enlisting the services of an older sibling (‘encouraged’, let’s say, by financial reward) charged with devising games, treasure hunts, making kids’ caves. If there isn’t a team of 13- to 16-year-olds out there offering this service somewhere, well, there should be (there’s a lucrative career here, one feels).
When the sun goes down, make sure nothing about your day fades away. The party is now in full swing and here’s how you keep the fire burning bright:
Send round a frameable card for your guests with the question ‘what should we call our kids?’ What a brilliant memento of the day for you and, when it comes to it, highly illuminating and informative! (Expect the exact science of alcohol-to-exotic-name-choice ratio, naturally).
For dancefloor fuel, hire an ice-cream van or ‘posh’ burger bar. Hog-roasts are also deeply satisfying in a very visceral way. Just think ‘meat’, and for all those 11.45pm munchers, you’ll fast become everyone’s favourite bride.
The stars should feature in some way. The thought of an outdoor movie screen on a warm summer’s evening – kids’ films on a loop as toddlers begin to flop, then a creatively designed ‘movie’ about the bride and groom, and even a late-night screening of, say, Casablanca, – warms the heart. Cushions, beanbags and blankets; popcorn at the ready. Whitewash a wall and set up a projector, or even a white sheet hung across a washing line. I’ve seen this done beautifully and cost effectively.
Lots of newlyweds enjoy their quiet time together, retreating away at a sensible time in the evening, to reflect and bask in the warmth of the day. Others prefer the all-night approach and want to stay with their guests until the break of dawn. Whatever your choice, spare a thought to how you want your special day to officially ‘end’. Guests won’t be expecting over-the-top fanfare or a band of trumpeters to signal your departure, but it is worth thinking about how you’ll say goodbye. Should you want a grand farewell, have well-primed bridesmaids and ushers in on the plan to ensure guests are in the loop and where they are supposed to be.
No one will expect you to go out of your way on their behalf. Guests get that they are the guests. But arguably, they too have featured in this unique story that you and your partner share – and will continue to do so. They are celebrating you and you are acknowledging their role. Do it in style but do it your way!
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