Ceilidh Storms the Wedding Reception

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In the UK the traditional barn dance is making a come-back as a fine way to end wedding celebrations with a real flourish.

It’s official - at UK weddings today, ceilidh is the new Rock ‘n’ Roll. In village halls, tithe-barns and fine country houses all over the UK, brides are kicking off their high-heeled shoes, hoisting their skirts up to their knees and swinging their partner onto the dance floor. “It’s a growing trend,” says Jennie Evans, the director of Hop Till You Drop, a specialist company in the UK that provides entertainment for weddings.

Scottish nationality is not necessary to “Strip The Willow”. Ceilidh (pronounced “kay-lee”), hooli or barn dance: call it by any name, it’s a riotous chance to have a really good time. This humble form of entertainment has delighted folk down the centuries in homes and farms, on shipboard and in country hostelries throughout the British Isles. There is a wealth of dances to tangle your feet, together with an array of time-honoured jigs, reels, polkas and hornpipes to accompany them.

Experienced dancers are not essential for a successful ceilidh. The dances are simple. The band brings a dance caller, who comes down onto the dance floor and explains what to do. Everyone, from bright kids to nimble grannies, can join in. Dancers don’t have to get it right - getting into a muddle is half the fun. It makes everyone laugh. Laughter is a great ice-breaker and the trigger for a truly memorable occasion.

“The number of weddings we’ve played for has doubled over the last year,” says Michael John, leader of Black Velvet Band, a popular West of England ceilidh band that is available for hire through Hop Till You Drop. In modern times, as the secular wedding becomes ever more popular in the UK, and entertainment is so often pre-packaged for the consumer-as-bystander, the ceilidh presents a refreshing link to traditional festivities, at which guests were expected to make their own fun. It’s not surprising that brides and grooms are opting for a form of entertainment which gets everyone, young and old, onto the dance floor, creating an all-involving culmination to a day of celebration.

Jennie Evans directs Hop Till You Drop, a company that provides music of all styles and types for weddings, birthday parties and corporate events in the UK.


Jennie Evans

T: +44(0)1373 830806


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