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10 Things to Know Before Marrying a Brass Band Musician

Written By a Brass Bander Who's Marrying a Brass Bander

We joke that playing in a brass band can take over your life; that it is so much more than a hobby. It's true. Not only does it require a lot of time and commitment, banding is an entire community with our own quirks, politics and colloquialisms that may seem odd to the outside world.

Like many of us brass banders, I met my fiancé in banding, so there shouldn't be any shocks for me. But what if you're not a bander and your other half is?

Well, here is a quick guide that should outline everything to expect when marrying a bander.

1) You'll Have to Schedule Your Wedding Around Brass Band Events

Contests, concerts and marches - the banding calendar can be hectic! Not to mention all the rehearsals/sectionals that take up the time in between banding events too!

So when the time comes to setting the date for your nuptials, consulting the banding calendar to avoid any potential clashes with an event is important. Chances are a lot of your congregation will be made up of banders too, so figuring out key dates to avoid, such as Whit Friday or the Nationals might be wise. As someone who is planning a wedding - this step isn't easy!

2) A Decent Percentage of Your Guests will be Brass Banders

Speaking of your congregation, when the time comes to picking your guest list, prepare for many of your well-wishers to be banders. We spend a lot of time with banders. Those in our own bands. Friends in other bands. The banders who depped for a concert once and became instant friends. The banders you grew up with and then life took you in separate directions. The banders who started as friends and became the family you chose. Yes - lots and lots of banders.

3) Your Music Won't be Boring

The perk of having lots of musicians as friends? Your wedding music is going to be EPIC! Whether you're gracefully sauntering down the aisle to a heartfelt arrangement of a love song with an elegantly placed tear upon your cheek, or triumphantly marching towards your new life like a hells angel dressed in white to the tune of a magnificent brassy anthem - nothing beats the sound of a brass band. Especially a brass band that is made up of your friends. Your only challenge is choosing who from the congregation will be playing in your band. We might just tell everyone to bring their instruments - now that would be epic! Loud, but epic.

4) Warn Your Bar Staff

If there is one thing most brass players excel at, other than playing music, it's drinking. So, it's probably wise to warn your venue that there will be a number of brass banders within your wedding party and to stock the bar well. Probably a good idea to keep a couple of kegs in the back, ready - just in case.

5) Table Planning will be Interesting

Banders. We are - how shall I put it? We're a family. And just like figuring out where you're going to sit Great Aunt Fanny, as she refuses to speak to your Granny and you can't sit her next to your work friends, because she's frightfully inappropriate at times or next to your Uncle Maurice because they had a falling out at Christmas in 1982 and he still hasn't forgiven her - the same can be said for banders, sometimes.

We can't sit Bob next to Shirley, because Shirley left Bob's band and took their principal cornet, solo horn and second baritone with her. And we can't sit Bob next to Jim, because they fell out at the National Finals in 1994 and haven't spoken since. And we can't sit Jim or Bob next to Tina, because of what happened at the 1994 National Finals... that caused Jim to fall out with Bob and never speak to him again.

Or you could sit them all on one table and wait for the fireworks!

6) Get Ready for Storytime

Now the lovely thing about brass banding is that it it provides the pages on which many memories are written. You only have to read through this blog to discover some of the antics that happen when you're in a brass band. So, what happens when all of the people you created these fabulous, hilarious and (sometimes) downright scandalous memories with are all in one room. The biggest of banding reunions with many a saucy tale shared. You may learn some stories about your other half that are completely new...but hopefully they don't put you off, as it's a bit late for that!

Just make sure that story of you getting horrifically drunk at a Scottish contest and being sick somewhere you shouldn't have been (or a similarly incriminating story) isn't being told when your parents or in-laws are in earshot...

7) Hidden Meanings

Speaking as a bander, this community, its music, its camaraderie and everything it represents means a lot to us. Chances are we're going to want to scatter some banding-related details throughout the day. Whether it is having a band of our friends play during the ceremony, naming the tables after meaningful pieces of music or music note-shaped confetti - it's only right that something that is as much a part of who we are as the colour of our eyes should feature in the day.

8) New Friends

If you're not a bander, prepare to meet a whole load of people who love your other half almost as much as you do and who are probably going to want to get to know you better too. One thing I love about banders, is that we (on the whole) are a friendly bunch and, more likely than not, you're not just leaving your wedding with a new spouse - you'll be leaving with a group of new friends.

9) Life is About to Change

Obviously, it's about to change - you're getting married! But, as well as your normal muggle life changing, there will be some banding changes afoot too! Firstly, if you're thinking of taking your partner's last name and you happen to be a soloist, best get used to your new name being read out at concerts! Also, the name on your band card will probably have to change too! And if you're part of a banding couple and not already used to bands viewing you as a 2-4-1 deal - better get used to that too.

If you're a non-bander marrying a bander - well, buckle-up my friend. You're one of us now - permanently! I would invest in a decent pair of running shoes, should your services be required as the band's runner at Whit Friday. You may be dragged into doing the draw for the band at contests - so if you're any good at guessing lottery numbers that's an advantage. How are your photography skills? Ever thought about learning to play percussion?

10) It's Going to be the Best Day

Speaking as a bander planning a wedding with my bander fiancé, when we meet at the end of the aisle we will both be surrounded by the most wonderful people banding brought into our lives and the music who made us who we are. I'm sure we will share many a laugh, possibly even a tear (for all of the right reasons) with our chosen musical family.

Whether you're getting married to a bander or you're a bander yourself, I'm sure you will have the most amazing day with the most amazing people. Banding is a strange little world, but it's wonderful and I thank my lucky stars every day that this was the community where I have called home for twenty years.

Abba may have thanked the music - but I thank the bands and every person they blessed us with.

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