Last Saturday’s wedding was at the impressive Addington Palace near Croydon in Surrey.
The “Great Hall” has a minstrel’s gallery which is very high and offers fantastic acoustics for Spanish Guitar so I played from here on this occasion – the photo on the left above is one I took from the gallery where you can also see the beautiful tall windows.
The original manor house called ‘Addington Place’ was built about the 16th century. It was owned by one family until the 18th century when it was left to distant relatives of the deceased owner and, after a bit of wrangling, sold on to Barlow Trecothick, Lord Mayor of The City Of London.
The house was Grade listed in 1951. In 1953, it was leased to the Royal School of Church Music initially to house choirboys assembled from all over Britain to sing at Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation
It is surrounded by a park and golf courses, and its gardens are still largely in their original design. The golf courses give an excellent backdrop and it has become a popular Surrey wedding venue.
I played throughout the drinks reception and wedding breakfast.
On Friday I flew to Faro airport and then travelled just half an hour to the beautiful area that is Albufeira in The Algarve on the southern coast of Portugal. The wedding took place on Saturday at The Sheraton Hotel.
The ceremony took place in a small church near the hotel and then the guests were brought to the hotel where drinks were served with canopés, followed by a meal overlooking the sea (see picture top left). I played on a perfectly designed stage (top right) during the drinks reception and then waited until after the meal, when the guests walked down 72 steps to the beach where they spent the rest of the evening drinking and dancing. My job at this stage was to lead, pied-piper-style, the guests down these 72 steps to the beach. The best music to do this with, I decided, was Gipsy Kings as it was after the meal and the guests were already livening up a bit. I did initially think it might be a bit risky trying to lead a group of more than a hundred people down a flight of 72 cliff-side steps when half of them didn’t speak English (the Groom was Portuguese) and most of whom had been drinking, but…… it was fine! The beach was beautiful and the evening went along “swimmingly” shall we say 😉
This is another part of the world that I have fallen in love with and can’t wait to go back and get to know better (and the grilled sardines are fantastic!).
I have spent the last three days in Tuscany, Italy, where I played for an incredibly extravagant celebrity wedding. Unfortunately I’m not allowed to say who the celebrities were who got married (the fact they got married is not a secret but the wedding was kept paparazzi-free and only select photos were published. We also signed a confidentiality clause) but I can at least show you this photo taken before the guests arrived inside the five star complex. Notice the eight harpists, four either side of the aisle, who played a nice arrangement of Pachelbel’s Canon in D as the bride walked down the aisle. If you look to the bottom left of the photo you will also see a painter who was hired to paint still life on canvass during the ceremony. The video footage was captured by a professional team as you can see on the far right of the picture.
I then played for the reception drinks and canopés which were served in the vine garden and then later on by the pool as cocktails were served.
On the wedding day I got talking to the chef at the hotel who is a keen amateur Guitarist and he offered to take me out on his new toy, a BMW motor bike in exchange for a guitar lesson. I agreed and I must say that this was a memorable experience (the ride) and possibly one of the best ways to see the Tuscan countryside. I would love to return and get to know the area better (and maybe hire a motor bike to do it on…).