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How to find the perfect wedding entertainment!


Firstly and probably foremost on your minds is the question of musical tastes.

Finding the right entertainment for an event is never an easy task and trying to find entertainment for a wedding (or any event where you might expect a mixed audience), is a whole other level of difficult. Wedding guests come in all shapes and sizes after all!

Weddings are one of the few occasions where you can expect a complete mix of ages and taste, from Grans, Grandads, Mums and dads, Aunts and Uncles to brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, teenagers, toddlers and even babies. So how in the world are you supposed to be able to please everyone? Well, the truth is, you can’t really please everyone but you can do your best to try and impress as many people as you possibly can.

The trick is to find a band with a broad repertoire that covers a few decades. A band that can pull off a broad list of genres (Soul, funk, rock, pop and possibly even a little jazz) and whose repertoire spans 6 decades is very likely to have something to please practically everyone. The great thing about a band with this level of flexibility is that they can easily tailor their sets to suit your tastes and accommodate as many people as possible. For example, it’s not uncommon, for some guests to leave early – typically mums and dads with toddlers and babies and perhaps Gran or Grandad might be feeling a little tired after a long day. However, most folks don’t leave until after the first dance. The ideal set to follow the first dance should start with some older classics – perhaps a little 60’s soul or even a couple of swing numbers at the very start – something that you know will appeal to the older members of your family – and then you gradually bring the set more up to date as the evening goes on. Typically, by the time the band are ready to start their second set, most of older family members and children have left and now the core age range is 20’s to 50’s. Understandably, the second set has to be totally different and a lot more contemporary.

The thing to remember is that you will have an opportunity to discuss the set lists (play lists) with the band directly, well in advance of the event date. Having a broad an extensive repertoire does not mean that the sets will be too broad, it simply means that the band have a much bigger repertoire to work with when they’re tailoring their sets to suit your preferences. If you want them to stick to modern rock & pop all evening then, as long as they have at least 30 modern tracks that you like, then they can deliver 2 x 60min sets of modern rock & pop. It really is that simple!

Then there’s the question of suitability

The category of wedding entertainment is a broad one and includes everything from solo acoustic artists (guitarists, violinists, harpists etc) who tend to be popular for the earlier part of the day and live party bands for the evening reception. There’s nothing quite as romantic or as atmospheric as a solo acoustic artist greeting guests as they arrive to be seated for the wedding ceremony, who can then also perform a few choice sentimental pieces as you walk down the aisle and when you sign the register. Acoustic artists are also ideal accompaniment for a drinks reception and an acoustic ensemble can really lend a touch of class to a sit down meal.

However, by the time the evening comes, most folks will start gearing up for a party so you really need a live band. There are all kinds of bands to choose from of course and not all are necessarily suitable for an evening reception, even if they do have a broad and extensive repertoire. What you need is a ‘Party band’, or a band with a party based repertoire. The name of the game at a wedding reception party is to get as many people as possible up onto the dance floor. For example, Adele’s ‘Hello’ is not going to fill the dance floor but Bruno Mar’s ‘UpTown Funk’ is pretty much guaranteed to deliver a full dance floor.

Logistics and physical limitations.

Finding an artist or party band with the perfect repertoire is one thing but before you decide to book your wedding entertainment, consider this…

  1. What’s the access like? Bands in particular can bring some rather bulky and heavy equipment (PA desks, large speakers, amps, drum kits etc) so it’s important to consider this before booking a band. Rigs can vary in size (some are more compact than others) so if you think their might be issues then you need to raise your concerns with the agent, before booking the band. For example, it can be problematic if the band can’t park their vehicles close to the entrance to load in, if there are steps or stairs to negotiate, if door widths and corridors are particularly narrow, if there’s a public lift (public lifts mean that the band will be delayed loading in as they have to share the lift with other users and if the lift is too small then it might mean some of the equipment might not even fit in or, at very least, it’ll take a few trips to load in, which also causes delays) and if the band have to manoeuvre large bulky equipment through crowded or cluttered areas (passed kitchen equipment, through tables and chairs etc).
  2. How much floor space are they going to need to set up their equipment and to be able to perform?
  3. What are their power requirements and can the venue support these? Also, bear in mind that power sockets need to be as close as possible to the stage area to avoid unsightly extension cables trailing across the room and to minimise trip hazards where possible.
  4. How long does the artist actually need to set up and sound check their equipment? Some bands only need an hour while other bands with bigger rigs might need two or more hours and don’t forget to take into consideration any potential delays caused by a difficult load in.
  5. Is there a sound limiter device installed in the function room? Venue’s sometimes have devices installed that can monitor the noise level within a room. These devices are connected into the mains circuitry of the room and they are designed to cut power if the noise level exceeds a certain pre-set limit, which cuts power to the bands instruments and stops play. The level is set by the venue so if it’s particularly low or if the sensor is located too close to the band's staging area then it could present some serious problems. You have some possible options here. You could try to locate the band so that they are as far away from the sensor as possible, you could ask the band if they can bring an electric drum kit or use rods or brushes instead of drum stick (in an attempt to reduce volume levels) and/or you avoid booking bands with a lean towards the noisier rock/indie style repertoire.

Our advice: Try and make a list of preferences (musical styles, genres, maybe some of your favourite artists and even consider whether you prefer male or female vocals for example), then ask your friends and family for their preferences a well. Go and visit the venue, walk through the access area and discuss where you’re hoping to locate the entertainment (ask the venue staff if there is a sound limiter and if so, where is the sensor located). If you think there might be any issues then take pictures on your phone and try and get some measurements (door widths, number of steps, widths of steps, how much floor space to set up in etc). Then, discuss any musical preferences you might have with your agent and provide them with as much information as possible regards access and timings so that they can take everything into consideration when making suitable recommendations (there’s no point in recommending a band that needs 2hrs to set up if you only have a 1hr window for them to do this). Share any recommendations (with confidence) with your friends and family and get their feedback before finally making a decision. Friends and family are always happy to give you their input on musical styles and repertoires but of course you'll already know that any logistical and physical limitations will have already been taken into consideration for you.

If you haven't already booked your entertainment and you could do with a little hand holding right now then please feel free to give us a call today - 08000 285 284. We're always happy to answer any questions and offer advice where required. Plus, we can start getting the feelers out there for you immediately!