Exit Music!

Walking out at the end of your wedding ceremony is a joyous affair – you’re finally married! After all that waiting, all that prep, and possibly all that anxiety too. We’ve definitely seen some relieved couples in our time! Some couples don’t really like to be the centre of attention, sometimes you can tell that either bride and groom haven’t been to many weddings before, and they just aren’t that comfortable experiencing a completely new thing. Well, no matter what the run up was like, the ‘recessional’ or walk-out music can be a moment to really celebrate. Or it can be a regal, traditional, poignant snapshot in the day. Whether you choose something bold and upbeat like ‘Happy’ by Pharrell or something grand and traditional like Widor’s ‘Toccata’ (which is what Charles and Diana walked out to), there is one thing that we recommend – that your music has a ‘pow’ factor right at the beginning. Woohoo! YOU ARE MARRIED!

A lot of our clients ask us our opinion on what music works really well at the end of a ceremony. It’s a matter of taste. I’ll always suggest something I have seen before or can imagine working, but I may not have the same taste as you! So here is a list of songs that have been chosen by our previous clients, from the last few years, in order of popularity. I have written some pointers for some of the songs to make them work the best for the moment too.

And the winner is….

Higher and Higher by Jackie Wilson

This song has been chosen by our clients a whopping 17 times in the last 4 years! The sentiment is perfect, is well known without being cheesy, it’s upbeat and joyful. You can watch our version here (scroll to 7 minutes in) or a minute snippet here on instagram. Our only advice would be to wait at the top of the altar for say 20 seconds in to where the song kicks in before walking down!

This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) by Natalie Cole

Chosen 11 times since 2015 where we first performed it as a flash mob at the end of a client’s wedding. It’s such a feel good song, and an obvious sentiment for a wedding. We perform this both a capella and with piano (no backing track just yet!) at various points across the ceremony. Both versions work really well, though my favourite for an exit is with piano. Watch the a capella version here, and a snippet with piano here.

Happy by Pharrell Williams

The biggest hit in 2013, this one is still popular, along with our Happy – Oh Happy Day mash up (that’s a video of our 9 piece choir with piano and guitar). It’s less popular as the years go on, but for me, the beginning of this song is perfect for a recessional piece – bam! it’s straight in , gloriously joyful, gets the congregation moving and clapping immediately and puts a smile on everyone’s face. Watch our a capella version and a snippet of us performing it live with a backing track.

Oh Happy Day – a classic by Edwin Hawkins

This is proving to be quite popular in 2019! A top tip for those who have civil ceremonies – sometimes the registrar will let you have this song to walk out to even though it’s religious. We find that some registrars are more lenient than others so you can only ask and see what they say! As with Higher and Higher, we recommend waiting at the altar for 20-30 seconds, soaking up your guests’ happy faces before walking down the aisle. if you walk to quickly, the song will have hardly started before you are out the door. Check out a very old version of us doing it here (we look so young…), an a capella version here and a snippet of us singing it last year too.

Signed Sealed Delivered by Stevie Wonder

This song never fails to bring a vibrant, celebratory atmosphere to the end of a wedding ceremony. Again, it’s straight in to the song for that pizzazz moment- whether with piano or backing track – and our male singers absolutely love singing it. Here’s the entire song with backing track and a snippet of us from this May as well.

All You Need Is Love by the Beatles

Our a capella version of this classic is popular throughout the ceremony, but some clients also like a more traditional ‘Love Actually’ style version of this song, which we also do. The trad version probably works better at the end.. even though we love our version, it probably works better as an entrance, though there’s been nothing stopping people from picking it!

The next few are equally as popular!

Feel the love/lovely day by Rudimental and Bill Withers

First performed by us in 2013, this has been a staple request from our clients at various points in the ceremony, it works for both entrance and exit. As with some of the other song, it’s best to take your time walking down the aisle for this one, especially if we’re performing it with backing track over piano. With the latter, we can shorten the introduction of the song to get to the meat of the song quicker. Watch our Ont’Sofa performance here.

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Motown classic by various artists!

A brilliant choice, definitely has the POW! factor from the start and a celebratory feel. Here’s the full version and a recent snippet too.

At Last by Etta James

Works well at any point in the ceremony. Sometimes we skip the intro for a recessional to get straight in to the song. Check out the vids: Emily, Kirsten, Mercy.

Other songs over the years that have been requested are:

Lovely Day – our a capella arrangement works really well for outdoor weddings.

Feeling Good – this has a slowish start and our arrangement is quite different to Nina Simone’s version.

Stand By Me – this song generally works as a sing-a-long number in civil ceremonies but some clients have picked it for the recessional, it has a happy vibe to it!

Love On Top – for RnB fans of Beyoncé, it’s a long track that really ramps up at the end.

No Diggity – more 90s RnB for those who fancy a bit of nostalgia to walk out to.

Everybody’s Free – works for a capella weddings for a more chilled vibe, reminiscent of the film Romeo and Juliet.

A Thousand Years – this usually features as an entrance but as an exit, it’s romantic and uplifting.

Rather Be – i think this really works for an exit but it hasn’t proved particularly popular.

You’ll Never Walk Alone – blatantly for Liverpool fans. Or musical theatre fans.

Thinking Out Loud – for the romance and tenderness.

Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now – it’s a good choice, especially if you love 80s music.

You Are My Destiny – an upbeat Lionel Richie tune. (Only available with piano)

Movin’ On Up – the Primal Scream one. It’s a great choice if it means something to you!

What about MP3s and organ music?

You don’t have to have us sing you out. If the traditional vibe suits you and your occasion, then go for it! Popular organ recessionals include the Wedding March by Wagner or Mendellsohn, Tocatta by Widor and the Queen of Sheba by Handel. We also get requests for other songs not on our list which are sung as solos, and requests to play MP3s, like Wifey by Next and Marry You by Bruno Mars.

Even if the song you want isn’t on this list, hopefully by listening to a few you can get a sense of what will work for your wedding. Many clients commission us to do something new especially for their day, you can to. Have fun working it out!

Our Wedding Checklist

Wedding Checklist

It’s racing towards your wedding day, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve discovered a million things you have to do or tell people before the day, and your brain is about to explode. How on earth will you remember it all?! Having said that, we have worked with many a super-organised client who have given their ushers 10 page running orders too. Either way, we thought we’d offer our help with this short list of things you may have forgotten in the midst of all the wedmin, to help us or any of your suppliers and guests – so there isn’t that one thing you just forgot to do.

You can use this list for any of your suppliers, and definitely us if you choose to have us perform on your wedding day.

Have you told us of any parking restrictions?

Not every church or venue has a car park, especially if it’s central in a city. Your musicians and suppliers will have equipment to bring in, and will need somewhere to park for at least 4 hours. You may need to cover parking charges if they will be incurred but the most important thing is that we know and can prepare for any parking restrictions. Otherwise, it makes for a stressful beginning to our day and most likely delays in setting up.

Have you told your vicar / venue our time of arrival and made sure the venue will be open?

We arrive 2 hours before a ceremony, or 2 hours and 15 minutes before, if we are singing before your ceremony. It may seem like a lot, but it flies by – we much prefer to be early and chilled out than rushed and stressed. There have been times where we have found out at the last minute we can only access the venue 45 minutes before the ceremony, meaning we only had 30 minutes to set up before we started singing. We can make it happen, but it’s not ideal. Other times, the church is locked, even though we’ve made our set-up times clear. Our advice is to check, check again and remind whoever is in charge of our arrival time!

Have you saved seats for your bridesmaids?

You may think this is something you’d never forget but we’ve been at a few weddings where the bridesmaids have had to stand at the side for the entire ceremony. What a shame! Therefore, carefully count how many reserved seats at the front you need.

Have you checked the lyrics of your hymns in the order of service?

Please do ask for us to check over your lyrics and orders of service for you, it’s all part of our service! Our eagle eye will be able to spot mistakes or discrepancies really quickly as we have sung at so many weddings. I recently went to a friend’s wedding who had a completely different version of ‘Be Thou My Vision’ in the order of service to those in the worship band (who also had different lyrics to each other) and no one knew what to do! It was a car crash, and it would have only taken five minutes for someone to check over.

Have you told your officiator what we are doing in the ceremony?

Occasionally, you come across registrars and vicars who have very set ideas of what should be happening in your service – and it’s not what you want! A good example of this is the entrance music. Now, we shorten the length of the entrance to around 2 minutes, but for some that will still leave time for the bride and groom to be standing at the front before we finish. Some registrars will make all sorts of actions and movements to get us to stop before the end of the song so they can move on, embarrassing themselves and disrupting the atmosphere when we don’t end it – it’s difficult to stop a song mid-flow! This can also happen in the singing of the register. It’s best to have a chat with them beforehand to make sure they are on board with everything that you are doing!

Have you checked the venue allow music outdoors?

This is something the reception venue will probably tell you, but it’s always best to check verbally in case it’s stuck in some Ts and Cs you skimmed over. You may never have thought it, but some venues need a licence to play music outdoors, sometimes only for the evening, but sometimes all day. So your lovely idea of having music outside during drinks may be vetoed very close to the day. Always best to check at the time of booking!

Can you hear those speaking in outdoor ceremonies?

For outdoor ceremonies, a tip and offer from us, is for your readers, and officiators if needed, to use our microphones for spoken word. With wind, background noise, readers with light voices and officiators who think they can be heard, it can be difficult for all the guests to hear what is going on at the front, and of course, this is the most important part of the day! We also extend this to the bride and groom themselves for the ‘I do’s, ‘I will’s and vows.

Have you made sure your suppliers have all the correct information?

This one sounds obvious right? But recently one of our clients neglected to tell us their ceremony and reception were in different locations. It’s just one of those things – so obvious to you, you can forget to tell others. Check over the contract and make sure all the relevant information is on there.

Have you checked if your suppliers need food?

We rarely require food when singing for just the ceremony, but with ceremony and reception, or evening events, we do require a meal and refreshments. To make it easier for you, we have an option to add £10pp to buy and bring our own instead. For evening events though, it will be required, and for the most part will usually be by your other suppliers. Check with your venue and suppliers what you arrange for this, the venue will unlikely be able to provide anything on the day without prior notice.

Do you have anything to add to this list? Anything you / a friend / family member forgot on their big day? Please email us at info@getgospel.co.uk to let us know so we can add it on!

Music ideas and Tips for the Bridal Party Entrance


Brides, this is your moment!

For some of us, it’s one of the most nerve wracking moments of life with all eyes on the bride, for others, it’s a moment of lime-lit, glorious celebration! One thing is for sure, the entrance of the bride is the a much awaited, spine tingling pause that you don’t want to waste, rush or be afraid of.

I knew what song I wanted to walk in to two or three years before I met my husband. Being a musician, it was always going to be on my radar, especially as I sing at weddings for a living. I kept it a secret from everyone, waited for about 90 seconds into the song before sending down my bridesmaids and then made my entrance as the beat kicked in. The words were so special to me and said everything I wanted to say to my husband. We printed them in the order of service, so that people who hadn’t heard the song before (probably 98% of them!) could be involved in the moment too. The only thing I wish I had done – and stupidly is something I always recommend everyone else to do – was practise the procession with my bridesmaids and the vicar. I actually didn’t know the vicar would be walking down the aisle with us! It was possibly the only thing I didn’t think of before the day. So yes, the walk in is special and worth thinking about to the max.

We often get couples asking us for ideas of music to walk in to, so I thought I’d compile our top entrance songs from the last few years, along with some ideas and advice (scroll to the bottom). It’s much easier to find songs to walk out to than in to. Walking out is easy – it’s a celebration and that’s pretty much it! But the processional can be many more emotions; you may want a serene atmosphere, or a stately entrance, something fun or something serious, something religious or something humorous and light hearted. I was bridesmaid at a wedding where we danced down the aisle at the beginning! Most people save that until the end, but not in this case – maybe you’re the same. The main thing for you to decide is what atmosphere and feel you want to create, and what you want to say.

Here are our top 10 processional songs from the last 5 years, click on the link to watch us perform them:

1.) At Last by Etta James
2.) Kissing You by Des’ree
3.) Feel the Love / Lovely Day by Rudimental and Bill Withers
4.) All You Need Is Love by The Beatles
5.) A Thousand years by Cristina Perri
6.) Blinded By Your Grace by Stormzy
7.) Songbird by Eva Cassidy
8.) Hallelujah by Alexandra Burke
9.) Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
10.) All Of Me by John Legend

Here are some that have been commissioned especially for the entrance:

1.) Ave Maria by Schubert
2.) Ave Maria by Beyonce
3.) Weathered by Jack Garrett
4.) Mirrors by Justin Timberlake
5.) I Swear by All 4 One
6.) The Promise by Tracy Chapman
7.) Greatest Day by Take That
8.) Will You Be There by Michael Jackson
9.) Fields of Gold by Sting / Eva Cassidy
10.) Wings by Birdy

And finally, some other less requested tunes that have been special to some couples!

1.) From This Moment by Shania Twain
2.) Lean On Me by Bill Withers
3.) Lovely Day by Bill Withers
4.) I Will Follow Him from Sister Act
5.) Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk
6.) Joyful Joyful from Sister Act
7.) If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys
8.) Feeling Good by Nina Simone
9.) Love by Musiq Soulchild
10.) Everybody’s Free from Romeo and Juliet

Sometimes a solo is enough. Here are more ideas that we have performed as solos:

1.) Wherever You Will Go by Charlene Soraia
2.) Amazed by Lone Star
3.) You and I by Stevie Wonder

Fashions change with time, and each year we get asked to arrange something new from current hits. This list may inspire you to commission us with a new song that is special to you. We love it when couples put time and effort in to their wedding to make it totally personal to them. It’s not something you do every day and may be one of very few times all your friends and family are in the same place. Celebrate your personalities and your love and make it a wedding day people remember.

Some tips for the entrance:

Tip 1: Consider how large the bridal party is and how long the aisle is. We recommend 1.5 to 2 minutes for the processional. This can feel fairly long, but much shorter than this feels rushed and often isn’t enough time to do justice to the piece of music. It will mean waiting a little while before the bridal party sets off down the aisle and everyone taking a leisurely pace. You may need to coach your bridal party to do this, and usually the children run! A little time at the altar / celebrant’s table is great for a chance to pass your bouquet over, fix your dress, say hello to your fiancé and take a few deep breaths. One of my bug bears is when the music stops immediately as the bride reaches her destination. There is no rush!

Tip 2: However, always chat to the music team about your processional (and we always make sure we are on the same page as the bride!). You may want even longer, you may want the entire song. If you have an outdoor wedding, your walk may be especially long. Everyone is different, and that’s what makes singing at weddings such a fun job.

Tip 3: Here’s something to be very careful of: you or your venue may have placed candles in jars at the end of each row of chairs. They look beautiful and are a fairly cheap way of sprucing up a bland room. Unfortunately, we have seen a number of dresses catch alight from these candles. The jars can get knocked over, usually by the train of the dress, and then catch fire. Usually a guest quickly spots the danger and stamps it out, in one case we saw, quite a bit of the dress was ruined (thankfully she had another wedding dress to change in to – who has two wedding dresses on the day?! Incredible!). Either way, it’s not the best beginning to your ceremony so our recommendation is to not have those candles unless it is a wide aisle and you don’t have a big dress.

Tip 4: This may sound hideous, but we have also seen an aisle so small and a dress so big that two people can’t fit down the aisle together, whether it be bride and father, or bride and groom. It’s something worth checking before you get your dress!

Tip 5: Let your registrar, vicar or celebrant know how long your entrance song will be and that you are happy for it to finish before the ceremony starts. Some celebrants are very eager to get going and make signal after signal for the music to stop. This also happens in the signing of the register. Those signals can be quite awkward for the guests and the couple to see, and there is really no need, as there is usually only another 15 to 30 seconds left of the song.

Do you have more tips you would like to share? What have you seen and experienced that would be helpful for others to know? Do you have a song you think should be on our list? Let us know! And thanks for reading. Good luck!

Song ideas for funerals from our existing repertoire

Please do ask if you have a song that isn’t on our list that you would like to be performed for your loved one’s funeral. Everyone is different, and we have performed a multitude of songs that you would not expect at funerals! You have to make it personal, fitting and special as a tribute to them and your family and friends so don’t be afraid to ask for something out-of-the-box.

Here are some ideas from our current repertoire that might suit.

You can have any hymn or worship song you would like. We don’t list them all because there are so many to choose from, but here are some from recent funerals we have sung:

Amazing Grace
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty
How Great Thou Art
Love Divine
Lord of all Hopefulness
In Christ Alone
Morning Has Broken
Oh Happy Day
What A Friend We Have In Jesus
My Life Is In Your Hands (Kirk Franklin)
Total Praise (Richard Smallwood)
Never Would Have Made It (Marvin Sapp)

Pop Songs:

Blinded By Your Grace (Stormzy)
Smile (Nat King Cole)
Angels (Robbie Williams)
I Say A Little Prayer
Walk On By
A Thousand Years (Christina Perri)
One Sweet Day (Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men)
You’ll Never Walk Alone
Stand By Me
Lean On Me
Songbird
There must be an angel (Eurythmics)
You Raise Me Up (Westlife)

You can have any number of songs at the funeral. Some people like us to sing as guests enter, as well as the entrance of the coffin. Songs can punctuate the service, moments for reflection, as well as leading hymns. Some people have the words for guests to sing along, but a lot of people prefer us to sing on our own too. Either is fine! In crematorium and church services, there is usually a time for the close family to say a final goodbye, this is a good place for us to sing. And finally, a song for the exit. In general, we song anywhere between two and seven songs in the service. For burials, around three songs will suffice, but again, it’s all up to you.

Other advice and information:

If you are having a crematorium service, there is limited time before and after your slot time to set up and set down – usually 5-10 minutes either side, but it also depends on the party before you, as well the length of the service. We suggest booking a double slot so that there is more time for you and more time for us to set up and set down. If that isn’t possible, we can sing without amplification to minimise the set up time.

Please do let us know if you think that the funeral service will be longer than an hour. We work to the assumption that most funerals are around 45-60 minutes so will need to factor in longer services when it comes to booking further events that day.

Please ask us if you have questions or would like any advice.

How much does it cost to hire a gospel choir?

It’s the question on everyone’s lips. Can we afford a gospel choir? How much does one cost anyway, and why? We have performed for people from all walks of life in various scenarios, and we receive an enquiry pretty much every day – usually more. Many people have no clue what it costs to hire musicians, some people think we do it all for fun – and it is fun – but it is also what pays the bills for us. From enquiries to work for no pay, to £150, to £500, to £1000, to £3000 – expectations are different. So here’s some clue as to what kind of budget you need and what you’re paying for!

There are two main things that you pay for when you book us.

  • The ‘on-the-day’ cost.
    This is pretty simple – paying for our time on the day (which is more than just the performance but the travel, set up time and sound check), paying for our expertise and professionalism, plus the work we have already done in our arrangements and rehearsals so that we can deliver a great performance.
  • The ‘before’ cost.
    There are hours of work for each client in emailing, giving advice, sending technical certificates, invoicing and contracts, phone calls, client meetings- the list is quite long. Then, there is communicating with the singers the details of the event, rehearsing and learning new material. We also offer you loads of help when you are organising your event, with blogs, helpful documents and great communication via email, phone, skype and meeting.

What other factors are involved in the price of hiring a gospel choir?

  • Location, location, location!
    Where is your event and how long does it take to get there? The further away you are from London, the more it will cost, to cover our time and our travel expenses.
  • How many singers do you want?
    Our smallest line up is 4 and our largest is 12.
  • How long, or how short is your event? 
    Is it particularly short, e.g. a marriage proposal, or particularly long e.g. extra to our normal packages?
  • Are you having a large wedding, or large event?
    We may need to hire in a bigger PA for events over 200 people.
  • Do you want songs not on our repertoire list?
    We charge £225 for new arrangements.

How much does Get Gospel charge?

As you can see it all depends on the factors above but our minimum charge for most events in 2018 is £1100, with funerals and marriage proposals usually being less.
There are loads of gospel choirs in the UK to choose from, all with different price ranges. We are somewhere in the middle with our pricing.

Is there any way to make it cheaper?

Yes, but only occasionally. If your event is very near to where we are and very easy for us to do, or if we are free at the very last minute before your event we may give you a discount.
Generally, when conversing with suppliers for events, the best way to approach them is with kindness and enthusiasm for their art or work, and to try and make it easy job for them. This may also encourage them to give you a discount.

I hope you’ve found this article helpful! Do get in touch if you would like to know more about what we offer!

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Choosing hymns for your wedding

Photo Credit: Richard Galloway

A question that pops up fairly often for us is, “What hymns should we choose for our wedding?” It’s something that I spent a lot of time thinking about in preparation for my own. I knew that my wedding would be full of musicians and people familiar with church and church-type songs, yet I still deliberated over what songs would people know, what people would feel comfortable with, how I would encourage them to sing and how to give them the best experience possible for a wedding.

Many couples already know that their guests aren’t comfortable in or familiar with church, let alone the songs. A lot of them rely on songs they remember from school, which unfortunately can bore the pants of the ordinary person after verse 5! So I thought I’d compile a list of good songs to choose, some do’s and don’ts and some things we offer that might brighten up your congregation.

Do

Choose songs that people can remember or relate to… famous hymns, sports anthems, songs from movies.

Write the lyrics in the order or service and make sure they are correct.

Get advice from vicars and musicians – ask them to cast an eye over your choices and lyrics to spot any mistakes.

Ask your friends and family what they think of your choices – do they know the songs you’ve picked.?

Think contemporary. You may love organs (played well, they are amazing instruments and they are definitely for grand occasions!), but you could also consider a piano, a band, or a contemporary backing track. A pianist may be able to update the feel of a hymn just by the way he plays it.

Listen to the hymns on youtube or iTunes as your deciding. You may think you don’t know them when you actually do.

Get people to help with the singing if you think none of your guests will sing – either us at Get Gospel, a church choir or other musicians.

Don’t

Choose songs that have a million verses. It can get tiring and boring for the congregation. I suggest four verse should be the maximum, but that depends on the length of the verse of course. Feel free to eliminate some of the verses and/or choruses.

Choose a song just because you remember it from school, unless you want to remember your school days. There are so many songs out there which could be more impacting, more suited to the occasion, more vibrant. Ask for advice!

Pick too many. Two is a good number, three will work if they are good songs and not too long!

Some popular choices

Hymns

Jerusalem  (football anthem & English anthem)
I Vow To Thee My County (rugby anthem) – there are more spiritual words available as well.
Amazing Grace
Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer
How Great Thou Art
Be Thou My Vision
Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Be Still For The Presence of the Lord
Shine Jesus Shine
Love Divine All Loves Excelling
Praise My Soul The King Of Heaven
Lord Of All Hopefulness

Two more with caution:
Lord Of The Dance – be aware this has a lot of verses! It’s popular but worth cutting a verse or two.
One More Step Along The World I Go – as above! The tune is also quite tedious, though popular as it is reminiscent of childhood.

Contemporary Worship Songs – this usually depends on the year you’re marrying but here are some staples:

In Christ Alone
Cornerstone
10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)
How Great Is Our God
Happy Day
How Deep The Father’s Love For Us
Beautiful One
Here I am to worship
Your Love Never Fails
Your Praise Will Ever Be On My Lips
Lord I Give Your My Heart

Gospel Songs – again it depends on the year but here are some consistent favourites

Oh Happy Day – this is something we often teach to a congregation before singing, and works well.
Joyful Joyful – this is a well known tune in its own right and from Sister Act 2 that can bring some fun to proceedings.
What A Friend We Have in Jesus
Total Praise
Lord You Are Good and Your Mercy Endureth Forever
Friend Of God
Never Would Have Made It
My Life Is In Your Hands

Is there a song you think should be on this list? If so, please let me know! Email info@getgospel.co.uk.

I hope this little list helps! Good luck and have fun!

Jules

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Our Top Tips For Civil Ceremonies!

Civil WeddingsWhile organising my own wedding, I had a whole new understanding of how much easier it was to have both the ceremony and reception in one venue! That may be what you’ve decided to do, and so a civil ceremony is what you’re having. Perhaps you’re not religious at all or just don’t fancy getting married in a church. So many people now choose to have a civil ceremony over a church wedding, and they can be quite different experiences. Here are some of our top tips from performing at hundreds of civil ceremonies over the years.

  1. Be on time! Civil ceremonies are a lot quicker than church ones, and unfortunately sometimes registrars can be very busy with a number of weddings in one day. If you’re unlucky enough to be on a day like that, the later you are, the shorter your service will be. Think of all that preparation and thought you’ve poured into the order of service, and suddenly it’s rushed, chopped and cut short. We recently sang at a wedding where the bride was only ten minutes late – fairly normal for a church wedding – but the registrar had a whopping six weddings to officiate that day! Their service was a stingy 17 minutes long, with one song cut, one reading cut and a very rushed officiation. How sad! You only have one wedding ceremony – make it count and be on time.
  2. No religion allowed! That’s right, you’re not allowed anything remotely religious in a civil ceremony. Sometimes couples forget what actually is religious, as so much religious music in entwined with our culture. For example, the hymn ‘Jerusalem’, or ‘I Vow To Thee My Country’ are both popular sports anthems but both hymns. Registrars sometimes ask to see the lyrics of the songs we sing to check it’s all religion free. And sometimes, because our name is Get Gospel, you can’t even put our name in the orders of service! Thankfully, not all registrars are this strict but it’s always good to check with them, or check with us what songs you can have.
  3. Make the service your own. As civil ceremonies are short, it can all be over far too soon. Take time to figure out how to make it memorable and special. Readings can be funny, instructional or deep – and if you can get all three in one go, you’re winning. I recommend choosing things that make your guests chuckle to help them – and you – relax.
  4. Choose songs that represent your tastes. Go for what you enjoy rather than what you think you should have, or what your mother wants! If you’re not into classical music, Pachabel’s Canon will bore you to tears. Get your guests clapping along to Happy instead. If you prefer the Star Wars theme tune to Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud go for it 100%! It’s these things that make your wedding stick in people’s minds for years to come.
  5. Be yourselves. Relax. Enjoy the ride. Laugh. Giggle. Cry. Don’t be afraid to talk to the registrar or your guests – this is YOUR day, and these are your friends and family. No one will tell you off! Be mindful; take it all in as it’s happening. Let your personalities shine through.
  6. Take time to walk down the aisle. It may be the most nerve wracking thing you’ll do that decade, or even your life, with everyone looking at you, acute self awareness, anxiety you’ll trip over and being about to make the most important declaration of your life… (oh dear, I’m probably making it worse!) but atmosphere is everything in a moment like this. Civil ceremonies are often held in smaller rooms than church ceremonies, so you’ve less walking time to play with. You may want to send your bridesmaids down the aisle first. Make sure they walk slowly too and smile! I’ve been a bridesmaid six times so far and it doesn’t come instinctively even to a smiley person like me, so your bridesmaids may need encouragement. Depending on the length of the song you pick, it’s quite likely that you should wait for quite a while before you begin walking. It’s always better to build up anticipation than rush.
  7. Practise the processional walk. You can always ask for a copy of the music you’re having for a entrance rehearsal. Visualise it in the days leading up and on the morning itself. Preparation is everything.
  8. Consider carefully what atmosphere you’d like to create. Is it serene? Is it joyful? Is it excited? Is it emotional? Do you have a message that you want to convey through the music? Find a song to convey those feelings – we can help you find one, even if it isn’t one that we’re going to sing. I’ve sung at hundreds of weddings with all types of music, so I have lots of ideas.
  9. Make walking out as husband and wife a joyful moment! Take your time, enjoy the applause, do a dance if you feel inclined! We recommend upbeat, happy songs for the recessional, and ones that have an impact straight away. Songs can sometimes be rearranged to start with a bang in case it takes 45 seconds to get to the well known chorus. We are all set to help you choose and give advice as to what will work well on the day.
  10. There’s a before and after too! Have you ever been to a wedding where there’s deathly silence after the exit song has finished? It’s feels quite weird! It’s good to figure out what music would be good to follow on – oftentimes we sing after the ceremony too, sometimes outside as guests are mingling for a spot of entertainment. Before the ceremony, it’s important to create an atmosphere, whether it’s joyful and exciting or calm and focused. Music is the only thing that can really do that.

Well, I hope I’ve given you some good pointers and I hope I haven’t piled a bunch more of organisation on your plate! If there’s one thing I want to communicate, it’s how important music is to the overall atmosphere of the ceremony – it can make it so memorable! And that’s what we aspire to do for every single wedding we perform at.

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Our Top Tips For Church Weddings

Wasing Park Wedding

You’re engaged. You’ve booked the church, the venue, the music, the honeymoon… but you haven’t really thought about the actual ceremony. Maybe you don’t go to church much, maybe you haven’t been to that many weddings before. Well, here are some tips from our years of experience that may help you along the way.

  1. Make it memorable. Make it your own. Weddings are rare occasions for the participants, hopefully once in a lifetime events. So spend time thinking how to make it unique to you. Most vicars and priests these days are fairly flexible with what you include… think outside the box. How can this service reflect you as people? What music do you like? What books or stories have impacted you? I personally love the Anglo-Catholic order of service and vows, but why not add to it by writing and reading your own vows. Add a performance song. Get a creative friend to write you a poem. The options are endless.
  2. Hymns aren’t all that bad! If your vicar insists on hymns, choose ones your congregation may know; sports anthems are often good e.g. ‘Jerusalem’ or ‘I Vow To Thee My Country’ – there are spiritual words to this too. Get Gospel often sing hymns in a funky way to make them more contemporary, like ‘Amazing Grace’ or ‘Joyful Joyful’ from Sister Act. Sometimes we teach ‘Oh Happy Day’ to the congregation, which breaks the ice and gets guests clapping. Some couples choose uplifting secular songs that their guests may know instead of hymns they don’t. ‘Lean On Me’ may be more suitable to your crowd than ‘One More Step Along The World I Go’.
  3. Get to know your vicar and get him on side. Having a good relationship with your vicar will help you to feel comfortable on the day. Buying him or her a gift to say thank you before the big day may help! Communicate well. Make sure the vicar/church wardens know when your team (florists, musicians, photographers) will be arriving so that the church is open on time.
  4. Take time to walk down the aisle. The lovely thing about church weddings is that the aisles are usually a lot longer than in civil ceremonies. It doesn’t stop some brides running down them though! It may be the most nerve wracking thing you’ll do that decade with a hundred people looking at you, but atmosphere is everything in a moment like this. Depending on the length of the song you pick, it’s quite likely that you should wait a while before you begin walking. Let the anticipation build. Send your bridesmaids ahead of you. One of the most memorable processions I’ve seen was a friend waiting almost two minutes to enter the room to a piece by Saint-Saens called ‘The Swan’. The beautiful tension in the music made her entrance powerfully emotional. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house! Which leads me on to…
  5. Practise the processional walk. Visualise it in the days leading up and on the morning itself. Preparation breeds confidence. If you’re having live music for the processional, you can always ask for a copy of the music you’re having for a entrance rehearsal. Make sure the vicar or priest knows if your entrance music is longer than usual. And if you’ve music still left to run when you’ve arrived at the altar, let it play. Say hello to your fiance, let your bridesmaids fix your train, hand over the bouquet and relax for a minute. Enjoy the moment.
  6. Consider carefully what atmosphere you’d like to create. Is it serene? Is it joyful? Is it excited? Is it emotional? Do you have a message that you want to convey through the music? Find a song to convey those feelings – we can help you find one, even if it isn’t one that we’re going to sing. I’ve sung at hundreds of weddings with all types of music, so I have lots of ideas.
  7. Choose your readers carefully. Encourage them to read slowly, clearly and loudly. Then get them to read even more slowly, clearly and loudly! It’s amazing how many people rush through beautiful and profound readings. Asking a guest who you know will read well may be better than getting your nervous and emotional mother to do it!
  8. Savour each moment. You’ve been planning this for a long time! Enjoy the ride. Laugh. Giggle. Cry. Don’t be afraid to talk to each other, the vicar or your guests – this is YOUR day, and these are your friends and family. No one will tell you off! Be mindful; take it all in as it’s happening. Let your personalities shine through.
  9. Make walking out as husband and wife a joyful moment! Take your time, enjoy the applause, do a dance if you feel inclined! We recommend upbeat, happy songs for the recessional, and ones that have an impact straight away. Songs can sometimes be rearranged to start with a bang in case it takes 45 seconds to get to the well known chorus. We are all set to help you choose and give advice as to what will work well on the day.
  10. There’s a before and after too! Have you ever been to a wedding where there’s deathly silence after the exit song has finished? It’s feels quite weird! It’s good to figure out what music would be good to follow on – oftentimes we sing after the ceremony too, sometimes outside as guests are mingling for a spot of entertainment. Before the ceremony, it’s important to create an atmosphere, whether it’s joyful and exciting or calm and focused. Music is the only thing that can really do that.

Well, I hope that helps you make the most of a short but probably the most important hour or so of your life! I’d love to hear your advice too if you something comes to mind.

Have a super day and make the most of it – good luck!

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Thinking About Hiring Us For A Funeral?

We find it such a privilege to sing at funerals. It is a very sensitive time for all, but we believe that music allows a space for family and friends to express their emotions, to remember happy times, for prayer or mindfulness – music can bring relief. We are honoured every time a family chooses to have us sing at a funeral and always endeavour to do a fantastic job fulfilling their requests.

What Music Do People Choose For Funerals?

Some people need extra support singing hymns, others choose the favourite song of the deceased, or songs that reflects their character. Some choose songs to reflect their sadness and help them release their emotions. Others prefer to celebrate the life of their friend or family member and still others to have a time of worship and prayer, giving glory to God.

It depends on who you are and your desires – we are happy to help you achieve the best possible funeral service for you and your family.

Our Funeral Package

We know that funerals are more expensive than you would first think, and that keeping the cost down is important. We therefore charge 25% less to sing at funerals than our other events. We are also flexible with our line ups – you don’t have to book four singers, but can go with one or three singers if your budget won’t allow for four.

Every funeral is different so have a think about what kind of songs you would like before you get in touch. Do you want

  • Hymns? Worship songs? Gospel songs?
  • Something from our repertoire list?
  • A particular contemporary song?

We recommend booking our pianist as this gives you a lot of flexibility when choosing songs.

  • It’s an all inclusive price – you can have as many or as few songs as you like in the service. We can play songs from an iPod through our PA system and if you book our pianist/organist, he can also play solos.
  • Every funeral is different so we can be flexible on the information and prices below but this is a good guide.
  • If you are booking one singer or singer and pianist,
  • you can choose any song you would like as long as it is performable! This is at our discretion.
  • If you are booking three singers,
  • you can choose anything from our three singer song list and any hymns or worship songs;
  • you can choose one contemporary song that isn’t on our list for no extra charge.
  • Any extra songs will cost £150 to arrange for the day.
  • If you are booking four singers,
  • you can choose anything from our full repertoire list and any hymns/worship songs;
  • you can choose one contemporary song that isn’t on our list for £100 extra.
  • Any extra songs will cost £200 to arrange for the day. This is because it can take a whole day to arrange new music plus the learning time for our singers.

How much do we charge?

These are our prices for London and surrounding areas. If you are further afield it will cost a bit more to cover our travel time and expenses. The cost includes the hire of our small PA system and any equipment we need.

The funeral service only:

  • One singer – pianist £250 (choose from Jules, James Francis or James Philip)
  • One singer and pianist £425
  • Three singers and pianist £875
  • Four singers a cappella / backing tracks £925
  • Four singers and pianist £1125

The funeral service plus the burial:

Singing at the graveside will be a cappella (just voices). It may be slightly cheaper if both are on the same site.

  • One singer – pianist £375
  • One singer and pianist £550
  • Three singers and pianist £1100
  • Four singers a cappella / backing tracks £1175
  • Four singers and pianist £1375

No doubt you have lots of other questions so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We hope this article has been helpful in planning your loved one’s funeral.

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What’s In Our Wedding Package?

Each choir has their own way of organising their wedding package and pricing so we wanted to outline ours nice and clearly for you. Please get in touch if you would like a quote; we have a base price for London which increases the further away you are! Read on…

AN ALL INCLUSIVE CEREMONY

You can have as many songs as you like within the actual ceremony. It can be songs sung by us, organ/piano solos e.g. for entrance and exit, songs played from an iPod through our system, or solos by one of our team. We can also sing in the hymns to bolster the congregation (either with microphones or loudly within the congregation), or even lead worship.

BEFORE AND AFTER ‘EXTRAS’

You can choose up to 5 songs for before or after the service. You can have all five before, all five after, or two before and three after – it’s up to you. If you are choosing to have songs after the ceremony, make sure you pick a cappella songs. This is so we can move to wherever you guests move to and still entertain them. This is usually at the back of the church, outside the church, in a garden or another room.

SO YOUR CHURCH CEREMONY MAY LOOK LIKE THIS…

Before the service: three songs
Entrance: one song – we recommend 1.5 minutes for this. We can shorten some songs for this purpose. You might choose to have our organist play for this bit.
Hymn or worship song
Performance: some people choose to have one or two performances during their ceremony.
Signing of the register: two or three songs. Ask your vicar what he recommends.
Hymn or worship song
Exit: one song. Again, you can choose to have the organist/pianist at this point.
After the service: two songs a cappella outside the church.

YOUR CIVIL CEREMONY MIGHT LOOK LIKE THIS…

Before the service: nothing. We are happy to play an iPod playlist for you for atmosphere.
Entrance: one song. Remember you can have no religious music whatsoever in a civil ceremony.
Performance: one or two songs. Some couples have secular songs for their guests to join in with, to take the traditional place of a hymn.
Signing of the register: usually two songs but it’s good to have one spare in case you need it.
Exit: one song.
After the service: five songs a cappella wherever your guests may move to.

These are just examples. You may choose to have entrance, exit, signing of the register and that’s it. It’s entirely up to you!

THE DRINKS RECEPTION

If you have booked us to do both the ceremony and reception, we set down the PA system straight after the ceremony and move it in to another room, or perhaps outside if the weather is nice. This transition takes about 15 minutes. We usually create our own set list for the hour but do let us know if you definitely want or definitely don’t want any particular songs.

We hope this article is helpful, but please do get in touch if you have any further questions!

Check out our testimonials and our online videos for more inspiration.

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