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  • Henry Clark

On party business - SouthWestBand - Cumbrian wedding at Hidden River Barn, Carlisle

It was mid-afternoon on a rainy November Saturday in Yorkshire as we loaded up the SouthWestBand van and headed out and up North for a Carlisle wedding.

As a UK wedding band we spend a fair amount of time on the road but at a whopping 2 hours 45 this was quite the commute for us. The time flew by though as we (almost ironically) listened to 2010s party rock guilty pleasures. The good old days when people sang about having a ‘drank (drink) in their cup’ at the ‘clerb (club)’. Flo Rida, Pitbull, LMFAO, Chris Brown, you know the ones.

Hidden River Barn was the destination and it lived up to its name, especially when the sun went down and the night drew in as we navigated the Cumbrian mountains. We did manage to find the Barn though and what a stunner of a venue it is!

A two floored rustic barn with a balcony, huge glass doors and more fairy lights than you can shake a stick at. A truly special backdrop for a beautiful wedding.

As we entered the venue we were greeted by an all too familiar welcome sign ‘No admittance, except on party business’. A nod to the Fellowship of the Ring. Being huge Lord of the Rings fans this was right up our street! There were other LOTR themes throughout the wedding including tables named after locations in Middle Earth. Even the newlyweds young daughter shares a name with a character from the iconic series! 🫶

Another cool idea we saw was a mobile tattoo parlour just outside the entrance where guests could get themselves inked while they sipped on their welcome drink. It was the first time we had seen something like this before at a wedding, a rarity nowadays with how many times SouthWestBand has been around the block!

We were soon greeted by the bride Courtney. Super friendly, lovely, down to earth and relaxed. She looked stunning in her wedding dress. After congratulating her and the groom Scott and complimenting their Lord of the rings theme choices we headed over to the stage area to set up.

After an hour or so of loading in, setting up and soundchecking we were all set and ready to rock. A short warm up DJ set then the guests gathered for the first dance.

The first dance the couple chose was another first for us. ‘You had me at hello’ by pop punk/metalcore band A Day To Remember. I (Shaun) used to listen to the band all the time back in the early 2010s and saw them live at Download Festival around that time so I fully appreciated the song choice. Although a heavy pop punk band the song is a soft acoustic feel and really worked as a wedding first dance choice. If you’re into your pop punk music I would liken it to ‘Good Riddance (Time of your life)’ by Green Day or ‘One Year, Six Months’ by Yellowcard.

Snapping away and capturing the moments during the first dance were the excellent Esme Whiteside and It was great to bump into Esme again after meeting her for the first time only a few weeks beforehand. We chatted about weddings, time off, Christmas and some of the cool ideas the bride and groom had on this particular day.

From looking at the requests list the bride and groom had sent over previous to the big day we knew it would be a fun night. Loads of pop punk bangers on there as well as some classics and a couple of songs we don’t get to play very often.

One of those songs was ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. A tune we can’t play every gig as it isn’t really your classic wedding type song. We did bust that one out though and it went down a treat. So much so the guests started their own mosh pit we nicknamed the ‘posh pit’. After the song finished one of the guests asked if we could go any heavier? “Sure why not we said as we launched into ‘Break Stuff’ by Limp Bizkit. It was just one of those days!

After the heavy stuff we went back to some staples, Arctic Monkeys and The Killers before finishing on a special request from Courtney ‘Love Story’ by Taylor Swift. Another banger we don’t often play but do genuinely really enjoy when it gets requested.

Live music over we kept the tunes coming till midnight before finishing on an absolute throwback classic as a special request by the newlyweds. Good Riddance (Time of your life) by Greenday. A classy song to end a beautiful wedding.

After packing down we loaded up, said our goodbyes and set off again into the night.

Congrats Courtney and Scott, all the best from SWB.

And to you, thanks for stopping by, see you in the next one 🤘

Watch the highlights here:

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