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A magnificent Grade I Listed Country House hotel in Kettering, Rushton Hall is nestled in 25 acres of immaculate grounds and splendid 16th Century surroundings. This was the setting for today’s wedding between Jennifer and Benjamin. We were delighted to be chosen to provide music for their ceremony and drinks reception, both of which took place at the hotel.

Jennifer and Benjamin
Rushton Hall, Northamptonshire
Saturday 17 February 2024
Ceremony and Drinks

Starting with the ceremony we set up, as requested, at the back of the ceremony room. This is an important thing for us to clarify with our couples where they would like us to be. Musically speaking it makes no difference to us where we are, but by default we would probably opt to be at the back of the room just so we aren’t in the photos. however, some couples think that we should be positioned at the front so we can be seen and maybe so that we can be photographed as part of the ceremony.

There is no right or wrong answer to this, it is purely a matter of preference which is why we give all our couples this choice when they book us to play at their ceremony. Jennifer and Ben had opted to have us at the rear of the ceremony room and the hotel had kindly set out a couple of chairs for us to use.

We don’t need a lot of space to set up as you can see from the photograph above. Usually around 2m x 2m is ideal but we can fit in to slightly less if necessary. By mounting our speakers on stands, albeit discretely this ensures our music can be heard and projected clearly throughout the ceremony room rather than just into the backs of the chairs in front of us.

For today’s wedding we had also been requested to play the hotel’s grand piano in the drinks reception but more on that later. For the ceremony we set up with our Nord Stage piano and Electric Cello which is our preferred setup and the one which ensures our music will sound its absolute best and be at exactly the right volume to suit your ceremony, no matter whether your guests are whispering or shouting!

Pre Ceremony
Can you feel the love – Elton John
Amazed – Lonestar
Halo – Beyonce
LOVE – Nat King Cole
Dear Theodosia – Hamilton

Bridal Entrance
Lost – Dermot Kennedy

Stand by Me – Ben E King
Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis Presley

Sky full of Stars – Coldplay

Hear us play by visiting our listen page.

The drinks reception was held in the main hall and bar area which was just a very short walk from the ceremony. On this occasion, with there being a grand piano in the bar area we had been asked to play this. Having verified the piano was in tune, at least with itself we accepted the challenge!

As a rule we prefer not to play venue pianos. It’s not that we are precious about using our own kit. Far from it. Jules has played all manor of pianos in his time from uprights in the corner of a pub to full size concert Steinway Grand Pianos. Basically there are two potential hazards with using a piano in the venue. Firstly the majority are rarely tuned and not looked after and secondly in a lot of cases acoustic instruments are often not loud enough in larger spaces with lots of people chatting.

In terms of tuning the risk with pianos that have not been properly maintained or recently tuned is that some notes may be more out of tune than others. If you then try to tune to any other instrument the effect of being slightly out of tune is magnified. A cello can only be tuned so that all ‘versions’ of each note are perfectly in tune. Our concern if using a slightly out of tune piano is that some people might just assume it sounds a bit odd because we aren’t playing the instruments properly!!!

As it happened on this occasion at Rushton Hall the piano, although slightly flat, was at least in tune with itself and could therefore be tuned to our acoustic cello. If we are playing an acoustic piano then we find both for blend and aesthetics it is better to use our acoustic (wooden) cello. This works absolutely fine and the two instruments will balance against each other. In a concert situation this is great and the de facto position for most cello and piano concerts. However, in a drinks reception our concern is often the instruments simply aren’t loud enough to carry over 70 or so people chatting in a relatively large space.

Our role is always to provide background music and we never like to play too loud so we dominate or over power the occasion. However, in larger spaces and with lots of people, or especially when outside, you’d be surprised just how loud we have to be to sound as if we are playing at a moderate background level.

Anyway, on this occasion I think the music was just about loud enough. Certainly we received positive comments from the couple and the guests. To be clear, we are absolutely happy to play venue pianos. In many ways at Rushton Hall it was much quicker for us to relocate as we didn’t have to take anything with us as we had already set up our acoustic cello with the venue piano in readiness. We also accept that it would look a bit odd to set up our keyboard next to a perfectly good grand piano!

We thoroughly enjoyed being a part of Jennifer and Benjamin’s wedding at Rushton Hall in Northamptonshire. The couple were absolutely lovely and it was our pleasure to provide music for part of their special day. We wish them both every happiness as they embark on their married future together as husband and wife.

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