What is a wedding band for hire or live wedding band exactly?
A live wedding band or wedding band for hire is quite simply a group of musicians who specifically perform live music at weddings. They usually have specially designed live setlists just for weddings and also specialise in performing first dances, last dances and father/bride songs amongst others. They come in all sorts of shapes, styles and sizes so it’s always possible to find the perfect one for your wedding.
Yer, I’m pretty sure I know what a live wedding band is thanks!
So this may seem like an obvious blog post but were you aware of all the different types of wedding bands for hire out there? Do you know how they differ from your standard party band, pub band or corporate band? Did you know that on average, wedding bands cost more than party bands but usually less than corporate entertainment? I’ve taken my 15 years experience so I can advise you on all the essential information so you pick the perfect one for your wedding!
Live wedding bands in 2020 cost on average:
- 3 piece band £1125.70
- 4 piece band £1510
- 5 piece band £1509.80
- 6 piece band £1849.10
And below are the average prices for our wedding bands.
- 3 piece band £910
- 4 piece band £1117.60
- 5 piece band £1389.20
- 6 piece band £1597.50
We don’t charge commission so that’s why our prices are lower but either way wedding bands are a big investment so its good to know exactly what you are buying.
Wedding bands are such a vital part of any weddings entertainment I felt it was our duty to fully explain what they are all about so you can pick the best one possible for your special day. Read on!
Different types of wedding band for hire
So in the rather vast live wedding band world, you have a huge range of bands out there catering for all sorts of weddings. You can start with compact little 3 piece bands and go right up to 20 piece mammoth wedding bands! Some of the core types of wedding band for hire include:
Soul and Motown bands
DJ/live wedding bands
Latin and Jazz bands
Click on any of the above genres to whisked straight to that section of the guide.
Below are some real-life examples of wedding bands from each category. If you want a really in-depth look at live wedding bands and all that they entail check out our big little guide to live wedding bands. You will be an aficionado of all things wedding band by the end of reading it.
Rock and Pop Wedding Band
The League of Gentlemen are all about your wedding – especially if you like the rockier side of life. Each tune is played with genuine gusto and rock n’ roll spirit. This 4-piece band is made up of a stomping rhythm section, pulsating guitars and unrelenting lead male vocals raising the roof with some extra backing vocals to boot. Rock and Pop bands are some of the most popular wedding bands going.
See more on League of Gentlemen here.
Swing and Ratpack Wedding Band
Night and Day with their uniquely cool and upbeat swinging Soul, Ratpack, Pop, Jazz, Jive and Motown renditions of classic and contemporary tunes fit that top draw wedding band bill. Stunning lead male vocals float over one of the most understated backing bands right now. Like most bands of their style, you are guaranteed a premium Swing and Ratpack wedding act who won’t disappoint.
See more on Night and Day here.
Acoustic and Roaming Wedding Band
Acoustic Captain provide some of the best 4-piece acoustic live wedding entertainment out there. Specialising in music that covers all ages and tastes, this vibrant wedding band quartet consists of lead male vocals and acoustic guitar x2, double bass and vocals and percussion and vocals. They can free roam around your wedding or perform on a proper kitted out stage for maximum effect like most acoustic wedding acts.
See more on Acoustic Captain here.
Niche or Alternative Wedding Band
Stan Darsh deliver a once in a lifetime nonstop festival rave full of unique, original remixes of some of the biggest hits from the 90’s right up to present day.
Remixing and moulding classic and contemporary Rock, Metal, Indie, Punk, Pop, Club Hits, DnB and alternative music into their own unique DJ-inspired style, Stan Darsh’s non-stop blistering live show delivers a heaving dancefloor and big party atmosphere. Stan Darsh are a truly unique wedding event just like any niche or alternative wedding bands should be!
See more on Stan Darsh here.
Soul and Motown Wedding Band
Expect elegant, fun Soul, Motown and Jazz renditions of your favourite tunes when booking this seductive 1920’s-styled wedding band. Southside Sparkle will turn heads and leave nostalgic memories lingering in you and your guest’s minds for years to come. Soul and Motown bands such as Southside Sparkle are fantastic for dance-hungry wedding crowds with one dance hit after another beautifully performed.
See more on Southside Sparkle here.
DJ/Live Wedding Band
If you’re wanting unique, memorable live wedding entertainment that will blow you and your guests socks off, DJ Republic should be at the top of your list. Combining the greatest attributes of a live wedding band and DJ, acts like DJ Republic pump out the dance, club, festival and wedding hits to get your wedding dancefloor bouncing. They are a new and one-off kind of wedding band experience.
See more on DJ Republic here.
Latin and Jazz Wedding Band
Putting a fresh Latin twist on all your favourite classic and contemporary songs, Latin Corner are perfect for any wedding, especially during your ceremony or drinks reception or wedding breakfast. If you want your wedding theme to include some classy South American or Jazz flavours then Latin Corner’s subtle, sultry vocals and light acoustic music fits the bill. These kinds of wedding bands are perfect during those quieter moments.
See more on Latin Corner here.
Multi-Genre Wedding Band
Energetic? Fun & contemporary? Powerful 3-piece harmonies? Yes please! Birmingham based Usual Suspects cover every musical base with an awesome selection of Rock, Pop, Funk, Indie, Folk and Soul hits from the sixties to the present day for any wedding that wants to transform from average to awesome! Multi-genre wedding bands are super popular and it’s simple to see why!
See more on the Usual Suspects here.
What else makes a band a wedding band then?
So even after all the wedding band examples you just saw, you could still assume that wedding bands are just like any other type of band you can hire. Not so! Live wedding bands usually consist of professional, full-time musicians who put together their band specifically for weddings. This usually means they have specially designed setlists and large repertoires that are constantly updated and edited. They most commonly perform 2×1 hour or 3×40 minute live sets from around 8 pm until 11:30 pm but unlike most function bands, these can be adjusted to fit around your wedding.
Below we’ve got two examples of the latest live wedding setlists from two of our most popular wedding bands. It gives you a little window into the kind of tunes being performed to packed dancefloors at weddings UK wide.
The Usual Suspects multi-genre wedding setlist
Valerie – Mark Ronson
Happy – Pharrell
Johnny Be Good – Chuck Berry
Twist And Shout – The Beatles
Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake
Shotgun – George Ezra
Seven Nation Army – White Stripes
Dakota – Stereophonics
Lion Man – Munford and Sons
Ho Hey – Lumineers
Sing – Ed Sheeran
Lovely Day – Bill Withers
Superstition – Stevie Wonder
Play That Funky Music – Wild Cherry
Blues Medley (Jailhouse, Great Balls Of Fire, Hound Dog, Rock Around The Clock, Blue Suede Shoes)
500 Miles – Proclaimers
Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson/Bruno
Get Lucky – Daft Punk
Can’t Feel My Face – The Weeknd
Hey Ya – Outkast
I Gotta Feelin – Black Eyed Peas
ShutUpAndDance – Walk The Moon
Last Night – The Stokes
Chelsea Dagger – The Fratellis
I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor – Arctic Monkeys
Teenage Dirtbag – Wheatus
Summer Of 69 – Brian Adams
Living on a Prayer – Bob Jovi
Brightside – Killers
Wonderwall – Oasis
Dock Of The Bay – Otis Redding
Stand By Me – Ben E. King
Acoustic Captain’s acoustic wedding setlist
7 Nation Army (White Stripes)
All The Small Things (Blink 182)
Alright Now (Free)
Are You Gonna Be My Girl (Jet)
Brown Sugar (Rolling Stones)
Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (Muse)
Chasing Cars (Snow Patrol)
Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Queen)
Don’t Look Back In Anger (Oasis)
Don’t Stop Believing (Journey)
Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing (Aerosmith)
Don’t You Worry Child (Swedish House Mafia)
Englishman In New York (Sting)
Funky Music (Wild Cherry)
I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor (Arctic Monkeys)
I Feel Good (James Brown)
Johnny Be Goode (Chuck Berry)
Livin’ On A Prayer (Bon Jovi)
Locked Out Of Heaven (Bruno Mars)
Lonely Boy (The Black Keys)
Mercy (The Third Degree)
Message In A Bottle (The Police)
Mr Brightside (The Killers)
Place Your Hands (Reef)
Sex On Fire / Use Somebody (Kings of Leon)
Shut Up & Dance (Walk the Moon)
Somebody I Used To Know (GOTYE)
Song 2 (Blur)
Stay With Me (Sam Smith)
Summer of ’69 (Bryan Adams)
Sweet Child Of Mine (Guns ‘n’ Roses)
Sweet Dreams (Eurythmics)
Teenage Dirtbag (Wheatus)
Times Like These (Foo Fighters)
Treasure (Bruno Mars)
Under The Bridge (RHCP)
Uptown Funk (Ronson/Mars)
The kings of first dances
No one performs in a wedding band unless they know how to perform first dances expertly week in week out. No other kind of live band has as much experience in performing first dance songs. Our wedding bands are well versed in performing first dances and like any wedding band out there should, they take them very seriously. It’s one of the most important and romantic songs at any wedding and we make sure we perform these songs just as bride and grooms intended. It’s a beautiful and special moment after all! Below you can see a list of some of the most popular first dance songs right now. Maybe you will find your first dance song here or look at our guide to the top 10 wedding songs for 2020 for more.
Thinking out loud – Ed Sheeran
All of me – John Legend
A thousand years – Christina Perri
Marry you – Bruno Mars
At last – Etta James
Can’t help falling in love – Elvis
You are the best thing – Ray Lamontagne
Grow old with me – Tom Odell
The one – Kodaline
Iris – Goo Goo Dolls
One of our most popular wedding bands for hire, Good Fellas (below) have a special list of wedding songs they recommend. You can see this in their repertoire section here. Keep checking back as in the coming weeks, we’ll have a detailed guide all about first dances too.
Wedding bands are far more suitable for your wedding than other types of live act
Wedding bands only really exist to perform at weddings so not only do they understand what songs need to be performed and how but they are also well versed with the ins and outs of a hectic wedding day. You can rely on experienced wedding bands to be cool and experienced heads at your wedding which can come in useful when you’re running behind schedule or are simply just enjoying yourself so much that you have no idea what’s going any more! Us wedding musicians are there to make sure the entertainment side of your wedding is perfect for you without you having to check, organise or worry about it.
We think picking a band that’s been specifically formed for performing at weddings is important when you consider that in this article they look at how your emotions and mood amongst many other things can be altered by certain types of live music. Wow!
Should you see a wedding band before you hire one then?
For an in-depth answer to this question click here, but in summary, if you can watch a wedding band before booking why not? In reality, most wedding bands only perform at private functions, so it can be hard to see them beforehand. It’s why we created this website so you can chat with bands before you book them. Either way, if there is an opportunity to see a band live before you book there’s no major harm in it but don’t forget to read our in-depth answer to this question first. This also leads me nicely onto another big question about wedding bands.
Are wedding bands safe to book online?
Chances are you looking at hiring a wedding band online because you are reading this so you are probably just wondering if they are safe to book online? Who cares what they are if they aren’t safe to book! Well, there are certain red flags you should look out for with live wedding bands and you can check them all out here. However, if you are booking a band through a reputable website such as ours you should feel very confident when booking your perfect band.
Hiring a wedding band!
Unlike party bands or corporate entertainment, wedding bands are in constant and high demand so you need to book them in advance. The longer you leave it the less choice you will have. We have stats to back it up from our guide on how far in advance you should book a wedding band. We always recommend booking a band 7 to 12 months in advance so you aren’t left disappointed but check out these juicy stats if you aren’t yet convinced. We looked at all our wedding bookings from 2019 and listed how far in advance they were booked. Booking early was the trend and still is!
- Booked 2 years or more in advance 6%
- Booked 1 – 2 years in advance 27%
- Booked 7 – 12 months in advance 45%
- Booked 4 – 7 months in advance 20%
- Booked 1-4 months in advance 2%
Live wedding band performances
Unlike corporate entertainment or party bands who usually deliver specially choreographed live shows, wedding bands are usually highly flexible and adaptable with their performances. They can usually strip their line ups down into small and compact ones (like Encore’s below) for the wedding ceremony or wedding reception performances or expand it if you have a big venue or want the big bustling sound of a larger wedding band just like Flair produce. They can do this during the day for you giving you almost endless performance options.
They can usually offer wedding DJ services just like all our wedding bands do so you can keep that wedding budget in check and get the full wedding entertainment experience without all the extra hassle and fuss. It’s this mix of unrivalled adaptability and specialisation that makes them the only kind of live band you should think of hiring for your wedding.
Do wedding bands need feeding?
Because wedding bands are typically with you longer then party or function band would be, you usually need to provide food and drink for them. We have a guide all about this topic but as wedding bands are commonly with you for 6-8 hours it is usually your contractual responsibility to look after them with tasty food and drink. This is an industry-standard with live wedding bands but check you booking contract for all the information.
Anything else I should know about wedding bands for hire?
Well, now that you mention it unlike many other live bands, wedding bands usually come fully self-contained meaning they arrive at your wedding with all the sound, lighting and backline musical equipment they need to perform so you don’t need to worry about sourcing anything or having delightfully confusing logistical conversations with your wedding venue. They usually even bring all the necessary equipment to provide background music or like our acts, a full DJ experience between their live sets.
Wedding bands operate in this way because they perform at a wide variety of wedding venues. Most wedding venues don’t supply any lighting or sound equipment and even if they do it’s often not suitable. By making themselves totally self-contained wedding bands avoid any possible issues at any wedding.
Wedding band performance requirements
As wedding bands are so self-contained, they don’t usually need much from you or your venue unlike function bands who can sometimes have pretty extensive logistical requests! This does mean they bring quite a bit of equipment using on average 4-6kw of power so at least 4x13amp plug sockets are essential and a stage is always a bonus for you, your guests and the band themselves. Since they do have all this equipment for performing, they do require decent stage space so below are some rough stage sizings for you. The more space the better is the motto here and a place to park their vehicles, get changed and rest in between performances is also pretty essential.
- 3 piece wedding band – 3×3 metres needed
- 4 piece wedding band – 4×3 metres needed
- 5/6 piece wedding band – 5×3 metres needed
- 7 piece or bigger wedding band – 6/7×4 metres needed
Live wedding bands and sound limiters
Corporate and party bands often play similar venues over and over but because wedding bands perform at wedding venues all over the country often travelling large distances, they are also experts at venue logistics and understanding how to utilise a venues space, sound and lighting system (if they have one), acoustics and sound limitations. Ask any good live wedding band about sound limiters and they will know exactly what you are talking about and how to work with them. Many wedding venues have them installed nowadays so booking a wedding music band over any other band is well worth it. If you want to know more about sound limiters check our FAQ’s page.
Set up and packing down pros
It may not surprise you when I say that unlike other bands, wedding music bands can set up quickly, efficiently and quietly if needed. Many weddings take place in one room so professional wedding bands know how to set up and pack down silently so as to not disturb you and your guests. With easy and close access to their performance space, set up generally takes around 60 to 90 minutes for a typical band and pack down clocks in at around 40 minutes. We have been known to set up in 30 minutes and pack down in 20 minutes when time has been of the essence or to help keep a wedding to schedule!
Wedding bands for hire have the proper paperwork
Unlike other live bands, all wedding music bands should have up to date PLI and PAT certificates (like ours do) which are essential if they are to perform at pretty much any wedding venue in the UK. Your average band for hire may not have them as they may not perform at many wedding venues where these certificates are usually compulsory. They aren’t free and can take time to get hold of so we always think its best to book a band with them already. If you want to know more about PLI or PAT certificates check our FAQ’s page.
Wedding bands can offer you so much more
One last big difference with wedding bands is the number of booking options they offer over other types of band you can hire. I’ve touched on some of these before but here’s a full list.
Full DJ’ing service
First dance and setlist song requests
Early arrival or late finish
Wow! Loads of options. Most bands simply can’t, won’t or don’t offer all these options but wedding bands do because they know weddings need all sorts of entertainment. Aren’t they lovely! Most of our bands offer these options but talk with us if you want to know more.
Let’s hear from a real-life wedding band then, please!
Unless you are at a wedding and get to strut your stuff to a fantastic live wedding band, chances are you won’t ever see one live so how do you know what one is?! They usually only perform at weddings which are usually private functions so that’s not very helpful to you. Therefore, we thought we’d get a little interview sorted with one of our wedding bands.
Because we perform in the wedding bands you see on our site it was pretty easy to get an interview with the Rachel, the lead singer of Flowers (above). One of our most popular and established female-fronted live wedding bands.
Hey Rachel, thanks for popping in for a little chat.
What do you think specifically makes you a live wedding band?
Whenever we come up with setlists, we try and think of what bride and grooms and their friends and family will want to hear and dance to. We’ve also performed hundreds of first dance songs over the years!
Why should bride and grooms pick a wedding band over any other type of band for hire?
A good wedding band knows exactly what to expect at any wedding and how to cope with any situations. We’ve had some funny requests and very strange things happen unexpectedly at weddings and without our wedding experience, im not sure how we would have coped. I think it makes a lot of sense to book a band for your wedding that wants to play at weddings professionally.
Why do you perform in a wedding band?
I love watching first dances, love performing and who can resist a beautiful bride and groom on their wedding day!
Tell us a bit about your wedding band
Flowers has been around since we all left music college in London and we have been performing exclusively at weddings in the UK and aboard for over 10 years. I can’t count the number of weddings we’ve performed at but we love it!
What are Flowers up to at the moment?
We are very slowly getting into wedding season so we are getting ready for upcoming shows and working on a brand new wedding setlist for this year. I can’t wait to share it with people and hopefully get them all dancing.
And finally, a fun infographic highlighting what makes a wedding band for hire
Well, you should now be in no doubt as to what a live wedding band is but if you still have questions just contact us. If you want to see some more lovely examples of wedding bands for hire head here and please check out our dedicated live wedding band blog for more essential reading.
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Jon and the Seventh Second team.