Wedding DJ and our indoor Disco Shed at Hertfordshire’s Priory BarnLeave a Comment
My main memories of the day I spent as a wedding DJ at Priory Barn in Hertfordshire are of beautiful people and beautiful surroundings! The venue was apparently recently voted as the 21st best wedding venue in the UK by Brides magazine, and whilst I can be a bit cynical about things like awards and chart placements (particularly when the list appears to be grouped by regions rather than being a straight run-down!), it’s certainly a lovely looking place both inside and out, with gorgeous gardens, manicured lawns and set in very pretty countryside.
These memories are no doubt aided by a particularly good set of photos taken by Andy Rapkins who has kindly allowed me to share them here. Plus the wedding took place on one of the few days that summer when the sun shone and it was warm, but the happy couple and their guests sure are a fine looking bunch!!
Chris and Kim had heard of Disco Wed through a mutual friend, and booked our indoor Disco Shed option for their wedding. An early start was in order as they had made plans to make full use of our services for the day. It was fortunate I got there so promptly as the first person I met was a rather stessed man trying to set up his photo booth. It turned out he’d forgotten to bring a light, which is essential for the photo booth to work apparently. Luckily for him, I was able to lend him not only a clip on light, but also a bulb, but as I received no thanks whatsoever (and because I thought I might need it!), I stopped short of his demands for an extension lead – which was just as well, as he never returned any of it anyway. Pretty poor form!
The plan was for me to play a Norman Jay style terrace set outside during the daytime, with the games on the lawn, which was in direct sunlight and I feared the worst for the indoor shed roof and my vinyl records which would normally have wilted in such heat! Fortunately there was just enough room under a gazebo for me to set up in, which casted merciful shade on all my gear. So, I set up outside on a wheeled trolley in order to be able to move inside easily later on and laid a selection of games out on the lawn, hula-hoops, boules, giant jenga, and swingball and more. I managed to hide the speaker stands amongst some foliage in the garden, and as the guests poured out of the barn for the drinks reception I starting playing some tunes.
I used to play regularly at the now sadly defunct Big Chill festival so the request for a Norman Jay style set was right up my street, and a lot of the tunes I played that afternoon took me back to the festival, especially with such glorious weather! Norman always managed to bring the sun out during his traditional Sunday set at the Big Chill… It was a particular pleasure to play some of my old vinyl again – I don’t get the opportunity quite so often these days! And as I stood, playing music I like to so many happy faces, all grooving away and playing the games I’d provided, I felt pretty fortunate to be able to do this for a living! It was a lovely scene…
After a couple of hours it was time to call it a day outside, as the guests headed back inside for the meal. I packed the games back into the van then started trying to wheel the trolley over towards the barn when disaster struck! I’d completely forgotten to consider that the trolley and stand would sink into the grass! As a full time Disco Shedonist I should have been ashamed of myself – it’s a schoolboy error not putting something solid under the wheels!
Luckily some of the groomsmen were feeling strong, and helped carry everything over to the barn – at first glance several drunken men didn’t seem like an ideal crew to put in charge of my expensive DJ equipment but the boys did me proud! We managed to get it all the way around the barn and onto the stage, where the band had just about left enough room for me. Ok, one of the feet fell off the stand in transit but fair play to the lads, they even found that too! 😎
Chris and Kim had arranged to play their own playlist during the meal so I spent the time tidying the van and getting all the lights ready for later on. After the speeches, the guests moved to the bar, the venue staff prepared the room for the evening and I set-up our disco lights as and then it was over to the band – a lovely young bunch from Brighton called Funky Buddha to play the first dance.
We were alternating hour long sets and the band got things off to a great start, playing a decent set of funk and disco covers, though the dancefloor was never really rocking. I felt for them as they really were playing well, and they weren’t helped by a fairly over-zealous sound limiter cutting the power a couple of times – it can be a frustrating business working with a sound limiter, particularly when there don’t really seem to be any neighbours nearby!
Before long it was my turn though, and I enjoyed managing to mix my first track into the last one by the band, I don’t think anyone noticed! Bearing in mind the sound issues the band had experienced, during the first tune I nipped out front to check the levels. Yet as soon as I stepped off the stage, one of the older guests instantly demanded I stop playing the funky stuff, which kinda threw me as it had clearly been the band playing up to that point! Now I’m a big fan of bands at weddings, and Funky Buddah were great, but that did highlight one of the risks that go with a band too – if people aren’t into their style, then there’s not much they can do about it… At least a DJ, even a bad DJ can change the style of music if people aren’t enjoying it.
Anyway, with both the guest’s comments and the band’s second set in mind, not to mention Chris and Kim’s prior requests for some cool festival type music, I tried to keep the dancefloor warmed up and had a decent crowd of people (including our less than funky friend!) dancing to some older tunes by the time the band were ready to come back on and I could take a quick break. After their second set, I figured it was time to go for it with some good old fashioned Disco Wed wedding classics which happily got people up until it was time to go home barely an hour later… Good times!
Thanks so much for the weekend, you were amazing and we really enjoyed having you there!”
Chris & Kim Allison
Tunes of the night:
- Pepe Deluxé: Ask For A Kiss
- Roy Ayers: Everybody Loves The Sunshine
- The Bees: Sky Holds The Sun
- Al Green: La La For You
- Love Unlimited Orchestra Vs Marvin Gaye: Sexual Healing Theme (Del Gazeebo Retouch)
- Adele: Love Song
Chris & Kim’s play list highlights:
- Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton: 9-5
- Stevie Wonder: Superstition
- Diana Ross: Upside Down
- The Beatles: Twist & Shout
- Candi Staton: Young Hearts Run Free
- John Paul Young: Love Is In The Air
- Jackie Wilson: (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher
- Count Skylarkin vs Harvey K Tel: Dub Of A Preacher Man
- Exactshit: Nancy’s Boots
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