Good - we are gonna be great friends! I just love the buzz you get from watching amazing artists perform live, plus you can get down and have a good old dance too!
Today we talk to one of the best wedding singers in the South West - Pat McIntyre - as we ask him all about performing at a wedding and how his style makes him stand out from the pack
Hi Pat can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
Of course! I’m a professional musician, based in Bristol in the South West of England. I’m a live singer and acoustic guitarist – a resident at two local bars in Bristol and the founder/creator of www.guitaristforweddings.co.uk - my wedding music business.
I grew up in West Wales, and my obsession with all things musical started at a young age. I began classical piano lessons aged 8 and still tinkle the ivories occasionally now, but my love for the guitar took over around about age 12, when I picked up one of my father’s old acoustics. Apparently I picked up the basic chords almost instantly – I don’t really remember but I remember it feeling very natural to play a guitar, and I went on to teach myself by ear, playing in various bands through my teens and generally trying to imitate my musical heroes Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller!
I then moved on to computer-based music, sequencing and programming, completing a degree in Music Technology in 2004. I moved to Bristol a couple of years later and loved the city with its buzzing live music scene. I’ve been performing, writing and recording ever since, and went on to complete a Masters Degree in Songwriting at Bath Spa University in 2012.
How and when did you get into the wedding industry?
I started guitaristforweddings.co.uk back in 2011. I’d secured a residency as a musician at two bars in Bristol, so was always out performing at the weekends. I used to get approached quite regularly by people asking if I could play at their party or wedding, so I began taking on some bookings. It quickly became clear there was a demand for quality acoustic live music at weddings.
Tell us a bit more about the service you offer brides and grooms
The majority of wedding couples tend to book me for the wedding ceremony, and/or the canapé/drinks reception before the wedding breakfast. So this involves performing as guests arrive to the wedding, during the ceremony itself, then afterwards as guests are mingling and photographs are taken. I’m also often booked to play during the evening – so this will be a more lively and upbeat performance, sometimes as a warmup for a band, sometimes before a DJ, or sometimes as the main event.
My service focuses on bespoke live music – I work closely with wedding couples to get the music exactly right for their big day. I refuse to sign up with any agencies because I always want to keep the personal connection with my clients, so being flexible and friendly is a big part of my ethos!
How would you describe your musical style?
It’s modern acoustic music, a la Ed Sheeran, Jason Mraz, George Ezra and the like. I play lots of modern songs but also love performing the old classics and putting my own unique spin on them!
A big part of my show is using a loop pedal – a cunning piece of technology which allows me to record and playback my guitar/vocals as I play. It creates a larger-than-life sound on stage, allowing me to record my own rhythm, percussion and even backing vocals as I play.
What do you think is the most important thing for a couple to consider when thinking about having a wedding singer?
Most important… I’d probably say the style of music, as this will be a big part of setting the atmosphere on the big day. As an example, I was recently asked whether I would be able to do a swing set – I’ll never be a crooner, so I had to say that I was probably the wrong man for the job! I find that my bookings tend to be for fun, relaxed kinds of weddings (although I am generalising a little here!)
Finding the right person is probably the trickiest part. If you can get a personal recommendation for a musician, then great – otherwise the Internet will probably be your first port of call. Do try to see them play live before you book though! You don’t want to leave anything to chance on your big day.
What advice would you give in regards to timings and pricing of the service you provide?
From personal experience, I’d say there is such a thing as too much live music! I don’t think having a live performer during the wedding breakfast adds anything to the day – when people are mingling and eating, they probably won’t notice if there’s someone singing or if there’s an iPod playing.
In terms of pricing, my personal view is that I like to be open and honest about everything – so all my prices and any extras (such as travel) are listed clearly on my website. Find out exactly what the prices include when looking for a singer – and it’s worth checking that they have Public Liability Insurance, PAT tested equipment and a membership of a professional body such as the Musicians’ Union.
What’s been your biggest highlight to date in the wedding industry?
Good question! It would probably be a wedding I played at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire. The bride emailed me the day before and casually slipped in that there would be a “Radio 1 DJ present who’s looking forward to hearing you play”. No pressure then! It turned out to be Matt Edmondson – who I chatted with after the gig, and I’m pleased to say he gave me a glowing recommendation. No record deal though unfortunately!
And finally, what’s your favorite thing about being a wedding singer?
I love the creativity and imagination that people put into their weddings! Watching the big day unfold is always fantastic – every wedding is completely different, and I love meeting all the different personalities. Being privileged enough to share the happy couple’s big day really is an honour, and I love the buzz of playing, performing and being a part of it.
To find out more about Pats service and prices pop over to his website -