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What are singing waiters?

The ultimate in musical flash mob entertainment, singing waiters provide a covert operation that will surprise and delight your guests – setting them up and then bringing the house down with their brilliant cabaret performances.

Professional singers and actors with stage experience, singing waiters disguise themselves as serving staff, chefs and guests, then at a pre-arranged opportune moment, following the dessert at your wedding breakfast, for example, they begin their real performance. This usually involves the vocal delivery of operatic arias or musical numbers in styles such as swing, soul or rock and pop music.

A cappella or fully mic’d up and performing over quality backing tracks or with piano accompaniment, singing waiters combine a chameleon-like ability to blend into your event, with creative genius, comedy acting and stupendous singing.

What music will singing waiters perform?

Singing waiters will perform a variety of musical genres to entertain your guests for your special occasion, including popular songs from artists such as:

  • Abba
  • Adele
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Beyoncé
  • Elvis Presley
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Irving Berlin
  • Jerry Lee Lewis
  • Jessie J
  • Kool & The Gang
  • Lady Gaga
  • Leona Lewis
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Lulu
  • Nina Simone
  • Queen
  • Robbie Williams
  • Shirley Bassey
  • Spice Girls
  • The Beatles
  • The Bee Gees
  • The Ronettes
  • Tom Jones
  • Tony Bennett
  • Van Morrison
  • Whitney Houston

Singing waiters will also perform operatic arias, film tunes and numbers from the musicals, including:

  • Ave Maria
  • Beauty and The Beast
  • Bond Themes
  • Chicago
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Flower Duet
  • Frozen
  • Funiculi Funicula
  • Grease
  • Les Miserables
  • My Fair Lady
  • Neon Dorma
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Sole Mio
  • The Blues Brothers
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • The Sound of Music
  • West Side Story

The repertoires for most of our singing waiters are outlined on their profile pages, with many offering the option to personalise their set to your event needs.

Popular types of singing waiters


Singing waiters

This type of entertainment will usually take place during your meal, in-between courses. Wearing the same uniform as your venue’s catering staff, and using their acting skills, a ‘scene’ is created that will lead to one of the ‘waiters’ singing. The other members in your chosen group will then reveal themselves to join in, performing anything from light opera, pop hits, to Rat Pack classics and numbers from musical theatre.

Other characters

The same idea as singing waiters, Alive Network also offer other types of incognito characters to gate-crash your event in their own inimitable style! You can choose hot and hunky firemen to rescue a fake chef from a burning pudding disaster, turning the ‘catastrophe’ into a rip-roaring success. Or you could opt for planted ‘guests’, infiltrating the event from within as fake invitees who suddenly pull out microphones and start serenading your real guests in style.

Dancing waiters

Hot on the heels of the nation’s love for Strictly Come Dancing, our dancing waiters offer a unique take on undercover entertainers. Combining clever choreography, superb story-telling, and joined by a fantastic vocalist, this group will bring a taste of the West End and Broadway to your event, and your guests to their feet!

Are singing waiters suitable for my event?

If you really want to wow your guests at your event, giving them a day or night to remember, singing waiters are the perfect choice. They specialise in surprising your guests, and then impressing with fantastic operatic and cabaret-style performances. They can appear and perform at any time of the day, ideally at any event where a sit-down meal is central to the festivities, such as:

For weddings, a group of singing waiters could perform towards the end of a wedding breakfast, when your guests are kicking back and enjoying their coffee or champagne, and when they will welcome a refreshing and entertaining change of pace following a big meal. They could then perform right up to the cutting of the cake, serenading the happy couple.

An interactive, all-inclusive option, singing waiters really get your guests involved, whatever their age. There’s likely to be much hilarity as each new singing waiter reveals themselves, and then walks the floor, engaging the entire room, and often singling-out guests to serenade.

They’re also great fun for drinks receptions, exciting corporate events and awards dinners.

Space considerations at your event

Wandering among your guests, singing waiters can usually perform in the confines of your venue as it is. We would recommend you allow around 1 metre square for each performer.

Dancing waiters will require a lot more room to move than their singing counterparts, and this will depend on the dance line-up you opt for. We recommend a minimum space allowance of 2 metres square per dancer, roughly.

For approximate requirements, see ‘How much space will singing waiters need?’, below.

Volume – how loud are singing waiters?

If you’ve ever heard a trio of tenors you will know they can project an awesome sound. Your singing waiters will be up close and personal, and most will also opt to perform using microphones and professional sound systems, giving the best all-round sound for your guests. Of course, the line-up, whether any instruments are used (such as a piano), the sound equipment, and the room acoustics will all affect how loud your chosen singing waiters will be. A lively group of singing waiters will typically be in the volume range of around 80 db – 110 dB (decibels). The centre of attention during their performance, they will always try to sing to your guests’ and venue needs, tailoring their performance and production to your event.

How much do singing waiters cost?

The cost of singing waiters will depend on the number in the group and their level of experience. In 2017, the average price for a singing waiter ensemble with five members is around £1,550.

This table shows the cost ranges for different types of singing waiter artists:

Type of Artist Cost Range
Duo singing waiters £690 – £960
Trio singing waiters £1,200 – £4,740
4- to 5-piece ensemble of singing waiters £1,260 – £1,815

Who are the top 10 singing waiters in the UK right now?

Our singing waiters all provide fantastically memorable performances, but the cream of the crop includes:


For a list of Alive's most booked Singing Waiters right now, see our 'Top 10 Singing Waiters & Surprise Acts For Hire in 2017' article

How long will singing waiters play for?

Once the element of surprise is out of the bag, most singing waiters will perform one set of around 20–30 minutes, with some offering longer times and an additional set, in accordance with your needs. This is long enough to entertain and delight, without detracting too much from the order of events.

How much space will singing waiters need?

The performance space needed will depend on the format of the group you choose, how many members it has and whether they perform alongside a piano for example, or with sound equipment such as amps and speakers. As well as a surprise musical feast, singing waiters are also a physical, visual spectacle, frequently moving among your guests throughout their performance, so they will need plenty of room to walk around.

Dancing waiters will need lots of room to amaze your guests with their prancing prowess!

This table gives a rough guide to the space our singing waiter artists will need to perform in:

Size of singing waiter group Performance Space Required
  Duo singing waiters: 3 × 2 metres
   Trio singing waiters: 3 × 3 metres
    4- to 5-piece singing waiters 4/5 × 3 metres
 Dancing Waiters 2 × 2 metres per dancer

Your Event Coordinator can provide specific measurements for your chosen artist, and can discuss the space needed for a group of dancing waiters for your event.

How long will it take for singing waiters to set up?

Singing waiters will arrive at your venue, set up and blend in, well in advance of their performance. There’s a fair bit involved in their pre-performance prep: some will be setting up their props, sound equipment and running sound-checks, covertly hiding their microphones and ear-pieces in pre-planned easy-to-grab places, ensuring there’s enough room to comfortably move around the venue and subtly rearranging furniture to fit with their performance.

As long as they can park close to the area they’ll be performing in, their set-up time can take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes.

Following their musical spectacle, it can take around 20 – 60 minutes to pack down and load out.

What equipment will singing waiters need?

Most singing waiters will bring much of the equipment needed for their performance at your event. However, they would also appreciate a few additional things, such as:

  • parking within access to the venue
  • if they’ve agreed to perform outdoors, they will need cover from our lovely elements!
  • a secure, lockable changing room
  • a dedicated, suitably-sized, safe, dry, flat performance area or stage
  • a minimum of four 13 amp power sockets, depending on the line-up
  • lighting, especially if their performance will be somewhere like a marquee
  • refreshments – soft drinks and food, on some occasions and depending on the length of time you’ve booked them for

Our singing waiters will bring their own stage lighting, microphones, PA sound system and backline amplifiers. If you’re planning an event at a very large venue with over 200 guests, we recommend you discuss your requirements with your dedicated Event Coordinator, as you may need to hire an additional sound system.

For information on the following, see our Frequently Asked Questions:

For a more comprehensive singing waiter booking guide please read ‘Booking Singing Waiters – Everything you’ll ever need to know’.

If you have any other queries, simply visit our FAQ page.

Alternatively, our dedicated expert entertainment coordinators are on-hand to help. Simply call 0845 108 5500 or email enquiries@alivenetwork.com.

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