This will be your Special Day. You want everything to be just right. The problem is that there are thousands of Wedding Bands to choose from. So how do you decide which band is the right one for you? We can help! Read on, and we’ll try to guide you…
Music for Every Part of Your Day
A Wedding Day provides lots of opportunities for playing music: Before the Ceremony. During the Ceremony. After the Ceremony. Accompanying the Pre-Food Drinks. Background music while eating. Waiting for the Party. And of course the Party itself, which for your guests is often one of the most memorable aspects of the day.
Of course, opportunities for daytime music vary considerably depending where you’re having your ceremony and form it will take. So to help you think about your options for music during the day, take a look at the wedding music section of our website. As for the Evening Party, it’s the one thing all weddings have in common, so to make sure that this final stage of your big day is memorable - for all the right reasons - let’s look at the options.
What Sort of Wedding Bands Are There?
Actually, that’s a more complicated question you might imagine. If you look at our site, we list more than 15 categories of bands that could play at a wedding, and within each category there are different kinds of bands to choose from. Add to this all the different sorts of individual musicians, small groups, singers and DJs we represent, and you’ll quickly realise that when choosing a Wedding Band it would be helpful to be able to categorise musicians in some way. So here we go…
In general, there are two types of band that could play at your Wedding Party: Cover Bands and Style Specific Bands.
“I just want everyone to get up and dance and have a good time!”
This is something we hear a lot! Your guests range from children to grandparents, everyone’s got their favourite song, and you want the band to be able to play something for everyone. What you need is a Cover Band. These musicians specialise in playing their own versions – cover versions – of well-known and classic rock & pop tunes. The music that’s been the background to daily life since the 1960s. The music we’ve all grown up with.
Cover Bands specialise in having a wide repertoire which crosses all different styles. This means that your guests will recognise nearly all of the music, and because the band see it as their job to give everybody a good time and get everybody dancing, a Cover Band (or Function Band or Party Band as they’re sometimes called) will play music to suit all ages and make sure that the party goes with a swing.
In general terms are two kinds of Cover Band: smaller, Guitar-based bands; and larger Function Bands.
These are the bands we’ve all grown used to seeing. They usually have between three and five members playing guitar, bass and drums. Some or all of the band members sing, and they either have a dedicated lead vocalist, with backing vocals from the others, or one of the members sings and plays guitar. Think the Beatles, the Kinks, the Killers or Franz Ferdinand and you’ve got it. These bands sometimes also have a keyboard player to fill out the sound.
Because these are guitar bands, they usually play rock, pop and rock ‘n’ roll from the 60s through to the present day. And their set will include hits from this whole period, featuring favourites from bands such as the Rolling Stones, Queen, the Police and Dire Straits as well as modern acts like the Arctic Monkeys.
If you think about it, you’ll realise that these bands tend to have male musicians, so you’re less likely to get a female singer if you book a guitar band. And because of the nature of the instruments played, these bands don’t usually cover styles such as Funk, Soul, Motown, Disco and R&B. Even so, if you book a Guitar Band, you’re guaranteed a great time listening and dancing to the tunes you know.
Larger Function Bands
Ok, we’ve looked smaller bands with 3 to 5 members playing classic guitar-based rock and pop. But what if you fancy a band which can play a wider range of music so you can enjoy dancing to Soul, Motown, Disco and Funk as well as the guitar-band style? Well if that’s what you want, go for a Larger Function Band.
The reason these bands are larger is because in addition to the guitar band line-up, these outfits include additional vocalists, a keyboard player and a brass section. And there’s no doubt that adding saxes, trumpet and trombone to the musical mix injects excitement and the potential for playing a much broader range of music. As well as great tunes from the Beatles and the Stones, expect these bands to include music from artists such as Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Michael Jackson and Chic as well as modern classics from Daft Punk, Jay-Z and Bruno Mars.
So how large is large?
Well it depends. Some bands playing this repertoire start at only four musicians but a typical size is around six to eight. And you can go up to as many as 12 or even 15 in the band if you want the full wall-to-wall sound! Also, don’t forget that because these bands have a larger number of musicians, playing a wider range of instruments, they can also play Jazz, Swing and Jive styles as well as pop and rock. So if versatility, wide appeal and a broad repertoire is what you want, go for a Larger Function Band.
Of course, the more musicians, the higher the price. But lots of our clients have gone this route and have been very glad that they paid a little extra to get a great deal more.
OK. We’ve looked at Cover Bands. Let’s take a look at Style-Specific Bands.
What does this mean? Well, in contrast to the Cover Bands we looked at before and who play a wide range of music from different types of artist, Style-Specific Bands play music from one particular genre such as Rock ‘n’ Roll, Soul, Ska, Swing, Jive and so on.
These bands are instantly recognisable from the way they look and the instruments they play, so you know exactly what you're going to get. And if you’re planning a themed wedding, say around the 50s or a New Romantic 80s look, then blending your musicians to fit your overall vision is just what you want.
Imagine, for example, a Rockabilly band like The Houndogs with 50s quiffs, Gretsh guitar and slapping double-bass; or Stardust Swing who embody the look and feel of the swinging 40s with dresses, zoot suits and music to match. Bands like this can help you recreate the vibe of those ever popular vintage themes and make your whole Special Day look and feel just the way you imagined it.
And there’s another reason for picking a Style-Specific Band. Although covers bands are made of excellent musicians, they’ve chosen to be generalists able to provide most of what most people want. They’ll tick nearly all of the boxes on your list of favourite songs.
But if you’re looking for dedication to delivering excellence in a particular style or period of music, then a Style-Specific Band is what you need. These people live and breathe their chosen genre, and so their performance comes across with great authenticity and flair. Bands that play lots of different styles don’t have this same passion and so perhaps generate less excitement and genuine emotion than a specialist outfit focused on delivering the very best in a genre they love.
Some Practical Considerations
You’ve chosen the type of band you want. Great! But what do you get for your money?
Most bands have a standard set of arrangements for gigs. Of course, it all depends on which band. But usually, they’ll arrive from 6pm and take 1-2 hours to set up. Then they’ll usually play about 2 hours of music split into 2 or 3 sets which should finish no later than 12.00am, which is when the time that most wedding venues require the event to finish anyway. However if you do want to go into the early hours then most bands have an option to add post-midnight hours for an additional fee.
Onstage & Backstage
Beforehand, we will let you know what the band need onstage and backstage to make their performance great. But don’t worry, we’re not talking Motley Crue here, who in their prime insisted that a 12-foot boa constrictor, a jar of creamy peanut butter and a sub-machine gun be backstage at all their gigs on one tour. Or Madonna who stipulated 20 international phone lines. Or Mariah Carey who required a Rolls Royce Phantom, 20 white kittens and 100 white doves. It’s more like the space the band need on stage to play properly, availability and location of electrical sockets, some simple changing facilities and then some soft drinks and a meal prior ro performance. Just simple things to make it possible for the band to be comfortable and work hard for you and your guests. These will be discussed with you beforehand: and we promise it won’t involve a love seat - as requested by Mary J Blige; or three oxygen tanks - like Ozzy Osborne!
So There You Have It…
Breaking down the process of choosing your band as we’ve done above, hopefully shows that selecting the right band for you is not quite as difficult as you might think.
1 Think about the style of your wedding. Are you going for a particular theme, look or period? If so, go for a Style-Specific Band which fits in with your vision.
2 Think about the sort of music you like. Is there one genre that you love above all others? Soul? Motown? Funk? Latin? Ska or Reggae? If so, book a specialist band that knows this favourite music and can deliver the genuine article with passion.
3 And if these first two points don’t apply to you; or you’ve got a list of favourite songs across a whole range of styles and repertoire; or you’re trying to keep everybody happy from Young Lucy to Auntie Doris; then a Cover Band is just what you need.
And regardless of what you choose, don’t forget that DG Music is your local specialist agency.
We know the venues. We have the bands. And we’re Professionals who’ve done this many times before. Rely on us to work with you. We can help you pick the right band, manage all those little details which add up to success, and so make sure that your Wedding Party is something really special and one that everyone will remember.Back to top...
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