The Ultimate Guide To...
Booking Wedding Bands
What is a wedding band?
A wedding band is a group of musicians who specialise in playing live music for weddings. There’s a huge range of wedding bands you can choose from, depending on the style of wedding you’re planning and the vibe you’d like to create, including:
- Rock and pop function bands
- Upbeat and Dixieland jazz bands
- Acoustic and roaming bands
- Soul bands
- Rat Pack and swing bands
Each type of band will help you to create a personalised ambiance for your special day, be it the warm, intimate feel of an acoustic and roaming band, the light, romantic atmosphere of an upbeat jazz band, or the fun, rocking feel of a wedding party band.
Many bands offer pared-down or acoustic ensembles to entertain your guests in the daytime, and can provide music tailored specially for your romantic bridal procession, as well as headlining the party as your main evening entertainment.
Offering a self-contained entertainment package, wedding bands will provide everything they need for their performance, including sound and lighting equipment, so there’s no need to hire any additional kit.
Their sets are specifically tailored to weddings, and they will often travel large distances to perform.
What music will a wedding band play?
Wedding bands play a real assortment of rock and pop music from the 1950s to current chart acts, performing hits sure to make you move your feet. A standard set list may include song from artists such as:
The repertoire for each of our wedding bands are featured on their profile pages. Most will tailor their set list to your specific wedding requirements, and this can be discussed with your Alive Network Entertainment Coordinator.
Popular types of wedding band
1. Rock and pop wedding party bands
Often the main evening entertainment at weddings, rock and pop wedding party bands will perform a lively and dynamic set, perfect to fill the dancefloor at your evening reception. Most bands will offer a range of classic and modern rock and pop music, from the 1950s to current chart hits – tracks that the majority of your wedding guests will know and want to party to! They will cover music from the likes of The Beatles, The Jam, Stevie Wonder, Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift.
2. Upbeat jazz bands
Upbeat jazz bands perform classic toe-tapping jazz music for a happy, sophisticated and romantic mood at your wedding celebrations. Sometimes featuring a singer and sometimes instrumental, these bands can range in styles from Gypsy Jazz, Latin Jazz, and modern pop songs with a vintage Jazz twist. For a more standard approach, you can expect traditional jazz tunes like I Get A Kick Out Of You, Cheek to Cheek, My Baby Just Cares for Me, I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, from artists such as Billie Holliday, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald.
3. Dixieland jazz bands
Incorporating traditional jazz, Charleston music and the sounds of New Orleans, Dixieland jazz bands traditionally play over a 2-beat rhythm, blending trumpets, trombones, and clarinets with a rhythm section. Usually, one instrument will play a melody and the other instruments improvise around that, giving a really loose and fun performance style. You can expect a Dixieland jazz band to cover Dixieland artists like Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Kid Ory and Duke Ellington.
4. Acoustic & roaming bands
Whatever atmosphere you’d like to create, acoustic and roaming bands can offer a variety of engaging unplugged musical vibes, ranging from chilled-out to lively and high-tempo, and everywhere in between! Acoustic and roaming bands can be an exciting, quirky, and interactive option for your wedding. Always warm and intimate, they’re perfect for a relaxed wedding ceremony, a laidback, playful drinks reception, and a fun evening wedding reception. Unbound by cables, some bands wander among your guests as they perform. Some offer the option of ‘jukebox’-style song requests off the cuff, and exciting musical mash-ups, getting everyone involved! From traditional guitar-based acoustic bands to a capella barbershop quartets, mariachi, and bluegrass bands, our artists cover a broad range of styles and genres. Most will also include versions of popular chart music, to amuse and entertain, from Bon Jovi and The Beatles to Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake.
5. Soul bands
With origins in RnB (rhythm and blues), jazz, and gospel music, the music that soul bands perform combine tantalising tempos and strong, heart-felt vocals. A soul band will perform songs from artists such as James Brown, Little Richard, Jackie Wilson, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, and Otis Redding. Most will also perform a soulful twist on modern classics, and tunes by artists like Amy Winehouse, Bruno Mars, Beyoncé and Rihanna.
6. Rat Pack and swing bands
If you’re looking for a cool, modern vintage wedding theme, Rat Pack and swing bands are ideal. Equally smooth and glitzy, these bands will cover Rat Pack classics by Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Junior and Dean Martin, and – with one foot in the jazz camp – they will also perform a range of timeless hits spanning the last 70 years, including music by Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, and Glenn Miller. Most will perform modern hits in a swing style, such as Michael Bublé and Robbie Williams, which you and your guests will love! You can choose to have the full, big band experience to raise the roof, or opt for a toned-down version, according to the vibe you’d like to create at your wedding.
Where in the UK do Alive wedding bands perform?
Our wedding bands perform at a range of locations nationally and internationally. The most popular UK locations include:
Most popular counties:
- West Sussex
- East Sussex
- North Yorkshire
- West Midlands
- West Yorkshire
Most popular cities:
- Newcastle upon Tyne
Is a wedding band suitable for my event?
Typically the headline evening entertainment, wedding bands can provide the perfect atmosphere for various stages of your wedding day, offering a complete wedding entertainment solution. Most can offer smaller ensembles or soloists to play romantic acoustic music for the procession, ceremony, the signing of the register, and the recession. They can also perform live background music for the wedding drinks reception and wedding breakfast, where you and your guests can happily chat and enjoy each other’s company.
The evening entertainment can be turned up a few notches, with additional members and instruments added to perform a dynamic and energetic party set. A wedding band can play music for the all-important first dance too, with many offering the option to learn a special song of your choice, given enough notice. They can also provide a DJ option so that you and your guests can party all night.
The benefit of booking one band for the whole day’s celebration is that costs and logistics are minimal, particularly compared with the option of hiring several separate performers for your wedding day.
Space considerations at your event
A typical 4-piece band will need a space of roughly 4m width × 3m depth to perform comfortably. For approximate requirements, see ‘How much space will a wedding band need?’, below.
How much does a wedding band cost?
The cost of wedding bands varies, depending on the line-up, and the options each band offers.
In 2017, the average price of a 5-piece band is around £1,600.
This table shows the range of fees for different types of wedding bands:
|Type of Artist||Cost Range|
|Rock and Pop wedding party bands||£670 - £960 (3-piece)
£980 - £1,550 (4-piece)
£1,050 - £1,380 (5-piece)
£1,570 - £2,160 (4-piece)
|Upbeat and Dixieland Jazz bands||£460 - £1,210 (3-piece)
£700 - £2,700 (5-piece)
|Acoustic and Roaming bands||£330 - £720 (2-piece)
£480 - £1,630 (3-piece)
£600 - £1,630 (4-piece)
|Soul Bands||£820 - £4,500 (4-piece)
£960 - £2,420 (5-piece)
£1,090 - £3,500 (6-piece)
£1,210 - £7,500 (larger bands)
|Rat Pack and Swing bands||£1,060 - £1,940 (5-piece)
£2,120 - £2,904 (7 to 9-piece)
£2,900 - £3,020 (10-piece+)
Booking a band who are local to your venue is a great way to reduce cost, as any travel fees will be minimal. The home town of all Alive Network wedding bands are included on their profile pages, and your Entertainment Coordinator can recommend the best bands near to your venue. However, you don’t need to limit your search to just local bands – your perfect band maybe willing to travel at nominal cost!
Who are the top 10 best wedding bands in the UK right now?
This hot list features our current premier UK wedding bands, based on a range of performance quality, innovation and popularity:
How long will a wedding band play for?
Our wedding bands usually offer two 60-minute performances, though many can perform for longer if needed. You could spread out a two-hour performance by splitting it into three 40-minute sets. Most bands are flexible to fit in with your evening, and will usually take a break of around 15 minutes between sets, during which time they will provide background music from an MP3 player or laptop.
If providing the evening entertainment, a wedding band would typically arrive at 6pm, get set up and perform that all-important sound check by 7.30pm to 8pm, get changed and ready to start the first performance by around 9pm. The second performance would then start around 10.30pm, until a normal curfew of midnight. Many wedding bands offer longer performances or DJ sets at an additional cost, including finishing times of 1am and 2am. You can find the booking options on each wedding band’s profile page. These times serve as an example – the band will always liaise with you and will tailor what they are doing on the night to your particular needs.
How much space will a wedding band need?
The table below shows approximately how much space wedding bands of different sizes require:
|Size of Wedding Band||Performance Space Required|
|3-piece band||3 x 3 metres|
|4-piece band||4 x 3 metres|
|5 and 6-piece band||5 x 3 metres|
|7-piece band and bigger||5/6 x 4 metres|
How long will it take for a wedding band to set up?
Depending how close to the performance space a wedding band can park, unloading, setting up and performing their sound-check will take around 60 – 90 minutes.
Some busy city hotels require bands to load in via a supplier’s entrance, using a shared staff elevator, which can increase set up times.
Following their performance, it takes a wedding band around 45 – 60 minutes to pack down and load out.
What equipment will a wedding band need?
Most wedding bands need:
Wedding bands provide their own PA sound system, microphones, backline amplifiers, and stage lighting.
If you are planning a large wedding with over 200 guests, you may need to hire a separate PA system to fill the large venue. Your dedicated Entertainment Coordinator will be happy to discuss the requirements for specific wedding bands.
In a band? How do you join a wedding band agency?
For information on joining Alive Network please visit our 'How to join' pages here.
What you will need in order to apply?
- High quality audio recordings and promotional photos
- Good quality, reliable equipment & your own transport
- A setlist of music suited to weddings
- Smart formal stage clothes, suited to weddings
- A PA system & stage lighting suited to audiences of up to 200 people
- Reliable, professional band mates