OK, so today is a preeeeety special day. We’re always very excited and very fortunate that lots of couples choose us, The Zoots, to be there wedding band which on a day they’ll never forget. It really is a very lovely thing and gives us a very warm feeling to be part of something so memorable.
But today is a little bit different. Today one of The Zoots drummers, Simon Small is getting married! We’ve known Si for three years now and he plays with us whenever Master East isn’t available. We just love playing with Si, he’s great fun and very talented. Over the years, we’ve got to know Si and Emily as a couple and we’re really lucky to be able to call them our friends. So when Si popped the question on the Christmas Eve 2013 to his beautiful girlfriend Emily, we were absolutely thrilled to hear the news. They are just perfect together. We jumped to offer to perform for them both on their most special of special days. They said yes and the countdown to the wedding began.
Friday the 1st of May 2015 was the date. Priston Mill was the venue for the reception and St Julian’s church in Wellow is where the ceremony was to take place. We met with Emily and Si, and of course played with Si throughout the planning process. It was exciting hearing all the plans for the day, but Emily and Si didn’t tell us everything as they wanted to keep some bits a surprise for the big day!
At last the 1st of May was here. The sky was clear and the day was mild. We got up early to prepare for the day ahead. Not only were we performing for Emily & Simon, but we were to be guests at the wedding too! This was all very exciting for us as we don’t usually get to see ‘the day bit’, only ‘the evening bit’. We donned on our finery, packed our van (before the donning of the attire) and made our way towards Bath for what was set to be one hell of a wedding.
Zoots lead guitarist Ben Jones met us at Priston Mill to drive us to the church, a few miles away as we knew parking a van near the church may have been problematic. Ben and Simon went to school together so they know each other very well. Ben was looking forward to a day of seeing a few familiar faces! We got in the Benmobile and headed towards the picturesque village of Wellow.
We arrived to the clanging of church bells ringing out over the hills signifying that something amazing was about to happen.
We scuttled in and tried our best to quickly find a seat. IT WAS SO FULL. I didn’t know people could know this many people! We found our seats and settled in for something beautiful. Here’s a couple of shots of the church and the order of service for the day:
Before we knew it the church doors opened behind us, the string quartet begin and in walked Emily and her father, Eddie. Jamie caught that moment on this short video:
Emily looked simply stunning and I couldn’t help but shed a little tear as she walked in. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone look as happy as Emily did in that moment. It was a joy to witness.
The ceremony lasted an hour. The vicar, Reverend Matthew Street, was a hoot and he told some great stories about Emily and Simon.I really enjoyed singing the songs (hymns?) Simon and Emily had chosen for their wedding service. The Ardeton string quartet and a singer with the most amazing voice performed Ava Maria as the couple signed the registers. I’ve just relocated the order of service and wanted to give a special mention to ‘Cesar Franck’ who sang Ave Maria on the day!
The Ardeton String Quarter performed ‘All You Need is Love’ as the couple and their guests departed from the church. It was perfect.
Afterwards, the newlyweds greeted their family and friends outside of the church. Rose petals were thrown generously over the new Mr & Mrs Small as they made their way to their wedding car.
Afterwards it was onwards the short distance to Priston Mill. Set in the beautiful countryside there are two separate wedding venues at Priston Mill, The Watermill and The Tythe Barn. Si and Emily were having their wedding reception at the larger and very beautiful Tythe Barn. This ‘L shaped’ building over looks a beautiful manicured garden, at the bottom of which, runs a lovely stream. Past the stream are beautiful rolling hills.
We arrived to some delicious fizz and canapés. The string quartet, Ardeton Quartet from the church had beat us to the venue and were playing some wonderful music as we enjoyed our canapés. There were mozzerella balls, chorizo and prawns, salmon bites and pork belly. It all was delicious but the mozerella balls were my favourite! The guests were having a wonderful time seeing some old faces and meeting some new ones. The room at Priston Mill was a great space and there were plenty of seats outside too. We met some lovely people and finally got to meet Simon’s mum and dad too! 😀
Then we went in to the very beautiful main bit of the building where we were to be having the wedding breakfast! Simon and Emily and their parents greeted every single one of their guests as the entered this marvellous building. I thought this was such a lovely idea. Zoots lead guitarist Ben Jones and I were one of the first few in the room so I took some photos of Ben with the cake and flowers.
We sat and had great fun with the mouth cards. I’d never seen these before, there were hilarious and we had a real hoot seeing everyone try on the different mouths! The Ardeton Sting Quartet performed throughout dinner too. They had a fantastic repertoire and even let the guests choose some songs to play by selecting from the card on every table. Based in Bristol, these guys are seriously awesome, so if you’re looking for a string quarter, get in touch with these guys.
We met some lovely people on our table, the ‘Bistro’ table. We had such a great time. Soon it was time for dinner…waaaaaah – it was so delicious! Starters (for veggies) were mozerella, roasted cherry tomatoes, salad and this most amazing chutney type marmalade sauce. I would love to say I’d taken a photo of it, but it was gone in just a few mouthfuls so you’ll just have to imagine how tasty it was. It was yum and my mouth is watering just thinking about it! Mains (veggie option) was asparagus and mushroom in pastry with mash potato, a wonderful sauce (I want to say a cheesy sauce) and lots of vegetables (see the photo below). It was just delicious. I think everyone on our table was a Clean Plate Ranger. Dessert was a creamy delight of a creamy goodness and strawberries on a crunchy pastry base. It was so good. So good that Dan on our table managed to fit in two whole slices! 😀
Bellies full to burst, tummies sore from laughing, it was time for the speeches. There had been a sweepstake prior to the wedding breakfast to guess how long all 3 speeches would last so we were all eagerly checking our watches throughout to see who would win!
The speeches were great. Eddie’s speech was so heartfelt and wonderful. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house! I was particularly proud of Si when he took to the floor to deliver his speech. During the lead up to the wedding, he’d mentioned (a few times) how nervous he was. His speech was just perfect, well delivered and funny and just beautiful. Cal’s Best Man speech had everyone in stitches as he revisited his memory journal and told us stories about growing up with Si.
Unfortunately none of us from the “Bistro’ table won the sweepstake, I think the speeches were timed at around 42minutes 42 seconds. (Is that right?).
Following the speeches, it was time for Emily & Simon to cut the cake. It was so beautifully decorated, in keeping with the purple (lilac?) and white (cream?) theme of the day. It was lovely. And we had our fair share of the cake in the evening, it was delicious!
After the cutting on the cake a a quick change of shoes, we sprung into action to load in our equipment and get set up. Having performed at Priston Mill last year for Piers and Victoria’s wedding, we knew the layout well. This helps loads as we knew the best place to load in, the best place to take power from and how to arrange our equipment to best fit into the space. We were also aware of the limiter in place at Priston Mill. There were a few teething problems with the limiter when it was first installed but fortunately these had since been ironed out so it caused zero problems during the evening.
The team at Priston Mill had kindly arranged for us to use the office to get changed and store our belongings in.
Back down we went for Simon & Emily’s first dance, and it’s a good ‘un. The newly weds had chosen ‘Three Little Birds‘ by Bob Marley. An special track to the both of them, they knew they’d like this song from the beginning. We learnt it especially for them as we really wanted it to be special and just perfect.
Following their first dance, Emily had a father, daughter dance with her Dad, Eddie. They’d chosen ‘My Girl’ by The Temptations to dance together and it was extra special as Si took to the drums to play the track. It was just lovely. Following their father/daughter dance, Si awed his friends and family as he played ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ by Led Zeppelin on the drums. It was brilliant. All of Si & Emily’s friends and family’s gathered round and cheered as they watched him perform this iconic track.
After ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’, Si rejoined his wedding guests and his beautiful bride and we launched into our first set.
Before the wedding, we’d met with Emily & Simon for a curry and a catch up and to run through the plans and of course their song choices for the day! They’d chosen loads from our set. As Si was pretty familiar with our repertoire, having played with us so often, he knew what songs would work well. We crammed in loads, we wanted it to be so brilliant for them both. We played the likes of: Twist & Shout,Hound Dog, Rock Around The Clock,Johnny B Goode, La Bamba, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Can’t Take my Eyes off You, Wipeout and Hot Love in the first set. There really were so many, I can’t list them all. It was great fun watching Emily choose songs from our repertoire, I think there were only a few she didn’t choose! 😀
Here’s a few photos from the first set. Were you there? Did you take any photos? We’d love to see them!
In our break, Zoots bass player and DJ Stuart hit the decks playing some preee-tay awesome tunes which Emily and Si had chosen.
Second set was just a blur of awesomeness. Zoots lead guitarist Ben Jones made a friend for life as he wowed people with his shit hot guitaring. Cripes, it was brilliant. I’ll let the photos do the talking here…
Here’s a little video from the evening…
It was such a brilliant night, well such a brilliant day. Great food, great friends, great company, great music, great speeches and great memories. What a day!
Really can’t thank Si & Emily enough for letting us be a big part part of such a special day. We had such an awesome time which we really will never forget.
Lots of love from,
The Zoots, Jamie, Ben, Mike, Stu & Harriet x