Top wedding entertainment tips.

An Interview with Jonathan Bremner

I’ve known Jonathan for about five years and every time he performs with a popular wedding showband, he has the knack of encouraging guests onto the dancefloor before they even find their seat. Charming, engaging, endearing and for me, a pleasure to work with. I wanted to know from his point of view why he loves performing, especially singing and what advice he would give to couples when choosing their wedding entertainment, such as bands and musicians.

Quick fire questions for Jonathan Bremner – Wedding singer and musician

Who you are and what you do?

I’m Jonathan Bremner and I’m a singing, songwriting, piano playing, acting, rugby playing entertainer! I love what I do and I am fortunate to do what I love!

What is the last thing you bought on Amazon?

A full hazmat suit so I could give my mum a hug on my 40th birthday a few weeks ago.  It was so emotional I should of brought arm bands and swimming goggles as well. 

What is the last TV show you binged on?

The Last Dance about Michael Jordan and the Bulls…. I’m a huge sportsman and fan and it was inspiring to see.  If you haven’t watched it – do 🙂 

What would you be doing today if you weren’t in lockdown?

If I wasn’t in lock down I’d be doing what I would normally do on a week night; going to the gym and spending time in my studio writing film score, which is one of my projects at the moment. 

What is the best thing that’s come out of lockdown for you?

Best thing to come out of lockdown was; my surprise 40th birthday that my partner made for me. I came downstairs to find my house totally transformed with balloons and hundreds of photos of friends and family decorated everywhere. We were meant to be celebrating in Italy but actually it couldn’t have been any better!

What is your lockdown guilty pleasure?

Grenade White chocolate spread, it’s epic!!!!!

What is your all time favourite song?

All time favourite song, “Mr Bojangles” what a tune!!! 

One thing that no one knows about you?

I can’t read music but taught myself piano at the age of eight and play by ear:) I also played Angels on a piano and Robbie sat next to me and sung it…(clang to the name drop.) 

Photographer: J Shaw Photography

How did you get into the wedding entertainment industry?

I started hosting karaoke parties at a younger age and someone asked me to come sing at a wedding, the rest is history.

Which bands do you perform with and why do you like performing with them?

I sing for show bands here in the UK and show bands in France that enable me to sing all over the world which is very cool.  I’m so fortunate to be asked to sing for everyone that I do and love being on stage every single time. It feels like you are on stage with your best friends that are so talented and it’s amazing that we get to make people’s memories.

Why do you enjoy performing at Jewish weddings?

Jewish bands are a huge party!!! Right from the word go. The crowd becomes involved and everyone is just there to fill the dance floor and have a wonderful time.  The calibre of musicians in the bands I sing with are first class, it never feels like work.

When are your busiest months?

June to September is always packed, calms down for a few months and picks up again in the lead up to Christmas and New year. 

What are the most common first dance songs?

Ed Sheehan “Perfect” has been played a lot! I Love it. It’s an awesome song.

Which songs are dance floor pleasers?

The sing along songs always go down a treat!!!  “Don’t stop me know” by Queen, being one of my favourites, but then Freddie was a legend and it’s awesome to sing, even the high bits! 

What do you think makes a wedding different in terms of entertainment?

I think the band is key to a wedding.  The energy the band gives off and how they encourage the crowd’s involvement, for me, makes a huge difference.  It’s maintaining the connection with the crowd and knowing when to hype them up and when to pause, which keeps them wanting more.   I think if you can achieve this, the guests respond really well. 

What has been the most quirkiest or unique wedding you have performed at?

I’ve been fortunate to sing at so many weddings and one thing is for sure, it doesn’t matter the cost, it doesn’t matter the size, it’s all relative.  What makes a unique wedding is the people there, the other bits are the ingredients that add to it.   

Photographer: Chiko photography

What can brides and grooms expect from your performance?

For me, there’s a balance of when and where to interact with the crowd. Whether I’m on my own or with a band, this is always something that is taken into consideration.  

It’s being able to read the crowd.  Timing the right moment to encourage the energy levels to increase and interact with the crowd and the Bride and Groom.  I feel that my experience helps to craft all of those things.  I love what I do and love being part of someone’s special day.

What is the best wedding entertainment act you have ever seen, alongside performing yourself?

I’ve Seen a lot of different acts.  From the singing waiters sketch to the amazing magicians that go around the tables.  I’ve also performed at a wedding with Bruno Mars, who was their main act!  

Some love the extras and some don’t, so I think it’s definitely each to their own of what suits their day, along with great songs.   

Is there anything else you want to add that could be helpful to couples when choosing their wedding entertainment?

Choosing your band

I think when couples choose a band they have to think what suits them.  It doesn’t always have to be the biggest band, or the most expensive, it has to be what they like.  Make sure you see the band in action at some point. Whether it’s at a wedding, gig or some bands often perform their own showcase, where the invite clients to watch and enjoy them for a whole set, you can make a night of it. If you really like what you see and their vibe then its worth speaking to them.  

Choosing your music

Music is really important for a wedding in my view. You want great people on stage that will help run your day to make the entertainment as amazing as possible.  Also, when it comes to music, don’t worry too much about picking every single song that you want the band to play.  Good musicians and bands perform at amazing events week in and week out, they have a huge amount of experience and will know what works and doesn’t work with crowds.  

Wedding music
Photographer: Chiko Photography

Choose a few favourite songs that you love and obviously choose your first dance; maybe even the second one to get the party started.  However, no matter what songs you choose, there will always be some guests that may or may not love your song choices, you can’t please everyone.  Trust the band, or solo artist as they will normally have a huge experience in this as well.  

The music creates and the atmosphere, which will make your special day, amazing!

Photographer: Chiko photography

For any more inspiration or tips on Jewish weddings, check out my Instagram @eventsbynatashaweddings or my Pinterest.

Alternatively, if you would just like to have a chat, need advice about your wedding or postponing due to COVID-19, you can email me anytime on info@eventsbynatasha.co.uk.

How to choose your wedding rings.

An interview with Rob Goodman, bespoke jeweller.

Rob and I have known each other for 16 years and in that time I have certainly had my fair share of bespoke jewellery created by him, as my husband will testify! He may be a cheeky chap from North West London but he knows his diamonds inside and out, has a keen eye for detail and the experience to know what will work and what won’t. Above all he listens to his customers and will ultimately create a piece that you will adore forever. As I love his creations, I thought I’d ask him a few questions about the process of choosing your engagement ring, key tips and advice to be aware of.

Over to you Rob…

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Rob Goodman.  I make bespoke jewellery and specialise in engagement rings and wedding bands.

Hobbies/interests?

R: Growing up my hobbies were mainly sports related like football golf, BMX biking and rollerskating. As I got older I was very into modifying cars and socialising with friends on weekends.  

What is the last thing you bought on Amazon?

 R: A three-dimensional diamond shape ice cube maker. 

What is the last Netflix show you binged on?

R: Gangs of London. 

What is the last song you downloaded?

R: “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone,” by Bill Withers. 

Lockdown survival tip?

R: Don’t go out get everything delivered to you and stay safe. 

Lockdown guilty pleasure? (keep it clean ;-))

R: I love tipping point. 

How did you get into your industry and job?

R: I was brought up in Stanmore by both of my parents.  My father manufactured furniture and told me as I was growing up that one day furniture would not be manufactured in the UK and I was to find something  else to do, rather than join the family business.  I originally started working at Wembley market on a Sunday from the age of 12 and always had a passion for working hard and trying to learn new things.  After many jobs in hairdressing, shoe repairs, shirt makers in Jermyn Street and estate agents; I then found the jewellery business at the age of 21 and decided this is what I wanted to do.

A friend’s mother told me about the Jewellery industry as she thought it would be perfect for me, she knew my father was very artistic and good with his hands, so it may be of interest to me too.  So one day I woke up put a suit on, took my CV in a plastic sleeve and marched down to Hatton Garden to knock on doors. 

I began to walk through Hatton Garden and saw dozens and dozens of jewellery shops and doors in between that led to offices and workshops.  I started to scan through the company names on the buzzer’s of the doors, deciding on which buttons to press to find workshops that might be looking for an apprentice.  Despite receiving dozens of knock backs for being too old or there weren’t any vacancies, I kept going, until I found one building in particular that stood out to me.   It had many offices and when the door to the main building opened I managed to quickly walk in when someone walked out.  I started to knock on office doors instead of talking through intercoms.  One man answered, came out, looked me up and down and asked me if I’d come for the job interview.   I answered that I hadn’t actually come for the job interview but I would like a job interview.  He then looked me up and down again and said, “you see that door over there? Knock on it and ask for a guy called David and tell him you’ve come for the job interview.” I did just as he said, after half an hour of an interview I’d managed to secure myself a job.  The company created high-quality jewellery.  

I worked there for a couple of years, learning the basics of quality control, a little bit of diamond picking and how the industry worked.  Which set me up for life.

Why do you enjoy what you do?

R: I enjoy what I do because I get to speak to people create the most beautiful things and see the job from start to finish and also see the clients reaction after I finished producing the product.  

When you first meet a client what are the top 3 things YOU look for?

R: I try to work out what their style is by listening to what they want and also sometimes their appearance helps. For example they may wear a large gold watch which I might assume they are flamboyant or maybe they wear jewellery that is quite conservative which could mean they like the more simple things. They may also wear flamboyant clothes or quite plain clothes again this will contribute to their style and personality. This will help me to create designs that they may like. Apart from their clothes and style, ultimately it’s their personality that I can gauge what they like or don’t like.

What are the most common questions your clients ask in their consultation?

R: How long will it take to make, what will the price be and do I think it would look nice.  

When quoting your prices what do you take into consideration?

R: The cost of material and the cost of labour and that’s pretty much it. 

What else do you cover in your first consultation?

R: The first consultation would be over the phone and I will discuss a few things before we actually meet; the piece they wish to make, budget, type of occasions it’s for, i.e. wedding, anniversary or birthday and lastly, when they need it for. I’ll then know what type of ring the client is looking for. I would then meet the client, show them a selection of diamonds and designs to choose. This will give them an idea of what they want me to create for them. The most important thing is to have an understanding of what they want and of what they’re going to receive.  

Where do you buy your stones from?

R: I only buy my stones from reputable dealers in the industry and never from suppliers that aren’t trusted or known in the industry. Referrals and recommendations are very important. 

What are the 4C’s and can you explain what each mean and how it can affect the price?

R: The four c’s are cut, carat, clarity and colour.

The cut of a stone is very important for the light to travel through the stone to make the light reflect perfectly in order to give the best Luster . 

The carat is the weight of the diamond and there are 100 points in one carrot. Traditionally most clients would ask for one carat diamond or bigger. 

The clarity is important but it is not essential to have the best but to have what is known as Eye clean is a very important in my opinion. 

The colour grading starts at D and this is the best colour and is pure white and known as colourless. 

Apart from the stone(s) what else is important or useful to think about when choosing an engagement ring or wedding band?

R: It is always useful to decide whether you want the wedding ring to sit flush to your engagement ring before you make the engagement ring so there is no gap in between the two rings. It is also important to decide what metal you would like to use for your engagement ring as your wedding ring will have to be the same colour.  

What makes you different to other bespoke diamond jewellers?

R: I like to Think that I am a little bit different to a lot of other jewellers, as I source all the diamonds myself and cherry pick the best out of a bunch of the best, design it and create the piece of jewellery myself. Therefore there is no mistakes or instructions lost in translation between one person passing information to another person in creating the perfect ring for the client. 

What is the average lead-time to make an engagement ring or wedding band?

R: The average time to make an engagement ring is two to three weeks, however it can be quicker if it is urgent. 

Apart from creating wedding rings what else do you do?

R: I actually make every aspect of jewellery including tennis bracelets, diamond earrings, pendant, necklaces, keyrings, cufflinks, money clips, tie pins, anything you can think of made from precious metals and diamonds. 

I also provide our watch repairs and refurbishing. I also do valuations for insurance and probate. 

What do you offer to show the piece is the genuine article?

R: To show that the piece is genuine all my work is hallmarked and all large diamonds are certificated and all products come with an insurance valuations and my makers mark.  Watch repairs and watch services have one year warranty. 

Is there anything else you want to say that could be helpful to clients when choosing their engagement ring and wedding bands?

R: If I could give a little bit of advice on buying an engagement ring it would be to take your time in finding the right diamond and making sure that you are recommended by a friend to use the jeweller, rather than going on the internet and just finding one. When purchasing a diamond, make sure it is a diamond that talks to you and that you think is special. You may find that seeing a nice selection of diamonds will help as you can compare, as you may find one that talks to you more than others. Most importantly never be pressured into buying a diamond, always go with your gut instinct. Your jeweller should be patient with you, explain everything to you and be very transparent throughout the whole process. As my father would say, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” So when making your purchase, make it the right one and I will try and make it an amazing experience.

For all wedding ring and bespoke jewellery enquires please contact Robert Goodman: check out his instagram @RobertGoodman1

email: info@robertgoodmanjewellery.co.uk

 I hope you found this interview interesting and helpful.

For any more inspiration, tips and advice check out my Instagram @eventsbynatashaweddings or my Pinterest, click here.

Alternatively, if you would just like to have a chat you can email me anytime on: info@eventsbynatasha.co.uk or instagram

Natasha x

Top 10 Tips for planning a Jewish wedding 

Planning a wedding has details.  Planning a Jewish wedding has a million details.  The process of planning your wedding can be fun and exciting and doesn’t at all have to be gruelling or stressful.   Here are a few tips and some direction to keep you on track.  If you have any further questions along the way feel free to ask away contact me.

Between the pressures of family, the vendors and all the traditions, you want to make sure you are at the top of your game for your special day.  Combining all the tradition of your Jewish wedding while still holding on to who you are as a person takes grace and preparation.

Just like you, I want your day to be unforgettable.  You should enjoy every moment of preparation and time with family and friends as you celebrate the life-long commitment you will make to your partner.

But since you do have some planning to do and wedding to enjoy, here you go:

Top 10 Tips for planning a Jewish wedding

  1. Before anything happens take a breath and start by writing a list of everything you think you need for your wedding.  Trust me, this list will be amended throughout this process of new things you will think about.  Maybe even add it to an excel spreadsheet.  I love a list, I always feel better once I write one, it makes things clearer and you aren’t relying on your memory in every wedding conversation you have with your suppliers and family.

2. Next, I would highly recommend booking your wedding insurance.  Weddings cost a lot of money and anything can happen at any point, you need to be covered as soon possible for peace of mind.  There are plenty out there, John Lewis is a great option.  They have various levels of cover to suit your budget.

3.  Ask your Rabbi or wedding officiant to officiate.  Even though this seems obvious, make sure the person you want to officiate your wedding is available for the date you would like.   Some say you need to ask at least 6 months in advance to ensure a clear schedule, but even asking a year in advance can be recommended particularly if you have a very emotional/spiritual bond with your Rabbi.  You want to make sure he has your wedding in his calendar. The officiant really sets the tone for the ceremony so if you aren’t close to anyone, be sure to ask questions about how they facilitate the ceremony.

4. Once you have booked your Rabbi, you need to start viewing venues and meeting with caterers.  I’d say these three are the most important areas of your wedding and should be at the top of your list to be booked with immediate effect. Simply for the reason that if they are booked up they won’t be available again for your chosen date.  It’s a bit logistical to match up the Rabbi, Venue and Caterer but once its done and confirmed you can relax somewhat.  Once they are booked you can take more time to think about wedding photographers/videographers, florists and wedding bands.  Do your homework: find the best vendors for every aspect of your wedding.   There are so many vendors who are going to help you make your your wedding the most special day.  Think of weddings you have been to where you loved the bride’s hair or couldn’t stop looking at the wedding photos after.  Ask your friends and family who they used and loved for their weddings and special functions.   Test a couple of different make-up and hairstylists.  Search for recommendations for the best wedding bands.  Where possible view the bands whilst they are live at their clients weddings, make sure the band invites you and clears it with their clients first…we don’t want any wedding crashers. Wedding preparation is not a time to skip on your research.  Scour the internet, get on social media, ask everyone you know their experiences good and bad with every business you are considering using.  Someone sharing their bad or good experience can help you make educated choices that will impact your wedding day. You want to have the best day possible and we live in a world where reviews are easily accessible, so save yourself the disappointment of a bad experience and go with the vendors who have the best customer experiences.

5. Pick your chuppah decorations: since your chuppah symbolises the home you will build with your each other, the way you build and decorate it can be really as significant as you would like it to be.  What kind of couple are you and what kind of home are you going to build for your family. Are you glamorous or maybe more classic and elegant?   You can make it fun and modern,  decorate as a way to express yourselves or you can use lights, greenery and flowers to make your chuppah the perfect fairytale dream come true. Even with flowers and greenery you can be as simple or as extravagant as you want. Most chuppahs are square, but I’ve also created circular ones that are spectacular. They can be wooden, clear, metal, colourful, columned to fit in with your theme.   Take a little look at my Pinterest and Instagram for some inspiration.

6.  Hire a wedding planner: I know, I know, obviously as a wedding planner I’m a bit biased here, but the benefits far outweigh the costs.  One of the primary reasons to hire a wedding planner is to help enjoy the process and your special day while alleviating family stress and feeling overwhelmed with so much to book and pleasing everyone involved.  A wedding planner more often than not can mediate too, someone with an unbiased opinion and not emotionally involved can give you the answers you need, maybe not what you want, but they will do what’s best for the wedding, also giving you realistic expectations on various aspects of your wedding; such as suppliers and timings.   The added benefit of having someone who organises everything gives you the perfect checklist and makes sure all plans are fully executed not only relieves undue anxiety, but brings enjoyment to the details that otherwise would be mundane.  You will have an insider scoop to vendors and ideas plus the advice and wisdom their experience offers can keep delicate situations calm. What many people don’t realise is that having a wedding planner also helps you stay on budget, communicate with vendors and of course they are indispensable on the big day.  You won’t miss a detail and will enjoy the process of your wedding planning and your special day so much more with a wedding planner at your side.  Check out some of my packages that might suit you…worth a look.

7. Start to think about how you want your day to run: your timings.   Let’s be honest. Jewish weddings are amazing and full of culture and reverence.  There are so many beautiful traditions and details, start early, give yourself plenty of time to think about how you want to incorporate everything – so you don’t miss out any areas, you’ll probably change your timings more than a few times, I often have timings changed on the day, so don’t worry too much about it being exact.

8.  Include an Order of Service to your Chuppah ceremony and Toast order to your menus.  Adding the symbolism and descriptions of the special traditions is a wonderful way to showcase Jewish tradition and culture to those unfamiliar with them. It’s also a special way to remind all the married couples in the room the beauty of marriage. There are adorable ways to showcase your bridal party with everything from traditional pictures to more fun characters on place cards. You can add favourite quotes, special thanks to those most involved in your life/relationship. Many couples even choose to add a memorial section to their program to remember family members they have lost they wish were there celebrating their special day.

9.  Buy your special “Glass.”  We all know when the groom breaks the glass is a favourite tradition.  The Chuppah ceremony ends with a big crash and everybody goes crazy!  Sometimes the bride and groom may even share in the pleasure of smashing the glass.  Generally, the glass would be wrapped in a couple of thin linens or napkins, but nowadays you can buy stunning glass and repurpose it after it’s broken, check out some ideas here and even buy a special bag to put the glass in before the glass is stomped.  If you are sentimental there is so much choice to be creative with your broken glass.  You can buy coloured glass and then use the tiny shattered pieces to remake the wine glass in a perspex case, Mezzuzahs and varieties of wall art.  It’s a stunning way of remembering your wedding day and that special moment of the glass being smashed.

10. Lastly and probably the most fun part…GIFT LIST TIME!  Register your wedding gift list.  Not everyone at your wedding will know you personally and something that is not so personal but more practical, is an amazing gift that you actually need to help you set up your home with your new husband.  Many large stores have gift lists such as John Lewis to make the process convenient and easy to use in store and online.  So start scanning!

Jewish weddings are so special and full of the kind of beauty that only tradition and culture can bring.  Commitment, festivities, beautiful dresses…what more can a girl ask for? Enjoy planning your Jewish wedding, do your homework and remember who you are.  Add a bit of yourself and the groom to every tradition. Hire a wedding planner who can appease all the awkward family situations that are bound to arise.

Most importantly remember your love for your future husband and are preparing to celebrate a life long partnership with the one you adore.  All the details are spectacular and important, but there is nothing more important than your future happiness. So be patient, kind and flexible with your partner as you enjoy this process. It will only happen once, so relish in every precious moment!

For any more inspiration check out my Instagram @eventsbynatashaweddings or my Pinterest, click here.

Alternatively, if you would just like to have a chat you can email me info@eventsbynatasha.co.uk

Natasha x

5 Ways to Make Your Wedding special with your extra budget

Your suppliers are booked and prepped for your big day and imagine your excitement when you realise you still have money left over in your budget!   The caterer is paid.  The photographer and band are booked. The florist has a perfect plan for the flowers. What is even left to add to your big day?

Take the extra money and add a little more luxury to your momentous day!

Enhance your chuppah: 

Adding flowers, greenery and/ or lighting to your chuppah is a fabulous way to use extra money from your wedding budget.  The floral designs and colours can be easily matched to your decor.  Flowers can enhance your chuppah by making it look chic and adding some greenery makes a venue feel welcoming.  Adding lights to your chuppah will offer extra lighting for your photographer and a whimsical feeling your guests will be talking about for days.

Supply dancing shoes for the ladies:

Every woman who has ever been to a wedding knows how much feet ache by the end of the night.  Don’t make your guests sacrifice style for a painful night.  Set out a beautiful basket of flip flops to match your colours and decor.

Create signage: 

Signs at weddings are wonderful. They are eloquently designed art that can be kept as home decor forever.  Glass, wood, metal and even mirrors are just a few of the possibilities to add to the loveliness of your day.  The added bonus of having a keepsake to display to remember your special day is doubly beneficial.

Rent a Selfie Pod: 

Selfie Pods today are amazing!!  This includes great lighting and wedding-themed props.  Your guests can go home with their photos and you will have a copy too so you will have all the memories of your friends and family on your special day! Of course, the images will be available online as well!

Add something to throw as you and your new spouse enter the ballroom:

Long gone are the days of rice throwing…uh…apparently it didn’t agree with the bird digestive tracts. I guess we will stand with the birds on this one, but there are still beautiful options to add to your festivities as you depart the ceremony. Having your guest throw dried lavender, rose petals, heart confetti or even mini pom-poms is a great way to add festivity to your wedding. .  If the idea of having things thrown at you doesn’t appeal to you, your guests can blow bubbles, hold sparklers, or even twirl ribbon wands in your direction.

If you are already a wedding genius and had these items in your budget and STILL have money left over, my hat is off to you. You are a hero of heroes! Take that trophy money and add a fun excursion to your honeymoon!!