The music choices for the evening at weddings are often very similar, though on occasion, we do come across something out of the ordinary. At a marquee wedding in the Cotswolds a few years ago, we saw just such a thing.
If you imagine ukuleles, you probably think of black-and-white footage of George Formby, quickly strumming along to some pretty boring, 1920’s style music. Either that, or you are thinking of grass skirts, Hawaii and calypso- style music. Think again.
We were at a private reidence to provide evening catering to guests for a few hours. The venue was the bride’s parents house which had a marquee erected in the rear garden (which was about as large as a football pitch). As we were unloading our crepe station from our van, two small cars pulled up and six waiscoated and bowler-hatted men and women hopped and told us they were the band for the evening. It took them about five minutes to set up, simply plugging their (electric) ukuleles and microphones into 4 amplifiers, setting up a scaled down drum kit (bass, snare and cymbal) and they were good-to-go.
Never in my wildest dreams did I expect what followed. They were basically a fully functioning band. They played a full set of wedding standards (more on that in later blogs) just as though they were a “proper” band! There was a lead uke (a sort of Eric Clapton style figure) and the drummer made up for his lack of extensive kit by playing with full-blooded energy. One of the ukuleles was set up as a bass, so they were able to recreate evey song they played very well indeed.
As is common at evening receptions, we provide crêpes from our entire menu not just to guests but to whoever is there, be it staff, photographers or band members, so we got chatting to them later in the evening as they were being served. Apparently the uke players were based in the midlands and (like us) were one of a kind so are regularly hired for weddings across the whole country. They had come up with the idea after performing a short set with members of their local ukulele group at the wedding of a uke-players daughter. It had gone down so well that they decided to try and fill that niche, and in my opinion, have done a very good, professional job of that.
The guest were fascinated by them, as they weren’t simply a generic wedding band- they offered the same sort of music usually heard at a wedding, but visually were completly different from the norm and offered a quirky, novelty aspect.
The dancefloor was full all night, offering all the evidence required that they were a definite “hit”.