• DJ James Stephens

A Useful Guide to Sorting Your Wedding Party

Updated: Jul 24

Booking everything you need for your wedding can be an absolute minefield. This blog provides some useful tips for the evening of your special day.


  1. Choosing the Right DJ for Your Wedding

  2. How Much Does a Wedding DJ Cost?

  3. Choosing Your First Dance Song

  4. Choosing the Songs for Your Wedding

  5. 5 Awesome Party Venues Near Bristol to Have Your Wedding at

  6. 10 Awesome Ideas for Your Wedding Party


Choosing the Right DJ for Your Wedding


You've chosen the venue of your dreams, the most talented cake maker, the once-in-a-lifetime outfit. Yet sometimes, choosing a DJ isn't always as straightforward.


Word of mouth can, of course, be a good way of finding a great DJ. Asking a close friend who had a good experience is a start. But what if their tastes aren't the same as yours?


Asking a close friend who had a good experience is a start. But what if their tastes aren't the same as yours?

"What music do you play" is a very common question I get. Most DJ's will respond with, "I have a huge collection spanning all decades and genres." That might be the case. But something you need to consider is whether they can actually mix the songs together! Ask if they can send you a mix they've done, so you can get an idea of what they're like. One of the main roles of a DJ is to be able to seamlessly transition from one genre to the next, keeping the dance floor buzzing all night long. One thing I offer to anyone who enquires, is a 5-song minimix - a chance for them to get an idea of how I mix songs together.


Weddings bring together a wide range of ages and tastes, so it's important you find a DJ that can cater to everyone's demands. You don't want a DJ that waits for a song to end, then just clicks "play" on the next. If that was the case, you could just put a playlist on instead!


Weddings bring together a wide range of ages and tastes, so it's important you find a DJ that can cater to everyone's demands. You don't want a DJ that waits for a song to end, then just clicks "play" on the next. If that was the case, you could just put a playlist on instead!

Most Wedding DJ's usually ask for a list of around 20 must-play songs from the bride and groom, and then work around that playlist, to get a sense of your tastes. I work a little unconventionally. I actually encourage as many songs as you like! Want to send me 80 songs? That's fine! It's what makes it exciting for me - to be able to mix from one genre to the next - whilst ensuring the dance floor is busy all night long! I love all types of music. I've been fortunate enough to have DJ'd many different types of events, from RnB and Hip Hop Nights, to UK Garage Nights, Funk and Disco Nights, and even K-Pop Nights. So when I say I'm comfortable DJ'in anything, I genuinely am.


But I digress...How to choose the right DJ for your Wedding...I'd recommend getting in touch with a few of the DJ's that have been recommended to you. There's a few questions to ask: how much do you charge? What is your performance start time and end time (i.e. the time you start DJ'in, and the time you finish DJ'in)? What is the setup you are bringing? (do you have examples of previous gigs? Pictures? Videos?). Do you have any mixes I can listen to? Can you provide anything on top to make it that extra bit special (starlit dance floor, confetti cannons etc.)? Is your equipment Portable Appliance Tested (PAT)? Do you have Public Liability Insurance? (I'll touch on the last two later on). Once you've narrowed it down to two DJ's that you like, you might find that speaking to them over the phone will help you decide which one to go for.


Haven't been given any recommendations of Wedding DJ's of who to enquire with? There are a few sites such as Bark and Add To Event, where you can "request a DJ". Basically, you put your requirements in, and DJ's will get in touch with you. If you do go down this route, have a good "Google" of the DJ's that have made contact with you. Look at their Google Reviews, their Facebook reviews, their Website, and so on.


A lot of couples will start making contact with Wedding DJ's a good year or two before they get married (i.e. at the time of booking their venue). This is the best time to enquire. It goes without saying, but the longer the leave it, the less likely they are to be available!


When you choose your venue, the venue itself will usually provide a recommended suppliers list, which contains a list of all the suppliers they work close with, such as wedding planner(s), cake makers, dress makers and evening entertainment. This is a relatively safe way of choosing a DJ because the venue have recommended them. What I would say is, still contact them and ask them those questions I talked about earlier. What if the recommended DJ doesn't "normally mix RnB and Hip Hop", your two favourite genres, for example? They might know the venue like the back of their hand, but if they can't properly mix your favourite genres, you may as well get them to set up their lights and whack a playlist on.

What if the recommended DJ doesn't "normally mix RnB and Hip Hop", your two favourite genres, for example? They might know the venue like the back of their hand, but if they can't properly mix your favourite genres, you may as well get them to set up their lights and whack a playlist on.

You don't always have to book a DJ for you Wedding. You could book a band, for example. Even better, book both! I've worked with a fantastic band called Gatsby, for a large corporate event. They performed 2 x 45 minute segments, whilst I DJ'd in-between. Guests got the best of both worlds.


Some Wedding venues will ask the DJ to provide a "PAT" Certificate, as well as proof of Public Liability Insurance. The former stands for Portable Appliance Tested. A DJ should have, at minimum, all of their equipment safety checked, and also have Public Liability Insurance cover. If a DJ has both of these, at least it's a sign that the DJ has a vested interest in best Health & Safety practice (i.e. they're not just doing it to make a bit of cash on the side). Some venues may also ask a DJ to carry out a risk assessment prior to setting up. Again, a reputable DJ will understand all of the potential risks that could arise during the party (a very obvious one being someone spilling their pint of beer over your DJ decks!)


Hidden Fees & Hidden Terms


1) If you are booking a DJ, carefully read their terms and conditions/contract before booking. It's not exactly what you want to be doing when you've got a wedding to prepare for, but if you take the time to read the contract carefully, at least you know where you stand if anything goes wrong. Most DJ's require a deposit or non-refundable booking fee upon booking. Percentage can vary from around 15-30%. The remaining amount is usually paid closer to the date of the Wedding. Most of the time the deposit is non-refundable. Best case is if your event got postponed, they'd keep the fee and just move it to another date. If your event got cancelled, most DJ's will still keep the deposit. You can view my terms here.


2) Ask the DJ to be clear who will be DJ'in your Wedding because there's quite a few bigger mobile DJ companies that use several DJ's. How do you know which DJ you want and which DJ you'll get? If a company operates like this, then they should provide you with their individual styles, and match the appropriate DJ to your preferences. Some couples prefer to go to a DJ because they know that's who will be DJ'in for their Wedding (like me!). There's no right or wrong, Just be clear with the company that you are booking, what you're looking for in a DJ. The last thing you want is a DJ who specialises in 80s music, turn up to your Wedding Party, which you had planned as being a night full of Bass House and banging Drum & Bass!


3) Ask the DJ when they will be arriving. Sometimes, DJ's will set up in the morning (or the day before), if the evening party is in a completely separate room. Otherwise, a well prepared DJ will allow at least 60-120 minutes to set up prior to the event start time. You may also want the party to go on past the agreed finishing time. Make sure you know the DJ's additional hourly rate prior to the event. The rate varies, but £50-£100 per additional hour seems likely. Partying past the agreed finishing time is at the discretion of the venue management and the DJ (venues have an array of strict licensing rules they must abide by).


4) Ask the DJ about how they obtain the information they need from you! What I mean by this, is the DJ you've booked should be providing you with a form/login system, which allows you to provide everything the DJ needs to know! Your music choices, First Dance, timings/logistics, special requests...the lot! From there, the DJ can then speak with you to go through everything, and make sure everything runs nice and smooth! The DJ should actively be asking you about everything about the night. It may seem like 21 questions, but it's more likely to make your party run smoother!


5) The DJ should, where necessary, be making contact with the venue. For most Weddings I DJ at I make contact with the venue to brief them on when I'll be DJ'in, and who for. I then ask any necessary questions I might need to know. Fortunately, I have DJ'd at some of the most prestigious venues in the South West, including Orchardleigh House, Bristol Musuem and Art Gallery, Clevedon Hall and Elmore Court, to name a few. Regardless of how well I know the venue, it's great to build a rapport with the venue, and to keep eachother n the loop with what's happening (timings, logistics, etc.). Communication is key, especially for a wedding!


6) If your party is going to be in a marquee, with no access to mains power, you will need a generator. The venue, marquee provider or your event planner may source this for you, but it's important that you let the DJ know if there will be no access to main power. The DJ should also let you know how much space they will need for their lighting and sound rig.


7) Some DJ's will stipulate they require food and drink during the event, especially if they're there all day. I personally don't stipulate any such requirements. But please read the T&C's carefully, as it may be written somewhere in there. When I'm DJ'in, the only time I leave my decks is to go to the toilet or if an emergency situation arises. I don't drink alcohol either. Again, it's worth checking to see if your DJ will be leaving the decks for any particular reason, during the night.


If you're unsure about anything, simply ask the DJ that you're booking, the questions you need to know! If they've got nothing to hide they'll be happy to speak with you about any concerns you have.


If you've read this far, I'd like to thank you. Simply click here to find out about a few offers I have on at the moment. It also has a contact form at the bottom for you to get in touch (if you wanted to find out more about me, or even check if I'm available for your special day!).


How Much Does a Wedding DJ Cost?


£300 to £500 in most cases. You weren't expecting an answer that quickly, were you? Well I know that no one likes to read through long articles to find the answer they are looking for, but I encourage you to read on for some helpful advice...


How much does a pint of milk cost? A loaf of bread? A bar of chocolate? Ask anyone and most will respond with similar prices.


However, this can't be said for many products and services, such as building work, flights, hotels, cars, TV's and much more. The main reason for this? Variation of service offering. In simple terms, many services offer a different level of quality, experience and expertise amongst their counterparts. Likewise with Wedding DJ's. However, a good start would be to use the below criteria to help decide if a Wedding DJ is worth the money.


1) Can they mix? Ask to see previous mixes they've done.

2) How many years have they DJ'd? More experience in any profession is always a bonus.

3) Have they DJ'd in clubs? This doesn't necessarily make them a better Wedding DJ, but it does show their ability to DJ to bigger crowds, usually are mic confident, and usually can mix (because clubs don't usually have DJ's that can't).

4) Is there photos of the DJ's rig, as well as footage of previous gigs?

5) Have they DJ'd at the venue you are getting married at? This shouldn't be a 'make or break' criteria, but treat it as more of a bonus.

6) Make lots of enquiries. Find out how much they charge, the equipment they are bringing, how long they will be DJ'in for. Check their reviews on their Facebook page, on Google. Ask friends for recommendations. Even subtle things like how quickly they respond, how they respond, can help.

7) Do they have public liability insurance? Is their equipment portable appliance tested? Will they provide a contract that clearly outlines terms and conditions of the service? This shows they take more precautions in health and safety, and are clear with their customers the service they are getting. One of the most important things a couple look for when hiring suppliers, is reliability, that feeling that they are in good hands, that they will arrive nice and early, and take the stress out of the day.


Now, going back to the £300 to £500 price range I said at the start. I would say most Wedding DJ's sit within this price range (South-West England). This would usually be for a 5 hour DJ set, including a full lighting and sound rig. The next bracket (£500 plus) will usually be for a producer/DJ who makes music and has a bigger following.


Admittedly you could probably get a Wedding DJ for £150 at a push (please don't expect much for this price). At the highest? Well, if you want Calvin Harris expect to pay £250,000 for a 2-hour set. There will be a difference of course. That age-old saying: you get what you pay for. Yes, that is true in the Wedding DJ market, but there are anomalies for sure (i.e. some that under-price themselves, and some that over-price themselves). Some Wedding DJ's offer an all-day service, providing master of ceremonies and background music in the day, as well as DJ'in the evening.


I'm going to be honest with you, the "Mobile DJ" market is saturated. There's one on every corner of every street, and they're all battling to DJ at your event. There's a big difference in quality and the services which the offer. Some DJ's specialise with certain genres, and some specialise in a particular service (take Igloo Disco, for example). This is why price plays such a big part in this industry. Some DJ's will follow the "race to the bottom" strategy (i.e. they will undercut to try and secure the booking, especially if they're looking at it as just a way of making a bit of extra money for the weekend). Just bear this in mind when you are making enquiries and looking at prices. I tend to find the "better" DJ's will remain solid with their prices. They will hardly budge on price. It's not them thinking they're above everyone, it's simply them knowing their worth. It's also a case of demand for their service. If they're getting a lot of bookings, they don't need to come down on price. It's quite an obvious point, but food for thought nonetheless.


Feel free to take a look at the Wedding Package that I offer.


Choosing Your First Dance Song


First and foremost I must start off by saying there's no wrong First Dance song. You can literally choose anything. It's not about whether your guests will like the song, it's about whether you two have a connection to the song, which brings out your emotions when listening and dancing to it!


First and foremost I must start off by saying there's no wrong First Dance song. You can literally choose anything.

Choosing the song for your First Dance will either be really easy for you both, or really hard. There's no in-between!


A lot of couples go for a song that has significant meaning to them both. It may have been a song that was popular when they were first dating, or a song that they both just love! To reiterate, there's no right or wrong song choice. I've DJ'd for couples whose song has been completely different to the "norm" (i.e. not the stereotypical slow, romantic style). One that sticks out in my head the most was a heavy rock song! Let me tell you, the Bride and Groom gave so much energy during their dance. You could tell it had meaning to them, and it was a song that they could get completely lost in. The guests loved it because the happy couple were loving it.

I've DJ'd for couples whose song has been completely different to the "norm" (i.e. not the stereotypical slow, romantic style). One that sticks out in my head the most was a heavy rock song!

If it doesn't come as easy for you, do not fear! There are a few songs that appear to be come up more often, either because: a) couples genuinely like these songs or b) they don't have any song of any significance to them, so they've gone for one of these songs because they are generally nice to dance to and have that "romantic" style. Some of these songs are:


  1. Ed Sheeran - Thinking Out Loud

  2. Ed Sheeran - Perfect (noticing a trend? 😂)

  3. John Legend - All of Me

  4. Aerosmith - I Don't Want To Miss A Thing

  5. Jason Mraz - I'm Yours

  6. Bruno Mars - Just The Way You Are

  7. Bruno Mars - Marry You

  8. Robbie Williams - Angels

  9. Robbie Williams - She's The One

  10. Take That - Greatest Day


Your decision may be set in stone that you don't want a First Dance. That's completely fine, but you may wish to consider a few things before coming to that conclusion. From experience, some couples don't wish to do a First Dance because both are too nervous or uncomfortable to do one. That's fair enough, but consider all the other "embarrassing things" throughout the day: the best man's speech, the walk down the aisle, the drunken antics towards the end of night (or maybe the start!). I can assure you, no-one is there to judge your dance moves. They are there to witness their son/daughter/friend make a very special bond with their new, married partner! It's a memory to cherish (and a bit of fun!).


They [guests] are there to witness their son/daughter/friend make a very special bond with their new, married partner! It's a memory to cherish (and a bit of fun!).

It doesn't have to be a 3-minute dance where you feel like you're being choked to death by glaring stares! A suggestion could be to have a much quicker dance (say, 1 minute), and then afterwards the DJ invites your guests on to the dance floor. That way, you get the best of both worlds - an opportunity to dance with your married partner, and with all your guests. This option is quite popular.


Sometimes, there are other dances which come before the First Dance. Although not as common, they do happen! These are the dances between the Groom and his Mother, and the Bride and her Father. The dance between the Bride and her Father can be a really nice transition into the First Dance, as the Father can "hand over" her daughter to her new husband. Another variation of introduction in to the First Dance is a Grand Entrance for the newlyweds! The DJ can introduce the Bride and Groom to the day guests and the arriving evening guests, to which the Bridge and Groom come in to the room to a round of applause! This can then lead in to the First Dance.


There's also other things to consider. Is there a particular song you'd like to be played after the First Dance? It might be a song that you just love, and you think it'll go down well after the First Dance...Something to consider. If the Bride and Groom don't mind what is played after their First Dance, I tend to play something really upbeat as a way of celebrating the First Dance. Also, not to put pressure on the Bride, but something I've noticed is that they have a lot of influence on the dance floor. If the Bride is dancing, more guests come to the dance floor!


Also to consider: the songs you want to be played during the night, and the songs you don't want to be played. For the latter, your DJ should usually ask you if there's anything in particular you don't want to hear. This might be because certain songs remind you of certain events, or you just don't like a particular genre in general.


Choosing the Songs for Your Wedding


This blog provides useful information for couple's who've decided to have a DJ to play at their wedding.


Couple's that have booked a band tend to do so based on the type of music they perform (i.e. funk band/rock band etc.). In other words, the band usually decides what will get the dancefloor going. However, if you're looking for a band and not sure where to start, I highly recommend checking out these guys and these guys.


For those booking a DJ, here's some useful tips for choosing music...


First off, I'll start by saying there isn't a wrong or right answer when choosing songs. Think of it more like...songs that'll get people dancing, and songs that will keep people sat down.


By and large, I think most couples fit into one of two categories, when deciding the music for their wedding:


a) Those that have a really good idea of what they would like to hear, perhaps because they have a selection of artists they really like to listen to in their free time.


b) Those that aren't too fussed, as long as people are dancing.


Since lockdown restrictions were lifted in July 2021, I think more and more couples fit into the former. Ultimately, the couple are the one's paying (usually!), so it really is up to them. I have noticed more and more couple's are requesting the DJ to steer away from the stereotypical wedding cheese, which is refreshing. But I do think it's important to note that if you want the DJ to play just the music you've selected, there's no guarantee the dancefloor would be as busy as if the DJ had their own input. However, I have DJ'd weddings in the past where I have stuck just to the couple's requests, and the dancefloor has been rammed from start to finish.


Most wedding DJ's you enquire with will usually ask for a list of no more than 20 songs that you really would like to hear on the night. Outside of those 20 songs, the wedding DJ will then play what they think will get the dancefloor going.


This usually works quite well for couple's that fit into category b (above), but for those that have a really good idea of the music they want to hear, sometimes 20 songs isn't enough!


Some DJ's (like me), are happy for the couple to provide as many songs they like. I do this because I really want to get the very best idea of the type of music the couple enjoys! I will spend some time looking through the song requests before the wedding, to get a good sense of the couple's music taste. Sometimes I receive 10 hours worth of song requests (which is fine by me). In these instances, I will play the songs from the couple's playlist which I think will work the best. That way, people will be dancing, and the couple will be happy as I'm playing one of their requests!


Normally, the songs chosen by the couple will get people dancing. Some song requests can be a little more niche, so it's just about me managing that and striking a balance between what the couple enjoy, and what will get people dancing. I will discuss this in the meeting I have with the couple before their wedding.


Song requests provided by couple's fit into two categories. Songs which get people up dancing, and songs which don't (sounds obvious I know!) Popular requests which don't usually get people dancing (energetically) are from artists like Ed Sheeran (Perfect), Adele (Easy On Me), The Smiths (Please Let Me Get What I Want), Snow Patrol (Chasing Cars) and Spandau Ballet (True) to name a few. These songs are obviously fine to request, but personally think they are suited to be played at the start of the night or at the end of the night. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. If you and your guests all love music from these artists above, then great. It'll probably be less energetic dancing but more singing, if that makes sense. What I would say is 9 times out of 10 there's quite a varied taste in music at weddings, amongst all the guests. In other words, it's quite effective to to get each guest to submit a song request beforehand. That way the DJ can get a sense of what everyone attending will like. There's been the odd wedding I've DJ'd where pretty much everyone has a similar taste in music, which obviously works well as I know whatever I play will please everyone in the room.


Popular requests which usually get people up dancing include Abba (Gimme Gimme Gimme), Pitbull (Don't Stop The Party), Sean Paul (Temperature), Rudimental (Waiting All Night), Don Omar (Danza Kuduro) and Avicii (Levels) to name a few.


In general, songs that no one really knows will be most risky. I think most people dance to a song because they know it, especially at weddings. An exception to this would be if you and your guests were really into an underground genre such as Deep House or Drum and Bass. In these instances I think the DJ can be more "free" with the songs they decide to mix (providing they are choosing songs from that genre), without the dancefloor going "what the hell is this".


It's also worth noting that you may want to provide songs you definitely do not want to hear during the night. There's nothing worse than hearing a song you absolutely hate! We all have at least one (including me!). I'm even happy to tell you what that song is. If you clicked the link, then yes, I cannot stand it 😂 Obviously if you request that song, I will play it (but with my fist clenched 😉).


To summarise, choosing music for your wedding is up to you. If you're a couple which knows what you want to hear on the night, then the task will be an easy one. A good DJ will advise on what will work and what won't work when they look at your requests. On the other side of the coin, if you're easy-going, then a good DJ will make sure the tunes selected are one's that will get the dancefloor going.


I hope that helps and if you have any questions please contact me!


To find out more about me, click here.


5 Awesome Party Venues Near Bristol to Have Your Wedding at


When organising the most special day of your life, there's an awful lot to consider. Sometimes, couples don't put too much thinking in to the evening party, as they may be really focused on planning the ceremony and breakfast (which is totally understandable).


It may come as a surprise, but there are many components to a wedding venue which can help improve the evening party. I.e. it's not just your Wedding DJ/Band that shapes the night. Such components include:

  • Staff: the people ensuring your every need is met. It's very common for a wedding to run over timings. Often, the DJ won't be able to start at the originally proposed time because the speeches may still need to be done, for example. A well-organised team can help reduce delays and make sure everything runs on time. Fun, energetic and happy staff will be noticeable, and little things like going to get a drink from the bar will complement your overall experience.

  • The Party Room: there's a few structural elements to a room, which can actually have a profound impact on the quality of sound. Big, airy and open rooms often cause the sound to 'echo', which isn't the best. I often find that more intimate rooms which feel more 'sound-proofed' create a better experience. However, as you'll notice below, there are exceptions to the rule! Rooms that have dimmer lights can create a much better "look" as you can adjust the light to compliment the disco lights. Some wedding venues have the bar in the same room as the disco. Other venues have the bar in a separate room. Personally I prefer having the bar in the same room, as this encourages all guests to be in the same room. This factor doesn't necessarily impact the effectiveness of the party, but having everything in one room keeps the party in one place. Some venues have sound limiters, which means the DJ/band can only go so loud. I've DJ'd a few venues which have a sound limiter, but it has never been a problem. Another element is integrated sound and lighting. It isn't common to find built-in sound and lighting at a wedding venue, but some venues do. Elmore Court in Gloucester does, and it does it very well (read on to find out more about Elmore Court).

  • The Curfew: most venues will have to stop music at 12am, due to licensing. However, some venues may allow music to go on longer. It's worth asking your venue when booking! What I would say is that most wedding parties only require a 12am finish because most guests are pretty tired by then. But if your guests are party animals, then definitely look at venues which allow a 1/2am finish (or dare I say it, even later).

  • Accommodation: most wedding venues will have rooms available for a fair few of your guests. This will encourage them to let-loose, knowing they don't have very far to get to their bed! There are still amazing venues which don't have accommodation available, such as Priston Mill in Bath. They provide information on local B&B's available. Even though they don't have accommodation, the overall experience more than makes up for it. It's one of my favourite venues to DJ at.


Without further ado, here are 5 awesome party venues to have your wedding at (in no particular order):


Stanton Manor Hotel, Chippenham

Website: https://www.stantonmanor.com/



If you live on the east side of Bristol, it's arguably quicker getting to Chippenham than it is venturing into Bristol city centre. If you're from Bristol, you know how bad the traffic can be!


The evening party is positioned in the Woodland Suite. It almost feels like you are in a living room of a mansion, which is a good thing. This makes the evening party feel intimate and close by at all times.





This is the only Wedding venue I've ever DJ'd at where they hire a smartly dressed security person to overwatch everything (hats off to you Stanton Manor). This is honestly a fantastic addition, and I am so surprised that no other wedding venues do this. It almost feels like all other wedding venues rely on the DJ and their staff to take control if things go wrong (i.e. rowdy behaviour, not abiding the curfew, damaging property etc.). Having the security person there at Stanton Manor brought a great sense of reassurance to me and the staff. It actually allowed me to be concentrate on my mixing better. In no way did it feel imposing to the guests. The security person was dressed smartly, were positioned discretely, and would only 'pop up' if required.


The staff at Stanton Manor were really friendly and sociable. This made all interactions an enjoyable experience. Guests would definitely appreciate a happy bar for sure!


At some venues, the evening party is in the same venue as the wedding breakfast. Logistically, it isn't the best because the DJ can't setup until the guests have finished their food and speeches, leaving them to wait for an hour until the DJ has set up. Fortunately, the wedding breakfast at Stanton Manor is situated in a different room, allowing guests to seamlessly transition from their meal to the dancefloor!


Owlpen Manor, Dursley

Website: https://owlpen.com/



Owlpen Manor is a Tudor Grade I listed manor house in the village of Owlpen in the Stroud area of Gloucestershire, England, owned by the Mander family.


This is venue holds the award for cheeriest staff in my eyes! From the moment I arrived to the moment I left, the staff were so friendly and welcoming. It was clear to see the guests thought this too.


I would argue that 90% of Weddings I DJ at, the schedule runs behind. Fortunately, at Owlpen, this wasn't the case. All of the staff were well organised, which allowed me to start DJ'in at 7pm. I can vouch this happens for every wedding, but I definitely think they run on time for the majority of weddings, because I was very impressed by the staff.



I DJ'd in The Barn, which was a very charming, rustic room. It's a fantastic room for partying, due to it's quaint, petite appearance. Here's a clip from when I last DJ'd there.



Elmore Court, Gloucester

Website: https://www.elmorecourt.com/



Elmore Court is a grade II listed mansion in the Stroud area of Gloucestershire, England, located in Elmore. The original building was constructed between 1564 and 1588.


Elmore Court is on my list for a multitude of reasons. Aside from the fact it is absolutely stunning, the party room can't be beaten!


I don't think I can summarise it better than Elmore Court themselves:


"In many ways The Gillyflower exists for music... it’s there so people locally won’t be disturbed. And as our roots are on the dancefloors of music festivals, it would be rude not to have state of the art sound and lights... Music can be played through either or both of our sound systems. With direct support and design from who we think is possibly the best sound company on the planet, Funktion One, we really do have the capability for excellent, clear and, if you desire, loud sound. And our lights are cutting edge too... A discreet but highly controllable digital LED lighting system sits in the ceiling above the dancefloor, the whole space has mood controlled LED luminaires and then, of course, there’s "The Lightshower" that was installed by one of the world's most respected lighting artists - Bruce Monro.


This is something different."



To put simply, if you are looking for a guaranteed ultimate party vibe, this is the place to be.


The Great Tythe Barn, Tetbury

Website: https://www.gtb.co.uk/


There's a reason it was the 2020 winner of The Best Countryside Wedding Venue in the South West. Another stunning venue, with accommodation for 90 guests, The Great Tythe Barn has been sympathetically restored, retaining many of its original features such as exposed stone walls and wooden oak beams while also incorporating 21st Century conveniences such as underfloor heating, tastefully decorated washrooms, wooden flooring, atmospheric lighting, and tall glass entrance doors that allow plenty of natural light and views of the courtyard.




The Great Tythe Barn really is one of those wedding venues you can definitely call 'magical'. During the long hot summer nights, the entire vibe is spot on, due to scenic surroundings, the sunset, the really appealing interior (especially for uplighting) and the most important thing - dancing the night away.


Priston Mill, Bath

Website: https://www.pristonmill.co.uk/



Priston Mill comprises of 2 wedding venues on one luscious site, on the outskirts of Bath. Both venues ooze unique qualities, that make Priston Mill a fantastic place to party the night away.



The Tythe Barn, the bigger of the two venues, is a remarkable stone walled barn, which dates from the 1720s, and has been meticulously repaired and conserved to make a wonderful place for special occasions. Wedding receptions, civil ceremonies, and civil partnerships are all possible.


Like The Great Tythe Barn at Tetbury, Priston Mill has this stunning charm to it, which is especially apparent during the summer months. The indoor setting in the Tythe Barn is perfect for a banging party. It's hard to explain without being at a party there, but for me it's the unique charm to it that really brings it alive. The addition of uplights and the right disco lights really add to it. Perhaps chuck in some dry ice (aka dancing on clouds) and some confetti, and you might just have the wedding of your dreams...


The Watermill is a cheaper alternative, perhaps due to its smaller capacity.


Nonetheless, The Watermill is one of a kind. It's spread across 3 floors, with the original waterwheel on the ground floor, bar on the first floor, and ceremony/reception room on the second floor.


The lovely private gardens and the spectacular vision of the rolling countryside beyond will capture you and your guests as you approach the grounds of the Watermill. A tiny creek flows beside the grounds, which have wooden sitting on groomed grass, a charming pagoda, perfect for outdoor wedding celebrations, and a lovely pergola.


For your night time celebration, the Watermill can seat up to 120 people, and with music reverberating from within and the terrace tastefully flood-lit, this is a particularly lovely setting. The celebration flows out onto the wooden terrace, where everyone can take in the magnificent views of the millpond and gardens.


10 Awesome Ideas for Your Wedding Party


Cake? Sorted. Dress? Sorted? Guest invites? Sorted. Deciding what to do for evening entertainment? Not quite sorted...

If you're getting married, you've probably got the ball rolling on pretty much every aspect of your wedding, but the one area that can often prove indecisive is what exactly it is you want for your evening party. This is usually the last thing to get sorted because of this.


This blog will provide you with some fun and quirky ideas for your evening party, that you may not have otherwise thought of. So, here goes:


1. The "Surprise" First Dance


Shock your guests with a fully-rehearsed First Dance routine! Make it even more of a surprise by organising a first and second half routine. The first half can be the traditional, "slow dance", to a more emotional, "stereotypical" song. The second half can flip to a much more upbeat song, which is where all of your rehearsal comes into play!


Now, you're probably thinking, "I'm too shy to do this" or "I haven't got the confidence to do this". The great thing about this is you don't really need to be very good at what you rehearsed or how it pans out. As soon as your guests notices the song flip, they will be your biggest fans! Cheers and laughs guaranteed. The latter will definitely happen if one of you does something completely wrong! There's no shame in being the the target of the joke.


The great thing about doing something like this is you can initiate the start of the night. You immediately relax the atmosphere, and it's a great way of getting your evening guests who've just arrived to get into the party spirit! You as the wedding couple are the biggest influencers of the entire day. I can almost guarantee more of your guests will come to the dance floor during the night because of the surprise first dance.


Want some ideas on what you could do? Click here.


2. Inflatable Horse Racing!



Pretty self-explanatory, and lots of fun!


You can hire these from Kieran Clarke Entertainment.


"Hire our four inflatable horse-shaped hoppers along with a small race track throughout Bristol, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire – what a fun way to get all your guests cheering and laughing!


The horses work best early evening when your room is being turned around for the evening entertainment.


Suitable for all ages."


3. Photo Scavenger Hunt


A great way of encouraging those guests that might not be as "lively", shall we say, is to get them involved in a photo scavenger hunt!


Photo source: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/711423766/editable-i-spy-with-my-little-camera


This is a great alternative for guests who don't want to be on the dance floor, or for the young ones who are feeling mischievous!


4. Date Night Ideas Box


The guest book tends to be a staple part of a Wedding, but how about a Date Night Ideas box?


It's a great way of sharing any wild and whacky ideas you had in mind!


Photo credit: https://cdn0.hitched.co.uk/articles/images/3/6/9/4/img_34963/il_fullxfull.1766828146_rrec-be9e0ba.jpg


5. Silent Disco



A silent disco is a crowd-pleaser, there's no doubt about that. It's great as an "after-party". I.e. if the venue needs music to be off at midnight, you can continue the party with a silent-disco! There's no worry about getting complaints when there's no music coming out the speakers!


Cadence Entertainment provide a fantastic silent disco experience.


Whilst you have a headset on, you can choose three up to 3 different music channels, including what the DJ is mixing! And, if they speak on the mic, you can hear that too!


6. Hire Gatsby!


"If you’re looking for the freshest and most exciting band on the international party scene, then time to celebrate: you just found us! No matter what you're planning - high-end corporate events, weddings, party nights - we're flown all over the world to bring the party to you."


I've been fortunate enough to DJ alongside Gatsby, and let me tell you, they are FANTASTIC. See for yourself:


For more information, visit their website.


7. Find The Guest Bingo



Similar to the photo scavenger hunt, Find A Guest Bingo is all about your guests getting to know...your guests!

Photo credit: https://images.app.goo.gl/R4Fuqf5gkCDeRkvX8


Sometimes you get that awkward divide between the Bride's side and the Groom's side, so this is a great way to encourage interaction between the two sides of the family.


Between you both, you know your guests the best! Why not create your own version to make it even more intriguing, and get your guests interacting!


8. Singing Waiters


Singing waiters is not necessarily a revolutionary idea, granted. However, there are a huge amount of variations you can do with this, and not just whilst your eating during the reception.


For starters (pardon the pun), you could hire "fake guests" for the evening. Then, in conjunction with the DJ, the fake guests could head to the dance floor and perform as a singing act or dance act.


How about utilizing a friend or family member's talents? They may not be known by any of the guests, so they could utilise their skills in whatever that may be. Is your friend an amazing magician? Maybe they could integrate a unique magic show in to the reception.


Things like this that surprise your guests throughout the day, can be a fantastic way of breaking the ice and having fun.



Whoever you hire, it doesn't necessarily have to be 'actors' or something surprising. How about hiring some epic fire performers or other circus-style acts?


9. Keeping The Kids Entertained


If kids are coming to the wedding, you want to come prepared with a variety of things for them to do in the evening, or it won't be long before they start nagging that they're bored, tired, and want to go home! It also means the adults can enjoy themselves a bit more, and actually catch up with their friends.


Some ideas you could set up for kids

- giant garden games such as connect four, jenga, snakes and ladders, and noughts and crosses

- a makeshift football pitch and a football

- rounders

- cricket

- boules

- fairground-style games: hit the coconut

- pinata!

- a treasure hunt


Admittedly a lot of these would be better suited for summer weddings. If you're having a winter wedding, you could hire a silent disco for a separate room. Or maybe think about keeping the kids occupied with a "pick 'n' mix" table or chocolate fountain.


10. The Wheel of Fun


Photo credit: https://cdn0.hitched.co.uk/articles/images/5/4/9/4/img_34945/Wheel-of-Fun-b2de31f.jpg


A personal favourite of mine. Get really creative, and think of things you could get your guests doing. Here's a few:


- buy the bride a cocktail

- put a peg on the grooms back

- ask someone to dance with you

- hug a stranger

- moonwalk on the dance floor

- do the robot

- do the worm

- chuck wedding glitter over the bride


I hope these ideas have provided you with a few...ideas! You may not use any of them, but it may have sparked an idea of your own! Get creative!