Carley Varley - Acoustic Musician
Updated: May 5
I chose Carley Varley to be included in this event, as she has a beautiful voice, with the personality to match! She's played at numerous famous venues, including The O2 and has won Awards for her talent.
She also personally understands exactly how you're all feeling right now - I was supposed to photograph her Wedding last Saturday, but she and her wonderful fiance Matt have unfortunately had to postpone to October! So if you want someone who personally understands all the ins-and-outs of planning a Wedding, from a personal point-of-view, Carley is your girl!
The wonderful Carley has answered your questions and performed some of her Wedding favourites in the video below. You can also find out more below the video, as she's written the following piece, showing you just why you should choose her to entertain you and your guests on your special day! - Thank you Carley! xo
If you'd like to talk to Carley, her contact details are at the bottom of this post, or you can leave a comment underneath this post and I'll pass her your email address! 🤍
Carley Varley - Award-Winning Acoustic Musician
Hello everyone, my name is Carley Varley and I am a full-time musician, based in Dorset, United Kingdom.
I have been in music full-time for just over a year. After winning the Venus Award for Musical Talent in November 2018, I decided in January 2019 to go for it and follow my passion. I have always played guitar and sung and at the age of 13 I began writing songs and learning covers. When I was 19, I started busking on the streets of Lymington and after a few months, I was invited inside venues to perform. This really helped my confidence and then I began to sing at parties, weddings and other events.
I have had the honour of playing in venues such as the 02 London, The Ritz Hotel, The Waldorf Hotel and I have played at over 20 weddings since June 2018. I absolutely love playing at weddings, they are my favourite events! I love the personal touch each couple has, every wedding so different and so beautiful to be a part of. I have sung people down the aisle, been evening entertainment and sung for a wedding breakfast too. As an acoustic artist, I can adapt to any part of a wedding day, whether couples need upbeat or chilled background music. I have everything in my setlist from Elvis Presley to Whitney Houston! I love playing weddings so much that in 2019 I wrote a song called ‘Found’ intended for weddings, which you can listen to here:
As a musician, my business is to provide live music for venues/couples and stay in contact with them and learn songs for them too. When couples contact me, I send my wedding package and if they’d like to proceed, I get a contract drawn up, then I get learning their preferred songs and send them my set list. I do ask for a deposit and the final balance is due a week before the big day to avoid any hassle on the day. On the couple’s wedding day, I arrive 30 minutes early to set up, sing for the time agreed and then pack up and head off once the couple are happy. I have my own PA system, I am PAT tested for any venue and I have 15,000,000 Public Liability Insurance – which some venues require.
I work hard at what I do, and I hope that couples can see the amount of work I put into perfecting my set lists and ensuring that I meet their expectations on their wedding day. Music is a passion of mine and I know many people enjoy music too and that is why I aim to be as versatile as possible.
Thank you so much for reading about me, I have answered some questions below, that I will be answering in my video over on the Main Page, but I thought it’d be good to write them out too. If you sign up to the Virtual Wedding Fayre you get a free goody bag – there is a little gift from me once you’ve signed up too, so check it out!
What is your favourite wedding song to sing?
In honesty, I love singing my own song ‘Found’ because couples love it and it makes me so happy to know that I’ve written a song that people want on their wedding day. I also love The Power of Love, that is a beautiful song and I get asked to sing it often.
Can you play when I walk down the aisle or are you just an evening entertainer?
Excellent question! I can sing people down the aisle (I have done this on many occasions) and I can provide evening entertainment. As a full-time musician, I am expected to keep people in pubs and bars entertained so I need a lot of upbeat numbers! I can also play background music at wedding breakfasts too!
Do you have any funny wedding stories?
I have a few but my favourite funny wedding story is from a wedding I did in Santorini. The bride was due to walk down the aisle any minute, I was set up ready to play in-between the vows and there were meant to be speakers playing piano music for the bride to walk down to.
Out of nowhere there is a gust of wind and the speakers are BLOWN! The organiser is freaking out and says ‘What the heck are we going to do now?’ I look up and say ‘…I can play her down the aisle?’ The organiser sighs with relief and says ‘Of course!’ I chose a song on the spot and sang the bride down the aisle with minutes to spare!
It was a funny story about something that wasn’t meant to happen, but the bride and groom were much happier with me singing them down the aisle and loved the song choice. I actually am good friends with them now and we often retell the story and they say I saved their big day!!
How far can you travel? Do you play at weddings internationally?
I can travel anywhere, I may charge more for fuel if it is far away from Bournemouth but that would be discussed and agreed. I love playing internationally and it is certainly something I can do. I played at a wedding in Santorini in 2019 and it was an amazing experience. There is an Instagram video of this linked above.
With international weddings, I do ask that accommodation and flights be covered for myself and my sound technician. I can provide the equipment and it is insured to be used abroad. Details must be discussed in-depth and I will send contracts to the couple once all is confirmed.
Can you play multiple instruments?
Yes, I can indeed! I mostly play guitar and sing but I also play piano and the ukulele. If couples request these instruments, then I play them.
If we have a song in mind for our big day, will you learn it?
Of course! Within reason, some songs are very difficult and if about 20 songs are requested then I wouldn’t be able to learn them all by the big day if it is soon. I certainly learn favourite songs of couples and I then take them to gigs with me and perform them there too!
If I want you to sing me down the aisle at 2pm, then I want you to sing again at 8pm, is that something you can do?
I can do this, but it would cost more. I usually do just one or the other, so if a whole day is needed then I charge more for this. I have no issue staying all day for a wedding, but the same amount won’t be charged for a simple 2-4pm or 8-10pm booking.
Does any wedding you’ve played at stand out and why?
I have a few that I love but one of my favourite weddings was my friend Louise’s. Stunning venue, I sang her down the aisle to Jack Johnson, which I learnt for her. I have very fond memories of this day, even the sunburn was worth this beautiful day!
How long can you play for?
So, people tend to think you can sing for hours and hours and not damage your vocals. However, your vocals are a muscle and they need time to recover - Without rest in-between sets it can put a lot of strain on your voice, just like talking for hours will too. I have 4 hours’ worth of material, but I tend to sing for 2-3 hours with 20 minute breaks. This allows my voice to rest and means I sound perfect for the day. So I can do 1 hour, 20 minute break, another hour, etc.
I’ve heard that you have played in famous venues - is this true?
Yes, I have played in the places that I have listed above and I’ve also played at popular music venues across the country. I am a regular musician in Chaplin’s Boscombe, a popular music bar, I have played at The Hilton Bournemouth for a wedding day. I have played at Balmer Lawn for a business event, the 1865 in Southampton, The Beck in London and many more.
My proudest achievements would have to be The Ritz, The Waldorf at The 02 in London but I love every venue I play as each one has improved my skill set and taken me on a journey.
What is your cancellation/postponement policy during this difficult time?
When a couple postpones, I do my best to make the new arranged date. I have had to do this with 5 weddings this year and I wanted to make sure the couples were comfortable and happy. If a couple cancels, they do not receive the deposit refunded, but if I have to cancel the date then I do refund the deposit as it is my fault for cancelling.
Usually I will then help them to find another musician/replacement entertainment. During this difficult time, it is very hard as a small business. So far, I have had many weddings postponed, but I simply make myself available on the rescheduled date. For new weddings I am making sure the couples are happy with the date chosen and doing all I can to ensure great communication.
Why should I hire you instead of another musician?
I think you should hire me because I am a professional musician, it isn’t a hobby for me, it is my livelihood. I’ll work hard and be in constant communication, which a lot of musicians do lack in. I am well-practiced and certainly versatile in my song choices - as I sing in public 3-4 days a week, I have had to learn to cater for all age groups. People often say to me that they are on a budget and that they can’t afford to splash out on a musician, but I feel it is one of the most important parts of a wedding, as music sets the mood and really does bring a different element to the day. I myself am getting married this October and my fiancé and I spent hours looking for the perfect musician for our day, as it is a very important decision. A musician is a very skilled individual, hours of practice have gone into perfecting sets and they should be paid well as not everyone has their talents. As I am full-time all of my energy goes into my clients and I make sure that couples are happy before I decide anything. I love my job so much, it doesn’t feel like a job.
Thank you to Carley, for getting involved in this Event and including an offer in the Virtual Goody Bag! xo
I've included Carley Varley's contact details and important links below, please take a look and get in touch - And don't forget to leave her some love on this post!
Take care and stay safe everyone 🤍
Phone: 07434751202 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org