Get The Party Started! Wedding Entertainment Advice From The Experts


Hello again and welcome to another Sunday feature that’s packed full of advice from the hard-working and brilliant suppliers you’ll find over in our beautiful new wedding directory, Little Book for Brides. Today, as we cruise towards Christmas party season, we’re taking a rather timely look at entertainment – what’s available, what you need to consider and all the insider information you’d expect from such a wonderful group of talented group of entertainment professionals. So, without further ado, let’s get this party started…


Pictured above, Vintage 78 DJ

Whether you’d love to fill your wedding day with the sounds of live music or if you’d prefer a fantastic DJ, you’ll start at the same place – researching suppliers and this is a really crucial stage because it’s here that you need to find the right supplier for your style. Obviously, Little Book for Brides is overflowing with brilliant musicians and DJs but if you’re casting your net further afield and hopping on over onto Google, Karl and Kate from Deckheds have some rather important advice:


“When searching for a DJ don’t just search on “wedding DJ in Preston” – try using some terms that describe the kind of DJ you want and the music that you love. If you want a non-cheesy wedding DJ, put that into your search engine. At Deckheds what we do as a company can be seen clearly on our website. DJs don’t have shops so the website is the shop window to the DJ company.

You should be able to see everything that they offer, nothing should be hidden and you should be able to get a really good feel if the DJ is right for you just by reading what they say and from any images of past weddings.”

the zootsAsk lots of questions when booking your band and ask friends, family, the venue and your photographer for recommendations,” say Jamie and Harriet from The Zoots. “How long will they play for? How much space to they need? Do they need to park a vehicle? Will they need feeding? Does the fee include travel and accommodation? How long does setting up take? No question should ever be too small for the right band.”

“When you find a DJ that looks and sounds right, tell them as much about yourselves as possible – genres you love, bands you like even what you do not like because the reply you get back will be the most important email you will ever receive from a DJ” explains Karl from Deckheds. “If you just get “yeah we are available” – move on. From us you will get a page full of text telling you which of the bands you mentioned we have seen, which song of a band we love the most – we will go into as much if not more detail than you because you need to know how passionate your DJ is about music and it sets the tone for the relationship that you ‘should’ be able to build from that one email.”



“When you’re looking for a band, check out their videos,” suggests Melanie from Philosophy Event Band. “Are they professional and look like the band have invested in them? If they have, it is a good sign they take themselves seriously. It is also a good sign if you get a quick response when emailing, within a day or so, as you will want them to be contactable, you might want Divas on the stage, but dealing with them off-stage isn’t as fun!”

Now that’s a good point! However, Kimberley from Niche London String Quartet has some advice that makes a huge amount of sense and it involves simply considering how you feel:

“Pick someone who you are excited to hear perform but at the same time have enough repertoire favourites to entertain your Grandad, your friends’ children and everyone in-between! You will want to have the maximum choice available as it gets closer to the date and you settle on your music choices. Even better if the musicians can offer you options to personalise the music, whether it’s splitting different parts of the performance into modern and classical music for a separate ceremony and reception feel, or creating and performing your favourite song for that unforgettable moment you walk down the aisle.

niche london string quartet

And let’s be honest, we’re all looking for unforgettable rather than unmemorable! So, once you’ve selected the musicians, DJs or entertainers that you need for your ceremony, drinks reception, wedding breakfast and evening reception, all of our suppliers are in agreement as to what you need to do…

“Act quickly!” says Kate from Deckheds. “The single worst aspect of the job for us is receiving a contact email chock full of amazing words about music from a couple that we would love to DJ for who loves our brand and what we do and having to reply that we are already booked. If music is important to you, book your DJ as soon as you can. There are a lot of good DJs but not many that are 100% right for you – if you find one, just like that perfect dress designer or that wicked photographer they are likely to be in high demand.”


Kimberley from Niche London String Quartet agrees:

Book early so you can pick exactly who will create the soundtrack to your day. Our musicians get booked up for key weddings dates often a year in advance and now we are in November the majority of Niche Quartet‘s summer Saturdays next year are booked with multiple weddings.”

Now you’re all booked with the perfect entertainers for you, it’s time to start making those musical choices. But, what exactly do you need? Firstly, let’s take a look at your ceremony and Benjamin Clarke, The Wedding Pianist, has some top tips to share.

During a ceremony it is customary to have music played at various stages of the service. Firstly, there’s the arrival of guests (typically 20-30 minutes of music) 
followed by the entrance or “Procession” of the bride and again, this is usually 1 piece of music. The signing of the register often requires two or three pieces and you’ll need another piece for the exit, or ‘Recession’ of the bride and groom. If you’re marrying in a church, you’ll need to select your hymns too.”


benjamin clarke london pianist

But what to choose? If you’re not a fan of classical pieces, do you need to select music that doesn’t fit your style? Not at all says Ruth from The Dotted Crotchets String Quartet:

If your favourite songs are more AC/DC than Pachelbel’s Canon, don’t automatically disregard them. If you are worried about the original songs not being appropriate for a wedding ceremony, consider booking acoustic musicians, such as a string quartet, who can transform your chosen songs with a classical twist. Fancy walking down the aisle to the Game of Thrones theme? Or Uptown Funk? No problem!”

dotted crotchets

With the formalities of the day past, it’s time to relax into your drinks reception or cocktail hour and again, music is hugely important for setting the tone that you want to permeate throughout the rest of your day.

The key word when choosing the perfect drinks reception music is ‘ambience’,” says Jamie from Actual Music. There’ll be plenty of celebratory energy buzzing around the place once you’ve finished with your wedding ceremony, so the entertainment should never be overt in trying to increase energy levels. The energy is already there – the music just supports the mood by catalyzing conversation and introducing an air of sophistication.”

You might like to work with a string quartet, pianist, jazz trio or harpist for this section of your day and don’t forget the wedding breakfast too – often having music playing (at the right volume!) in the background can encourage guests to chat more and it certainly makes your dinner something special.

During the meal itself, the music should not be too over-powering, that it might blend with a more refined ambience,” says Benjamin, The Wedding Pianist. “As all of the guests are together in the same space, it might be a nice gesture to have them request some of their favourite songs – this can really help bring everyone together.”

actual music

“Avoid anything too relaxing and down-tempo,” cautions Jamie from Actual Music. “Anything that lowers energy levels instead of raising them is to be avoided – you want to keep the room buzzing with energy and laughter as your guests dine on the magnificent feast you’ve arranged.”

Then, of course, it’s onto the part of the day where your entertainment really comes into its own – the evening reception. From your first dance until your last, you want a vibrant, fun-filled atmosphere that everyone can enjoy and remember for years to come.

“It’s time to finally let your hair down. Your guests are ready to party and in most cases a new wave of evening-only guests arrive with the expectation of celebrating your marriage,” explains Jamie from Actual Music. “Getting the vibe right from the start is important, which is why we suggest upbeat background music whilst guests mingle and meet the wedding party.”

Jamie continues:

“You want a celebratory atmosphere from the start, so make sure your venue has curtains and mood lighting suitable for evening entertainment. Ambient lighting is often overlooked when selecting a venue. Consider the time of year too – for winter weddings lighting is rarely an issue, but in the height of summer, the sun won’t set until late into your party.”


mango acoustic duo

Happily now that every style of wedding is embraced, there’s literally no tune that’s not appropriate for your first dance – if it’s meaningful to you and your partner (and you think you can dance together to it!), then it needs to make your wedding playlist. And, speaking of playlists…

“Make your DJ aware of any ‘must play’ tunes. If you have dreamt about wafting across the dance floor in your dress to a particular song on your wedding day then you should have that dream fulfilled,” says Kate from Deckheds. “Equally as important as the request list is the ‘Don’t Play List’… we all know songs that we cannot bare to hear and if you do not wish to hear it then should not have to. Be as brutal as you like, it doesn’t matter if it’s regarded as a ‘classic’ – it’s your day, it’s you call. There may also be tunes that you do not want to hear for personal reasons so you must make you DJ aware of them.”

What if you know you want a band but also know that the song you’ve set your heart on for your first dance is an obscure, album-only track that no-one has ever heard of but you and your beloved? Not a problem says Jamie from The Zoots:

“Just ask the band if they can learn a song for you, there may be a small fee for a rehearsal studio, but most bands will be willing to learn something if it fits with their line up.” 


the vintage wedding singer

Hurrah! So, you’ve got a packed dancefloor, everyone is having a great time, how do you round the evening off in fine style? Simple, you consider your last dance in advance…

“We also encourage all our couples to think of a ‘Last Tune’,” says Kate from Deckheds. “This is often overlooked and when we suggest it couples they usually admit to not having thought about it but in our experience couples that have picked a last tune often feel that the evening has been brought to an end in a really special way. When your guests hear that the bride and groom specially requested the last tune, it creates a wonderful crescendo to the evening…we cannot recommend this enough. It has given us some real wobbly lip moments in the past.”


And with that, it’s almost time for me to dance off into the sunset but, before I do, I just want to leave you with those final practical pointers that, if managed, will make sure your party is one to be remembers for all the right reasons.

“Aim to begin the live music later than you may think, especially in summer,” advises Harriet from The Zoots. “Anything after 8.30pm usually works well and it can be a good idea to plan other evening activities, maybe your buffet, photobooth or fireworks for the breaks in between sets to help the reception run smoothly.”

the butler did it

“Access time for the DJ is paramount,” says Karl from Deckheds. “DJs bring complicated setups that require quite a lot of time to setup. This can be made even longer if the venue has steps, stairs, lifts or long corridors. A professional DJ will not rush and you should allow the DJ enough time to setup safely. The DJ will need the same amount of time to pack up so you, your DJ and the venue should agree on a time that the performance ends which gives the DJ enough time to safely pack up and be off the premises.”

I’ll leave the last word to Kate from Deckheds as it sums the type of party I think we all want at every wedding reception:

“We all want a great party. You have done all the lovely, beautiful wedding stuff and it’s now the evening and it’s time to kick the heels off, get the flats on and dance till you drop. Your evening should be remembered for the right reasons and great entertainment will make the greatest day of your lives end perfectly – with sore feet and smiling faces.”


warble entertainment

Thank you so much to the fabulous suppliers who contributed to this feature. You can find all of them including sound and video clips in our wedding directory, Little Book for Brides, which is an altogether marvellous place to hang out for a while as you plan your wedding.

Love Tamryn x

Tamryn Settle

Tamryn Settle View all Tamryn's articles

Self-confessed wedding addict Tamryn spends her days in her Berkshire studio writing about all things beautiful and romantic with her black Labrador for company.

2 thoughts on “Get The Party Started! Wedding Entertainment Advice From The Experts

  1. There are some great entertainment acts here, thank you for introducing them to do! I’ve actually sorted the children’s entertainment for our wedding before anything else – yes I do like to do things backwards haha!

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