Live Wedding Music - Why There Is No Substitute For Live Wedding Music

Your wedding day should be one of the most memorable days of your life and live wedding music can help for all the right reasons.  

As a wedding planner renowned for creating unforgettable experiences, I am often asked how to ensure guests have fun at a wedding. Besides the right choice of venue and food (glorious food!) selecting the right entertainment and especially live wedding music is key to creating your perfect day.   

With so many important factors to consider when planning your wedding entertainment, this article is packed full of helpful guidance, including how to make the most appropriate music choices to entertain and engage your guests at different times of the day, and what you should consider when booking live entertainment. 

I even equip you with the top 10 most important questions to help you avoid the pitfalls you may otherwise encounter.

The starting point for any decision making when it comes to the choices you need to make should be the timeline for your wedding day. Indeed the style and format of your perfect day will no doubt influence the type of entertainment you choose.





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Live Wedding Music - Time to Celebrate!

Your wedding ceremony is arguably the most important part of your wedding day and there is nothing more ceremonious or celebratory than live music.  

Your ceremony venue may automatically dictate the most appropriate style of music. For instance, if you are getting married in a church you will probably have the option of including church bells, an organist and possibly a choir (this is highly recommended as a means of bolstering your guests’ singing of hymns!).

Giving consideration to the order of service during the early stages of the planning process will give you the opportunity to identify what is and is not important to you.

If it is your preference to walk down the aisle to a string quartet or harpist, the sooner you identify this the more likely you are to be able to secure the best available options.

Whether your wedding ceremony takes place in a church or a licensed venue, or you have chosen a humanist or Celebrant led ceremony which may take place in an unlicensed space, you will need to select at least three individual pieces of music to accompany the arrival of the bridal party, the signing of the register (a legal requirement during a church or civil ceremony) and the departure of the newly-weds.

The most popular choices of live music for a wedding ceremony include a string trio or quartet, pianist, harpist and acoustic solo artist or duo.

Ultimately though, the choice is all yours. Remember, this is YOUR day. Do not be afraid to personalise it as much as possible.

Planning your wedding entertainment gives you an exciting opportunity to show off your creativity and design an experience your guests will never forget. Two of the most memorable weddings I have ever planned involved close friends of the couples performing a rap and a human beatbox!


Live Wedding Music - At Your Drinks Reception

After the ceremony is over, when you will no doubt be having photographs taken, you have the opportunity to WOW your guests with some suitable live music.  

Most acts offer three hours as standard, enabling you to maintain a consistent vibe by providing a continuation of the ceremony music, albeit it is perhaps a little more upbeat. Alternatively, you may wish to change the tempo entirely by incorporating something completely different.

The most popular choices of live music for a drinks reception include a string trio or quartet, pianist, acoustic solo artist or duo or a jazz band.

Once again, the extent to which you personalise your choices will determine the extent to which your wedding is a truly memorable experience for your guests.

A perfect example of this was embraced by a couple whose wedding I planned recently by involving a steel drum band to reflect their affinity with the Caribbean.

Live Wedding Music - During Dinner

Unless your budget dictates the need to compromise on live entertainment throughout your wedding breakfast, in which case you might opt to personalise a Spotify playlist, this is an opportunity to transform a meal into a memorable experience.

From a classical pianist to a swing singer or singing waiters to surprise your guests, you can be sure this is something they will be talking about for many years to come.



Live Wedding Music - For Your First Dance

You only have one chance to dance with your spouse for the first time as a married couple. Do you want to do so to a track that has been recorded and played a million times over or quite literally be moved by a truly unique performance played especially for you?

Live Wedding Music - Throughout The Evening

Selecting the right entertainment is key to creating the perfect party atmosphere. Your guests are likely to range in age and will probably not all share the exact same taste in music. Ideally, you will need to cover all bases by opting for a floor-filling, crowd pleasing function or party band, capable of inspiring your guests to dance and filling the floor all night long.  

Live Wedding Music - The 10 Most Important Questions To Ask Your Band or Musicians

  1. Request sight of their repertoire.  From this, you will be able to identify their style and determine whether it may be necessary to influence the playlist. Are you able to request a 'do not play' list? Will they learn new songs?
  2. Will there be a chance for you to hear them perform live? The most reputable performers will offer a music showcase which is not only an opportunity for you to hear the band perform live but to observe how well they engage with an audience and whether they have sufficient stage presence to ignite a party atmosphere.    
  3. Experience. How many weddings have they played? Are they able to share reviews and testimonials from previous clients?
  4. Space and practicalities. The line up of a band will determine the amount of space required. Seek advice from your venue about what works best and where. Establish if staging is required and if so, who supplies this?
  5. Set up. How long do the band need to install and sound check their equipment? Bear in mind that they will probably require access to the area in which they will be performing at least one hour in advance. Does this interfere with speeches and is sound equipment required, e.g. a microphone? if so, you may need to negotiate an arrangement with the band to set up some or all of their equipment prior to guests being seated for the wedding breakfast. Most will charge an additional fee to do so and it is worth factoring this into your budget from the outset, if needs be.
  6. Power. What is the minimum number of sockets required and is your venue able to accommodate this? If your wedding is taking place in a temporary structure such as a marquee then appropriate cabling will be necessary to ensure the band have access to the power they need in order to perform.      
  7. Insurance and PAT Certification. Most venues will require sight of relevant documentation, as standard.  
  8. Food, refreshments and comfort. Do the band expect to receive food and drinks? If so, do they have any particular dietary requirements which you will need to notify your caterer about? Will they require an area for changing or relaxing between sets?     
  9. Back up plan. What is their contingency plan if a band member is ill and unable to perform? Do they have adequate breakdown cover if one or more of their vehicles break down on route to your wedding?
  10. Cost. What options are available and how much do they cost? As a general rule, you should expect to pay in the region of £500–£1000 for day time entertainment and circa £2,000 for a good quality, experienced function band.


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About The Author

Helen Davies

Helen Davies plans weddings. That’s it. Nothing else. No distractions. Nothing to steal her focus. No kidding herself she can be good at EVERYTHING. She simply does her best to create the most unforgettable experience for you and your guests. But she doesn’t just plan weddings. She creates memories that will last a lifetime. Helen’s story is inspiring. Her enthusiasm is infectious. Her experience is unquestionable. Helen's mission is simply this; to help you to create your perfect day. Remarkably well. Connect with Helen on Social or schedule a call through the links on this page.

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