Musician, band or DJ? A guide to wedding day music

Sep 08, 2022 | Planning

You've found the venue, set the date and are now onto the fun parts of planning your wedding. And what could be more fun than choosing your wedding music and entertainment? Choosing live music for your big day is one of the best decisions you'll ever make. Why? Live music hits harder, touches hearts and will give you unforgettable memories for years to come. Put simply, the atmosphere created by live performers is incomparable! Choosing the right musicians is a big decision, but one that when you get it right, will take your wedding day from lovely to legendary.

With so many options available, how do you choose which type of musician is right for you? We asked Charlotte Robertson from wedding entertainment experts, Entertainment Nation to share some of the most popular types of music that couples choose for each part of their wedding day to help you decide.

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Image: Stepan Vrzala

Your wedding ceremony music

If you want your wedding ceremony to be timeless and elegant, hiring a live musician is the way to go. Hearing live music as you walk down the aisle and while you sign the register is a heart-stirring and unforgettable experience, not just for you, but for your guests as well. Not only that, but it provides a mini-concert for everyone while you're signing the register, so it keeps people off their phones and focussed on your big day. Of course, any of the musicians we recommend for your ceremony will also work brilliantly as accompaniment for your drinks reception or wedding breakfast too.

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Image: Mailys Fortune

A wedding pianist

Effortlessly stylish and endlessly versatile, a pianist is sure to add a touch of class to your wedding ceremony. Whether you'd like to walk down the aisle to a beautiful classical piece or would prefer a sophisticated rendition of your favourite song, these talented musicians will provide a magical musical backdrop that will certainly tug on a few heart strings.

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Image: Thomas Audiffren

A string quartet

Perhaps you're dreaming of a Bridgerton-style accompaniment to your bridal entrance or have your heart set on a fairytale ceremony? You can't beat a string quartet to provide that glamorous vibe! These fabulous foursomes are able to play everything from Mozart to Metallica, so whatever type of music you have in mind, they can deliver it. If you're short of space, many quartets are available as duos or trios, or you could consider hiring a solo violinist instead, who'll play along to specially-curated backing tracks for a full and warm sound.

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Image: Mailys Fortune

A harpist

Is there anything more heavenly than the celestial sound of the harp? It's the spellbinding magic of this beautiful instrument that makes harpists such a popular choice for wedding ceremonies. Choose from stunning traditional classical pieces, film music, chart-toppers and more to create the perfect ambience on your big day.

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Image: Anna Gianfrate

Your wedding reception music

While your guests mix and mingle, there's no better way to create a relaxing atmosphere than having a live musician to play them some awesome music! Whether you want a chilled-out vibe or want to get toes tapping ahead of your evening party, these great wedding reception musician ideas are just the ticket.

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Image: Carlie Statsky

A saxophonist

Transport your guests to sun-drenched beaches and treat them to the sizzling sound of the saxophone. You might love the idea of an Ibiza-chill experience or would like to hear the soothing melodies of your favourite soul tracks played live. Whatever vibe you're after, a saxophonist will absolutely nail it. What's more? Many of them are available alongside DJs in the evening too.

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Image: Diane Sotero

An acoustic soloist

Acoustic guitarists are by far the most popular daytime entertainers for drinks receptions and wedding breakfasts and it's easy to see why. They effortlessly blend into the background and play a wide-ranging selection of easy-going or more upbeat songs to help you build the exact atmosphere to suit you.

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Image: Diane Sotero

A jazz ensemble

If you'd like your wedding reception to be tasteful and exciting, perhaps with a vintage feel, consider hiring a jazz ensemble. From laid-back duos all the way up to eye-catching jazz bands, these talented troupes will meander their way through the jazz greats and put a sumptuous twist on modern favourites.

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Image: Hannah Mayson
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Image: Hannah Mayson

A roaming band

Perhaps you don't want your daytime entertainment to be background music and would prefer something more interactive? This is where roaming bands come in! Without the need for amps and wires, these acoustic bands are able to wander among your guests as they play. They often encourage guest participation and always create lasting memories. Brass bands are also becoming really popular and many of these are also happy to roam. They provide a bright and uplifting soundtrack to your special day and will certainly make your reception stand out from the crowd.

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Image: Hannah Mayson

Your evening wedding music

When it's time to dance, the type of entertainment you choose can make or break your party. To ensure a full dance floor at all times, live music is an absolute must. Live musicians and DJs are experts at reading the room and will chop and change their setlist to keep the atmosphere in the room vibrant at all times. Whether you hire a band or a DJ is up to you!

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Image: Hannah Mayson

A pop and rock band

With so many different types of wedding band on offer, it's easy to choose one that suits your personality and wedding theme, with the most popular type of band by far being a pop and rock band. Playing everything from 50s rock 'n' roll to modern chart-toppers, they provide the ideal selection of music to suit guests young and old.

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Image: Hannah Mayson

Acoustic folk bands

Acoustic folk bands are always popular at barn-style weddings thanks to their eclectic repertoires, rustic outfits and fun and folky twists on tried-and-tested wedding songs. With their cheeky-chappy charm and tremendous talent, they act as a magnet to the dance floor and keep spirits high all night long.

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Soul and motown bands

Another spectacular choice is the ever-popular soul and motown band. With their glitzy outfits and killer repertoire packed with classic floor-fillers by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Lionel Ritchie and Marvin Gaye, they are experts at making sure your dance floor is the place to be!

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Image: Dear Lovers
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Image: Dear Lovers

Indie and Britpop bands

If you love yourself a bit of indie and want your guests to jump up and down, screaming out the lyrics to some epic tunes then you'll love the idea if hiring a indie and Britpop band. Playing anthemic tracks by the likes of The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Ocean Colour Scene and Oasis, these invigorating bands will have your dance floor pumping into the early hours.

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Image: Manda Weaver

An acoustic duo

Did you know that a duo can create the same invigorating atmosphere as a full band? Many use loop pedals to build a fuller sound, others are multi-instrumentalists and some use backing tracks to help them create a dance floor frenzy. More economical than a larger band and perfect if you are short on space, an acoustic duo is a fabulous option for your wedding ceremony. They are also absolutely ideal if your venue has a sound limiter.

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Image: Stepan Vrzala
wedding dj playlist Pin it
Image: Stepan Vrzala

A wedding DJ

If you and your partner prefer the original sound of your favourite songs or have a specific range of tracks you'd like to hear, a DJ might be a great choice for your evening party. With thousands of tracks at their fingertips, a professional DJ will be an expert at keeping everyone on their toes and will drop the perfect track at just the right time to keep your guests bouncing all night long.

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Image: Thomas Audiffren

A DJ with a live musician

Want the flexibility of a DJ but still want the excitement of a live musician? Why not hire a DJ and performer combo? Choose from saxophonists, percussionists, brass players or even an entire band with DJ backing. You can have the best of both worlds this way!

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Image: Feather & Twine

We really hope you've found inspiration for your dream wedding music. To browse through hundreds of top-quality wedding musicians and bands, head to Entertainment Nation and find the perfect act for your big day.

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Image: Feather & Twine


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