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.
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.
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!
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.
…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.
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.
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!
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