September 13th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
When piecing together your big day it’s often the case that you will want one element to complement another; from the dress, hair and makeup, to the venue, styling and flowers. Entertainment is another factor often chosen to complement the wedding setting and theme – so those wanting timeless and traditional will look to string quartets and classical pianists, while those taking their celebrations outdoors for a festival style affair will be on the hunt for rocking bands that can really get the party started.
Keen to help you line up which live acts will fit in perfectly with your plans and vision, we’ve asked our amazing Sponsor, live music agency Entertainment Nation, to advise on the best types of musicians to suit varying styles of weddings.
Hooking up brides and grooms with top acts from across the country day in day out, it’s fair to say these guys know their stuff and help to make the booking process as easy as possible with a user-friendly website and friendly staff on-hand to answer any questions or queries.
So, without further delay, we’ll hand you over to Steven Robertson, Content Manager of Entertainment Nation, to share his expert opinion on which musicians to book for which settings…
We’re so lucky in the UK to have an abundance of gorgeous historic venues in which to celebrate a wedding. If you’re getting married amidst the grandeur of a majestic castle, the evocative strains of a string quartet reverberating around those ancient stone walls provide a suitably stately accompaniment to the bridal entrance.
For your evening party, how about flipping your guests’ expectations of traditional entertainment and opting for an act that’s as current as they come? Fresh from the Ibiza club-scene, DJ Live acts combine all the best bits of hiring a wedding DJ and live musicians. DJ Live acts mix pumping dance tunes spun by a pro DJ with live saxophonists to pick out those catchy melodies, percussionists to intensify the beat and live vocalists to bring it all together. We’ve seen wedding guests go wild to these acts, so if you’re in the mood for a medieval mash-up, a DJ live act can’t be beaten.
Entertainment Nation suggests…
Ceremony and daytime: Gracella Strings
Evening: DJ Union Collective
For ultra-slick cosmopolitan hotel venues, you’ll want to supplement the cool, contemporary surroundings with cutting-edge wedding entertainment. We’re again suggesting a string quartet to supply your ceremony and daytime wedding music, but this time a string quartet with a difference. The addition of a beatboxer brings a brand-new dynamic to this traditional form. This modern twist on the string quartet will deliver string arrangements of the freshest chart tunes with added percussive punch.
And for the evening? Reach for show-stopping, globe-trotting, dance-along extravagance with a premier international show band. Taking their lead from the unrivalled musicality, dazzling choreography and sumptuous stage production of the spectacular world tours of superstars like Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars, international show bands supply a live wedding music experience that’ll be right at home in the most opulent of city centre hotels.
Entertainment Nation suggests…
Ceremony and daytime: String Box
Evening: Jam Hot
The UK festival scene has never been more vibrant. The traditional titans like Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds, Download, Creamfields and the rest have been joined by an explosion in smaller festivals that offer a more curated experience. If you’re a dedicated festival-goer, why not create your very own festival line-up at your outdoor tipi wedding?
Kick things off with a chilled solo set from a singer-songwriter style singer-guitarist, before upping the ante with a roaming set from a folk-pop band. Roaming sets always go down a treat with guests, allowing them to feel part of the show as they sing and dance along to an up-close performance from wandering musicians.
As the (hopefully) sizzling sun sets and the torches are lit, get ready to let loose to all the biggest indie and rock anthems by monster bands like Arctic Monkeys, The Killers and Kings of Leon from a mainstage-headliner covers band.
Entertainment Nation suggests…
Ceremony: Sean the Guitarist
Evening: Indie Kings
Converted barns are prevailingly popular choice of wedding venue and it’s little wonder: what could be more romantic than celebrating your special day under timber beams, surrounded by rustic stonework, dust motes dancing in fanned rays of light piercing the barn’s atmospheric shade?
Pairing perfectly with a rustic barn wedding is a Mumford and Sons-style modern folk band. Versatile and upbeat, a modern folk act can supply entertainment for every aspect of your barn wedding: laid-back acoustic duo music for your ceremony, an afternoon roaming set and a fully amplified evening set of uproarious modern folk and folky spins on classic songs from throughout the decades.
Entertainment Nation suggests…
Ceremony, daytime and evening: Wandering Wings
Banish all your preconceptions about cheesy wedding bands – the wedding entertainment scene is thriving right now and attracting the best young musicians around. This influx of top young musicians has led to a diversification of the styles of act on offer, so if you’re getting wed in an urban warehouse, you can hire on-trend wedding entertainment to match your slick, modern venue.
Narrowing down our wedding music selections for an urban warehouse wedding has been tough. So tough in fact, we’ve gone for two evening acts.
Starting with the infectious soul, hip hop and RnB of an urban-themed acoustic duo to perform during the early evening, things start to heat up with a mic-dropping showcase of beatboxing skills from a beatbox crew. To take you into the early hours, the booming sound of a modern brass band collective, whose New Orleans-style reworkings of rock, of songs will have the dance floor bouncing.
Entertainment Nation suggests…
Ceremony and daytime: Soul Junkies Duo
If you’ve got a fairy tale wedding planned at a quintessential country hall, a wedding pianist is a sublime daytime entertainment choice, especially if there’s already a grand piano present at the venue. Creating a refined and romantic ambience, a pianist is also versatile enough to tailor their sets to suit your taste and themes. The soothing sounds of classical music partner beautifully with the clinking of champagne glasses, while mellow modern ballads form a subtle backdrop to the conversations of your guests. For your evening reception, retain the air of sophistication with a smooth performance from a premier jazz band to get heads nodding in appreciation.
Entertainment Nation suggests…
Ceremony and daytime: Piers
Evening: Jazz Empire
The spacious luxury and the glowing purity of sunlight filtered through translucent white canopy makes a marquee wedding a tranquil delight. Complement the peaceful setting with the timeless melodies of classical guitarist. As well as impressively performed music from the great composers, a classical guitarist can perform intricately picked arrangements of popular modern songs for unobtrusive background music that lends your day an elegant ambience.
By day, a marquee may be a peaceful haven in which to share congratulations and reminisce with friends and family; by night, it is transformed into a space for ebullient celebrations and some seriously questionable dance moves. A high-end Motown band, resplendent in sharp suits and graceful gowns, will deliver classic songs by the likes of to compel you and your guests to flock to the dance floor.
Entertainment Nation suggests…
Ceremony and daytime: John Pizzati
Evening: Motown Inferno
National Trust members know well the joys of spending a weekend rummaging around carefully restored period properties. There’s something revivifying about being surrounded by such splendour, especially as many of these properties are home to exquisite grounds that sing with the sounds of nature. It’s easy to forget that a grand manor house was once a home, a living building that housed lavish banquets and magnificent balls – why not reinvigorate these storied halls with a decadent performance from a high-end, luxury soul, funk, Motown and pop wedding band?
Entertainment Nation suggests…
Ceremony and daytime: Elegant Strings
July 26th, 2018 | Julia Braime
When planning a wedding the ‘to do’ list can seem never ending, and so we’re all ears for any time savvy solutions that can help to get another box ticked off.
Today on the blog we’re bringing you news that can help save serious time on the wedding playlist.
Introducing, The Wedding Collection, a double-sided compilation album brought to you from the musical experts at Classic FM. Carefully put together to provide music for all parts of the day, from the ceremony through to the reception, the album features classical masterpieces and contemporary hits, to create the desired atmosphere for differing parts of the proceedings.
So, there’s no need to spend hours trying to recall the titles and composers/acts of songs you like then tediously compiling your own playlist as The Wedding Collection has it all covered. Music to your ears, right?!
Time now then to hear more from the pros behind the album on how such music will help to enhance a wedding, which tracks made the big day grade and, most importantly, where The Wedding Collection is available to buy from.
Can you give us an overview of The Wedding Collection?
classic fm say: The Wedding Collection album is a brand-new collection of music which promises to create the perfect atmosphere for upcoming weddings. We know how difficult it can be to choose the perfect wedding music, so with this album we have tried to package up all of the best bits with a modern twist to suit all parts of the day and all guests.Disc one is full of traditional music specially curated to be played during the ceremony including, beautiful performances of classics like Wagner’s Bridal Chorus and Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Disc two features more contemporary music which has been classically arranged, perfect for the reception. There’s something here for everyone, such as Ed Sheeran’s Perfect, Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You, and the much loved This is Me from the Greatest Showman.
What elements of their day should couples take into consideration when picking the right music for their wedding?
Background music (guests’ arrival); ceremony, including hymns and wedding march; reception music; dinner soundtrack and extra entertainment.
What genres of music tend to work particularly well for weddings?
Classical music traditionally tends to feature heavily in wedding ceremonies, with pop music also frequently making an appearance later on as entertainment at the reception. It can be quite difficult to pick your wedding soundtrack as there’s just so much choice! We think the Wedding Collection will help you get a selection of the best traditional pieces and a taste of popular songs rearranged with a classical twist.
What type of music would you suggest for the wedding ceremony and why?
Traditional classical pieces are often chosen for the wedding ceremony as they fit so beautifully, but of course there is a huge variety to choose from depending on your taste. We did a study on the nation’s favourite wedding music (which you can see on the Classic FM website) and the winning piece was revealed as Widor’s Toccata, from his Symphony No.5 for Organ. Other extremely popular pieces are Handel’s Arrival of The Queen of Sheba and Pachelbel’s Canon. All three of these feature on the Wedding Collection Album, the first disc of which was specifically curated for the wedding ceremony.
July 12th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
I think I speak for the majority of brides-to-be when I say that one of my main dreads for the big day would be an empty dancefloor. While I adore the sentimental parts of a wedding, a measure of how much I’ve enjoyed the celebrations is often determined by the amount of time spent on the dancefloor – and so a tumbleweed moment come our evening reception just won’t do.
As such I’m eager to do the required research to ensure we bag the right live acts to set the tone during the day – and keep the party rocking at night. But where to start? Thankfully we’re hearing from our fabulous Sponsor Warble Entertainment today on how to select the best live acts for you, your guests, the theme and the venue. See, already some elements that you might not have thought of!
As a trusted agency with an impressive portfolio of UK-wide acts on their roster, Warble can not only help to narrow down the entertainment search to suit your individual day, but they can also advise on how to get the very best out of the live band or performer that you book.
So, without further delay, we’ll hand over to Warble Entertainment team member Joey Burdon, to lift the lid (or raise the roof!) on securing a jumpin’ dancefloor!
Images provided by Warble Entertainment.
Why would you encourage couples to hire a singer/band for their wedding?
joey says: Live music is an experience. It’s an amazing thing that has the power to move you and create lifelong memories. With a live wedding musician you are getting a truly unique performance for your special day. Not only that but the pure energy that a party band can bring to your night is unmatched. One comment we hear all the time is how couples enjoyed having their own private gig or concert on their wedding night and how interactive the whole experience was.
Consider the times where you would usually have pre-recorded music on your wedding day and think, can this be performed by a live musician instead? Key moments might be walking down the aisle or your first dance. Having a bespoke and live performance of a song that encapsulates you as a couple is the perfect touch to add to proceedings and is sure to be remembered.
How should couples go about choosing the right genre of live act for their wedding day – what elements should they take into consideration?
A lot of couples make the mistake of being too self-indulgent here (why wouldn’t you?!) but you really do need to consider your guests. It’s great to find a band you like but are they going to get on with your friends and family? Can they play songs to please everyone as well as some numbers that fit with your theme? Are they equipped to fill the dance floor on your wedding night and get your guests dancing? You will want to be asking these questions as you do research into potential live acts for your wedding.
You will also want to consider both your venue and your theme, if you have one. Certain acts lend themselves better to certain themes and settings, and you will want your wedding entertainment to feel at home on your wedding day. For example a barn venue or festival theme is just screaming for a Mumford & Son’s style folk band with a towering double bass and banjos. If your chosen venue is a picture perfect castle with rich history, find an act that lean towards more classical vibes or even create that fairy tale atmosphere with elegant entertainment.
How can couples source potential acts and what elements should they check when comparing those in their short-list?
The majority of couples look online now for their wedding inspiration and have done for a long time! This is no different for wedding entertainment as there is so much information available on potential acts at your fingertips. Do some heavy searching and start to get an idea what you like or dislike about certain acts to help you narrow it down.
A lot of acts that are set up specifically for weddings rarely get to play public events. This makes it difficult to see your band before you book so how can you be sure you have the right band? Reviews and testimonials are key. A band might look and sound amazing online but how do you know how much experience they have or what other people think of them? Look around and build up a picture using reviews to tell you exactly what the act are like at a typical wedding.
Do couples need to check with their venue if they can have a live act at their wedding before booking and, if so, are there any other key questions they should ask?
Yes, definitely ask the question, ‘can I have live music?’. If this is important to you on your wedding day it should be one of your first questions. Sound limiters are also becoming more commonplace at wedding venues around the country so it’s important to check this. However, don’t be disheartened if the venue has one in place! You can still have live music, just find out what the limit is so you can make better decisions on what acts you look at. Warble Entertainment have a wide variety of limiter friendly bands that can work with these types of venues.
I would also ask to see the space where the band would set up, and also if there is a designated dancing space for you to throw some shapes! This will allow you to visualise the band on your night and know that there is adequate space for guests to enjoy your live act.
June 27th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
Up there as one of couples’ main concerns when planning a wedding is “what if guests become bored?”. As your nearest and dearest there to witness you make a life-long declaration of love to one another this is highly unlikely as they will just be thrilled to be a part of your big day. But in a somewhat Bride Wars mindset, there’s always the desire to top any wedding you’ve been to before with your own, and hope that it creates memories that guests harp back to long after the celebrations have been and gone.
As such it’s important to get your entertainment in order – which elements of the day require music to keep the vibe high and what other live acts could you incorporate into your day to make it all the more special?
Being our true helpful selves, we’ve called upon our rocking Sponsor, entertainment agency Alive Network, to talk us through all options for the wedding day, from the ceremony to the evening par-tay! Better still, for those of you in the North West, the Alive Network team have pinpointed some of their very favourite Lancashire-based acts that can deliver that added wow-factor to your proceedings. Over to the experts…
It’s the biggest moment of your day. So, it’s no wonder couples aren’t waiting for their evening band to get goosebumps. More of you than ever are choosing live ceremony music to make things super special from the start. #itsoktocry
Prelude: As your guests gather – and the nerves kick in – how about a little musical calm? Your prelude is usually 30 minutes of live music, and a great way to warm things up for your big entrance.
Processional: Your musician can play your special ceremony music as you take to the aisle for your processional, which is usually one song. Top tip: Go through the version with your artist (see if they can send you a recording of them playing it) and time your walk during rehearsal so that you hit your favourite bit of the song at the right time!
Signing of the registers: This is usually two to three songs. Depending on your style of ceremony, this could take a bit of time, so live music is a great way to keep the excitement up for your guests and make the moment even more special.
Recessional: Your joyful, hand-in-hand jaunt back down the aisle as a couple! Choose something upbeat that reflects the crazy-happy moment.
Harpist – Bella Rose creates a sound that’s ethereal, subtle and pretty.
String quartet – Lancashire String Quartet perform elegant, classical versions of chart tracks, which is perfect for a modern-classic feel at your ceremony.
Classical singer – Rousing and captivating, Gemma La Voce performs your choice of operatic arias, show tunes, and modern classics.
Acoustic singer-guitarist – A guitarist is by far the most popular choice for chilled ceremonies. James T or John Gough both perform beautiful, unplugged music to underscore one of the most emotional parts of your big day.
Live taster. See Lancashire String Quartet perform A Thousand Years here.
June 14th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
Through our trusted Sponsors we’re able to hook you up with the top pros in the industry who can guide you safely along the wedding planning path, helping to avoid any trips and falls along the way. From how to pick a standout venue and dream dress, to tips on styling and completing your day, our guys have got it covered.
Today on the blog, we’re inviting along an expert who can assist in the ‘live music’ category, with a host of incredible acts on their books that can bring the added wow factor to your celebrations – step forward the team from Entertainment Nation.
Covering oodles of weddings every year, the team have mastered the best way for couples to go about picking the right band and ensuring the logistics of the performance go to plan too, with an easy to use website and friendly staff available to answer any questions or queries.
And so keen to help make the entertainment task that bit easier for brides-and-grooms-to-be they’re sharing some of their pearls of wisdom with us this afternoon as they list their top tips on booking a live band. Take it away team…
entertainment nation say: What better way of rounding off your special day in style than by hiring a live wedding band?
The atmosphere begins to build from the moment the band arrive and start setting up fancy instruments and equipment. Short bursts of song and isolated chords from the soundcheck build anticipation further, and then, before you know it, the band are on stage, delivering an adrenaline-pumping performance that encourages even the most reticent of dancers to unleash their inner Michael Jackson!
But, as much as we hate to be the boring folks getting in the way of the dream, we need to let you in on a few things you need to consider when hiring a live wedding band. We’ve been helping brides and grooms book their dream wedding band for years, and during that time we’ve encountered every potential issue possible – and figured out how to solve or avoid these hiccups altogether.
As such we’re sharing our golden band booking tips with you today ensuring that you can sort your evening entertainment without a hitch and be on that dance floor with your new husband or wife, surrounded by family and friends rocking it out before you know it!
If you don’t book your wedding band early, you risk missing out on your number one choice. Just like with wedding venues, the best wedding bands get booked up well in advance; peak dates getting filled two years ahead of time is common, and we’ve often received enquiries for even farther into the future.
So, if you want the biggest and best choice of wedding bands possible, make sure you book as far in advance as possible. Booking well ahead of your wedding date also means you can benefit from paying this year’s prices, rather than the inflation-adjusted prices of two years’ time.
Generally, you’ll secure your venue before you book a wedding band (although we’ve seen it done the other way around when a couple has their heart set on a particular band). If you’re keen on having live music at your evening wedding reception, it’s important to find out whether your venue is able and willing to host a live band.
There’s nothing more soul-destroying than spending hours finding the perfect musical entertainment and then discovering the venue won’t allow them to perform.
May 4th, 2018 | Aislinn Thompson
Today’s talented featured couple, Kate and Anton, are in the entertainment biz, which means they had a host of wonderfully talented friends to call upon to add a bit of extra-special magic to their wedding in Chester.
From a friend touring in the stage production of The Wedding Singer, who performed Grow Old With You after the cutting of the cake, to a Disney Cruise Line vocalist belting out a beautiful rendition of At Last during the ceremony, Kate and Anton ensured their celebration was punctuated with meaningful moments created by their close friends.
And, keen not to deflate their guests hopes, they took to the dancefloor to put on a couple of impressive performances of their own. Lights, camera, action…
With images by About Today Photography.
kate says: Anton and I used to work together on the cruise ships; I was a singer and Anton was a dancer. During our contract in November 2016, my mum and stepdad were cruising with us around the Caribbean. We had planned to take them on our favourite excursion to Trafalgar Falls Waterfall on the island of Dominica, which I had completely fallen in love with during our previous contract. Little did I know, Anton had planned a distraction with my mum and, once there, he went off climbing the rocks whilst mum and I swam in a natural pool. I kept trying to get him to join us and thought it was odd that he wouldn’t jump in the water as he normally would. As mum and I got out of the water, he all of a sudden appeared from behind a rock and got down on one knee. The setting was stunning and I was so surprised they’d managed to keep it a secret!
Our wedding date was Thursday 24th August 2017. We chose to have a mid-week wedding during the summer knowing it was a bank holiday weekend. We wanted an outdoor, light feeling to our day, so the summer was the perfect time and we were super lucky with the weather. Also, having it on a Thursday luckily cut costs just a little bit.
When we were planning our wedding, we visited a Brides Up North wedding fair at Chester Grosvenor Hotel, which we really loved. It gave us a lot of ideas and it was great to meet the different suppliers. It was the first one we attended as a couple and I loved getting my ‘bride to be’ sticker!
When it came to the venue, we knew we wanted to stay in one place for the whole day and not have to worry about travel. We came across Pryors Hayes Golf Club in Chester; they were building a new event space and, when we saw the artist’s impressions, we instantly fell in love and knew it was our perfect venue. The venue gave us our dream outdoor ceremony under a pagoda surrounded by beautiful green foliage and the reception area was so beautiful and bright, with wooden beams and exposed brick walls. It was all so new that it really felt like ours. We would highly recommend the venue. Not only is it absolutely stunning but the manager, Richard, and his team did absolutely everything and more for us on the day. From start to finish, Richard was absolutely brilliant.
With regards to a theme, after seeing the venue we decided to keep things very simple and light, especially with it being during the summer. We didn’t want too much of a colour ‘pop’, so chose to go with dusky pinks and to keep the whole theme very homemade and rustic, hand-making most of the decorations, such as the signs and favours. Anton is Ukrainian, so we also incorporated this into our decoration choices and used Polaroid photographs of all the places we had travelled together as decoration and also table names.
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