Wedding Music

The role music can play in your big day
by Claire Barker

Are you thinking about wedding music as part of your celebration? Planning a wedding is a massive undertaking even if you are thinking of going low key and not spending a years salary on your big day! There are countless things to consider: Dress; bridesmaids; rings; flowers; suits; make-up; theme; family harmony! A huge part of your wedding day can be music: Do you have a DJ; wedding band; ceilidh band; string quartet; folk band? And what about the ceremony? It’s a minefield! Here are a few things to think about when planning your wedding music.

Who are you as a couple and who is coming to your wedding?

If you are a young couple with a guest list of mainly 20-30 somethings you will want a DJ or band who will play a more contemporary playlist. If you are rock fans, you may not want to spend your evening listening to Justin Bieber! Ask your suppliers their advice and take it on board. It is also worth considering that in order for your party to be a big success you will want to appeal to a wide demographic! No point 3 people rocking out to Slipknot all evening whilst everyone else sits outside, or worse; goes home! Try to think about who will be at the evening party and what will go down well! Most weddings will have quite a mix of people from little children to Great Aunty Freda; aim for a mix. A good wedding band will have a large list of song choices and an even better one will tailor a set list for you to cater for your choices and your audience!

What is your budget?

Bear in mind you get what you pay for. A professional wedding band will have:
A contract – Important to be clear about expectations!
A wide variety of music – To appeal to all and tailor a set list for you.
Public Liability Insurance – Just in case!
A good social media presence – This instills confidence and trust!
Good testimonials – Vital to have the opinions of past Brides and Grooms!
Lighting – To create atmosphere and to light the stage and dance floor!
Great musicians – Experienced players who have hundreds of weddings under their belt!
Good quality gear – Great musicians still sound terrible through a poor PA system!
A good website with music, contact, videos and hopefully an idea of what they play!
And most importantly:
GREAT communication! Emails and phone calls should be answered promptly and efficiently!

When setting your budget remember what you are paying for! It is not just for 2 hours of live music. The average wedding gig totals about 9 hours work on the day (multiplied by however many players there are in the band you book) not including preparation, communication (emails, phone calls, set list writing, contract writing etc) rehearsal for new songs. The hours of work that go into a wedding are not just those spent performing.

If you don’t have the budget for a band a great DJ is a good option! Again communicate with them about what you want and bear in mind their past experience and testimonials as well! Other options include smaller bands, soloists and duos as well!

Average Wedding costs

Average Wedding costs

What about day time music?

Live music at a ceremony can make your day very special! Walking down the aisle to your favourite song but played in a unique arrangement will make that moment truly unforgettable. Solo singers, guitarists, duos, string ensembles and harpists are all lovely options to give your ceremony the wow factor! Many musicians will then play during the wedding breakfast for a couple of hours which is a lovely personal alternative to streamed music from an in-house music system.  You should be able to choose some songs. A good musician will have no problem learning a few new songs for your wedding.

You may have spent a long time discussing your first dance song with your partner, it’s a big moment and one that your wedding band leader will be able to aid you with. If you have a 6 piece band with no brass don’t expect a big band number like a Michael Bublé song! However don’t forget other important pieces of music you’ll need on your day.

For your wedding ceremony songs, you’ll need to make at least two choices; namely, your processional and recessional songs. It is a good idea to state with your performer whether you want the whole song or you want them to stop when you reach the top of the aisle. You don’t want an uncomfortable 3 minute wait while the song goes on. If you want the whole song, wait a while before you start your procession. Even better work out timings! This will depend on how many bridesmaids you have; (are they walking before or after you?) How long the song is and how long the aisle is. In many hotels and venues you can be up the aisle in 20 seconds and then waiting for a 4 minute song!

You might want to choose about 3 songs for the time when you sign the register and have some photos. Discuss with your photographer how long they think you will need and communicate this to your performer. It depends a lot from venue to venue and how many photos you want taken at this stage.

Music is an emotive part of a wedding. It can evoke very strong emotions! As important as choosing your favourite songs, think about those you really dislike! Just mention to your band or performer if there is a particular song you would not like to hear at your wedding.

Communication and trust

You should have built up something of a rapport with your band leader, DJ or musician by the time your wedding comes around. We love to know just how to make your day as special as we can! That is why we work in the business. So from a surprise song, a special first dance or even a planned flash mob get us involved! Talk to your musicians and trust in the advice! We have a wealth of experience and are happy to offer guidance on what generally works and what doesn’t!
We love making your day the one to remember!

Claire x