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The Ultimate Guide To Hiring The Best Wedding Entertainment Ideas For Bands, Musicians, DJs & Entertainers UK Wide

You're here! The best place online to plan and find your wedding entertainment. Our guide provides inspiration for all your big day's big moments – from ceremony music to evening party. Find entertainment ideas for your own wedding style. Download planning checklists. Plus, get tips from real brides & grooms like you.

Search 1000s of Wedding Musicians & Acts

Wedding Entertainment Essentials

From your favourite ceremony music to evening reception acts, these are the most popular entertainment choices flying off our virtual shelves.

Ceremony music

Typical Format for Ceremony Music: 
Prelude (as guests arrive): Music for about 30 mins.
Processional, Signing Register & Recessional: Usually 3-4 songs.

For a full list, check out our wedding ceremony musicians.

Want more ideas? Check out our wedding ceremony music & entertainment ideas.

Drinks Reception

Typical Format for Entertainment:
After the ceremony, as guests mingle.
Music is usually 2 x 45 min sets.

Choosing Classical Music? Most of our classical musicians also play chart tracks, film scores & Disney tunes in a classical style.  
Check out our full selection of classical wedding musicians for hire.

More ideas? Get extra wedding drinks reception entertainment ideas here.

Wedding Breakfast

Typical Format for Entertainment:
During the meal, before the speeches.
Music is usually 2 x 45 min sets.

Want to keep the party flowing & atmosphere going as your guests sit down to eat?
See more wedding breakfast music & entertainment ideas here.

Evening Reception

Typical Format for Entertainment:
After the cake is cut, and directly after (or including) your first dance.
Music is usually 2 x 60 min sets.

We're the UK's #1 for wedding bands! So say the bods at Google, and thousands of music-loving couples.
Find the UK’s best wedding bands for your evening reception here.

More ideas? Check out our evening reception entertainment ideas.

Wedding Music & SONGs

Wedding playlist inspiration, as chosen by our brides, grooms and artists.

More live wedding music videos?
Check out our Live In Session video series.

More Wedding Music Ideas

Choosing Live Music For Your Wedding Ceremony

Choosing Live Music For Your Wedding Ceremony

Here at Alive Network we hire entertainment for more than 5000 weddings each year. We're frequently asked how much of an inpu... Read more...
Wedding Hymns: The Ultimate Wedding Hymn Resource

Wedding Hymns: The Ultimate Wedding Hymn Resource

Find the best traditional & modern hymns in our ultimate guide to popular wedding hymns and songs.
A Classical Guitarists Guide to the Top 20 Guitar Songs for ...

A Classical Guitarists Guide to the Top 20 Guitar Songs for ...

Are you looking to hire a classical guitarist for your wedding? Are you in need of some inspiration choosing the perfect piec... Read more...
Top 10 Wedding First Dances for a Ceilidh or Folk Band to Pl...

Top 10 Wedding First Dances for a Ceilidh or Folk Band to Pl...

The first dance is a personal moment for the bride and groom and often a special song is chosen which holds meaning for the h... Read more...
Civil Ceremony Music Ideas

Civil Ceremony Music Ideas

Wondering what makes great, non-religious civil wedding ceremony music? Alive Network's artists and staff suggest 42 civil we... Read more...
Choosing Music For A Wedding Reception

Choosing Music For A Wedding Reception

Helpful hints and tips to guide you through choosing the right live music for your wedding reception.

Entertainment By Wedding Style

Love to hit the festival scene every summer? Fan of all things vintage? Whether you have a wedding theme, want to match the era of your venue, or just want your friends to have fun, find bands & entertainers that will help you pull it all together.

Rustic & DIY

Think handmade decor, rural settings, lantern-lit barns & footstomping live music.

Read more...

We love laidback, rustic-loving couples. For you guys, handmade details and live music are at the heart of your day. From Mumford-style bands, to a good old Ceilidh band, it’s the kind of wedding we all want to be guests at – downing craft beers, eating artisan cheese and dancing ‘til dawn!

My Rustic Ceremony

JadeKelly Barnes

Drinks Reception

Sam The CaricaturistThe Cotton Picadillys

Wedding Breakfast

The WillowsHummingbird
  • You'll Love:
  • Acoustic Duos
  • Feel: Happy, upbeat & cool!
  • £250 – £900

Evening Reception

RabscallionThe Nameless Three

Shop Rustic

Check out our DIY collection for more rustic-style entertainment ideas.

Having an outdoor wedding? Discover more unplugged & acoustic artist ideas here.

Vintage & Retro

For era-inspired & super stylish couples. You’re witty, partial to a bit of bunting & love cool, retro details.

Read more...

Happy days for vintage loving couples, because entertainment suits your wedding like you suit each other! Whether it's Gatsby glamour, Forties charm, Rock n Roll, or you just want a modern-retro feel, you have so many great, all-year-round entertainment options that it’s one of our favourite styles.

Vintage Ceremony

Charlie MappinBillie Knowlson

Drinks Reception

Mixology BartendersThe Retrobates

Wedding Breakfast

Russell ShaunBorn To Swing
  • You'll Love:
  • Swing Singers
  • Feel: Stylish. Retro. All the cool
  • £300 – £650

Evening Reception

Bella And The Bourbon BoysThe Gramophone DJ
  • You'll Love:
  • Modern-Vintage Bands & Gramophone DJ
  • Feel: Taking pop music back in time
  • £800 – £3,000

Shop Vintage

Find artists matching your specific vintage style or era.

Check out our vintage wedding musicians & vintage entertainment ideas

Boho & Festival

Colourful, casual, effortless. Think flower crowns, tipis and a laidback, fun feel.

Read more...

For you boho and festival-loving couples, it’s all about authentic live music, personal details and a wedfest vibe. Your Pyramid stage-worthy headliner band is a given, but there are loads of other ideas for your entertainment lineup, making your big day or wedding weekender one to remember.

My Boho Ceremony

Stephen CornwellAlex and Suzy

Drinks Reception

The Car BarKaty Sea

Wedding Breakfast

BrassWerkPremier Brass

Evening Reception

Dirty WeekendAnthony Parella

Shop Boho

You can shop more pop up bars here.

Find other festival-style street & circus performers here.

Fairytale & Romantic

Breathtaking venues, incredible wedding vows...Now just add some magical entertainment.

Read more...

We’re thinking big but tasteful. Ethereal harp music, tree lights, a flower wall, something unexpected to wow your guests – say, singing waiters or a firework display. And how about a Strictly-style big band as you both swoosh around the dancefloor? 

My Romantic Ceremony

The London HarpistJessica Louise
  • You'll Love:
  • A Harpist
  • Feel: Ethereal romance
  • £220 – £500

Drinks Reception

UK Gospel ChoirDuette

Wedding Breakfast

Incognito ArtistsLet There Be Light

Evening Reception

The MBB BandTje Swing Smiths
  • You'll Love:
  • A Strictly-style Big Band
  • Feel: For serious swooshing around the dancefloor
  • £1,200 – £4,000.

Shop Fairytale

Want to find alternative ideas like pop up bars, ice sculptures, and light up dance floors for your fairytale / romantic wedding?

Explore ideas for non-musical wedding entertainment here.

Country Garden

Fresh, floral & full of English country charm. Think lawn gamesice cream & personalised live music. Pass the prosecco!

Read more...

Celebrations in local gardens, grounds or even a family home are especially personal & meaningful. That’s why your entertainment should be too. Choose bespoke musical arrangements for your ceremony, and fun outdoor entertainment that family & friends will love. In the evening, take to a marquee filled with fairy lights for a live version of your first dance.

Garden Ceremony

Elliot SmithKris Solo

Drinks Reception

The Ice Cream ParlorGarden String Quartet

Wedding Breakfast

The QuartonesThe Hamiltones
  • You'll Love:
  • Jazz Ensembles
  • Free: Lively, friendly & sparkling!
  • £450 – £1,500

Evening Reception

FraudioDJ Markus
  • You'll Love:
  • Live party bands & DJs
  • Feel: Post-sunset partying with personality
  • £1,000 – £3,000

Shop Country Garden

For more al fresco & marquee-friendly entertainment ideas, check out our Outdoor Wedding collection.

Classic & Elegant

Elegant, light & always in style. Make it modern with your own personal touches, like a string quartet playing your favourite indie anthem.

Read more...

This timeless-yet-contemporary feel means you can go as big & bold (or discreet & laid back) as you want with your entertainment. We love classical musicians with a modern twist for your big daytime moments, and a knockout premier party band that gets everyone dancing for your all-important evening celebrations.

Elegant Ceremony

The Lancashire String QuartetThe Northern Violinist
  • You'll Love:
  • Classical Strings
  • Feel: Classic-meets-contemporary romance
  • £400 – £1,500

Drinks Reception

Donald The BagpiperJordan Alexander

Wedding Breakfast

Luca ValentinoMathew Knight

Evening Reception

FaithettesBrightlights

Shop Classic

Find the UK’s best party bands for your wedding here.

Get Planning

Less worry, more party! From booking tips and budget advice, to on-the-day timings and handy checklists... We’ve got the planning side sorted so you can focus on the fun stuff.

Top 10 Tips

...on booking your perfect wedding entertainment!

Ten short-but-perfectly-formed vids, packed with money savers and planning hints.

On-the-Day Details

Everything you need to know about typical timings for your wedding entertainment, and at-a-glance checklists for your venue and your artists. Wedmin sorted!

Wedding Ceremony

Music for your prelude (as guests arrive)

30 mins

Music during your ceremony: Entrance of the bride, signing of the register, and your walk down the aisle as newlyweds

3-4 songs

Drinks Reception

After the ceremony, as your guests relax and chat before your wedding breakfast.

Your entertainment should… continue the excitement after your ceremony and provide the perfect mood for mingling.

60 mins or
2 × 45 mins

Wedding Breakfast

Ambient music or ice-breaking entertainment during the meal.

Your entertainment should… keep the buzz going, so the party feeling doesn’t flag before the speeches.

60 mins or
2 × 45 mins

Evening Reception

Entertainment for your big party finale, after evening guests arrive and the cutting of the cake.

First Dance

Your special song/s can be played live by your artist or through a laptop or iPod.

1-2 songs

1st Live Music Set

Your artist will be prepped to kick in with your first party set after the first dance.

60 mins

1st DJ Set

Your artist will take a break, but the party keeps going as your evening food is served.

45-60 mins

2nd Live Music Set

Time to push this party into another gear and get everyone on their feet again.

60 mins

2nd DJ Set

Dance the night away as die hard movers and ravers get their groove on.

Until close

Venue Checklist

(for ultimate party conditions!)

  • 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.

Artist Checklist

Before Booking

  • Availability
    Search using your wedding date to see the artists available
  • Performance and style
    Browse images, videos, audio clips
  • Repertoire
    Check that the songs they play match your tastes
  • Reviews
    Check out their previous performances

Ask Your Artist

  • Can you learn a first dance or special song?
  • Do you offer a DJ set in between and after live music sets?
  • Do you offer additional daytime-friendly set ups for my ceremony, reception or wedding breakfast?

One Month Before

  • Artist will contact you to run through the finer details of your day
  • Give your artist advance notice to learn any ceremony or first dance song requests

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!

My Best Wedding Tip!

Golden advice nuggets from our brides & grooms who've been there, done it.

Top Non-Music Wedding Entertainment Ideas

Mixologists & pop up bars, uber cool street musicians, and cos we're fancy...a Ferris wheel!

Your Real Weddings

Get lovely ideas for your own day from lovely real couples! See how they did it below. Want to share your own big-day story with us? Email us here, or use #alivebride on Instagram to tag us into your wedding day moments!

Our Real Weddings Blog Series

The very latest from our Real Weddings Blog Series...

Jess & Greg

Jess & Greg

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Scarlett & Adam

Scarlett & Adam

Want a wedding that’s informal, vintage & celebrates your mutual love of… zombies? Scarlett & Adam’s big day did just that, w... Read more...
Sarah & Matt

Sarah & Matt

Planning a formal VIP affair and want to inject character? Take inspiration from Sarah and Matt’s mansion wedding. Theirs is ... Read more...
Matt & Suzanne

Matt & Suzanne

Planning a wedding that the Great British weather can’t spoil? Matt and Suzanne’s February barn wedding is relaxed, rustic, a... Read more...
Sarah & Stephen

Sarah & Stephen

Worried your wedding will lack character? Sarah and Stephen show how they injected p-p-personality into their luxury spa wedd... Read more...
Gemma & Paul

Gemma & Paul

Want a chilled wedding? Gemma and Paul show you how with their rural retreat wedding. Featuring romantic countryside, custom ... Read more...

The Alive Insta Tribe

Join the Insta party! Tag us into your build-up and big-day moments

#alivebrides

Featured Reviews

Super happy couples say nice things about us and our artists...

Read over 30,000 rave reviews on our site! (You might need a coffee...)

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