Guide to booking music for your wedding day.

music for weddings

Guide To Booking Music For Your Wedding - A bride dances whilst a trumpeter plays

Here’s our guide to booking music for your wedding day!

Music is one of the most important features of your wedding day, and getting it right will ensure your guests have a great time. Read on for our suggestions on how music can feature during the four main sections of your wedding day.

guide to booking music for your wedding - A singer performing at a wedding

Your choice of music during the ceremony should be personal to you both. This might be a song you both love, or a piece of music that reminds you of when you first got together. Our advice is to opt for something stripped-back, such as a string quartet, solo harpist, or even a guitar and vocal duo can work really well and be more memorable. You don’t want anything too lively at this point as it can distract from the main event. 

Example acts: ESQElla Marie (pictured)Cecilia (above)

music for weddings
Guide To Booking Music For Your Wedding - A Gypsy Jazz Band

Instrumental music works well during the reception and provides a nice backdrop to all the chatter. But if you want to make the music more of a feature at this point, then a vocal-led act can work nicely too. It really depends on the mood you want to create. If you’re thinking to go for an act that’s a bit different or unexpected, then this is a good time to do it. You might consider a gypsy jazz quartet, or a fun and lively Cuban band!

Example acts:Nouveau Boheme (pictured)London Jazz TrioHavana Kings (above)

music for weddings
Guide To Booking Music For Your Wedding - A string quartet performing during the wedding breakfast

Here, we recommend choosing music that provides just a little ambience. If budget is tight, then there’s really no reason why a well-compiled playlist can’t work. However, if you are set on having live music (we certainly won’t argue with that!), and budget allows, then a jazz trio or a classical quartet are good live options. 

Example acts: London Jazz Trio (above)Vicenza Strings

music for weddings
Guide To Booking Music For Your Wedding - A Silent Disco

This is the highpoint of the day; all the emotional bits are over and it’s time for your guests to let their hair down and have a good time. You’ll want to choose music that is to your personal taste (especially your first dance), but it’s important to consider what your guests will like too. There will most likely be a range of ages at your wedding party, and ideally you want to please as many of your guests as possible so that they all leave on a high.  A really good act will be able to cross eras and genres. 

You can’t beat the energy and interaction you get from a live band, but a DJ can also be a perfectly good option. We would advise against using a playlist here as, unlike a band or DJ, it can’t ‘read the crowd’ . A band or DJ can judge the audience on the night and adjust their set accordingly.

Example Acts: Briggs Street Players (above)Dukebox CityDJ Zulu

music for weddings
Guide To Booking Music For Your Wedding - Guitarist playing to a lively crowd.
  • The size of the performance area at your wedding venue 
  • Does the venue have a sound limiter?
  • Does the venue have it’s own sound system?
  • Acts will need to be provided with a meal and refreshments
music for weddings

Guide To Booking Music For Your Wedding - Singers Performing.
  • Don’t book your music entertainment too late. In-demand bands and musicians get booked well in advance
  • Choose a piece of music that’s personal to you both for the ceremony and first dance
  • Make the evening entertainment the highlight
  • If budget is limited, then a well-curated playlist can work well during the sit down dinner
  • When booking the evening entertainment consider your guests’ musical tastes as well as your own

Wedding DJ or Wedding Band?

wedding dj or wedding band
People dancing at a wedding party.

Not sure whether to go for a wedding DJ or a live wedding band? Read on as we consider the pros and cons of each.

Musicians performing amongst wedding guests

Entertainment Value

If you want to leave a lasting impression with your guests, then a show-stopping live band is a sure way to do so. There’s nothing quite like the energy you get from a band, the interaction between the musicians and your guests makes for a really inclusive and immersive experience.

An experienced band also knows how best to order their sets – they’ll know when to perform those dance-floor fillers, and when it’s a good time to slow things down with a ballad or mid-tempo tune. They’re experts at judging the crowd’s mood (and how tired their feet are!)

Whilst a DJ should have a good idea of what you want them to play before the wedding, they’ll also be able to read the room on the night and get realtime feedback on whether what they’re playing is a hit with your guests. Unlike a live band, a DJ is able to make changes to the playlist at a moment’s notice. The crowd might go wild for a particular genre or artist, and so the DJ might stick with that for a while, to ensure the dance-floor is packed out. Any decent DJ knows an empty dance-floor is not going to make for a memorable evening, it’s their job to get the music just right on the night.

Repertoire & Performance Duration

A great band will usually specialise in a selection of genres (e.g Soul, Motown and Pop), and so could be somewhat restricted on what they can perform. For instance, you’re unlikely to find a band that can play a mix of Latin, Rock & Roll and RnB and Hip Hop. Whilst DJ’s also specialise, it’s usually easier for them to move between genres, so long as they have the music (a good DJ should have an expansive and varied catalogue).

Bands will typically perform 2 x 45min/60min sets, whereas a DJ can play for up to 5hrs, so there’s quite a difference in duration for each option. It’s worth knowing though, that most bands will play music between their sets so that the mood doesn’t go flat.

DJ selecting tunes on laptop


Fees for a live wedding band vary, depending on several factors including the number of musicians, where your wedding is, how in-demand the band are, and whether there are any additional requirements (e.g. sound or lighting, overnight accommodation etc..) But to give you some idea, our fees typically start from £1500. The fee for a DJ will also vary, but if budget is limited, DJ’s usually cost between £500 – £1500, so it may be a more cost-effective option for you. We can also provide lighting and DJ booths if budget allows – for example set ups, just click HERE.


A band will need slightly longer to set-up than a DJ, since they’ll probably be providing a fair bit of sound equipment too (and possibly lighting). Typically they’ll need between 1-2hrs. They’ll also require more performance space than a DJ – exactly how much will depend on the size of the band, but it is something to bear in mind if space is limited at your wedding venue. A DJ will normally take about an hour to set up.

Top 5 Tips:

  • Bear in mind the age of your guests, and consider what music they’ll all enjoy too. If you’re too niche, then you may end up with an empty dance-floor – a total mood killer.
  • Make sure you let the band know in advance what you want for your first dance so that they have plenty of time to learn it. Having a band perform your first dance can make your song even more personal to you, as the band will put their own unique spin on it.
  • If your wedding venue has a sound limiter, it will be harder to turn a live band down, and you may not be able to have live drums. If noise really is a limitation then you may need to think smaller – e.g. a live trio (with a drummer on percussion instead of a full kit), a DJ, or even a silent disco if you have really noise sensitive neighbours!
  • It’s a good idea to provide your DJ with a list of some of your favourite tracks/artists, and also a list of anything you definitely don’t want so that they know what to steer well clear of.
  • As tempting as it might be to be really prescriptive and outline exactly what you want your DJ to play, it’s best to leave some room for the DJ to improvise, so that they can react to the crowd on the night.

So whilst the jury is still out on which one’s the better option, hopefully we’ve given you a clearer idea of what’s going to work best for your wedding. Of course, if you have the budget, you could have a wedding DJ and a live band! We certainly wouldn’t discourage that!

To hear some of our Wedding DJs click HERE. And click HERE for some of our lighting and booth options.

To watch some of our bands click HERE.

And click HERE to contact us.

Music for Your Micro Wedding

strings for hire for wedding
ESQ | Photo Credit: Jez Dickson

Personally, we’re huge fans of small weddings. We only had 7 guests at our own wedding ceremony although, full disclosure, we had a big party the following week! Keeping the wedding reception intimate felt far less pressured – it suited us fine.

So now that the latest government guidelines limit wedding ceremonies to a maximum of 15 people, what are the music options for your micro wedding? Well, they’re still plentiful! Read on for some of our suggestions.

music for weddings
String quartet and Jazz Band to hire London
Nouveau Boheme | Photo Credit: Graham Nixon

Instrumental music always works well during those moments in the day when you and your guests are socialising. You don’t want to be struggling to be heard over a singer or loud band. A classical string trio/quartet would work really well, and they can play mix of classical pieces and modern songs to keep the repertoire varied. A jazz trio is another great option, or for something a less conventional, a gypsy jazz band would be perfect – especially if you want the atmosphere to be more upbeat and fun.


music for weddings
Harpist to hire London
harpist for hire london
Harpist performing at St Pancras Renaissance | Photo Credit: Garrett & Garrett

The harp really is a showstopper of an instrument – it looks and sounds beautiful, and will add an ethereal quality to your wedding. Again, a harpist would work well whilst you and your guests are socialising, but equally for the ceremony itself.


music for weddings
Louise | Photo Credit: Garrett & Garrett

It’s a good idea to plan for a moment in the day when you and your guests can sit back and be entertained. Given how few attendees will be at your wedding, you’ll have more than enough time to socialise and catch up properly with everyone. A singer would be a really good choice here. A solo performer who both sings and plays an instrument is one option, or an acoustic duo also works well, and will make the entertainment even more of a stand-out feature of the day.


music for weddings
solo guitarist for hire
Dom | Photo Credit: Lori Loves

If there’s a piano at the venue, then a pianist would be a fantastic addition to your wedding. A solo guitarist would also provide a lovely backdrop to your day – we have some fantastic classical, contemporary or flamenco guitarists so whatever your stylistic preference, we have it covered.


Click HERE to view all our artists.

For further info, or to make an enquiry just click HERE to contact us.

music for weddings
music entertainment for micro wedding

(These guidelines are correct at the time of writing, please check the website for all the latest updates.)

  • A maximum of 15 people can attend weddings including the couple, but doesn’t include anyone working.
  • Receptions and celebrations must be a sit-down meal, and only take place in a Covid-secure venue. An evening reception with live music and dancing is still not advised unless your guests are all part of the same social bubble.
  • All guests should adhere to social distancing guidelines – 2metres, or 1metre with risk mitigation.
  • Where possible guests should remain seated to support social distancing measures, and all attendees must wear a face covering, except when eating or drinking.
  • Dancing is not permitted due to the increased risk of transmission by , the only exception to this is the couples first dance. 
  • Performances can take place indoors or outdoors so long as strict social distancing arrangements are in place. Outdoor performances are preferable to minimise the risk of transmission.
  • Indoor performances should be limited in size, implement strict social distancing rules and only take place where high rates of air flow can be maintained, should use amplification systems to create volume . A solo or small number of performers is preferable and should be socially distanced.
  • Those planning the wedding should consider how the band will impact the size of the wedding party, and in turn the safety of their event.

Click HERE for all the latest government guidance.