Private Booking Reviews

Malcolm and Paula's Wedding 29th Dec 2010

Malcolm and Paulas Wedding 29th Dec 2010
Introduction by Sue Holton booking agent for Gordon's private events.

When I took a phone call from Malcolm asking about booking Gordon to play at his wedding reception as a surprise for his future bride Paula I had no idea quite how “cloak and dagger” the arrangements would turn out to be. Generally speaking, wedding receptions are not the best of settings for Gordon’s talents so I’m afraid poor Malcolm was quizzed extensively about his plans for the evening to make sure that everyone had the same thing in mind.  

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Both Malcolm and Paula are big GG fans and Paula had decided to play the cd version of Gordon’s “Down The River” while they signed the register. This was what prompted Malcolm to see if Gordon was available.

The week before the wedding we were all a bit concerned about the amount of snow that the UK was experiencing and would Gordon even make It? Thankfully there was a thaw by the day of the wedding so that was one less thing to worry about.

Malcolm and I exchanged numerous phone calls and emails whilst working out how best to smuggle Gordon and all his equipment unseen into the hotel and get him set up, and sound checked in the marquee where the reception was being held without bumping into Paula or other wedding guests. Gordon was given instructions on what time to arrive, which areas of the hotel to avoid at which times and curtaining was rigged to screen the guitars from view. We even decided to reserve Gordon and Hilary's room in my surname in case Paula spotted Giltrap on the room list - all the hotel staff from receptionists upwards were in on the secret. Paula was told not to look out of the hotel windows and admitted to me later that she was growing somewhat concerned as the day went on about whatever it was that Malcolm had planned – what was the mystery that lurked behind the curtain in the marquee ??

Gordon of course took all this in his stride, dodged the wedding party successfully while setting up and retired to his room for a soak in the bath and a snooze out of sight until called at the designated time.

I’ll let Malcolm tell you the rest of the story …..

Getting Gordon to play at our wedding was something I had always thought I would try do as and when we eventually set the date but when we picked a date with only 3 weeks notice; I just assumed it wouldn’t be possible – but he who dares wins eh! When Sue checked with Gordon and came back with a yes, I was a bit in shock. It had only been a possibility up until that point; now it was real! Keeping the secret from Paula was a nightmare and there was much speculation amongst our friends as to what the wedding “entertainment” would be. Chippendales? Fire Eaters? Circus? Heavy Metal Morris Men? No, no, no… something much better!!! It’s amazing what can be achieved in three weeks; the day itself went perfectly, thanks to Paula’s hard work and the wonderful people at Audley’s Wood Hotel in Basingstoke (thank you Jay, Verity and Mo for all your help). I was very much relieved when I got to the hotel and knew that Paula was safely out of sight in our hotel room i.e. with no chance of spotting Gordon. It wasn’t long before I noticed someone in reception trying to hide her face behind a wad of paperwork. There was a look of dread on Hilary’s face as I walked up to her; she obviously thought she had been ‘rumbled’ but when I introduced myself, her relief was clear to see.

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The wedding breakfast was to be held in a marquee in the hotel grounds so Gordon dutifully avoided the main hotel and sneaked through the bushes to the venue; making appropriate use of them on the way. Hopefully the hotel’s CCTV cameras were pointing in a different direction! Whilst the guests were assembling, I went to talk to Gordon regarding how we would ‘time’ the surprise. Unfortunately the curtain hiding the makeshift stage couldn’t be raised quickly so no “Ladies & Gentlemen…. “ introduction was possible. Gordon suggested that, when we were ready, he and Hilary would make their way up to the marquee and he would walk up behind Paula and surprise her. However, when Gordon and Hilary arrived, Paula was nowhere to be seen! Time for Plan B. Gordon, Hilary and I sneaked behind the curtain and waited for Paula to return. When she returned, Gordon suggested rushing out from behind the curtain ‘Noel Edmonds like’ and asked how he would recognize Paula; errr, she’s the one in the wedding dress Gordon! Paula’s face was complete and utter confusion when Gordon came up to her. She had of course recognized Gordon but hadn’t wanted to sound stupid by saying it was him because it couldn’t possibly be him could it!!

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Gordon’s performance was absolutely stunning right from the outset and included Mrs Singer’s Waltz, Five Dollar Guitar, Here Comes The Sun, Maddy Goes West, The Dodo’s Dream (which had those who hadn’t heard it before absolutely enthralled), Down The River (ok, my eyes may have got a bit moist at that point), Heartsong & The Lord’s Seat which was such a tasteful & relaxing way to finish the set. I knew just how good Gordon is at what he does but what I didn’t know was just what nice people Gordon & Hilary would turn out to be; mingling & chatting with our guests after the ‘show’ and chatting with us the next morning over breakfast. Such great memories on top of what was already a wonderful day and we are so grateful to Gordon, Hilary & Sue for their part in it.

And it still goes on because we have had so much great feedback from our guests regarding both the wedding and Gordon. We have had comments like such a ‘grown-up’ and ‘classy’ wedding. Lots of people have been looking up where Gordon is performing and have been asking which CDs they should buy. So Gordon definitely earned himself some new fans (and new friends) that day and I hope his music touches them in the same way it touches us.

Thank you so much,

Malcolm and Paula