Choosing your wedding entertainment - top tips

23 May 2012

Choosing your wedding entertainment - top tips

A must read guide to choosing your wedding entertainment

Image gallery

Image gallery


There are three key points when you might wish to have entertainment - the ceremony, the reception meal and the evening party. During appropriate periods of the service and reception meal, quieter more subdued acoustic music can help create a pleasant and elegant ambience. This might be a singer/guitarist, keyboard player, harpist, violinist or a combination of these. However, if there are budget limits, as the evening party is when the dancing will take place just stick with this.

The evening event is when people want to party, remember, wedding guests will normally come from all generations with many different tastes. You may love a specific genre of music and want musicians to reflect this but, if you follow this course, you may be the only people on the dance floor. This can ruin the party atmosphere. It is best to have a band that can provide a range of popular music from the sixties to the present day keeping as many people up dancing as possible.

Budgets are very personal matters but it is usually best to leave something out altogether rather than try to do more things on the cheap. Your best friend’s friend may know some guys who will do it for a few quid but you will almost certainly may regret it. A poor band or DJ can ruin the atmosphere of your very special evening and make your party a dud.

The best bands have really earned their reputations with great testimonials on their website. They will know how to “perform” as well as play their instruments, creating the right atmosphere and thus being well worth their fees. You will usually also find that they are very “professional” in all other aspects as well. Expect to pay at least £1200 to £1500 for a 4 piece and more for larger bands. Costs for musicians for the service and reception are extra to this but some bands might arrange an inclusive deal for a couple of their members to provide this service.


How much space for a band

If you want a band for your entertainment it is important to talk to prospective venues about their experience with bands. They should know whether it is feasible for a band to fit in their function room bearing in mind the space also required for dancing.

A 4 piece band will usually require a minimum of 4m wide by 3m deep, bigger bands proportionately more, but a good professional band like my own, The Funtime Frankies, will know how to fit in the most awkward places. Electrical outlets

Bands will normally require a minimum of two separate 13 amp sockets in suitable positions for the performance area. The band should have enough extension cables for all of their own equipment. However if you will be in a marquee that is using a generator it is very important to ensure that it is powerful enough to give sufficient power for all electrical needs - lighting, heating, catering, etc as well as the band. The Funtime Frankies have been booked at such events where no thought has been given to this and the fuses tripped as soon as the music gear was switched on.

Dance Floor space

The size of a dance floor should relate to the number of guests although it is unlikely all your guests will be up dancing all at the same time. Any good venue should know what is feasible from their own experience.

Setting up space/easy access for band equipment

For safety’s sake it is always best that setting up should not take place with lots of people milling around. If your wedding reception is in the late afternoon a venue will usually schedule in a suitable break in festivities when guests move to the bar or other room whilst the venue changes the main room from an afternoon reception into the evening format. This is normally when a band will set up, arriving at about 6.00pm to be ready for 7.30pm. If this is not possible you should talk to the band about them setting up much earlier, But bear in mind that this will probably mean an increase in the band fees as many people forget that a band’s work is not just the couple of hours they perform but all the time and effort required to make that performance possible.

Most good bands will need between 60 and 90 minutes to set up and sound check but this depends on ease of access to the room. Load in time can be very significantly increased by the distance from the van to the room or in the case of stairs and no lift, let the band know if access is difficult. Remember that their equipment is heavy and it will require several trips to and from their van.


The acoustics of a room can significantly affect the perceived sound of a band. This is especially so in the case a castle venue with large stone walls. Some venues also have sound limiters and if this is the case you should tell the band. The minimum sound level of a live band is governed mainly by the drums as the other instruments have to be balanced with them. However don’t worry too much as good experienced bands will have dealt with every type of situation possible and will know how to setup accordingly. They should also tell you if they know your venue is completely unsuitable for live music. They will not want to sully a hard won reputation if an unsuitable venue makes them sound like amateurs.


Have a great wedding day.

Jon Baker

Lead Singer and Band Leader


The Funtime Frankies

Playing great chart music from the 60s to the present

Keep your guests dancing all night


01772 623380 or 07801 065705 or 07868 610416


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