What Sophie Did…Banned a Conga Line!

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Hi everyone! Wow, penultimate blog. I really have no idea where the last 6 months have gone. The first Real Bride of our group, Jackie, is due to get married in just 2 weeks, shortly followed by Stef only 2 weeks after that (good luck girls!!!) so the rest of us are really beginning to feel like the countdown is on. It’s all getting very exciting!

Today, I’m talking music, and here’s the thing – I grew up in a bit of a party house. My parent’s line of business would regularly lend itself to entertaining a house full of people and it was not uncommon for my sister, brother and I to have to tell my parents to ‘turn that racket down’ at 2am. Fun times!

During those years, we were taught that the key to being the perfect hosts came down to a simple mantra: never, under any circumstances, run out of food, drink or music. Where these three things are in abundance, a great party will always follow. The same theory must apply to our wedding day, right? And with food and drink in the bag (those two were never going to be an issue in Italy!) the remaining golden ticket to be nailed down was music.

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Planning An Elegant Entrance…

But whoa, there are a lot of elements to wedding day music!

Let’s start at the beginning – did anybody else find it really hard to choose their ceremony music? If we were having a church ceremony maybe the decision would be a little easier – that beautiful organ music fills the space and makes the hairs on the back of my arm stand up. Or if you’re in a stately home, it can be oh-so elegant to have a string quartet or harpist.

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For an outdoor ceremony there are still plenty of options, and a string quartet or harpist are, granted, good ones. But I was a little concerned about the music just sort of floating away and being lost in that endless space. I’m sure these are unnecessary concerns – I’ve seen plenty of pictures of outdoor ceremonies with string quartets so it must work. I’m probably worrying for nothing…it is a habit of mine.

Our ideal scenario would be to have a grand piano – we adore piano music. But you can imagine how hard (and extortionately expensive!) it is to have one brought in. It’s just not feasible, unfortunately. A secondary option would be some sort of keyboard, but I can’t help but think of scenes from Friends, with Ross and his dodgy sound effects. Plus Simon has threatened to ‘entertain’ our guests with his GCSE performance piece…veto!

ross

We researched some alternative options, but in Italy these tend to involve an accordion and some good old-fashioned warbling. Whilst this is great fun in the right setting (or after too much red wine…) it isn’t really the music I imagined walking down the aisle to. And unfortunately I hear that Andrea Bocelli will be busy on that day (how selfish!) so we were getting a bit stuck for solutions.

In the end, we settled on taking some of the risk out of it. No dodgy warbling or overly synthesised keyboards – just a good speaker set-up that allows us to play our own music straight off an iPod. Easy. Then there was just the task of finding the right piece of music…

…this was even harder!! I must have listened to hundreds of classical pieces but none felt quite right. They were either too grand (Land of Hope and Glory? Hmmm, maybe in another life) too depressing, or just plain boring. Nothing was hitting the right note – literally! In the end I stumbled upon the perfect piece by accident and, would you believe, it’s by an Italian musician! Fate? I like to think so.

accoridan

…A Fun Exit…

I love recessionals at weddings! That briefest part of the day is always a highlight for me. It’s a moment when the bride and groom look overwhelmed with excitement and joy, the parents look so proud they might burst, and the guests are looking forward in anticipation to popping open the champagne and celebrating. And I love it even more when the bride and groom chose a fun, personal song to take them back up the aisle. This is a trend that seems to have started in the US and has happily found its way across the pond.

I have to include here some pictures of our friends Mia and David heading back up the aisle to ‘Wouldn’t it Be Nice’ by The Beach Boys. See what I mean about the joy? It just radiates doesn’t it? It was such a happy moment.

Mia-David

Now it has to be said, that in this area of the wedding planning Simon has been less than helpful. There was me, thinking it was a great idea to take one of our favourite songs and attach it forever to that moment, but he has vetoed almost every single one of my perfectly good ideas. Personally, I think “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2, and “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve are awesome songs, but he had other ideas…something about these not being appropriate? Killjoy. 😉

Joking aside, it was tricky finding one that was suitable to the moment, whilst not being too cheesy. But also a song that we genuinely love rather than one just picked randomly from the many websites that all proclaim to have the ultimate list of recessional songs. I think/hope we’ve cracked it, and hopefully it will make people smile.

How about you ladies? Any awesome ideas for jazzing up your recessional, or even processional?

…And A Rocking Party.

Aside from the ceremony, Simon and I, like many in the RMW community, are big believers that the reception music can make all the difference between a good wedding and a great one. My Mum and Dad are on the case with putting together a playlist to take us from cocktail hour right through dinner and into the early evening. There is no-one better qualified to do this than those two. My Dad built his career in the music industry and he’s structuring this playlist minute by minute! I can’t wait to hear it.

Then of course, it’s party time! We really wanted a live band, but how do you find a great one from 5,000 miles away? I’ve often read on these pages that brides found their band when they attended another wedding – how I envy them! This wasn’t an option for us as we’ve never been to a wedding in Italy, so all we had to go on were websites, reviews on forums and a few dodgy videos on YouTube, clearly taken by guests on their phones after one-too-many glasses of champagne.

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There was one though that stuck out in our search – The Ranieri Sessa Band. A 7-piece swing band including guitar, bass, saxophone (love a bit of saxophone!), percussion, keyboards (hopefully no Ross types), and 2 vocalists. The set-list was good, their own recordings on their website sounded great, and videos of them always seemed to show a lot of energy and a full dance floor. What more could you ask for?

Ok, so it’s a bit risky booking a band based solely on a few crackly YouTube videos and reviews found online, but in the end I guess you just have to risk it. If all else fails, we’ll fall back on the trusty iPod. As long as there is no hint of the Macarena, YMCA, Oops Upside Your Head or anything that comes even close to resembling a Conga Line, we’ll be happy. Ultimately, it’s a live band, in the Tuscan hills, surrounded by friends and family – I’m sure it will rock.

The Countdown Begins

Putting the topic of music aside, I feel the need to share a few wobbles with you all, if you’ll hear me out. With only 10 weeks left until the big day, and only 1 blog left to post, lately I seem to be finding myself in a reflective stage. The majority of the planning is done, and I think we’re in good shape, so why do I feel so nervous and unsure about everything lately? I think it’s fair to say that being a self-confessed wedding fanatic and signing up to blog about your journey to Wife-dom does somewhat create a rod for your own back in terms of expectations. We’re very lucky that so many family and friends are truly excited for our big day, and some are already referring to it as “the wedding of the century” (stand aside Will and Kate) and while I genuinely adore them all for their enthusiasm, in my weak moments this feels like the weight of the world in terms of what we have to live up to. This is my problem, not theirs, and frankly I asked for it. Their energy really does keep me going so I’d hate for anyone to feel like they need to stop being so excited – keep it coming girls!

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But what if it’s all just not enough? What if it’s boring or a little underwhelming? Or, heaven forbid, what if it rains the whole weekend and the entire thing is a wash out? I don’t even want to think about that! The thing is, despite 20 years of flicking through wedding magazines and having more ideas than you could shake a stick, I’ve actually gone pretty simple and back to basics with a lot of things. I thought that it was because I just wanted the venue and setting to speak for itself, but maybe I’ve lost a bit of energy for it all. I find that I’m starting to 2nd guess every decision I’ve made, and I’m dwelling on the hundreds of things that could go wrong. My confidence is waning.

Ultimately, the most important thing is that Simon turns up and at the end of that weekend we’re married. That’s what it’s all about, and maybe it’s not such a bad thing that I’m starting to care less about all of the other stuff around it. Maybe it’s just that it’s all starting to come into perspective, the closer I get to finally being able to call him my husband. Because that’s the key thing isn’t it? That’s why we all put ourselves through months of this craziness.

I’m sure I’m not the only bride out there who feels this way. But we’ve put the hard work in, and now I need to let go of the worry a little bit and trust that the people I’ve put faith in will come through. And if they don’t, well at the end of the day who cares?

Love Sophie. x

Author: Adam Crohill
Adam likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

38 thoughts on “What Sophie Did…Banned a Conga Line!

    1. I completely agree with you! Live music all the way! The Beach Boys was a great choice for our friends. It was such a lovely moment.

  1. hahahah. Love the Friends reference (gosh how I miss that show). And I love this line: “Now it has to be said, that in this area of the wedding planning Simon has been less than helpful.” – hahaha. made me chuckle!

    So many options when it comes to wedding music, so much to think about. We’re actually in process of putting together a medley/mash up for a B&G’s first dance of their 2 favourite songs, ‘Your Song and Love Man’ it’s sounding fab! It can be so hard to chose the right group (especially without seeing them live) but you’ve done your research and your gut will usually point you in the right direction!

    We once got asked to perform ‘You can’t always get what you want; for a first dance…awkward much?

    Can’t wait to hear more stories of the planning Sophie and see the photos/videos from day.

    Harriet x

    1. A mash up of Your Song and Love Man??? That sounds epic!!! You’ll have to share it with us when it’s finished!

      Really glad you enjoyed the post Harriet! Thanks so much! 🙂 x

  2. oh, and although I’m not married yet, I’m sure it will be just perfect on the day Sophie. I think when you’ve got time to plan and asses and then re-asses everything, its only natural to have doubts, and to 2nd guess your decisions whatever the situation. It will all work out on the day. Looking forward to hearing about it Sophie x

    1. Thanks so much Harriet. I really appreciate it. I’m sure you’re right. I definitely don’t think it helps that by the time we’re married we will have been engaged for 19 months. Wayyyyy too long to over think everything!! 🙂 x

  3. We got married in Italy in September, and I felt EXACTLY the same as you. Everyone was so excited about our Italian wedding, they were flying all that way and talking about how amazing it was going to be. I too had kept things very simple, feeling the place would speak for itself but began to doubt myself as the date got closer. I kept trying to remind myself that it was the fact we were getting married that mattered but I felt under a lot of pressure. When we got out there and all of our friends and family joined us, I had a mini breakdown (first and last bridezilla moment) at our rehearsal. My friend took me to one side and told me to look around – we were stood overlooking the Amalfi Coast and I was going to get married there the next day. After that meltdown I completely chilled, and on the morning of my wedding I was the most serene I have ever been. Every moment was perfect and people are still saying how amazing it was now, six months on. So don’t doubt yourself, it will be spectacular!

    1. Anna thank you so, so, SO much!!!! This is really good to hear. I have been really worried that I would have a similar breakdown once we got there and freak everyone out. I’ll try to make sure I take that moment to soak it all in and appreciate how special it is to have everyone we love altogether in one place. And the Amalfi coast is such an amazing place to get married – Sorrento is one of my favourite places in Italy. I bet your wedding was beautiful! x

  4. Preach it sister! That is exactly how I feel with 4 weeks to go! And I feel bad, and I worry about my wedding being such a let down for the blog but like you say I need to stay focused on marrying the man I love, joining with him, commuting to him and starting our lives together as man and wife, because you know what? I love him!

    We are also making a playlist at the moment, how big do you go? How many many tracks do you chose? Where can you stop?

    We have booked an amazing young, 3 piece ceilidh band with a modern twist. Very excited to dance the night away with them!

    Love your post and the style you write in!
    x x x

    Ps.
    Totally intruiged at parents line if work that caused them to party and disrupt your sleep!

    1. Stef your wedding will NOT be a let down for the blog!! I’ve seen what you’ve got planned, and it’s going to be beautiful. We all feel that way some times. And you’re totally right, it the marriage bit that’s important.

      Playlist is on my to do list for next few weeks. I want to make sure I have a good party playlist ready for anyone who wants to carry on into the early hours!

      Your ceilidah band is going to be amazing! I can’t wait to hear all about it. xxxx

      1. A let down for the blog??? Don’t be so silly Stef!!

        At the end of the day it really is just about the love. Details schmetails. We all want to hear about your emotions just as much as we want to see the images. And there is a huge amount of positive energy from the RWM community hoping that all of the RMW Real Bride weddings go well 🙂

        And girlies some of our most popular & stylish weddings are the really pared back ones…

        Sophie your house sounds like a very fun one to grow up in! Your music choices sound great…and you’re right…a live band in the Tuscan Hills can only be a winning combination!

        Fern x

        1. You’re right Fern – some of my favourite weddings on the blog of the more classic ones. Hopefully mine will be just as stylish!

          And trust me, Stef’s wedding is sounding amazing from everything us girls have been hearing! 🙂 x

          1. I have to jump on this wagon of self-loath Stef to throw you off it!!! Pull your neck in! Sorry tough love, but you will start to take away the enjoyment if you keep saying this my dear. You have spent so much time organising the wee details for you both and that is what it is a about. Not what people on RMW think, and everyone WILL love it, why? Because of exactly what Fern said – two people, in love, with those emotions seen in your photos. You will be a beautiful bride and we all cannot wait to see you on your special day! Now promise – no more hating on anything for your wedding!! xx

              1. Aw thanks ladies! My day will be amazing I know! I had my first dress fitting today and I think that really is enough to make the day awesome!

                1. ahhh – yay stef – so happy for you!!!! it’s about time you had that happy feeling with all the dress kerfuffles. I bet you look GORG. Can’t wait to see you and Ceiran looking all dapper xxxx

                  1. Stef your wedding is going to be amazing… From start to finish and everyone and I mean everyone from your guests, your Rmw brides to the Rmw team and followers. Do not worry lovely lady. Xx

  5. Oh honey. We’re all coming to Italy to watch a couple of our favourite people commit to being happy together for the rest of their lives. It could rain for 3 straight days, Simon could forget to pack his shirt, and the band COULD play the Macarena (oi!) (ok I’m kinda hoping they do 😉 )… It wouldn’t matter. All you need is love and we’ve all got plenty of that xxx

  6. I totally feel the same! With 3 weeks to go I am beginning to stress about what other people are going to think of our big day! People keep telling me that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks but I am worried – you’re all right though, it’s about me and him becoming “us” and nothing else.
    Music – well…….. I’m walking in to Canon in D and having the Bridal March to leave to (very traditional)!. We’ve got an old school friend playing piano during the wedding breakfast, our own compilation CD for coffee/cake and the “in-between” time and then a DJ for the evening! phew!
    Good Luck with yours – It sounds wonderful!

    1. Sounds like the perfect music combination Jen! You can’t go wrong with Canon in D and the Bridal March. They’re definitely classics for a reason!

      Wow only 3 weeks to go for you! How exciting! I hope it goes well for you. It’s really easy to stress out over isn’t it? I’m sure it will all come together for us. Wishing you lots and lots of luck for your big day. x

  7. Oh Sophie, this is so typical of you. You are so organised and think of everything yet you still doubt yourself. Nobody could possibly be disappointed, even if it snows. It’s about all the people who love you and Simon sharing this precious time with you both. Everything else is just a lovely bonus. What will be will be so relax and think about how gorgeous your mum is going to look walking around with your veil on and a large gin and tonic in her hand. Xxxxxx

    1. Mum – you rock! I adore you! And yes, you are going to look amazing in my veil – probably better than me!!

      P.S. Good choosing, chooser of the chosen one.

      P.P.S. Gin and tonic sounds really good about now.

      xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  8. Sophieliscious!

    I love your posts and your wit 🙂 Oh and for putting a picture of my dream man in your post (Ross from friends, not Schwimmer, actually Ross, as Ross… ahhh!)

    OK, now I also love your MUM! (Hiya Chooser of the Chosen one!)

    Thanks for being brave to share with us your real feelings during this crazy ass wedding process. I am totally with you and Stef and Jen and if i stop and think about things then you would literally suffocate…

    a) there are so many things that could go wrong (and probably will, i must find that part of me that other brides on these pages have found when they say just roll with it – i am trying to prepare myself to embrace the inevitable fudge ups, even if that is the weather!)
    b) at the end of the day although we all “try” and break free from a cookie-cutter wedding-dos this day because there are so many choices and options compared to weddings of yesteryears: ours is, in fact, as cookie-cutter as you’re ever going to get – but they all are, right?!
    c) freating there will be too much of this and not enough of that… do you know what, it’s going to have to be the perfect amount of whatever on the actual day – flowers will be flouncy and bouncy enough, my dress will have to be spesh enough, my arms, bootay and belly will have to be tight enough (a huge concern right now – must stop eating choc croissants for breakfast!)
    d) is everyone having a good time?!!! And there it is, my absolute main worry – will everyone have a great time. And I reckon, take a leaf out of your party-parents book and if the hosts have a good time, your guests will have a good time, and just thinking of all our VIPs in one place at the same time really eclipses the fear that my ass is going to look too big, because that will make me super happy!! (oh yeah, and my amazing hubby!!)

    Wow- the longest comment ever, but you really struck a chord with me, girl!

    PS – your music choices are going to be amaaaaaaaazing. are you making your playlist on spotify? I have just made a spotify playlist called Ultimate Real Brides of RMW Wedding Party Playlist – https://spoti.fi/1iFSUIP – it should be open so everyone (with a spotify account) can go and add their tracks and then we can all share the best ever wedding playlist (Sophie’s Mum – please help me out!!!)

    Lots of love bridelings
    xxxxxxx

    1. Nicola you legend!!! I intend to shamelessly plagiarise that spotify playlist!! Im assuming you have plenty of Kylie in there? 😉

      I think you’re absolutely right, that if the hosts are having a good time that will rub off. We really do get obsessed with trying to be unique and individual with our weddings, but really whats so wrong with going down the traditional route? If it’s not broke, why fix it?

      Im glad this seems to have struck a chord with quite a few people because I almost didnt post this, but it’s really comforting to know that I not alone in it. Im sure on the day we’ll both be too excited to worry any more. It will all come together? Xxxxxxxx

  9. Haha! Your mum sounds like my mum – love it 🙂

    YOU will be the most gorgeous bride of the year and all of the ‘hitter-bugs’ is just natural for over-organised freakaziods like us 😉 I am jealous of your guests as I TRUELY want to be at your wedding! It will be such a party filled with so much love and with your parents behind some of the tunage it is sure to be bangin! So excited for you hun – focus on all fun stuff and those blues will go 🙂

    1. You are a love Miss Sarah! I’m not sure if ‘hitter-bugs’ is a typo for jitter-bugs, but I’ve decided I like that word better so I’m adopting it. 😉 xxx

      1. HAHA! At present I dont just have the excuse of fat fingers on an iphone, I ALSO have a samashed screen – my bad 🙂 Yup should of been jitter-bugs xxx

  10. I can soooo totally relate to this post! My wedding is 2 weeks today and I have had a bit of a freak out, I’ve also started to feel a little “overwhelmed” let’s say, with all the details. I’ve had enough! It’s a weird feeling when things are pretty much done, yet you feel like there should be more you’re doing, or have you done enough to make it perfect. People keep telling me not to expect perfection, that it won’t matter on the day, but all I can think about is that it will matter on the day!
    Is it so bad to want your one wedding day to be as perfect as it can possibly be?!

    I too hope people enjoy themselves, that it doesn’t rain, that I don’t pass out in church because of nerves/ painful shoes. But I suppose this is the time to stop worrying and start reflecting on what is actually about to happen, you’re going to marry the person you love. And at the end of the day that’s the reason it’s all happening, and it’s what you will take out of it after the day has been and gone.

    I think I’m starting to feel this part more, and maybe that’s why I care less about the details and planning at this stage as it’s not as important as that one crucial part. Or maybe I’m just rambling nonsense because I’ve gone in to a bit of bride-delirium meltdown!

    Anyway, to end the rambling, your wedding in Italy sounds absolutely beautiful and amazing and everyone who is making the effort to come will no doubt have a fantastic time sharing your special day with you, enjoy it!

    Lydia x

    1. Aw, Lydia – love you!! It sounds to me like you’re all going to have a fab time at your wedding and maybe you’re just hitting the calm stage. Are we all just mistaking our “over it” feelings as apathy, but really we are all hitting the calm stage and ready to party…?!

      Wishing you a wonderful day and hopefully we get to see some pics on here 🙂

      Nicola xx

    2. Lydia I completely understand where you’re coming from!! Overwhelmed is definitely the right word! And you’re completely right – I know people will say that it doesn’t matter on the day, and they’re probably right that it won’t matter as much, but it will still matter to me. Especially after all of the effort that has gone into everything.

      But I also agree with you that it seems to be a case of perspective. The closer I get to the wedding, the more I’m focused on the important bit, which is that we’re getting married. And this has to be a good thing, right?

      Thanks so much for your kind words about my wedding plans! I’m sure yours will be just as beautiful. Gosh – only 2 weeks away!! That’s so exciting! Sending you lots and lots of luck lovely. Do pop back and let us know how it goes…….and just how much you really cared about those details on the day! 😉 xxx

  11. Sophie my love, you really do think of and cover EVERYTHING, after reading another fan-bloody-tactic post you have calmed my nerves lots. I thought I was the only one slightly fretting about meeting expectations and everything going to plan. I feel 100% of brides all come across this feeling at some point in their planning and I suppose it’s to be expected after so much time and effort has gone into planning something so amazing. Your guest will be blown away and your momma sounds amaze 🙂 xx

  12. Hi Sophie,
    Thank you so much for your posts. Absolutely love reading them. We are getting married in Tuscany next June and I am already nearly bursting with excitement. I have spent months finding the right venue and photographers. It has been such an amazing experience. When we found the venue I told myself to remember not to over-do on decorations etc at the venue and its surroundings are so beautiful without any gimmicks! I really think you have nothing to worry about!

    I must say, the live band will be a big hurdle for me. For years I had known the band I want to play at my wedding (really upbeat swing band called the “Swing cats””) but they are based in Ireland. I suspect my fiancé will let me get away with many things but flying in 6 peace jazz band from Ireland might be a step too far. I am really looking forward to hearing your thoughts of your chosen band after the wedding.

    If anyone has any suggestions I would really REALLY love to hear them.

    Laine xx

    1. Hi Laine!

      Well firstly, thanks for your message!! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed my posts! And secondly, HUGE congratulations on your upcoming wedding in Tuscany!!! It really is the most incredible place to get married! We had our wedding last weekend and it was fantastic! What venue have you booked? I have to say, you’re definitely right about not overdoing the details. Our venue was a bit of a blank canvas, and in hindsight it meant that we had to rely a lot on our families to pull it all together. Everything took a lot longer than we expected!

      As for the band, Ranieri Sessa really were great! They played from 9pm until 1am and had everyone dancing. It was a 7 piece, which was great because it had so much energy. I’d definitely recommend them.

      Let me know if you have any other questions about planning a wedding in Italy. More than happy to chat directly.

      Sophie xx

      1. Hi Sophie,

        Thanks so much for your reply!

        I am so happy to hear that everything went as you planned and dreamed of! It sounds like your perfect wedding is something I have been dreaming about too! Every little detail seems just so perfect!

        We booked with Casale Celli which is a beautiful Tuscan villa (rustic but not too rustic 🙂 ). I think getting the balance between rustic Italian and English/Latvian wedding will be the tricky part! I am really really looking forward to seeing your photos (if you are sharing them).

        Thanks for the heads up on the band, I have been in touch with them! When you are properly settled back I would love to have a chat with you. It would be nice to get some dos and don’ts for somebody who has done it all. As you say…everything seems to take so much more longer than anticipated 🙂

        Massive congratulations again.

        Laine xx

        1. Oh your venue looks absolutely wonderful Laine!! So perfect! We were the same as you in wanting to balance rustic charm with a venue that still felt special, and it looks like you’ve found the perfect place.

          I will definitely be sharing photos on these pages. I’m so excited about seeing our professional ones, the suspense is killing me!

          In the meantime, do feel free to get in touch. I’d be more than happy to share lots of tips. It was definitely a learning experience and anything I can do to help or advise is my pleasure. My email address is s.cecchini6286@hotmail.co.uk so feel free to send me an email with any questions you have. I’d also be happy to share with you the photos that I have so far. xx

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