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make it personal: dream day music

11th January 2017 | Rachel Hirst

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Today on the blog we’re super excited to introduce you to our fabulous new Sponsor, Dream Day Music.

Based in the North West, Dream Day Music specialise in intimate daytime wedding music, providing the finest musicians in the region on vocals, saxophone, guitar, piano, violin and more, to create the perfect atmosphere for ceremonies, drinks receptions and wedding breakfasts.

As a collective of some of the top professional musicians and singers in the North West, Dream Day Music provide the best musicians with a personal touch, and to make each wedding at which they play truly unique, enjoyable and memorable.

Better still, the team at Dream Day Music have created four exclusive offers for Brides Up North readers, including fabulous discounts and packages, just click here for full details.

Now, here to tell us more about their premier service is Dream Day Music’s Entertainment Manager, Lauren Hemmingfield…

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To begin with, please can you give us a little background on Dream Day Music and the services that it offers?

lauren says: Dream Day Music was set up in January 2012. Some of our musicians, who worked together regularly on theatre shows, recording sessions etc, had been playing freelance at weddings for a number of years, and it made sense to pool everyone’s expertise and resources into one “collective” so that they could help to promote each other, offer a wider range of services to brides, and reduce advertising costs.

The main aim was to make it easier for brides to book top musicians that they could rely on to go that extra mile, without having to book through agents. That way, people could avoid the added cost of agents’ fees, which at the time could add up to 100% of the musician’s fee again.

We were able to provide a better standard of music to brides and grooms with a lower price tag. Providing the best musicians at a reasonable price has remained our mantra ever since.

What different types of musical entertainment do you offer?

We offer musicians, solo and in duos, on a range of instruments including piano; saxophone; classical and jazz guitar; acoustic and electric violin; church organ etc. We have a few sensational singers available too, ranging from classical opera soloists to our really popular acoustic or “Live Lounge” style covers singer, Kate.

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In your opinion, how can live music help to enhance a wedding day and why would you encourage couples to have live musicians at their weddings?

There are umpteen stats about wedding entertainment, but one key one is that around four out of five brides have said in the week following their wedding that they’d have made entertainment their highest priority (even over their dress!), and that they wish they’d given it more thought or a greater portion of that all-important budget.

Music contributes so much to the atmosphere and people’s moods. A live musician can adapt to the changing dynamic of your wedding day and create the ambiance that you want at all times.

The second reason – and the one that makes us so lucky to do what we do – is that, along with scent, music has a unique ability to create, and bring back, memories.

So many of our brides tell us that their chosen music made them so much more emotional than they expected, especially when they heard their bridal entrance music start. That might seem a strange thing to want to happen, but if you think about it, emotion is usually behind your strongest and most treasured memories.

Live musicians can even create a unique version of almost any song, or change it live to respond to what’s going on around them. The possibilities are endless, but it is so important to include music that is personal to you, and if you can have unique versions created by your musicians just for you, all the better.

You just can’t get the same responsiveness from an mp3 or CD playlist.

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What are the benefits of couples arranging their musical entertainment through Dream Day Music?

The main thing that sets us apart is the personal touch. Agencies are very careful not to give brides and grooms the contact details of musicians before they’ve paid, for fear of them booking direct and avoiding the agency fee. Generally, agents aren’t musicians, they’re business people and events planners. That doesn’t allow you to discuss in any real musical detail your ideas – you’ve no way of truly knowing that you’ll get exactly what you’ve dreamed of until after you’ve booked.

We want to make your day more special so talking to you beforehand is a must for us. Our collective years of experience mean that we are happy to offer advice and have a chat long before couples book, so they know they’re making the right decisions.

What sets you apart from other wedding music companies?

Other than the personal touch that agencies just can’t offer, we are also able to put different combinations of instruments together without lots of expensive rehearsal, and put together bespoke packages for couples wanting a range of music throughout the day. Again, it’s about personalising your music. As we have some of the absolute best musicians around, we can cater for almost any need.

We specialise only in the daytime parts of a wedding. Our musicians have developed their repertoires over several years, to provide an accompaniment that befits these precious moments. Just as a good party band knows all the floor-fillers, our musicians have prepared all the songs that’ll create the right mood for each part of your daytime celebrations. Your daytime music should be personal, adaptable, and at a volume that allows guests to listen if they wish, but not struggle to chat if that’s what they’d prefer to do. You’ll find that the energy will probably increase in liveliness as the day goes on, as guests make new friends (and have a few more drinks!), so it can build nicely to get everyone in the mood for the evening partying and save your DJ having to take time to bring people out of their shell.

The other thing that sets us apart is the caliber of musician that works with Dream Day Music: their CVs speak for themselves. Our musicians have played for or recorded for some very recognisable names, such as Bryan Adams, Craig David, Russell Watson, The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, the original West End orchestra for Les Misérables, the Savoy in London… the list goes on.

To be able to play gigs like our musicians do is only possible if you really do know your onions and are recognised by some of the top musicians in the country. It’s a testament to their levels of musicianship, and it’s something we’re very proud to be able to tell people about.

That level of musicianship also means we’re able to provide services that are often not available with other companies, such as creating unique versions of special songs without adding on arrangement or rehearsal fees, and even just taking requests.

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How do Dream Day Music select the musicians and singers that are on its books?

Dream Day Music is run by musicians. The only way that musicians select other musicians to work with is through recommendations, word of mouth and – most importantly – hearing someone play in a way that makes you pay attention.

The majority of our musicians work together regularly on tours, shows and the likes, as well as weddings, and have done for years.

Occasionally, we’ll hear someone doing something special and invite him or her to join us, because we think they’ve something amazing to offer to our couples. We recently added a vintage female vocal trio in this way – they sing all the wartime songs and they’re great for vintage weddings, but equally importantly to us, they’re experienced, technically brilliant and their performance is pristine. There’s no-one like them in the North West.

We don’t take on musicians on the basis of applications and demos, like agencies do. It’s not about making commission; it’s about making memories for our couples. We can’t do that unless we really know each musician very well, and trust him or her to do a good job live – when there’s no second chance!

What areas of the UK do Dream Day Music cover and are travel fees included in the booking price?

We mainly supply venues in the North West: Lancashire, Cumbria, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and West Yorkshire.

As a rule almost all venues in these areas will have travel costs covered within the price. The only real exception to that is if there are significant distances between a church and a reception venue, for example, or if we have to send someone an unusually long distance. Even then, it’s only the mileage beyond the norm that is charged, not the whole journey from home to venue and back.

Our musicians are available nationwide though, and in some cases abroad, so couples living in the North West but marrying elsewhere can still get in touch with their enquiries. Of course, as session musicians, we know fantastic musicians based all over the country and beyond, so if we can’t provide someone ourselves, we’d always rather recommend someone we know who will do a good job.

What parts of the wedding are Dream Day Music’s musicians most suited to?

We’re proud to be the North West’s specialist in daytime wedding music. We focus on the quieter, more intimate parts of the day: wedding ceremonies, drinks receptions and wedding breakfasts, and sometimes early-evening entertainment. It’s about adding a very personal touch that will create memories to last a lifetime for everyone present. We encourage requests so that couples can hear the songs that mean the most to them – even those that people think are crazy ideas that’ll never work for a wedding!

We’re here to create the soundtrack to your dream day, contributing to the atmosphere and emotion without being “in-your-face”.

We also supply musicians for Asian and African weddings, which obviously have slightly different needs. Ultimately, our musicians are experienced in adapting their performances to suit the needs of any wedding: big, small, traditional, weird and wonderful, intimate, indoors or outdoors.

Are there any particular styles of music that are proving popular with wedding couples at the moment?

Over the last ten years, there has been a definite decline in classical music at weddings in favour of more modern music. The same is true of jazz and swing, believe it or not, although that does still remain a popular choice.

The main reason for this is that music is increasingly becoming another way for people to theme their weddings, and make them personal. As a result, more people choose music that is perhaps not traditionally “wedding music”, and instead they’re choosing music that they really connect with, such as their favourite artists, or music used on TV and in films that they love.

Radio 1’s Live Lounge has been a fantastic eye opener to people as to how a song can be completely changed to suit a different mood. Listen to Acoustics By Kate’s romantic ballad version of King’s Of Leon’s “Sex on Fire” on our website, for example – it’s out of this world and you wouldn’t believe how well it works!

Similarly, films such as the Twilight Saga movies have been a big influence, and really refreshed solo piano repertoire, for example. And who can forget Great British Bake Off and the surge in country garden and vintage themed weddings, for which violin and guitar works really well, along with vintage vocals.

Our three most popular song requests in 2016 were A Thousand Years, followed closely by All of Me, and then, perhaps surprisingly, Wings by Birdy. Ellie Goulding songs have been a popular choice.

Will Dream Day Music’s musicians learn particular songs for a couple? 

All ceremony music, including entrance, exit and signing of the register music is chosen by our couples. It simply has to be chosen by you if it’s used in the ceremony.

For the other parts of the day, it’s important that the musicians can adapt the music to suit the guests in attendance at the time, so we recommend you give us a short summative list of songs and styles that you like, and let the musicians build you a set list around that. They can include lots of your favourite music that way, learning some of your favourites too, but also throwing in other material that they know works, for those who might not quite share your tastes. That tends to work best for everyone involved.

We’ll never give couples a list of songs to choose from. There’s nothing personal about that, and our musicians’ repertoires stretch to hours and hours of music so it’d be really hard to list every song anyway!

What advice would you offer to wedding couples to help them decide on what type of live music to have for their big day?

The more personal the better. Nothing is impossible with the right musicians. Choose a theme.

Choose songs that mean something to you. Don’t worry about the lyrical content of songs if they’re not being sung; if people don’t hear the words, they’ll just recognise a beautiful piece of music. Also, consider your venue and theme – what music would fit in with the surroundings?

Once you’ve decided on the type of music you’d like, that’s the time to think about the instruments, musicians and voices. We’re always happy to help by suggesting the best route to choose to include the music you want use on your big day.

Obviously, some brides have known for years that they want a specific instrument at their wedding. To them, we’d simply say that the key is finding someone proficient in any style on that instrument; it really opens up a world of musical options to you that way and you won’t be left wishing you could have had a bigger range of music, or something that little bit out of the ordinary.

Finally, get recommendations from musicians, not from venues or agents, if at all possible. Venues wouldn’t recommend someone bad, obviously, but they are businesses, so they do often recommend people who play for them for free (usually, those who aren’t as busy ultimately), or who are friends. Agents will want you to choose acts that offer them the best commission. They won’t necessarily be the best musicians for you, they’ll be the best musicians for the venue or agency.

What is the feedback like from brides and grooms that use your services?

One thing we never do is ask for feedback. Once it’s all over, you want to be left in peace to enjoy your first days, weeks and months of marriage. We despair at how much some suppliers pester their couples for feedback or award nominations.

That said, we usually hear back from our couples a few weeks after their big day either directly, or through the musicians we provided, when things have settled down. Obviously, we get a lot of complements about our musicians’ talent and the music they choose to play; the most common superlative people use is “perfect”, and it doesn’t come better than that!

The feedback that means the most, though, is always that about the music’s impact on the day itself, and it’s contribution to the atmosphere. Comments like, “you played a big part in making our day perfect” or “thanks for your help in making our wedding day everything we dreamed of and more”: that’s when we know we’ve really made a difference.

It’s also nice that many of our couples comment on how they’re able to relax knowing that the music is taken care of and is something they can completely leave in our hands, just knowing that they’ve nothing to worry about. Most brides understandably like to be very hands-on, and that’s easy with the visuals like décor and the cake, but music is a bit of a dark art to many, so it’s good for them to know they’ve got people who know music – and specifically daytime music – inside out to make sure their dreams are realised.

Our favourite bit of feedback came from Nicola, who chose John on sax for her reception and said his playing “was my favourite part of the whole day (don’t tell my husband!).” Gregg won’t need to read bridal blogs anymore, so we think we’re safe to share that with you!!!

Can you do a discount for Brides Up North readers?

We can do better than that! We’ve created four offers for Brides Up North readers on an exclusive page at www.dreamdaymusic.co.uk/brides-up-north, including a special whole-day package of music for just £650 (a saving of over £450!), and a few voucher codes for discounts ranging from 10% to 20% off.

How can Brides Up North readers get in touch with Dream Day Music/ see more about its musicians?

The best place is our website. There’s loads of information about the musicians, along with some inspiration for each part of the day, and a link to our blog.

All the contact details are on the site. If you’d like to meet up for a brew, we love to get to know couples before they book so that we can really provide the best service.

Of course, we’ve all the usual social media, including a new Facebook page that we recently launched just for our wedding music. Simply search “dreamdaymusic” on all the usual social networks, and feel free to get in touch through those channels if you prefer.

Any other exciting news to share?

There’s lots going on at the moment! We’re about to celebrate our 5th birthday at the end of January, and we’re looking forward to supplying our 100th venue very soon.

We’ve a couple of exciting musicians joining us for the 2017 wedding season too, including the astounding John on guitar (whose most recent tour has been with the fantastic Russell Watson!), and we’ll be joined by another pianist too.

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