Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

the big debate: live band vs dj

April 5th, 2017 | Julia Braime

Earcandy (1)

It’s an age-old debate that many couples come up against when deciding on their wedding entertainment – whether to hire a live band or DJ to keep the reception dancefloor full all night long.

Here to give their expert opinion and advice on the subject today, is entertainment agency Earcandy. With some impressive record industry credits and a fabulous collection of live entertainment and bands on their books, these guys know exactly what it takes to make a wedding rock…

earcandy say: You need music at your wedding to break the ice and create an atmosphere that provides for conversation and lots of fun, but what do you choose; a band or a DJ? While the best option would be to hire both, you may not have the budget to make that happen, so if you have to decide on one or the other, here’s a few tips to help you make a solid decision that you and your guests can be happy with on the big day.

Things to take into consideration…


The genre of music that you decide on should enhance the theme of your reception. What’s your favourite? Rock/pop, classic jazz or soul music? Settling on the right genre is important, think about the guests you have invited and what they might enjoy, as well as your own preference.

A DJ can play anything you like and they have an extensive archive of any song you could want. On the other hand, a band is locked into one style and rarely crosses over to include multiple styles and sounds.

When it comes to the impact of the artists, live bands will always be the best. A band is able to engage the crowd in a way that a DJ simply can’t. Live bands provide an audio and visual experience that provides so much more than just music. A live band will have experience on stage and with handling crowds to get the best engagement from them. They are constantly watching the audience and they have their fingers on the pulse of the crowd’s reaction to their songs.


The critical factor that will determine your choice is the budget. DJ’s generally cost a lot less than a live band. Live bands have a few members and everyone needs a piece of the action, including their agent. The season also determines the pricing, summer is the most popular time for weddings, so you can expect to pay premium rates for either a band or DJ.

Earcandy (4)


If you are getting married in the summer or spring, then make sure that you enquire well in advance and secure your booking, or you may be disappointed as good live bands and DJ’s tend to get booked up six months in advance during the summer season.

The winter is a different game, you may be able to secure a better rate at this time of year. This is handy for those with a tighter budget and you may be pleased to discover that you could hire both a live band and a DJ for your reception for the same price as just one of the acts in the summer.

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get the party started: wedding entertainment at a venue

February 21st, 2017 | Rachel Parry /

Gemma McAuley

This afternoon, we’re talking entertainment, and in particular, how certain elements of a wedding venue can affect the performance of live acts and musicians.

To ensure the advice is coming directly from those with excellent experience in the field, we’re welcoming our wonderful Sponsor Seventh Second, back to the blog. Set up and run by talented and knowledgeable musicians, those behind Seventh Second know exactly what is required to secure professional, reliable and talented musical acts that will help to make a wedding day truly unique and memorable.

Following their previous guide on how to pick the right wedding band, the agency is taking over the blogging reins once again to advise what elements of a venue need to be considered to ensure you can have your desired choice of wedding entertainment.


Jonny Draper


Seventh Second say: This is the number one consideration as your wedding venue is going to most likely be your most expensive purchase. Hidden costs can turn your dream wedding venue into a huge expense. I think most of us would agree that a venue means nothing unless it’s filled with beautiful decorations, happy guests, fantastic food, service and entertainment, so consider what else you want at your chosen venue and plan and budget accordingly. You may have to compromise on a few little things so that you can afford the venue, entertainment and extras that you want.

Darren Irwin Photography

Darren Irwin

opening hours

Most of us Brits only really let loose once we’ve had a few beers and we’ve noticed over the years that by the time we get close to bedtime most people have only just plucked up the courage to dance, and so just as we finish the night’s entertainment, the party is getting started! We therefore suggest thinking about what kind of guests you have, what kind of wedding atmosphere you want to create and checking the opening hours whilst selecting your dream venue.

space and layout

Many clients ask us, how much space does the band need? We typically say a minimum of three by four metres for a three- to four-piece act is best and ask any act bigger than that. All our acts know what they need for any situation and band size, so just ask us for more information. Most wedding acts out there should know what they need if they are professional.

There’s also stages, plugs and power requirements. If the venue has a stage and its free, use it. If you have to rent one in, it will make the whole performance area look better.

Plugs and power-wise, a minimum of four standard plug sockets is usually fine but again, check what the venue actually has and then chat to the band. If you are running a generator, check its specifics. Don’t forget that you want a nice big space for dancing so chat to the venue about that too.

Miki Photography

Miki Photography

sound limiters

Ask venues if they have sound limiters, what decibel limit they are set to, and if acts have to use them. As a guide, any limiter that’s under 100 decibels is going to affect their performance a lot and anything under 90 decibels is only advised for acoustic acts.

filling the dancefloor

Wedding acts perform to their max when they have a packed dancefloor.

If you can help it, don’t serve food when a live band is performing. Try and coordinate with the band so their break coincides with your food service. No one dances with a wad of cake in their hand or a freshly filled stomach.

If the bride and groom are on the dance floor (i.e. you!) then your guests will be. Stay there and get your guests comfortable strutting their stuff and they will stay there too.

Pick great live wedding entertainment! Guests can tell if a band is not really putting their all into a performance. Read our guide on picking a wedding band or talk to us to get all the advice you need.

Not a must, but we often notice that the more freely available alcohol there is, the more dancing there is!

Andy Gaines Photography

Andy Gaines 

sound system and lights

If a venue has equipment the wedding band either has to use, or can use, it’s worth checking for sound limiters and making sure your wedding band has all the technical details of the sound and lighting system. Built in sound systems are becoming common as venues struggle to deal with noise complaints so if a venue has its own PA and lighting system this is probably for the best and any live act should be encouraged to use them. Regardless, all our acts follow a self-contained philosophy so they always have all the sound and light equipment you’d need for a great wedding.

To find out more abut Seventh Second and their acts and service, visit their website

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don’t stop the music: top tips for picking a wedding band

January 16th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Image by Mark Newton Wedding Photography

Image by Mark Newton Wedding Photography

When it comes to top wedding entertainment, we think it’s hard to beat the atmosphere created by live musicians and singers, and so would always say to consider hiring such acts for your big day. That said, there’s a lot more to consider when booking a band than merely how they sound.

As such we’re getting some expert advice on the subject today, courtesy of our wonderful Sponsor Seventh Second.

Set up and run by talented and knowledgeable musicians, those behind Seventh Second know exactly what is required to secure professional, reliable and talented musical acts that will help to make a wedding day truly unique and memorable.

Here to give us the agency’s top tips on picking a wedding band is one of Seventh Second’s managers and musicians, Jon Stephens.

Image by Rachel Joyce Photography

Image by Rachel Joyce Photography


If you are planning a wedding, you should have a rough budget in mind before you start looking at any bands.

Most weddings go way over budget because of hidden costs. With us, the prices you get quoted are 100% exact and always include vat and all the rest. There are no hidden fees or extra payments after the act has performed either and you should check this also rings true for any other band or agency. Make sure you get full, honest quotes, and with organisation and planning you will keep costs down and stay on target with your budget.


Many live acts, including ours, get booked six months or even years in advance, so check a band’s availability as soon as you have your event date booked in.

We don’t recommend paying special/one-off fees to reserve a date with a band as things can often go wrong and it guarantees nothing. Any band or agency that tries to get you to do this should be avoided.

If you have picked a live act that’s free for your event and you are happy with the quote they give, that’s when you can safely put a deposit down to reserve their services. Always make sure there’s a fair, legally binding contract involved.

If you can’t get hold of your chosen live act, any website worth their salt can recommend sensible alternatives. Check their suggestions as some agencies can offer any old act to you in the hope of a quick buck.

Image by Neil Jackson Photographic

Image by Neil Jackson Photographic


The musical style/genre of a band is important but budget can get in the way. You find your perfect act but when you see the final price it smashes you budget to bits. Naturally, the sales person will suggest other bands and a fantastic “one-size-fits-all” act is usually picked. This can be fine but more often than not, you don’t quite get what you wanted.

One solution is to up your budget or more realistically, do some research before you even have your wedding booked and get a good understanding of how much all the different styles/genres of live acts cost.

Shameless plug alert! We’ve dealt with this problem a lot and we solved it by being in the acts we promote. This means we can make truly bespoke bands and advertise acts that are willing to try and cater their music to your needs. Having bespoke bands also means that nine times out of ten, we design bands that fit the exact stylistic sound and look you want but also fits into your budget. We are pretty unique in this aspect compared to other websites so ask us more about it.

band or dj?

Both! However, if you don’t have the budget for both, we’d say live band – plus some live bands can offer a professional DJ service to save you money. Ours do and many of them will offer it for free if you book them.

If you are thinking about booking one or the other be honest with yourself. Will the act you choose really play the songs you love convincingly? If you want a club vibe, book a DJ. If you want live music covering all the hits, book a band.

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more than music: introducing entertaina

September 14th, 2016 | Rachel Parry


So the venue is booked, the flowers are on order and you’ve found your dream dress – but have you given any thought to the entertainment for your big day yet?

If not, no need to panic, as this afternoon we’re introducing a new Brides Up North Sponsor to the blog who can help make your wedding day even more memorable – say hello to Entertaina.

Operating via an easy to use website, couples can search for bands, singers and musicians, as well as more unusual acts, such as jugglers, caricaturists, silent discos, all at the click of a button with no need to fill in laborious forms or register.

To explain more about the fabulous talent on offer we’re handing over the blog to the friendly Entertaina team…


Tell us a little bit about Entertaina and the services that it offers to wedding couples…

entertaina say: The website is an entertainment directory that launched in 2015 and is run by professional musicians, passionate for live entertainment. Our aim is to make finding an act for your wedding quick, simple and hassle-free. There’s no need to sign up or register any payment details with the site. You simply view entertainer profiles, save your favourites, and contact acts directly through their profile to make an enquiry. Our directory is completely free to use and we do not charge or take a cut from any bookings made. Payment is made directly to the entertainers, ensuring you get the best possible price and do not incur any extra charges.


What different types of entertainment does Entertaina offer?

We have a whole host of entertainment, from bands, singers and musicians to jugglers, magicians and comedians! One of our latest acts is one of the world’s top foot jugglers. Educated by Juan Liu (Chinese State Circus, Cirque du Soleil), she uses her technical perfection and theatrical skills to create something unique and breath-taking.

In our opinion, how can live entertainment help to enhance a wedding day?

To us, live entertainment is everything. You really can’t beat it, from a magician performing the impossible and breaking the ice with your guests, to an eight-piece band getting your guests dancing all night long. Live wedding music can really add something special to your day. Nothing resonates louder than hearing your favourite melodies on an instrumental piano or quartet as you walk down the aisle, or a live band playing your first dance at the reception.

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entertainment experts: say hello to seventh second

August 11th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Seventh Second (9)

If you’re currently on the search for top wedding entertainment that’s a breeze to arrange and a joy to experience, this morning’s post will be of extra interest as we’re introducing our new Sponsor, Seventh Second.

Set up and run by talented and knowledgeable musicians, those behind Seventh Second pride themselves on proving a professional and fuss-free service by connecting couples directly with the band that they’d like to book.

From acoustic duos right up to big party bands, there’s an act on the books to suit all styles of weddings and tastes in music.

Here to tell us more is one of Seventh Second’s managers and musicians, Jon Stephens…

Seventh Second (2)

When was Seventh Second set up and what services does it offers to wedding couples?

jon says: Seventh Second was set up about two years ago. We are a group of lifelong friends and professionally trained musicians who decided that after more than 15 years of touring the world and entertaining wedding couples, we should create a website for our various bands with a new approach and a direct, truly personal link between wedding couples and the bands they hire for their unique day.

Bands are expensive and through traditional booking agencies, couples are booking blind, only ever talking to sales people and not really connecting with the band themselves. We think that’s just not good enough, so with us, you talk to members of the band when booking! A simple but important distinction as it guarantees quality, value for money, honesty and a truly personal approach to your big day entertainment.

Tell us about the different types of entertainment that Seventh Second offers…

We are always looking to add and expand our roster but we are very picky about who joins our website and we have to have a close connection with the act for them to even be considered.

At the moment we have some fantastic wedding, party and corporate bands available to book with popular examples including The League of Gentlemen, The Usual Suspects and Night and Day. Visit our website for more.

Seventh Second (3)

Why would you encourage couples to consider live music for their wedding?

There’s not really a substitute for a talented live band – it just adds something truly special to a wedding or event that you can’t quite put your finger on. On many occasions we’ve spoken to couples who only booked a DJ as their live entertainment and found that they were disappointed. DJ’s have their place, but for a truly memorable party, you need live music too. We’ve had countless wedding couples truly grateful and ecstatic that their guests danced and partied because of the amazing energy a live band provides. We’ve even been shocked at how much we’ve blown people’s expectations out of the water.

What are the benefits of couples arranging their wedding entertainment through Seventh Second and how does this set you apart from other music agencies?

At every stage of the booking process, you are dealing with someone who performs in the acts we promote. Unlike other entertainment websites, you aren’t dealing with a sales person who has no connection to the hundreds of acts they promote daily. You are speaking with a band member who’s part of a very select family of bands and cares about what they promote to you and knows everything they possibly could about our acts. This guarantees excellent, honest customer service and a bespoke band that is truly designed for your needs.

Also, because we don’t need sales people, commission or sales targets, we can offer bands at a price that can’t be beaten. Plus, we obviously know our bands inside out, so we can vouch for them 100% and make you feel safe in the knowledge that they will deliver a special performance on your special day. Couples can feel uncertain booking a band via a website so we hope our unique approach solves that issue.

Finally, unlike other websites, we keep our site clean, clear and as simple as possible so it’s easy for clients to pick the act they want.

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get tuned in: live music advice from entertainment nation

July 12th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Fairclough Photography.

Image by Fairclough Photography

For many couples nothing quite beats a live band when it comes to booking the entertainment for their big day.

But while it’s easy for brides and grooms to get swept along in the excitement of searching for a fabulous band that will strike the right chord with their guests, it’s important that they don’t forget to do their homework on any entertainment restrictions at their chosen venue first.

To assist couples in ensuring they ask all the right questions about sound restrictions and live band conditions prior to booking, Steven Robertson, Content Manager at Brides Up North Sponsor and live music agency Entertainment Nation, is here with his top tips and advice…

Please note: Images are from Real Weddings as featured on Brides Up North (to make the post look pretty!) and not supplied by our Sponsor.

Bethany Clarke Wedding Photography

Image by Bethany Clarke Wedding Photography

Is it often the case that responsibility falls to brides and grooms to check any live sound restrictions or live band conditions when booking their wedding entertainment?

steven says: Yes, it is indeed the responsibility of the couple to check any sound restrictions or conditions that their venue may have prior to booking entertainment. This is because they would usually already have contact with a coordinator at the venue, who should be able to give them all of the info they need to pass on. It’s then no problem at all for the couple to pass on venue contact details to us (as agents), or the band they want to hire, to discuss the conditions further, checking all details are ok. This information is vital to ensure a band can work within the venue’s conditions.

Lee Brown Photography

Image by Lee Brown Photography

What is a sound limiter and how can it affect a band performing at a venue?

A sound limiter is most commonly a device installed at a venue that limits the volume that a band can perform live music at. There are a couple of different systems used. Each system will have a traffic light warning box – green, amber and red lights, to show an idea of the volume in the room, picked up from a microphone built into the room:

Power cutter – This limiter system will be set at a specific DB (decibel) volume. At the point when the volume in the room hits the limit and stays there for a set number of seconds, all of the power supplied to the performers’ equipment will cut off. This will happen continuously if the performers continue to exceed the set limit. In most cases a member of staff will need to reset the limiter before the performers can continue. This can not only harm the band’s equipment, but also cause a huge disturbance to your evening. If the limit isn’t loud enough for the live instrumentation you have booked there will be an issue on the night. It’s very important that the band know of the limiter prior to booking to ensure they feel they can do a good job.

Volume adjuster: This limiter system will usually be an installed full speaker system at the venue. There will be a set DB level and when exceeded the system will limit the output from the speakers (pulling back the levels) to prevent the sound from exceeding the limit. These are kinder to the performers’ equipment, but also mean that crowd cheering or a loud acoustic instrument would decrease the volume of other important instruments (such as the singer) and leave the mix of the band’s instrumentation sounding a little strange.

Unfortunately with the case of all limiters, the building design and makeup can really affect the volume of an instrument. As an example; a drum kit would be louder in a stone room with no soft furnishings, as opposed to in a plastered and carpeted room. Therefore an 110DB limit within a really loud stone room may be harder for a band to deal with than a 95DB limit within a carpeted and curtained room. That said, it’s always best to speak to a venue and ask for any details about their limiter and to ask if they regularly have bands, including if it’s ever a problem.

Mick Cookson Photography

Image by Mick Cookson Photography

Why is it important for couple to check what space is available for bands to perform in at the venue?

Bands can arrive as many different line-ups in many different shapes and sizes, usually with quite a large amount of equipment (speakers / instruments / lighting etc). Put simply, if the band can’t fit in the space (or on the stage) provided they are going to struggle to perform for you. However, most bands are used to adjusting to various shapes and sizes, performing at different venues on a regular basis. At Entertainment Nation we will always offer a rough guide of size required for the line-up you book.

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