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Drinks Reception Essentials
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Also see our wedding breakfast ideas page.
Evening Wedding Party Must-Haves
Wedding Songs And Music Ideas
Wedding Entertainment Planning Advice
From Our 'Real Weddings' Blog Series
Tips From Real Brides And Grooms
“Live music is such an amazing part of your day. Don’t forget to enjoy it and be a part of it. I spent too much time on my wedding day fretting about the small stuff when I should have been on the dancefloor! It’s the good times with my mates and family – and each other! – that were really the most important thing to me.”
“You want music that’s personal and meaningful for your ceremony – so look for tracks you love when you search, and specify song choices with your musicians beforehand.”
“Rather than playing your first dance through an iPod, ask your band if they can play it live. It really makes a difference. Our song wasn’t on the band’s repertoire, so they charged us a small fee to learn it. Worth every penny!”
“We didn’t realise our civil wedding ceremony couldn't feature music with any religious references. If in doubt, ask your artists for song inspiration – our gospel choir helped guide us with a selection of non-religious music that worked beautifully for our service.”
“Make sure your evening entertainment is in the same room as your bar. I’ve been at weddings before where it feels quite flat and quiet when everyone’s queueing for the bar, and I didn’t want that. I wanted everyone in the same room, having a laugh and a dance and joining in with the party!”
“If you want your guests to happily chat during your drinks reception, let your artists know that you are looking for a ‘background’ set – something more chilled out, with a volume and set up to match. Our acoustic band were just perfect.”
“Ask your ushers to gather guests together for your first dance, so everyone’s there for your big moment. It means everyone is part of your moment, the photos look full…and mainly it means you can get everyone to join you on the dancefloor if nerves get the better of you after the first minute!”
“Make sure your evening food is not being served at the same time your band are due to play. No matter how amazing the music, food will always win! Our times slipped so the band’s first set wasn't really watched or made the most of. Their second set was brilliant. It's our only regret because everyone loved them!”
“If you plan on paying your artist in cash on the day, arrange for one of your trusted groomsmen to do it, or your dad (or someone else with inside jacket pockets) - preferably before the drinks start flowing!”
“Don’t be afraid to mix things up – most classical artists we looked at could play an eclectic mix of styles, not just the usual! We met in Ibiza so we chose a string quartet that could play a few dance anthems as well as classical pieces! It made the music really special.”
Featured Reviews From Amazing Wedding Couples
Everything you need to know about typical W-day timings for your wedding entertainment,
and at-a-glance checklists for your venue and your artists. Your wedmin sorted!
Your special song/s can be played live by your artist or through a laptop or iPod.
1st Live Music Set
Your artist will be prepped to kick in with your first party set after the first dance.
1st DJ Set
Your artist will take a break, but the party keeps going as your evening food is served.
2nd Live Music Set
Time to push this party into another gear and get everyone on their feet again.
2nd DJ Set
Dance the night away as die hard movers and ravers get their groove on.
- Are there any sound limiters or noise restrictions
Heart set on live music? Check this before you book your venue!
- Is there enough performance space?
At least 2x2m for a soloist, 3x4m for a 4-piece band
- Is there a power supply near the performance area?
2-3 standard household sockets
- Is there a changing space or room?
Where artists can smarten up before the performance
- Are your bar and dancefloor located in the same room?
So your party isn't split across two rooms
- Is there a live music curfew?
Usually midnight, but it can be earlier for some venues
- Does your venue need proof of PAT & PLI for any live entertainment?
Standard safety and insurance requirements. All Alive artists have them and can produce certificates when needed.
On The Day
- Set Up Time
45 – 90 mins
- Parking Space
Close to the venue
- Outside Cover
Shelter from wind/rain/sun if performing al fresco
- Soft Drinks and Food
Keep your artist's energy up for a crowd-wowing performance!