Wedding Music Guide

Your Book Live guide to hiring Wedding Music.

A journey through the wedding day exploring how some of our previous clients have used live music to make it completely unforgettable. You’ll find useful advice & suggestions plus information on pricing and logistics in our complete guide on how to hire wedding music for your special day.

First things first…

Before arranging any musical treats for your wedding, we recommend talking with the venue to find out what their policy is on entertainment. Many listed buildings and venues within residential areas may have a sound limiter which might restrict the type of band you have on the day. They may also require performers to be set up earlier than the artist requires which could significantly add to the cost of your entertainment. It is also worth checking how much room is available for bands / singers to perform. Some venues may have to rearrange the tables after the wedding breakfast to accommodate the evening entertainment and most venues will want to see artists’ Public Liability Insurance and PAT certification for any electrical equipment prior to performance. The Book Live team can help with these arrangements and liaise with your venue and our artists to ensure a trouble-free performance.

Once your venue has confirmed everything is okay your live wedding music search begins and Book Live will be delighted to make suggestions from our portfolio of superb live bands and singers – we make good things happen.

The average wedding lasts nearly 10 hours so there is plenty of opportunity to add different musical flavours throughout the day so here are a few of the most popular moments to have live music:

Wedding music for the ceremony and service:

Wedding Ceremony

For the majority of couples, this is the most formal part of the day where you actually tie the knot amongst family and friends. What kind of tone would you like to set for your wedding service?

Elegant, classical, poignant, cultured: You might like to consider an opera singer to gently welcome guests in with 2 x arias, a beautiful song during the signing of the register and again [optional] at the end of the service.

Opera Singers: Fees from: £350

Uplifting, spiritual, romantic: Gospel singers can create a truly uplifting sound that will bring everyone together whilst they focus on your wedding ceremony. Our gospel singers can cater for either a religious or a civil ceremony where the music has to be pre-checked so as not to contain any religious content.

Gospel Singers: Fees from: £325

Light, fun, upbeat, jazzy: A dixie jazz band can provide a bright, up tempo feel to this part of the wedding day. You may like to have them perform outside the venue on a summer’s day to keep guests entertained. They’re also perfect for music during the photographs or outdoor receptions immediately after the wedding ceremony.

Dixie Band: Fees from: £525

Wedding music for the drinks reception & wedding breakfast:

Wedding Drinks Reception

Sophisticated, classical, refined: Harpists are very popular entertainment for the drinks reception. The music includes jazz, easy listening and show tunes. A harpist may need some amplification if you are expecting more than 150 guests or the music may not be loud enough to carry within your venue.

Harpist: Fees from: £300

Smooth, warm, timeless: A swing singer is an extremely popular addition to many wedding drinks receptions. The music includes hits from Sinatra, Michael Bublé, Matt Monroe and more.

Swing singer: Fees from: £500

Spicy, vibrant, different: Our talented guitarists perform great Spanish music with a Latin beat which is ideal for summer weddings.

Spanish / Classical guitarist: Fees from: £250

Wedding music for the evening party:

Wedding Party

Cool, classy, stylish, slick: A swing band is a great idea for couples wanting great music from the 1920′s to the 1950′s with music from Sinatra, Glenn Miller, The Ratpack and much more. The band may even be able to cover the music for the drinks reception and meal too with an instrumental option.

Swing Band: Fees from: £1100

Exciting, all-encompassing, most popular: Our wedding function bands know how to get everyone on the dance floor and play a wide range of music that will suit guests young and old. This is by far the most popular wedding entertainment.

Function bands: Fees from: £900

Glamorous, sexy, spectacular: Our Latin / Brazilian bands bring a spicy, intoxicating flavour to their performances. Expect feathers, amazing dancers, an energetic performance and a unique musical experience for an unusual treat.

Latin / Brazilian Band: Fees from: £1400

Wedding music on a budget

Sometimes our budget won’t stretch to having our dream wedding full of great live music. Here are a few ideas to keep costs down:

  • Avoid the peak days. The majority of couples tie the knot on a Saturday between May and September. You can save £££’s by getting married on any other day and if your celebrations are not in the peak-season you may find discounts on all your wedding suppliers.
  • Hiring local bands / singers to save money on travel expenses / overnight accommodation.
  • Avoiding early set up fees. Most bands / singers can set up in under an hour. They will usually charge extra if you need them to set up several hours before their performance.
  • Hiring 1x act that can provide the music for different parts of the day. Many artists can perform jazz, soul, party music and may also be able to provide a DJ service as well.
  • Let the venue help with recorded music. It isn’t essential to have live music for the whole day. Your venue may be able to play CD’s or background music during the drinks reception or meal. Decide what you want the highlight of your wedding day to be and allocate the budget specifically for that rather than splitting a small budget between 2 x or more acts.
  • Let your guests contribute towards the evening entertainment. Add the band to your wedding gift list – a novel way to have a memorable night plus all your guests benefit.
  • Book early. Hiring a live band 12-18 months in advance can save you around 10% on the total cost and it will also avoid any problems with availability.
  • Use a respected Wedding Music Agency as they will likely have secured discounted rates for their artists and their contracts mean your entertainment will be secure for your big day without any hassles.

We don’t recommend:

  • Using a friend’s band. This can often lead to disappointment because they will be missing out on a paid gig plus they won’t be able to enjoy your wedding as much because they are ‘working’. This is the second most common reason that brides contact us after being let down. (The first being that an uncontracted band has cancelled)
  • Leaving it until the last minute. It’s rare that bands will offer last minute discounts as they will be more in demand as availability dries up for other artists.
  • Hiring the cheapest act you can find. It is always better to have a DJ than hire an awful singer or band. No-one wants to listen to bad live music. [Read our article: Cheap entertainment or expensive mistake]

What does a live band need to perform?

Most live bands have a requirement list for performances – this is called a ryder. A typical ryder is:

  • Access to a power supply. They will usually need 2 or 3 x standard power sockets and they will bring suitable cables / connectors to power their equipment
  • A suitable performance area. A 4 piece band will need approx 4 x 3metres; a 6-8 piece live band will need approx 6 x 4metres
  • 30 minutes to set up for acoustic artists to set up; Up to 45 minutes for a solo singer to set up; 60-90 minutes to set up. Bands don’t want to disturb your event but they would also rather not sit around for hours ahead of a performance so they usually arrive at a suitable time to set up around 2 hours ahead of the party.
  • Hot food for each band member and soft drinks. You will get the best out of the band if you look after them whilst they are with you.
  • A changing / chill-out area where they can also leave their valuables.
  • Parking spaces to be provided or paid for.

Can I go and see the band before I book?

Some bands do have public performances but most don’t as these gigs are usually in pubs and clubs and most of the bands we represent prefer not to do these. We’ve included as many live videos of the bands on their pages so you can see them as well as listen to their audio samples. Remember, too, if a band does have a public performance, they may get booked for your date by the time you get to see them. We are unable to arrange for any prospective client to go and see a band at someone else’s wedding or private party.

How does payment work?

A deposit is due at the point of booking. Book Live can accept payments by Visa, Switch, Mastercard, Cheque or Bank Transfer.
Balance payments should be settled directly with the band leader either 2 weeks in advance or in cash on the night so they can pay all the band members promptly.

Why should I hire wedding music with Book Live?

Book Live is one of the UK’s most respected entertainment agents supplying superb live bands and singers for weddings, parties and corporate events. We have worked with customers at the highest level (read more) and we offer a completely impartial service. Most agencies have a house band that they are trying to sell and the rest of their portfolio may not get a look-in. We have pre-vetted all of our artists and offer a Peace of mind guarantee:

  • All of our artists have been selected for their professionalism, musicianship and performance, so we know that every event will be special for all the right reasons. The Book Live team regularly go and see our acts perform so we know what clients can expect before they book.
  • Public Liability Insurance and PAT certification can be provided on request for any performances.
  • All bookings are secured by contract with both the client and the artist for complete peace of mind.
  • We provide a 24/7 emergency number should you need to talk with us.
  • Our artists all have regular deputy musicians so an event will never be compromised. In addition, Book Live can provide replacements for our singers in the unlikely event that something unexpected happens [subject to availability].

You’ll find a full list of our Wedding Music artists can be found here:

We make good things happen.

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