All posts by hvwe

The Vinegrove, Mudgee

In 2015 I was lucky enough to play again at the beautiful Vinegrove in Mudgee. Sarah Ferris and her husband Tim have created the perfect venue for brides and grooms who want a ceremony on the lawn, canapes and pre reception drinks while lounging around the grounds, then moving into the magical marquee for the reception.

Sarah has an uncanny eye for detail and not a thing is overlooked; from breath fresheners in the male toilets to the blankets around the lounges in case it gets a bit chilly.

If you’re getting married in Mudgee you simply must consider this venue. Give Sarah a call –  0402 220 839

or check out the website here



Acoostic Moose

featured-1-300x157The Acoostic Moose name is a recognised and respected name within the live music and wedding industries.

Starting life as a duo in year 2000, The Moose now perform for up to 50 happy couples per year in several different formats.

Acoostic Moose are of course still offered as a duo with Mick Fetch as lead vocalist, but they can easily be expanded to a 3, 4, 5, or six piece band if required.

What you get:

* A fully customised outfit tailored to suit the style of music you want.

* A specialist Wedding Band, not pub and club singers who like the idea of playing at weddings.

* Career musicians with years of experience, hand picked to give our Brides and Grooms a night of music they wont forget

* Chilled acoustic music for ceremony, canapes and dinner, then a full dance floor – GUARANTEED!!

We are the preferred and recommended entertainment for the following venues:

Peppers Creek Barrel Room, Tamburlaine Wines, Brown Sugar, Hunter Valley Gardens, The Barrel Room Tempus Two, Bimbadgen Estate, Tulloch Wines, Lindemans.


Contact us today for a no obligation chat about music for your wedding or function.

The Bridal Waltz versus Dessert??!!!

Acoostic Moose play at a lot of weddings where this is often an issue on a number of different levels. Usually after speeches and the cutting of the cake the bride and groom will do their ‘first dance’ or bridal waltz together. This is a really special part of the night and it’s usually danced to a song which is meaningful to the couple. It can literally be any song you like; upbeat and silly or an elegant ballad or anything in between. In 90% of cases we would perform it live but sometimes it’s played from the iPod.

What happens next is where the problem lies. We’ve noticed of late that dessert is served during or after the dance and we reckon that’s not the best scenario. By the time the bridal waltz comes around your guests are ready to party; the meal is over and they are ready to dance! On too many occassions we’ve seen the dessert sit on the tables, and ultimately thrown out, while the guests spend the next hour on the dance floor! Kevin and I reckon that’s just a waste of your money and a waste of good food especially considering there are ways around it.

If your speeches occur after the mains, as soon as speeches are finished, cut the cake and then serve dessert. People will only take about ten minutes to finish their dessert so doing it this way isn’t cutting in to too much party time. You can even get the bridal waltz under way while the stragglers are finishing dessert then they can get up on the dance floor as soon as they’re done.

Don’t let the photographer pressure you in to getting the dance out of the way so they can go home and be sure to tell your venue coordinator that this is how you want it done.

Please remember that this makes absolutely no difference to us as your band; it’s just an observation we’ve made after hundreds of weddings we’ve performed at. We will fit in with how you guys want the evening to run; this is just a suggestion to make the party segment of the night flow a bit better. After all, we’re just jealous we’re not getting any of that yummy dessert!!!

Regards, MF.

Booking Your Wedding Entertainment – Be Careful!!!

Hi guys, I just wanted to have a little rant about some issues that are important when booking the musicians for your wedding through an entertainment agency. There are a few things you need to be aware of and we reckon there’s a few boxes that need to be ticked when dealing with entertainment agencies who have lots of artists on their books. Below are some questions that need to be answered when dealing with an agent, and that includes HVWE!!

*Is the person on the other end of the phone/email an experienced musician and do they really understand what is expected at a wedding? Does the consultant you speak to at the bridal fair really know what each artist can offer and how many weddings has the consultant performed at? A wedding performance is much different to a pub or a club gig.

*Does the agency rep communicate with you quickly and efficiently? There’s nothing worse than waiting for a call back or an email question to be answered.

*Does the agency allow you to establish a good relationship with your musician after you’ve booked leading up to the wedding? I’ve heard some horror stories where an artist is booked through an agency but all correspondence with the artist has to go through the agent!! What’s the go there? are there agent/artist trust issues? These are the musicians who are going to be a major part of one of the biggest days of your life; you need to get to know them and they need to get to know you, the songs you like and dislike plus all the little things that they can do to make the music component special.

*Can you get to see your artist perform prior to booking them? This is a fairly obvious one but believe it or not, some couples book an artist without properly understanding what they can deliver. If where you live prohibits getting to a live performance, make sure you view some good clips, have a good talk with the artist and be confident that what you see is what you’re going to get on the big day.

These are just a few important points to ponder; I’ll add to them later if I think of any more. We like to think that at HVWE we tick all the above boxes; feel free to send us an email and ask any questions you need so you’re confident with who you book to play such a big part in your day.

Cheers, MF.

Magazine Launch – Your Hunter Valley Wedding Planner

A great night was had by all at the above mentioned launch at Wandin Valley Estate last Thursday. Thanks to Suellyn and the team for their efforts to make it a great night and for asking Hunter Valley Wedding Entertainment and Acoostic Moose to be a sponsor.

I was lucky enough to get to do a few tunes as did the Emma Graves Trio. Thanks to them for travelling up and doing such a great job as always. Any bride and groom after a world jazz, gypsy sound can’t go past these guys – they’re the real deal.

If you are planning a wedding and haven’t got the latest edition of Your Hunter Valley Wedding Planner, then get one. It’s the bible if you’re getting married in the Hunter Valley, Newcastle or Port Stephens.

Stay tuned for some photos of the night. MF.

Choosing your wedding songs

Hi again. Choosing your songs for your ceremony and reception can be a tough job with so many songs and artists to choose from. If you’re lucky, you’re one of the few brides and grooms who know exactly what they want for what I call “The Big Ones” which include processional (walk up the aisle), signing of the register, recessional (walking back down the aisle), and of course your Bridal Waltz or first dance. However, most people find it difficult so here’s a few tips that hopefully put you on the right track.

1- Make a list of artists/bands you’re really in to. It doesn’t matter if these range from Motley Crew, Delta Goodrem or Slim Dusty; it immediatley narrows the search down for you and gives you a starting point. Then you can do an iTunes or Youtube search and see what songs they have that might be suitable. You might just find a song from one of these artists that is meaningful to you (see below). If you want a more classical, elegant vibe, check out For some suggestions.

2- Choose songs that are meaningful to you. We all have songs or a song which holds a special memory; hearing that tune can take you back ten years to a certain event like it was yesterday. The main thing to remember here is it doesn’t have to be a song you think might be more “appropriate”. Have some fun and look outside the wedding song cliche square. Just because a song you like is bright and bubbly doesn’t mean this can’t be used for your processional for example. It can be done acoustically, slowed down or we can change the feel while still using the same lyrics and essence of the song. This is the biggest advantage of having live music. I have been requested to do some really different tunes over 20 years of playing for weddings and there are very few I’ve had to give up on and use the original. Quite simply, if you like it then use it because “the big ones” are all about you.

3- Brides and Grooms ask me for recommendations all the time. Here’s some tunes I think work well for the different stages:

Processional: For a more elegant, classic feel- Pachelbel’s Canon in D, Bridal Chorus (commonly known as Here Comes The Bride) by Richard Wagner, The Prince of Denmark’s March by Jeremiah Clarke, Trumpet Tune in D by Purcell-Clarke.

For some contemporary options you might like to consider If This Is It – Newton Faulkner, Love Will Keep Us Alive – The Eagles, From This Moment – Shania Twain, Amazed – Lonestar, Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars, All I Want Is You – U2

Signing of The Register: Better Together – Jack Johnson, Memories of Us – Keith Urban, You & Me – Lifehouse, My Best Friend – Tim McGraw, When A Man Loves A Woman – Percy Sledge, Saving Grace – Pete Murray, Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, Smile – Uncle Kracker, I Wanna Be Your Everything – Keith Urban, 1 2 3 4 – Plain White T’s, Marry Me – Train,

Recessional: How Sweet It Is – James Taylor, Signed Sealed Delivered – Stevie Wonder, I’m Yours – Jason Mraz, Somebody Like You – Keith Urban, Perfect Day – Lady Antebellum, Marry You – Bruno Mars

Reception Entrance: It depends on what vibe you’re going for here; I like the fun upbeat tunes to get your guests on their feet but it can be more subdued and elegant. Usually played from the iPod Dangerzone – Kenny Loggins, Get This Party Started – Pink, I Got A Feelin – Black Eyed Peas, One Love – Bob Marley, I’m Yours – Jason Mraz, Eye Of The Tiger – Survivor, Sexy & I Know It – LMFAO, The Melbourne Mambo – The Mavericks (instrumental piece which I love!!)

Cutting the Cake – This can be anything really. It doesn’t go for all that long so it doesn’t have to be a big feature. We sometimes play an instrumental piece live or we can have any other song you like on the iPod.

Bridal Waltz – Again this can be anything you like but here’s some options. Usually not a ‘waltz’ these days, more like a shuffle…!! It’s Your Love – Tim McGraw, Marry You – Bruno Mars, You and Me – Lifehouse, Wedding Day – The Bee Gees, Burn Your Name – Powderfinger, This I Promise You – Ronan Keating, Into The Mystic – Van Morrison, I’ll Be – Edwin McCain, The One I Love – David Gray, Have I Told You Lately – Van Morrison.

All these suggestions are not in any particular order of preference; they’re just some that came into my head at the time of writing. We will have a go at playing anything live and almost every song can be stripped back and played acoustically or with full backing tracks. We certainly wont be offended if you would prefer the original version either.

For a sample list of songs we’ve done before check out the wedding song list on the Acoostic Moose page.

We’re in the Top 10 highest rated Wedding Musicians in Australia!!


Acoostic Moose and HVWE have been finalists for a few years now in the Live Band, Ceremony Music and Entertainment Agent categories of the Australian Bridal Industry Academy awards, with a win in the Ceremony Musicians category in 2011.

The Academy now have an Australia – wide rating ( also voted by the brides we’ve played for) called the Designer Of Dreams, and we’re thrilled to be in the top 10 in the country for this award. It’s designed to determine the most consistently rated wedding suppliers in Australia over a period of 4 consecutive years.

Our brides and grooms rate us on stuff like quality of product, quality of service, value for money and attitude of staff, among other things. They announce the top 5 on the 6th of February, the top 3 on the 13th of February and the winners on the 14th of Feb, which just happens to be Valentines Day!!

A big thank you goes out to all who rated us over the past few years. These kinds of results prove we’re leaders in what we do, but they also drive us on to keep making our service to future couples even better.

Stay tuned for further results throughout February, but at the moment we’ll be happy with being within the top 10 wedding entertainment suppliers in the country.

Live Music versus DJ – the whole truth!!

Hello Again!
Hunter Valley Wedding Entertainment offer a number of music options for your wedding. One of these options is a Live/DJ combination. This option is as the name suggests; it involves a mixture of live music and pre-recorded music throughout the evening.

Some couples know that they want live music for the whole night, others definitely just want a DJ. We are however finding that a lot of couples are undecided and would like a bit of both and that’s why I’m writing this particular blog; to lay out some pro’s and cons for you to think about. My background is performing live music so I apologise if I sound a little biased at times. My aim is to give you as much info as possible based on my experience over twenty years of playing for weddings. I’ve broken the wedding up into four sections so you can consider them individually. Here goes, hope it’s helpful!

As a musician this is my favourite part of the day. It’s always a very intimate, fairly serious and emotional part of the proceedings. I thoroughly enjoy playing the brides special song as she walks down the aisle, a song during the signing of the register and one as she walks back down the aisle with her new husband! I also play some instrumental guitar for 15 minutes prior to the bride arriving and any other songs you want throughout the ceremony.
I don’t believe anything can set the vibe better than a live vocalist here. For smaller ceremonies in a controlled environment (such as a church or indoors) I can play totally acoustic, but an outdoor ceremony on a beach or in a garden may require my small PA which is battery powered and very compact. You wont have to worry about how long the walk in will be because I can add another verse or chorus and make it as long or as short as the song needs to be. The same goes for signing of the register; some celebrants will tell you to choose two songs for this but you only need one if it’s live – I can just stretch it out a bit if necessary as you’ll never get through two songs in full.
If you particularly like the original version of the songs you choose we can play them back from the ipod, but in this instance I believe there’s nothing beats live.

Canapes/Pre-Reception Drinks
This is a time when your guests are having a good old chat because they often haven’t seen one another for a long time. The last thing you need is loud music in their face while they’re trying to talk. When I play for canapes it’s definitely in the background and in a laid back style that isn’t overpowering. Yes, this can be achieved with an ipod on softly, but I often find that guests like to interact with me as they start to really kick back and relax, often asking questions like ‘who sang that song?’ or ‘what type of guitar is that?’. Live music gives it a personal touch that the iPod can’t.

Reception – during dinner
I’ve found that this is a time when guests are really listening to the music; we often get applause during dinner which would usually be considered not the correct etiquette. Sure they’re having a chat and enjoying their meal but we find it’s the time that they are particularly paying attention. Again, playing live here is much more personal and we really enjoy playing some laid back tunes during this part of the night.
With any of our packages, playing over dinner is included either live or live/DJ combination, unless otherwise stipulated.
It’s a win for live here I’m afraid!!

Reception – Dancing
This is where it gets a little more complex. I guarantee to get you and your guests on the floor and dancing regardless of weather you’ve booked me solo or as Acoostic Moose. In short, we’ve studied exactly what works and what doesn’t when it comes to getting people on the floor. The guests at a wedding are usually a mix of age groups and our repertoire reflects this. Sometimes there are more friends, therefore a younger audience, and we adjust the repertoire accordingly. Sometimes there are a lot more family and therefore our audience is a bit older; we can adjust the set list to cater for them too. The key is to play a selection of songs that people recognise and can relate to; a mixture of old and new.
Having said all that, there’s only so many songs we can know at any one time, so this is where the DJ can come into their own. With the availability of digital music in an instant, it’s highly likely your DJ will have access to almost ANY song you want, especially if it’s requested beforehand. Most DJ’s, and certainly ours, can access a special request on the spot as long as there is mobile phone/internet service. When you book our DJ service, you get a login with your confirmation letter which allows you to choose from literally thousands of songs and you can select whatever you want to be played on the night. Your DJ will have these songs pre loaded on your playlist and the rest is a no brainer. You can also leave it to the DJ to read the crowd on the night as they are experienced at doing this and getting people on the floor.

The bottom line is that with a DJ you can have as much control over the music as you like. You can also have a large selection of ultra-modern, hip hop, classical or songs from whatever genre you prefer or envisage for the dancefloor.

I trust this little blog will help you make a decision re your music on the night. I’m always happy to have a chat about your options at any time but ultimately you tell me what you want to happen with the music at your wedding and we’ll do our best to make it a reality.