Real Weddings is a new blog series where we interview real couples who’ve booked their wedding music through Encore.
For our first Real Wedding story, we caught up with Imogen Rees and Aidan Kelly one of the lucky couples who managed to fit in their wedding pre-lockdown back in July 2019. Their immaculately-planned Dorset festive-style wedding had everything from soulful acoustic songs to pounding Ibiza club mixes and a seaside dip.
The perfect inspiration for anyone hoping to put on an all-out party once restrictions are loosened later in 2021 or 2022!
- Number of guests: 200 including kids
- Budget: £50,000+
- Location: Studland, Dorset
- Wedding themes: festival; seaside; ethical; outdoor; pre-pandemic; Ibiza club dance; English country house.
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your Encore wedding story, Imogen!
First things first, could you introduce yourself and your partner?
My name’s Imogen Rees and my partner is Aidan Kelly. I went to university with Aidan’s brother and when I moved to London, I stayed with them and met Aidan. This was 10 years ago!
Video highlights of Imogen and Aiden’s wedding (Thompson Wedding Films)
Ceremony music: Acoustic duo
- Bridesmaids entrance: Lady (Hear Me Tonight) – Modjo
- Bride entrance: At Last – Eva Cassidy
- Sing-song during the ceremony: I Wanna Hold Your Hand – The Beatles
- Final song: Kiss me – Sixpence None the Richer
“These were sung by a local duo, Evertide Acoustic.”
Cocktail hour: DJ & Small band
“For the afternoon a friend DJ’d and played chilled house classics with some soul. Everyone was dancing in the woods by 3pm.
Then at 5pm, MK and the Misters provided a scaled-down afternoon set outside, with some funk and soul songs. They had a 4-piece instrumental line-up without a singer, which worked well for the vibe.”
MK & the Misters performing acoustic. Booking your evening band to perform an outdoor set during the day is a great way to save on entertainment costs.
Reception: Full band & Final DJ set
- First dance song: Praise You – Hannah Grace / Fatboy Slim
- Final dance: Man with the Red Face – Laurent Garnier
“MK and the Misters then did one long evening set with the whole band (7.30pm-10pm with a break). They performed our wedding song Praise You – starting with the Hannah Grace version for 2 mins which we had rehearsed a dance to and then it went into the techno Fatboy Slim version!
It was incredible, they played a mix of current hits right back to the 60s. They also did all the lighting and the sound was incredible. The atmosphere was amazing. They came into the crowd to dance, everyone was on their feet. The vibe was so energetic and everyone was on such a great level.
Then another friend did some trance classics to finish the night off and again everyone was loving it which I hadn’t expected!
We finished with the club classic “Man with the Red Face” and the saxophonist from MK and the Misters actually played along with the DJ. It reminded me of being in Ibiza!”
Why book MK & the Misters?
We booked MK and the Misters firstly because the reviews were amazing, they were very professional to work with, they were a 10 person band which we had wanted, they were exceptional value and their song list was brilliant. They are all very talented musicians in their own right. Best decision ever!
The energy was incredible and the fact they were so diverse and able to perform all day! We were very lucky to have found them.
Thinking of a large band for your wedding? This showreel proves why MK & the Misters are one of the best in the business.
Why did you choose Encore for your wedding music?
It was very easy to use and they came back with some good options. We had been struggling for a while to find a good quality band but using Encore we were able to find a few really great bands to choose from.
Imogen’s dedicated Encore Booking Specialist for her wedding: Joel Vincent
Fun & games – Facepaint, photobooths and hammocks
Face painters. “We booked a face painter for the kids but in the end, all the adults had it on too. They stayed all day and night, everyone was glittered up.”
Box Photo Booths. “Their box looked like a little garden and suited the theme. We put loads of tents up with things for kids to play in and had a huge hammock which they loved.”
Venue – Studland Bay House
“I’m from Bournemouth and when I first took Aidan down to Dorset we cycled over to Studland on the ferry and had a drink at the Bankes Arms just round the corner from the venue.
It sounds cheesy but I think that’s when we realised we were totally in love so it’s very special for us.
The grounds are just so large and incredible so we were able to do so much. We had our ceremony outside (luckily the weather was good) then we directed guests through a little wood, out to the Main area which overlooks beautiful Studland Bay where you can see Bournemouth. We were able to stay at the house for one week so had a few days to prep before and spend time with the family.”
Food and event planning – Rodeo events
“They actually help us plan the whole event so I’d say more than catering! They are events planners, they helped with decor, design, logistics of the day, food (which was incredible). In the evening they provided an espresso martini cart, we bought enough for 2 each although some people helped themselves to way more!! It was a good pick me up after all the food and booze was consumed.”
Wedding outfits – Still White
“I bought my day dress from a boutique shop in York where I was living at the time, and for the event I wore a Grace Loves Lace dress which I actually bought second hand from a website called Still White, I saved around £1300 and was able to have a good time in the evening without being worried about spoiling it (although I managed to keep it clean somehow!).”
Florist – With Love From
“We chose a local florist for our bouquets.”
Photographer – Darren Lovell & Videographer – Thompson Wedding Films
“The videographer and photographer captured the day perfectly and blending in with the crowd. People thought they were wedding guests.”
Do you have any advice for couples?
“We did a lot of it ourselves but roped in so many family and friends which was fun to have everyone involved. It took a lot of hard work and planning.
I had an 11-page document containing the plan. Everyone laughed but I think it helped. It can be stressful but was super fun, and I wondered if instead of being a doctor I should’ve gone into events!”
What was your favourite moment of the wedding?
“Daytime dancing was incredible as was the evening, later on in the day we went down to the beach just with the photographer and caught the last of the sun. We went for a dip in the sea, it was magical.”