How to choose wedding entertainment with Entertainment Nation | uk wedding blog

facebook-profile-picture By Phoebe

For me, entertainment was one of the biggest struggles when it came to planning my wedding. Back then there were hardly any blogs, youtube still hadn’t majorly taken off and access to a list of musicians was minimal, let alone being able to hear samples. Entertainment Nation makes searching for bands super easy and here’s how they can help…

When it comes to planning your wedding, you want everything to be perfect. You’ve dreamed of this day for your whole life and don’t want to leave anything to chance. While everyone understands the importance of picking the right wedding venue and choosing THE wedding dress, an area where many prospective brides and grooms feel less confident is in choosing the right entertainment for the wedding day.

It’s understandable – how often are we called on to find a live band and hire them for an event? The closest most of us get is booking tickets to a concert online. Fortunately, help is at hand: we’ve put together a bunch of handy hints to help you negotiate the wedding entertainment booking process.

           1. Book Early

As with booking your wedding venue, it’s crucial to book your wedding entertainment as early as you can. The best wedding bands get booked up for popular dates anything up to two years in advance. Ensure you get the widest selection of wedding bands by beating the rush and organising your wedding entertainment as soon as you have your venue sorted.

        2. Make sure you have entertainment for each part of the day

The main wedding entertainment booking tends to be a function band for the evening reception (more on which in the next section), but it’s important to choose the right entertainment for the other stages of your day, including the ceremony itself, the afternoon drinks reception and the wedding breakfast.

Daytime wedding entertainment ideas are mood-setting musicians like string quartets and acoustic guitar/vocal duos or alternative acts to keep your guests occupied like magicians and caricaturists. You’ve also got the option of foregoing live entertainment during the day and putting together a playlist of laid-back tunes.

                3. Choosing a wedding reception band – the questions you need to ask yourself

The band you choose to perform at your reception is a matter of personal taste, but if you’re lost as to where to begin, asking yourself the following questions will help you to narrow down your selection:

    • What is my preferred genre of music?

The biggest thing is to book a wedding band that portrays your personality as a couple. It’s your day, so go for an act that plays the type of music that makes you want to get up and dance. Whatever you’re into, there’s sure to be a band out there for you. If you’re struggling to find the ideal band, then get in touch with an entertainment agency like Entertainment Nation and we’ll do our best to find you the band you’re looking for.

    • Will my guests like my chosen genre of band?

As well as enjoying the music yourself, your guests need to enjoy it too. Think about who will be attending your evening reception and what styles of music might appeal to them to avoid the dreaded empty dance floor! It’s useful to note that many professional wedding bands, even those who specialise in a particular genre, include a variety of songs with broad appeal to cater to the diverse ages and tastes of a wedding audience.

    • Do I need to book a band to match my theme?

Themed weddings are a growing trend that we love! We do our best to keep up to date with the most fashionable wedding themes and offer entertainment to complement them. If you’re organising a vintage wedding, for example, it might be more appropriate to book a vintage-themed wedding band than a modern pop band.

    • Will my band have far to travel?

If you’re based in London and fall in love with a band from the Scottish Highlands, you’re going to struggle to secure them for your wedding. While most wedding bands are willing to travel, the farther they have to drive, the more you will have to pay, and some journeys are just not feasible at all. Keep location in mind when looking for your live band and avoid the disappointment of falling for a band who are unable to travel to your venue. When searching for a band with Entertainment Nation, you can filter your search by location, so you only see bands who are willing to travel to your venue.

               4.Talk with your venue

Make sure to discuss your wedding entertainment plans with your venue before you book any entertainment. You need to ensure the venue permits live music, and if it does, whether there are any restrictions such as limits on the volume of a live band, difficult access to the performance area, limited space in which the band can set up and perform or a curfew.

It’s your responsibility to find out about any restrictions in place and report them to your band to avoid any issues on the day itself. None of these restrictions are insurmountable (well, apart from a blanket ban on live music) and experienced wedding bands are well used to working around them when given sufficient notice.

               5. Do some research!

The word “research” may sound dry and scientific, but this is the fun bit! Pour yourself a glass of something delicious, sit back with your husband or wife to be, and check out some of the great bands there are to choose from. Entertainment agencies are a good place to start: they allow you to look at all the bands in your area, in your preferred genre and style. and get an idea of whether they’re the band for you thanks to promo videos, demo tracks and detailed biographies packed with useful information on the band, their history and what makes them unique.

If you can, try to watch your band live before you book. Unfortunately, this is rarely possible as professional function bands tend to specialise in private events that aren’t open to the public.

  1. Ask your wedding band or wedding entertainment agency these questions

Once you’ve picked the band you want to perform at your wedding reception, you’ll need to establish a few facts to make sure everything runs smoothly. If working with a wedding entertainment agency, most of these questions will come up naturally during the booking process or in the “4-week call” (which is where the band gets in touch 4 weeks prior to your wedding to make all the final preparations), but it’s worth keeping them in mind.

    • What time will you get to my venue and how long will it take for you to set up and sound check?

Establishing what time the band will arrive means you can relax and enjoy yourself on the day itself, safe in the knowledge that everything is in hand. It also means you can plan around when the band will be setting up to minimise any intrusion to your guests. The standard timings for most bands are based upon a 5pm arrival and a 12pm finish. If you’d like your band to arrive early or finish later, this is possible, but will generally incur an extra fee.

    • What is the duration of your performance?

When it comes to duration of performance, every band is different. The standard offerings are three 40 minute sets or two 60 minute sets of live music, and you’re free to choose which suits your occasion the best.

    • Do I need to hire a separate DJ?

You don’t want your guests stood around on the dance floor looking at each other in awkward silence between and after sets of music from your live band. Most bands offer a playlist DJ service to keep the party going while they’re not on stage, but it’s important to make sure this service is included. If you or your guests want to be able to make song requests on the night, you’ll want to hire a wedding band who offer an upgraded manned DJ service.

    • Do I need to hire sound and/or lighting equipment?

Most professional wedding reception bands will supply high quality PA and lighting equipment, but don’t take it for granted – check with the band or agency that you’re booking with that this vital equipment is included in the price you pay.

    • Do you hold public liability insurance?

Your venue will ask for proof that any acts you book hold public liability insurance. If proof is required, your act should provide certificates on request.

    • Are your instruments and equipment fully PAT tested?

All electrical equipment needs to be PAT tested annually. Again, your act should provide certificates if asked.

    • Will you learn and perform my first dance?

What could be better than a unique rendition of your special song from a live band for your first dance? Most wedding bands are happy to learn your first dance as standard, but it’s always best to check, especially if the song you want your band to learn deviates drastically from their usual repertoire.

    • What do I need to provide for the band?

No, you don’t need to give your band free rein at the bar, but a band that’s been fed and watered is a happy band with the energy to give their best during their performance. A soft drinks tab at the bar and a hot meal or access to the evening buffet will suffice and ensure your band are at their best for the entire evening

                  7. Book your wedding entertainment safely and securely

Always book through a reputable agency or with a band who take payment through a secure payment system. Make sure you do some background checks and check independent reviews on social media or review sites like Trust Pilot. All the details you discussed with your band, including arrival time, finish time, duration of performance, DJ services, equipment hire and first dance should be included in a legally binding contract that protects you in the highly unlikely eventuality that something goes wrong with your booking.

At Entertainment Nation, we make booking your dream wedding entertainment simple, secure and hassle-free. You don’t want to worry about the band you book – about whether they’re the right band for you, they’ll arrive on time or play your favourite song – which is why our expert staff are on hand from 10am until 10pm, 7 days a week to guide and advise you. All you need to do is browse our user-friendly website and discover the act who’ll provide the soundtrack to your special day.

This is a sponsored post – we love working closely with brands and companies we feel suit the blog and can genuinely help you with your wedding day. Working with Steve from Entertainment Nation has been a pleasure and I am sure they will be a great asset to your planning process. 


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John Clemence Lerit //

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Ellen Hughes //

I like that you suggested choosing a wedding band that can play the type of music that can make you want to get up to dance, so it’s important to choose a wedding band that can portray your personality as a couple. My sister and her fiance are looking to hire a wedding band that can play live music at their wedding reception. They want the entire celebration to be fun and memorable for them, so I’ll share your blog with them.

Stephen //

One of the biggest issues guests may face is being board during the wedding day proceedings.

The wedding reception is a classic time where guests are just milling about with little to do or focus on, awkward conversation begins, if any conversation start at all! As both sides of the family engage in small talk at best.

Having a form or entertainment during the drinks reception is essential if you dont want your guests looking down at their phones for the 2 hours the bride and groom are away having their photos being taken.

Music can just sit in the back ground but having something that really gets guests talking and engaging will really set the tone for the rest of the day!

Caricaturists are great, magicians (ok, i’m slightly biased on that one!) or even games can really kick things off in style!