Guest Blogger: The Wedding Singer – Your questions answered

I had the pleasure of meeting this weeks guest blogger, Tom Wardle a few weeks ago when I helped organise Hargate Halls Open Day. I met Tom through twitter and he offerd to come and do a couple of sets for us at the Open day. I have to say he went down a storm and I was really impressed!
So here he is ansering all your questions about wedding singers……..enjoy!!

The Wedding Singer – Your questions answered

Since Jesus turned up at the wedding feast at Galilee and requested “Wonderwall”, live music has been a big part of the wedding day: from choosing what hymns to have played at the church ceremony to what song the DJ should play to make sure Nan and Granddad get up and have a dance. Being a singer/guitarist I have the privilege of being involved in the most important day of people’s lives when I’m entrusted to provide the live music for the wedding reception

wedding singer tom wardle

I’ve been a professional singer for nearly four years now, doing around 220 gigs a year, playing classic pop covers, mainly in an acoustic live lounge style, and I end up everywhere: from quiet little village pubs to converted monastery, to swanky London nightclubs. Each gig is different to the previous one and one of the beauties of this job is that I am never failed to be surprised as to where I end up playing.
Many people have asked me the same question though:

Where do you find the right one?
I know that most brides (because it usually is the bride that organises these things, isn’t it?) always struggle to find a band or musician for their wedding.

You’re local Bar:
Live music is so prominent in bars and clubs all over the country now that they are more than likely to stumble into a great band somewhere in town on a Saturday night out. I find that most of my bookings have been through people who have walked into a bar, seen me in the corner playing and thought that it’d be ideal for their wedding. Making sure that you see the band first is always a must because you need to know exactly what it is you are getting on the big day, and as I have found with 90% of brides to be, there is no room for error. Having at least ten phone calls from them after signing the contract up until the night before is quite usual, especially when I’m being asked “Are you still turning up tomorrow?.” (Yes, are you still paying me?) or “We’ve changed our first dance song, can you learn Bohemian Rhapsody on guitar?”.

Ask your friends who are married
People also seem to book me for weddings having seen me at their friend’s wedding the year before, and seeing how well it went down, have wanted a bit of that for their reception. It’s nice to know that I’m doing a good job now and again! So if you’re struggling to find the right entertainment for your night do just ask around: ask people who they had at their wedding or birthday/works party. Live music is usually the same whatever the occasion so if a band was good at one function, they’re bound to be even better on a big wedding night where everyone there wants to have a great time and end up dancing pissed.

Use an agent
Another trusted source for quality bands and musicians is agencies. The agents deal with wedding bookings everyday and can cater for any budget. All the bands are usually screened so that only the good ones go up on the website, and all the information on the bands, such as videos and music clips are there for your perusal. Booking through an agency you have peace of mind that everything is covered for your day. Little insider’s sneaky tip though: agencies will bang about 20% commission on a booking, so if you’re looking to save a bit of money, go direct to the artists own website and give them a call directly, more than likely you’ll get it a bit cheaper. Agencies hate this though, so you didn’t hear it from me!


How much will it cost?
This is affected by a number of factors, but bands and artists usually have a base rate which they then work from, depending on line-up, length of set, distance to the venue etc. Most of my public gigs are solo, where I go out with just myself and my acoustic guitar. They’re always upbeat and my back catalogue of songs spans up to nearly 400, so I have an eclectic set-list. More often than not, what I do on my own will be just right for what the couple are looking for: a nice laid back first set and then a faster more upbeat second set to finish with and leave the guests singing and dancing.

However, I always try and recommend a duo or a band if the budget allows it. I have a superb percussion player that comes out with me and with his magic drum box and my rhythmic acoustic playing we really get things moving and it gives the whole set a kick up the back side. Should the budget stretch even more then I would always recommend having a live band for that ultimate party feel. There’s something about having all the elements there (drums, bass, guitar, vocals) that makes the whole room swing and is guaranteed to fill the dance floor instantly.


The First Dance
First dance songs are also a major part of the night. It’s that part that get’s recorded on video, the bit where the whole essence of the marriage is summed up in in 3 and a half minutes

So getting the right song is always a big deal. Usually I’ll know the songs I get asked for, Other times I will get asked to learn a certain special song, which I always nervously pull off. The most requested songs for a first dance I get are: “Chasing Cars”, “Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing”, “Handbags and Glad rags”. Once I did even have to learn that song from the film The Wedding Singer called Want to Grow Old with You, as it was the couple’s favourite film, really worked though and a sweet little song. So anything quirky and individual to you both is what you should go with.
After the first dance I can usually relax a bit and stick to what I do best, which is entertain the crowd, sing kinda sweetly and encourage everyone to put down their cake and get up on the dance floor, after all that the rest of the night is easy and great fun.

So go ahead and make sure you book some live music for your wedding, and if you can’t find anyone, then come and ask me :)

For more information on Toms Services go to:
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 07725819693
Web: www.tomwardle.co.uk
Twitter: @TBWardle

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