For my third instalment of my ‘Meet the Friendors’ interviews I will be interviewing James Barlow, The Wedding Singer.
I have known James for many years and he is so experienced in his field he really is THE event entertainment expert! When I get to work alongside him, not only does the dance floor stay full ALL night but during the day he is able to get everyone singing along during the wedding breakfast and even dancing on the tables! If you want all of your guests to have a great time James is definitely the man for the job.
We are also both very lucky to be on the recommended suppliers list at a stunning local venue The Boathouse Aston Marina in Stone. For more information and to see James in action visit his website here or his Facebook page here.
1. Tell me a little bit about how/why you got into the wedding industry?
I found myself singing in the pubs and clubs of Stoke on Trent in the late 90s, at the age 17 / 18, with my then girlfriend. We did a few friends’ and family’s weddings and realised that not only were the venues much nicer and the people much happier – that the money was much better too! We split at the end of 3 years at university, in 2002, and I decided to specialise full-time in weddings as a solo singer and DJ. My web domain was purchased – theweddingsinger.uk.com – and it’s all I have done, or wanted to do ever since! I love travelling – I’ve done weddings in 49 counties in England, Scotland and Wales – meeting so many people and being able to make such a difference to such an important day. I have expanded my service to offering entertainment for the whole day; from the ceremony to the last dance, included singing, DJing and hosting the day, providing my unique introductions and announcements during the wedding breakfast.
2. Easy one….Tea or coffee?
3. What do you feel is the best thing about your job?
I love being a key part of the day, and being able to make a real difference to the energy and atmosphere. I love a stunning venue, cake and décor but I think the ‘experience’ of a wedding day is what bride, grooms and guests remember the most; they remember the fun, the laughter and the dancing. Being able to receive the instant reaction and results from your work is so rewarding. There’s nothing better than seeing a sea of happy faces all looking back having the time of their lives on the dance floor or around wedding breakfast tables.
4. Do you have any pearls of wisdom for anyone planning their wedding?
I kind of alluded to this in my last answer. In essence, it is don’t sweat the small stuff! Think about what you and your guests will take away and particularly remember from the day. The small flourishes and extra little bits of detail are fantastic if you are able find a place in your budget, but the essentials for an amazing day should be at the very top of your list: venue, food, music – and photography to capture what an amazing time everyone had!
5. What current trends do you love or anything you would really like to see more of?
Specifically in my work, I love how much more fun and informal wedding breakfasts seem to be than they used to; people are so up for a sing a long and a dance around the tables towards the end. I also often facilitate really lively entrances for the bridal party, once everyone is sat down to eat. A favourite lively track, played for the bride and groom as they dance their way into the room really sets the tone and lets everyone know that their job as a guest is to relax and have FUN!
6. What sets you apart from other suppliers in your field? Do you have particular specialisms?
I think the complete service throughout the day has become a specialism. It’s amazing how just the right kinds of music, to create that perfect atmosphere, at just the right time, really helps the day flow. And having the one person hosting and providing announcements all day bring everything together.
7. In an alternative universe which other wedding vendor role could you also see yourself enjoying?
I’ve always enjoyed photography and done some promotional photo and video for my own business. I’m also interested in the technical side of photo and video, and the gadgets in general! I don’t envy all of the extra work that goes into wedding photography though – all the backing up and editing that takes hours. So kudos to Jodie and all the amazing photographers and videographers out there!