Let’s face it - organising your wedding day can be a stressful ordeal with only have one shot to get it right. So what musicians do you choose? Well to make things easier, we like to break it down into three categories; Bands, acoustic groups, and soloists. Our guide should give you a good idea of where to utilise the musicians you book at any one point throughout your wedding day.
So when shall I have musicians play throughout the day?
Generally speaking, think of having acoustic groups and soloists in the day, and party bands in the evening. This is typical for most weddings, but that is not to say you can’t break the mould! Here are our wedding day music ideas.
String groups are a great choice for the ceremony or any acoustic act that play instrumentals. Having the act during the ceremony always adds an elegant touch, and to make an extra special entrance for the bride/groom, you can request the artist to play as they walk down the aisle. Most musicians are more than happy to learn a special song request for the procession.
This is usually when the couple is getting photos taken, the guests are mingling, and the mood is more relaxed. Oh, and alcohol consumption usually begins! This is a good time to have musicians playing some music to add more atmosphere and bring up energy levels. If you’ve hired musicians for your ceremony to play a set, it would be good (and cost-effective) to also have them to perform for the drinks reception afterwards.
Alternatively, soloists, duos, and trios make for a good choice and are more for the guests to engage with while they sip away. It’s worth noting that acts (wedding bands in particular) may have the option to provide an additional acoustic line-up that can be added to the base package, allowing them to perform during another part of the day. This is not only versatile but may save you the money hiring a completely different act to perform that acoustic set you may have wanted for the drinks reception, ceremony, or during breakfast.
Wedding breakfast presents lengthy conversation time and for some guests to meet each other for the first time. Having a piano/guitar instrumentalist or a string group is great for pleasant background music while guests continue to mingle or get to know each other. If you want something more, how about a Jazz band to throw in some smooth ambience.
See suggested acts for wedding ceremonies, drinks receptions, and breakfast..
First dance and evening reception
It’s very common to have the evening band to play the first dance for the newlyweds. It adds a personal touch, and many acts are happy to accommodate this free of charge. Once the first dance is over the band can kick right into getting the party started!
Bands always make the biggest impact and are a visual centrepiece at any event. A good wedding band should be interactive with their audiences, drawing guests to the dance floor and get involved in the party. The whole performance should be a show, not like watching an amateur band down at the pub! If there is a limit on size, volume, or both is an issue, acoustic groups such as duos and trios are an alternative option and will still get your guests going.
Most acts will provide an unmanned (Spotify/Apple Music) playlist as part of the package while some even offer a manned DJ (usually for an extra fee) for music while the band isn’t playing, and after their performances. This ensures the energy levels remain high and your guests have a chance to show their best and worst dance moves!
See our function wedding bands..
How long do musicians usually perform for?
The standard performance time for most musicians is a total of 2 hours of playing that can be split into 2 x 1 hour or 3 x 45-minute sets. Most acts can also play an extra set for an added fee.
What else do I need to consider when choosing the musicians for my wedding day?
It may seem obvious, but you need to think about age demographics. This is mostly relevant for the function bands in the evening but picture this as an extreme example: having a band that plays only 60s and 70s music to a crowd of people under 35-year-olds. As much as they would probably still enjoy that, they are more likely to prefer a more modern function cover band playing music from the 80s onwards.
Most bands accommodate for the wide demographic, performing music from over the decades, however, if you have an audience which is predominantly under the age of 40, you may want to consider bands that specialise in a certain era or type of music. If you want something for the age group of 40+, maybe look into hiring a Soul or Jazz and Swing band.
Live music can completely transform the atmosphere at a wedding, and it’s up to you when you have musicians play and where you think it will matter the most. Budget is obviously a big factor; make sure to check out the artist's profiles to see what they can offer. You may find that you can get good value for money with extra add-ons (acoustic line-ups/DJ packages etc.) they may offer.
The musicians are there to make it the best day as possible for you as they can so be sure to explain all your requirements no matter how big or small for your day.