A great thing about a ceilidh, and it’s probably one of the reasons you might have thought about having one, is that it brings all the generations together like nothing else for big celebrations like weddings. The older generation might well remember how to ‘strip the willow’, most people have heard of a ‘do-si-dos’, and youngsters are natural dancers. Plus it's a heck of a lot of fun - there’s nothing more hilarious than seeing a 7 year old and his parent making an arch over the heads of contorted, crouching adults!
Having said that there’s absolutely no requirement to know anything about ceilidh or barndance – it’s the role of the caller to impart that precious knowledge! All guests need is the will to throw themselves into the spirit of the event.
Dances are carefully chosen so that anyone can pick them up within a couple of run throughs with reminders from the caller as you go along. It’s most definitely not a dance lesson!
The evening tends to unfold organically depending on how the guests respond to the dances so no two nights we do are exactly the same.
Most of all it's a great laugh and creates memories that will last (plus lots of photo opportunities) – the emphasis is always on having fun and frolic - getting it wrong and the occasionally letting chaos reign is all part of the enjoyment.
But will people dance, you might wonder? Don’t worry we have strategies!
Top tips to get lots of people dancing;
Firstly we often start out with a very easy ‘ice breaker’ dance, a ‘Farandole’, which is basically a medieval line dance - doesn’t require any skills other than being able to hold hands and go where ever the caller takes you – he’ll lead the line so no pressure for anyone. No excuses for not joining in though – it’s your big day – how could they refuse! Almost everyone will get swept up by this one.
If the Bride and Groom dance then that will encourage everyone else. It's lovely to see the newly weds take up the position of 'top couple' (as indeed they are!) for the first few dances. Ideal for a couple of easy dances we might include in the first session - our simple version of The Virginia Reel or perhaps Galopede.
Recruit your bridesmaids, the best man and willing relatives to dance and then to invite hesitant guests onto the dance floor. The shy are often just looking for an excuse to get up there.
Liaise with the venue to create Subdued lighting - creates a more intimate atmosphere and people won’t feel exposed on the dance floor.
'Sensible foot wear!' Pre-warn your guests that bringing comfortable shoes might be a good idea for dancing.
Having the dance floor central rather than in another room - guests can dance and have a sit down and natter all in the same area. Having the bar in there also helps.
Many couples choose a special song for their ‘first dance’ - we'll gladly play this through our sound system from your device. Some couples just want to crack on with the dancing – it is entirely up to you.
As a folky alternative to the above we can play some live music for a very romantic dance called The Rosa – it’s pretty straight forward but the bride and groom can learn this before hand and ‘perform’ it at the beginning of the evening in front of their amazed guests! Other couples can then join in by copying or by just doing a waltz.
Here's a couple of youtube videos of the dance - from a wedding (not from any of ours) and a demonstration/instruction video of the dance.
THE GRAND MARCH
This makes a great start to a wedding - the 'big entrance' for the bride & groom. Quite a tradition in Scotland and in fact in many cultures around the world. See our blog post and video footage about this recent addition.
In addition to helping couples celebrate their marriage with a rip roaring lively ceilidh we're often asked for other services.
Typical Just Ceilidh Evening
Bearing in mind that we’re flexible about schedules here’s some typical set ups.
First ceilidh session of 75 minutes is just right for most occasions. After 2 or 3 dances we will probably play an instrumental then continue with another 2 or 3 dances and so on until the break.
In the break of up to 30 minutes there’s the opportunity for cake cutting, more food, time for a good old natter and catch up. We can put some background music on.
Second ceilidh session of 75 minutes. Often when even the most shy and reluctant dancers become unstoppable on the dance floor! We’ll bring the whole celebration together at the end with a big circle dance that everyone will join in with.
Just a Ceilidh - 2 x 75 minute ceilidh sets
Band set up: 6:30 - 8:00pm
First Set: 8pm until 9:15
Break: 9:15 to 9:45
Second Set: 9:45 to 11
Ceilidh and Disco (Your playlist or a hired DJ)
If you love a bop at the end of the evening, then slightly shorter ceilidh sessions (2 x I hour) are probably ideal in order to fit everything in.
Band set up: 6 – 7:30pm
First Ceilidh Set: 7:30 until 8:30pm
Break: 8:30 to 9:00
Second Ceilidh Set 9:00 to 10:00
Disco/DJ: 10:00 to Midnight
PA HIRE for Disco, Wedding Breakfast Speeches & background music.
Post Ceilidh PA Disco Hire -Bop Til You Drop using your own playlist from your device - pump out the tunes through our quality PA (RCF 700 watt rms 15inch speakers offer plenty of bass & volume for most venues & disco lighting included – (details of the PA and lights available will be on this website soon)
Daylong Hire for Speeches so that no one misses the best man's carefully honed jokes! and background music during the Wedding Breakfast. We'll come and set up the equipment which will include quality microphones and PA system.
More Entertainment SnapShot Acoustic Duo
available for hire - consisting of our caller, Chris, on guitar/mandolin and Wendy Benefer, Norfolk singer/
songwriter on vocals, guitar and fiddle performing a range of pop & rock songs and folk tunes.
Please enquire through this website.