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Our Favourite Wedding Venues for 2022/23

Choosing your wedding venue is one of the biggest decisions that you will make throughout the entire wedding planning process. From barns and marquees, to manor houses and stately homes, there really is a plethora of options out there! We have been fortunate enough to become recommended suppliers in many stunning wedding venues, which leaves us well positioned to share with you this collection of our favourite wedding venues for 2022/23 .

Ashridge House

A formal royal residence of King Henry VII, this is a setting that will surely make a statement to your guests. I am fortunate enough to live very close to Ashridge house and often get to jog past on my morning run. In every weather condition, from sunshine to snow, you can guarantee the house will look stunning. Whether you’ve seen it once or a hundred times, you’ll never not be amazed by the grandeur of this gorgeous building. 

What they say: “A magical venue for your fairy-tale wedding. Majestically nestled in National Trust woodland in Hertfordshire’s rolling Chiltern Hills, and surrounded by 190 acres of stunning gardens, Ashridge House is the proverbial jewel in the Estate’s crown.”

Website: www.ashridgehouse.org.uk

The Barn at Botley Hill

One of the newest venues on our list, The Barn at Botley Hill opened their doors to their first wedding couple in July 2019. On walking into the space your eyes are immediately drawn to the awesome glass wall, which provides the perfect backdrop for a live band performance later in the evening. This also creates an unforgettable viewpoint for a panoramic sunset, after which you can spend the night in a charming luxury shepherd hut – perfection!

What they say: “The Barn at Botley Hill is a luxury collection of contemporary Barns with feature floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy the spectacular countryside setting with panoramic views of the Surrey Hills.”

Website: www.botleyhillbarn.co.uk

The Crazy Bear

If ‘quirky’, ‘unique’ or ‘eccentric’ are words that you have on your wedding mood board then The Crazy Bear in Stadhampton might just be the venue of your dreams! And, our acts love performing there too! From afternoon duo performances in the flamboyant garden area, to dancing the night away inside the epic glasshouse, weddings at The Crazy Bear are always memorable. 

Real Wedding Video – Watch Skyline performing live at The Crazy Bear – (Coming Soon).

What they say: “On an intimate or grand scale, this will be a unique and memorable celebration. Dramatic interiors and characterful gardens create an exclusive area for your civil ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening reception – also providing a stunning backdrop for your photographs.”

Website: www.crazybeargroup.co.uk/stadhampton/

Lains Barn

Looking for exclusivity? Lains Barn offers their couples exclusive access of both the barn and grounds, giving an intimate and private feel to your day. The timber-framed space holds endless potential for customisation to suit your wedding theme, while maintaining the gorgeous barn look and feel. The Green, offers a perfect option for an outside ceremony, but can also be used for drinks receptions, wandering musical acts or lawn games, no matter the weather. 

What they say: “Lains Barn is a beautiful restored barn in the heart of rural Oxfordshire, dating back to 1750. With its timber beams, sweeping tiled floor and large wooden doors opening onto a manicured lawn, it’s the perfect setting for a magnificent barn wedding.”

Website: www.lainsbarn.co.uk

Latimer Estate

If you need any convincing of the truly sublime setting that is Latimer Estate, just check out the sweeping drone footage from the homepage of their website! The chandelier lined Cavendish room is the ideal setting for your wedding breakfast. Then, the partitioning wall will be opened to reveal the dance floor and your wedding band, set up and ready to get the party started! 

Watch The Statesmen performing in The Devonshire Room at Latimer Estate.

What they say: “Imagine a wedding day set amidst rolling countryside. Where spaces effortlessly blend modern elegance with majestic original features. Rich with heritage, De Vere Latimer Estate has a wealth of stories to tell and creates a wonderful setting for a wedding day like no other.”

Website: www.devere.co.uk/latimer-estate/ 

Micklefield Hall

Boasting a large stage, dance floor and fantastic in house PA system, Micklefield Hall is a true favourite for many of our acts (although, perhaps the delicious supplier meals could also have something to do with that!). Above the stage is a discrete viewing area, which your photographer will love to use to capture the atmosphere of the wedding, from speeches right though to last dance. 

What they say: “Micklefield Hall is an unforgettable, enchanting and unique venue, providing a striking backdrop for your special day. With a variety of spaces, dedicated managers and exclusive caterers, Micklefield is the perfect choice.”

Website: www.micklefieldhall.com 

Offley Place

Whether you need space to land your helicopter, or just want the peace of mind to know that you could if you wanted to, Offley Place has you covered. Hosting your wedding breakfast and reception in the wonderful conservatory space, will enable you to enjoy the Hertfordshire countryside scenery while the glass roof will make for some awesome photo opportunities, both during the day and long after the sun has set. 

What they say: “Say ‘I Do’ at Offley Place. Your wedding is the most important day of your life, and our beautiful country manor is the perfect setting for your special day. With many years of experience in planning and running weddings at Offley Place, our specialised team will ensure that your dream wedding becomes a reality.”

Website: www.offleyplace.com 

Tewin Bury Farm

As well as being a regular stop for us on the wedding fair circuit (where we meet so many of you amazing brides and grooms to-be), Tewin Bury Farm has long been a venue that we have enjoyed performing at. With multiple spaces available including the Tythe Barn and the Meadow Barn, there is something here to suit any occasion. 

What they say: “Tie the knot in the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside. Hidden in the beautiful Mimram Valley in the heart of the Hertfordshire countryside, our wedding venues are the perfect setting for your big day; from intimate ceremonies to lavish and grand receptions.”

Website: www.tewinbury.co.uk

Tythe

We love the look of this 14th Century barn so much that we chose it as the backdrop to a recent live video for one of our best selling acts (check this out at the link below). The open space allows for the live band to entertain your guests at one end, while the bar is situated at the other. And, if you’re after some serious wedding inspo, then Tythe’s instagram account is one of the best in the game. Go follow @tythebarnlaunton to see what a wedding here could look like!

Real Wedding Video – Watch Heatwave performing live at The Tythe Barn.

What they say: “Tythe is a collection of beautifully restored Cotswold stone barns and a 12th Century farmhouse set at the heart of ‘Manor Farm’ – the working farm of the Deeley family. You’re only going to do it once, so pull out all the stops. We believe your wedding deserves more than just one day and at Tythe we give you and your guests the run of the place.”

Website: www.thetythebarn.co.uk

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Your Dream Daytime Wedding Entertainment

If you are looking to put live music at the heart of your big day, then you’ll definitely want to find your dream daytime wedding entertainment.

Nothing can raise the atmosphere of the day than some well chosen live music. It’s a great way to create the ambience you want, welcome your guests before the evenings celebrations, and show to others that you are going above and beyond to make your big day memorable for everyone.

That being said, where do you start? What are your options? What will create the right atmosphere? That’s where we can help! 

What Are Your Choices?

When it comes to daytime entertainment we’re usually talking about some type of background music. Something engaging, but not overbearing. Here are some of the most common choices:

Solo Performer | Acoustic Duo | Acoustic Band | Wandering Band | Jazz Band

Now it’s hard to go wrong with any of these if you choose a quality supplier (like us!) It’s more about choosing the style and energy that’s right for you. All of the performers mentioned can be utilised at a drinks reception, sit down dinner or outside stage.

Solo Performer

This is a great choice if you want sophistication and subtlety. A well chosen pianist, harpist or guitarist performing tasteful instrumental pieces is the perfect balance.

Their repertoire can range from strictly classical, to jazz and everything in-between. For us there is no one better at this than Rachel, our solo harpist. 

Acoustic Duo

This is our most popular choice by far and we have several fantastic duos to recommend to you. If you want a diverse range of songs that’s going to lift the mood, this is what you want to go for. Playing a mixture of popular songs with male or female vocals and guitar or piano accompaniment this is our go to package for daytime entertainment. 

Also all of our evening bands offer this as a bolt on option making it very cost effective for you to have both daytime and evening entertainment – yay!

Our Hit Replay duo is formed from our best selling band Heatwave and makes for the perfect daytime and evening package.

Acoustic Band / Wandering Band

So if you like the sound of an acoustic duo, but want more punch this is what we’d suggest. Adding in some percussion and a saxophone will create a spectacle that is guaranteed to entertain. If you’d really like to turn it up, book a wandering band who will walk around your venue as they perform, getting up close and personal with guests. But be warned, you might struggle to get them to sit down for their meal as they’ll be having too much fun!

If this sounds like you check out our Hit Replay band, available both stationary and wandering. 

Jazz Band

If you’d like a touch of class and a gentle start to your event, there is nothing better than a jazz band. They’ll play everything from crooner to standards even bop (if you let them) and they’ll help everyone relax and melt into the evening. Our in house jazz band, The Statesmen are some of the best players on the London music scene and will provide the perfect authentic jazz ambiance for your event.

Our Wedding Guide

If you’re still not sure what your dream daytime wedding entertainment looks like, then please check out our guide below. This breaks down even more the options available to you and things you might want to consider.

Hopefully we’ve helped make your mind up and you’d like to book some of our amazing musicians. Please get in touch and we can help you through the process, we hope to hear from you soon!

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Top 20 Most Requested First Dance Songs

It’s time to pick your first dance song!

The last formality of the day before the party really kicks in and you can let your hair down. This however, can be a difficult decision, especially if you and your special someone don’t share the same taste in music. 

But fear not, we are here to help! 

We’ve gone through the archives and collected our top 20, most requested first dance songs from the last year. You’ll find everyone from Ed to Elvis and everything from pop hits to timeless classics. 

Whether you are looking for a traditional slow dance like ‘At Last’ by Etta James or something more upbeat like Walk The Moon’s ‘Shut Up And Dance’, there really is something here for everybody.

Feeling brave? A pre choreographed first dance always goes down a storm, especially if you can keep it a secret from your guests until the big day. In our experience, this is a great way to add an extra spark to the first dance formalities and make it a real moment to remember!

Top 20 Most Requested First Dance Songs

A list of the top 20 most requested first dance songs

Hopefully this has given you the inspiration that you needed to choose your all important first dance song. Now that you’ve chosen it, you’ll need to find a band who will perform it for you!

All of our acts will perform your first dance as part of their standard package and it’s one of the features that our couples love most about us!

Find your dream wedding band by browsing all of our acts here.

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The Perfect Wedding Reception

You’ve decided what time your wedding ceremony will take place and organised a time for the wedding breakfast with your venue.  Next up, it’s time to plan the perfect wedding reception! 

There is still lots more of your big day to be enjoyed, including cutting the cake and the all important first dance, so getting this right will be key to helping you and your guests enjoy what is surely the most fun part of the day! 

Below is our recommended rundown for all of the evenings celebrations, as well as some pro-tips and insights into how to get this right so that everything runs smoothy! 

8:20pm – The Cake Cutting

A special moment for you and a big photo op for all of your guests – especially those evening guests for whom this will be the first opportunity to catch a glimpse of the newly weds! 

Our #1 tip … Don’t do this too early! A premature cake cutting can leave the reception feeling disjointed. Instead, cut the cake around 8:20pm and head straight to the dance floor for the last formality of the day! 

8:25pm – The First Dance

If you have followed our advice and come straight from cutting the cake, you will already have all of our guests gathered around you, ready to watch your first dance as Mr & Mrs. It’s a good idea to coordinate with your band about when you would like them to invite everyone onto the dance floor with you. Some couples like to get this done as soon as possible while others have a pre choreographed routine that they don’t want anyone to interrupt! 

8:30pm – The Party

The formalities of the day are complete. Now it’s time for everyone to let their hair down. Having your live band kick straight in after the first dance creates an awesome atmosphere and gets everyone onto the dance floor right from the start.

Quick tip – when the bride is on the dance floor everyone else will be too! If you’re keen for everyone to throw some shapes then lead by example and you’ll have everyone following suit!  

9:30pm – The Food

Whilst some of your guests have just finished a three (or four, or five) course meal, others will have arrived for your evening reception with an empty stomach. This can cause some problems later on if they have been taking advantage of your generous open bar policy!  Serving the food while the band is still performing is a no go, as you’ll lose your guests to the buffet when they should be partying! Instead, line up the serving of your evening food with the band’s break.

10:30pm The Party part 2

Now that everyone has had their fill of hog roast / BBQ / pizza / bacon sarnies / cheese platters, or whatever other tasty treats you have provided as your evening food option, it’s time to get back to the dance floor. The second band set is always all killer no filler, so you wont want to miss a second of it! Celebrate into the night with sing-alongs, dance-offs and party anthems, while surrounded by all of your closest friends and family. 

11:30pm – The Goodbyes

Make sure you leave some time at the end of the night to say goodbye to your guests. If your venue need everyone to be out by midnight, then we recommend having your live band finish at 11:30pm so that you have time to thank everyone for coming and let them tell you just how amazing the day was one more time!! 

Now that have the outline for planning the perfect wedding reception, you’re going to need some epic live music. Come and check out our acts over at www.anthemmusicagency.co.uk/our-acts and find the perfect match for your big day!

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5 Pros Of Postponing Your Wedding

Looking for reasons to be cheerful after postponing your wedding? We are here for you!

The year 2020 was a tough one for everyone and will surely go down as a year to forget. For many unfortunate couples however, 2020 was supposed to be a year they remembered for the rest of their lives.

The ONS have suggested the COVID-19 crisis has directly affected over 73,000 weddings and civil partnerships in the UK alone. 

Are you a soon-to-be-wed who has been left feeling disappointed after having to postpone your big day? We want to offer you a positive outlook where perhaps you were struggling to find one! 

Here are our 5 reasons to be cheerful after postponing your wedding.

1. More Time To Plan 

With suppliers to contact, tasting menus to sample and dresses to try on, wedding planning can be a busy and stressful time. Now that you’ve postponed your wedding day, you’ve been gifted a few extra months to make sure everything is perfect. Be sure to use the time wisely and get caught up on any planning elements that you might have fallen behind with.  

2. You Can Get Creative

DIY wedding decorations add a more personalised and bespoke feel to your wedding. From table centre pieces to unique guestbook ideas, there are so many great ways to give your wedding a more distinctive and memorable twist. Plus, it’ll give you something to do during lockdown! 

3. Enjoy Being Engaged 

Marriage will last a lifetime (hopefully) but the average engagement length is just 20 months. This time is one of the most special in any relationship so enjoy your new status and revel in the fact that you’ll be a fiancé or fiancée for a little longer than most! 

4. You Can Keep Your Date … Almost

Once you’ve set a date for your big day, it’s easy to become attached to it and not want that to change. As many couples already have, you can consider postponing by exactly 1 year, so that the date itself wont change. This might even mean moving to an off-peak day such as a Sunday, in which case you might even save yourself some money! 

5. Save For The Honeymoon 

With shops closed, non essential travel banned and pubs and restaurants operating at a reduced capacity, many couples have found that they have been able to put more money into savings this year than ever before. Take advantage of these savings by starting a ‘honeymoon funds’ account, allowing you to dream big for what will be the trip of a lifetime!

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11 Questions To Ask Your Wedding Band

Having a clear list of questions to ask your wedding band will help you make sure you’re making a great decision! Our list of questions below will ensure your wedding band are ticking all the right boxes!

Q.  Is the band available for my wedding date?

Often you will already have your wedding date secured before you begin to enquire with bands. Step 1 is to check that they are available before asking any other questions. We recommend enquiring with bands 6-12 months before your big day to ensure you get the best band for you.

Q.  When is the deposit and final payment due? 

When planning a wedding, there are a lot of people asking for deposits and payments, so it is key to make sure you know when this money will be due. Usually, your deposit will be to your booking while the final balance wont be due until the wedding day itself.

Q.  How much stage space does the band need to perform? 

The stage size that performers will need often depends on how large the band is. For example, a 7 piece wedding band will need more stage space than an acoustic duo. Our bands are 4 pieces and larger require a space 3×5 meters. Trios, duos and soloists can fit into smaller spaces, but this should be discussed with the act directly.

Q.  Does the band hold up-to-date PLI?

A lot of venues require a copy of musicians public liability insurance in order for them to perform. For this reason, we make sure that all of our acts hold up to date PLI certificates that can be forwarded to you upon your request.

Q.  How long will the band take to set up?

A lot of people forget that bands carry a lot of equipment and will need time to set up. Our bands (4 pieces and larger) require a 90 minute set up time. Smaller acts (trios, duos and solo acts) all require 60 minutes. Often this set up can be done behind the scenes while other parts of your wedding are taking place. 

Q.  How long will the band play for?

For evening entertainment, all of our acts perform 2 hours of live music as standard. You are welcome to choose how these 2 hours are split up, however in our experience 2 x 60 minute or 3 x 40 minute sets work best. If this doesn’t quite feel like enough then you can always add an extra set to keep the party going! 

Q.  Can we suggest songs for the band to play?

Wedding bands usually have an expansive repertoire and therefore will not be able to get through all of these songs in one night. We recommend sending your band a ‘play’ and ‘don’t play’ list so that they can build a custom set, just for you. If you have any requests that aren’t already part of the bands repertoire, they will usually be happy to learn these for you for a small fee.

Q.  Are the band able to learn our first dance?

Your first dance is one of the most important parts of your wedding reception and something that you will want to be perfect. Often, couples like the band to learn and perform their special song, in which case we recommend giving at least 4 weeks notice so that the band are able to do this.

Q.  How many parking spaces do the band need?

This is worth keeping in mind as while some wedding bands have a shared van, others bring their own cars and might need more than one parking space. If your venue is short on parking spaces, just let the band know so that they can plan ahead.

Q.  What will the band need in terms of electricity / power supplies?

While this may vary, almost all musicians will require some form of power supply in order to perform, whether this is for their speakers, amps, lights or other pieces of equipment. Our rule of thumb is to ask your venue for 3 x 13 amp sockets as this should be enough for a band of any size. Power supplies are especially important to consider if any musical performance is taking place outside.

Q.  How will the band dress?

All of our acts follow a smart dress code for wedding performances. If you have any specific requirements (themes or colour schemes etc) that you would like the band to follow, then just let them know and they will do so. 

Have more questions about booking you wedding band? Book a live music consultation with us today!

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6 Tips For Creating Your Wedding Playlist

It’s time to create your wedding playlist. But constructing one playlist that will get your best friends, your new in-laws and your 97 year old great Aunt Dorothy all up and dancing? Now that is going to be tricky. 

We’ve outlined our top 6 tips below to help you build an unforgettable wedding playlist, that will have your guests partying all night long and make your wedding reception one to remember. 

#1 Get Requests

Include a card alongside your wedding invites, asking guests to request a song. This will help you to collate requests from all of your guests and give you a much better idea as to everyones musical tastes. 

Use wordings such as 

‘I promise to dance if you play ..………’ 

or 

‘You’ll see me on the dance floor if I hear …..……’ 

And don’t forget to drag them up if they don’t keep their promise! 

#2 Decide If Cheesy Is For You

What are your first thoughts when you hear ‘Y.M.C.A’, ‘Come On Eileen’, ‘Macarena’ or ‘Cha Cha Slide’?

If these are your jams, then go ahead and include them in your wedding playlist – it’s your big day after all, and with the right group of people these cheese anthems can go down a storm! 

However, these types of tunes can often have people heading toward the bar rather than the dance floor. If you want to keep the atmosphere high it could be worth giving these ones a miss. 

#3 They’re Popular For A Reason

You probably can’t remember the last time you attended a wedding and didn’t hear ‘Marry You’, ‘Crazy In Love’, or ‘Hey Ya!’ … and thats because they work!

Nothing beats a good sing-a-long when you’ve had a few drinks. These radio friendly pop hits will be familiar to everyone, making it a sure-fire way to get everyone involved. 

Check out our top 10 songs in this category below. Don’t be scared to throw a few of these wedding classics into your playlist.

1) Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran 

2) All Of Me – John Legend 

3) Don’t Stop Believing – Journey 

4) Crazy In Love – Beyoncé

5) I’m Yours – Jason Mraz 

6) We Are Family – Sister Sledge 

7) Hey Ya! – Outkast

8) Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars

9) September – Earth Wind and Fire 

10) I Wanna Dance With Somebody – Whitney Houston 

#4 Watch Your Language

This one is particularly important if you have children attending!

Lots of us are somewhat desensitised to swearing now, especially in lyric form, however checking through your playlist for expletives might help you to avoid any potentially awkward situations.

Searching for a ‘radio edit’ version of a song is a great way to navigate these tricky waters and will mean that you don’t have to ditch your favourite tunes. 

#5 Pick & Mix Genres

When it comes to the wedding playlist, you don’t need to follow any rules. Don’t try to stay inside of one mood or genre, instead, get creative! 

Remember, you are trying to ensure that you have a bit of something for everyone, so go ahead and put Eminem, Tina Turner, The Killers and Frank Sinatra in the same room and see what happens! We bet that you’ll be pleasantly surprised at which of your guests knows all the words to the ‘Lose Yourself’ rap.  

#6 Find Inspiration

Still stuck for ideas? There are loads of great wedding playlists on Spotify and Apple Music, so go and check them out! You don’t have to use these exactly as they are, but sometimes getting started is the hardest part – right?! 

Find a playlist that has a good amount of followers (remember, they’re popular for a reason ;)) and then start dragging your favourite songs into your own list, leaving out anything that isn’t for you.

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Booking Live Music For Your Christmas Party

Summer is now a distant memory and we are hurtling towards the festive season. With the countdown clock ticking, the ‘Plan Staff Christmas Party’ note on your to-do list is fast becoming an urgent task. And as we all know, getting the right live music for your event is a must!

Whether it’s the classic office party, or something more formal, live music is a great way to entertain everyone attending. It’s not only a great talking point, but also gives your colleagues a chance to let their hair down after a busy year. 

What Type Of Atmosphere?

It is important when booking live music for your Christmas party that you consider the vibe you are aiming for. If you are planing an all out party then make sure you book a band that can accommodate that! A large line-up soul band or energetic indie act will suit your event perfectly. They will get everyone on the dance floor and interacting with guests as they dance the night away. These acts usually have the most wide ranging repertoires too, ensuring that everyone’s musical tastes will be catered for. 

If “classy” sums up your event, then maybe consider booking a Jazz band, or sophisticated acoustic duo. These options will still be able to play all of your favourite festive numbers as well as the classic party tracks and sing-alongs, but will ooze style and class as they do it! These acts are better suited to drinks receptions and black tie events… But are also a great option if noise / space is limited). 

What Type Of Space?

The type of band that you are able to book might be limited by the space that you have available. A lot of Christmas parties happen in the workplace itself, which is not usually built for a performing band… Unless you work in a music venue of course! This is worth considering, especially if you are looking to book a larger act of 6 or more band members. You are going to want to have enough space for guests to enjoy themselves, but you also need the band to have the space that they require to put on a great and memorable show.

Things like lighting are also worth mentioning here, as office lighting doesn’t exactly lend itself to a party environment. Switch those strip lights off and make sure that your band can bring a lighting rig (plus lasers, up-lights and smoke machines if you’re feeling fancy) with them to complete the office transformation. 

When Do You Need To Book?

As with anything involving a lot of planning, it’s always a good idea to book as early as possible. Top party bands will be in high demand and will book up for the festive season very quickly. That being said however, a lot of Christmas parties take place on weekdays rather than weekends. Having your staff get-together on a weekday will increase the chances of your favourite band being available – but might also increase the number of staff calling in sick the next day too!

Our Favourite Christmas Songs

If it’s still too early for you to dig out the Christmas playlist and remind yourself of all those festive favourites, then check out our top 10 below.

Last Christmas – Wham!

Baby It’s Cold Outside – Dean Martin 

Let It Snow – Frank Sinatra 

Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt

Winter Wonderland – Bing Crosby

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – The Jackson 5

Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town – Bruce Springsteen 

Fairytale Of New York – The Pouges 

All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey 

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas 

So you have all of the information. Chat with us about booking live music for your Christmas Party today!