Music at a wedding is an absolute must! Music sets the mood for the occasion and a big day is often remembered by the entertainment. Of course the music you choose reflects your personality and theme, but what will work best at your celebration?


Entertainment on a budget

“Ideally you should have both, although it does depend on your budget,” says Duncan from Wessex Entertainment. “Having both gives you a complete package for the whole evening. If you have a DJ, the style of music can change instantly, whereas a band will generally have a specific style.”

Al Mayfield runs Great Events Etc and has put entertainment together for celebrities like Jamelia and Cheryl Cole. “Live bands seem to be favoured by more mature wedding couples,” says Al. “A good wedding band can be a highlight of the celebration. However in these modern, digital times, audiences are far more demanding when it comes to music and that can only be met by a competent DJ, who if properly briefed, is able to please all guests and keep the dance floor full all night.”

Dance floor anthems

Al was a nightclub DJ before he set up Great Events 15 years ago, so he certainly knows what he’s talking about. Here are his sure-fire hits for filling the dance floor.

  • Valerie by Amy Winehouse
  • I want to dance with somebody by Whitney Houston
  • Celebration by Kool and the Gang
  • Oops upside your head by The Gap Band

Musical energy

“Remember you’re aiming for two big peaks with your music,” says Darren Daley from Wedding Ideas Awards 2013 entertainers, Live Events. “Build up to the first peak, then have a brief lull so guests can recharge, before putting on another style of music and get the party started again.”

Another thing to watch out for is the volume of your music. If a band is playing too loudly at your reception when guests arrive, they won’t be able to talk freely. If you want live music playing while your guests are chatting, look into having a string quartet. They can play soft, ambient music in the background, that’s not intrusive and sets a relaxed, welcoming mood.

Public opinion

We asked our brides on the Wedding Ideas Facebook page about hiring a DJ or band and their opinion was pretty much split 50-50, but a couple of points stand out. Firstly, make sure that any band you hire has public liability insurance and secondly, make sure that a band can play a good mix of music that will appeal to the majority of your guests.

Having both a live band and DJ would probably be the ultimate option if your budget, and venue, allow. If not, think about the mood you want to create and great parties or receptions you have been to and, of course, what you think your guests will enjoy.


  1. We had Highway Child and they were amazing – so many people commented on how great they were. We played songs from our laptop and itunes account via their sound system between their sets so were able to mix up the genres of music really easily x

  2. we are having an amazing band called The Declaration Band. Seen them loads before and know they gonna have all our guests up on the floor. Definately worth the extra pennies! Cant wait!! 🙂

  3. We had a DJ but we wanted to make it a bit different & with our invites we asked people to RSVP a song to be played at the reception to add their touch to our day. The dance floor was never empty & lots of guests said it was the best wedding party they had ever been too without the expense of a band xx


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