Choosing live music for your wedding

The Players

Once you’ve made the decision to have live music at your wedding the next challenge is to make sense of the huge array of choices available. There are so many styles of music and types of performer to choose from it is difficult to know where to start.

This is a quick guide to untangling it all, which will hopefully provide you with some ideas and a place to start.

Tangled Leads

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before

Most wedding entertainers perform cover versions – songs made famous by other artists that everyone is likely to know. Some do perform their own material, and this includes some who will write songs ‘to order’ to reflect the event or the couple, but most wedding audiences want to hear songs they know and love.

If there’s a particular artist you really like, you could consider booking a tribute act. Tribute acts specialise in performing the songs of one artist or group of artists, and often go the whole hog and dress up too. This type of act can be great fun, and it makes for some truly memorable photos if the costumes are particularly accurate.

However, if you’re expecting your tribute act to play all night, you need to be sure that you and your guests really like the original artist, and that they have enough hits to fill that amount of time!

At weddings it is more common to find acts playing covers from a wide selection of artists either within a given style or genre, or from across all types of popular music.

From Hank to Hendrix

Walk in to any record shop (remember them?) and you will see just how many different styles of music there are; and, for every style of music you can think of, you can guarantee you will find an entertainer or band ready to play your wedding. Below is a quick summary of the main genres of music and musician you might find at a wedding.

It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing…

Jazz and Rat-Pack style performers are popular with all ages, and they can form a superb back drop to the afternoon or early evening part of a reception, as well as the main event. They can also be really effective in venues that have strict volume controls as, generally, they are able to control their volume and delivery a lot more than a rock band.

Roll over Beethoven

You can also add a touch of class with Classical or Opera performers. For example, a string quartet or soloist can greatly enhance the atmosphere of any ceremony. You can also book ‘singing waiters’ to serenade your guests with Opera classics. However, this type of act isn’t always the best for dancing. If dancing is your thing, you have even more options…

I’ll tell me Ma

Traditional folk acts – whether English, Irish, Scottish, or European (to name a few) – are often very lively and can move even the most stubborn partygoers on to the  dance floor. You could even consider holding a Ceilidh (pronounced kaylee) where the band will include a ‘caller’ who ‘calls’ each dance and offers instructions to the dancers.

Play that funky music

If you want to guarantee a full dance floor, consider a Motown, soul or funk band. These bands play hits that were written for dancing and everyone has at least one favourite Motown hit. However, to recreate the full effect of these classic hits, this type of band are usually pretty large, including horn sections and backing singers etc; and, this many musicians often comes with a large price tag.

Rock around the clock

By far the most popular type of band for a wedding is a rock and pop band. These groups cover hits from the 50s right up until today – so you know there’s going to be something for everyone. Also, they can often incorporate songs in many of the styles listed above. Rock and pop bands have very energetic performances and can often adapt their set more easily to respond to an audience.

This is the end

This is just a summary of the many different options available when you are looking a live music for your wedding, or any other event. Hopefully it has given you some ideas, and it will help you with your search.

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