Coming up with music ideas for a whimsical wedding would have even the most inventive stumped. At Encore, we’ve let our imagination run wild, coming up with 10 out-of-the-ordinary whimsical music ideas to inspire you for your wedding.
Need more general advice on planning your wedding music? Read our Ultimate Guide to Hiring Wedding Musicians (2020).
What’s more whimsical than a troupe of wandering musicians strolling about your drinks reception, regaling and delighting your guests? Whether your wedding is outdoors or indoors, a roaming band is an on-point choice for those after something a little different in their musical entertainment.
Strolling, or roaming, bands are usually made up of three to four musicians, are completely mobile, and can play a variety of music, ranging from your usual pop classics, to more specific music (i.e., roaming mariachi or oompah bands). They will also get your guests involved in the music, getting them up to dance or sing along—it makes for a truly memorable performance!
Wandering Soul are an experienced strolling band that can deliver a stunning performance, far from the comfort of the stage!
Hiring a piano shell
Imagine this: you’re seated at a friend’s outdoor wedding. She’s creative, artsy. You might even say ‘whimsical’. The bride and groom have just finished exchanging vows when you hear the familiar tinkering of the piano. Turning around, you expect to see a keyboard, plugged into a speaker—it’s what you’ve always seen at other weddings after all. But wait a moment: there’s a whole piano there, outside! Like, a grand piano. “How whimsical”, you think to yourself.
That’s the magic of a piano shell. At a slight additional cost, most pianists and keyboardists can provide one—they’re much easier to manoeuvre than an actual piano, and they inspire that same feeling of awe and wonder.
Whether you’re as whimsical as this imaginary friend or not, a piano shell is the perfect solution for those who want to recreate the look and feel of a real piano in an outdoor wedding location.
Acoustic guitars are great, we can all agree on that. But you might not have considered just how terrific its smaller sibling, the humble ukulele, is. Hawaiian by birth, immortalised by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole in his version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow, the ukulele has since become the unsung hero of the musical world. It’s bright, cheerful tone pairs beautifully with a singer, male or female. It’s a wonder that you don’t see it played professionally more often. That said, this partial neglect means that the ukulele brings with it a naturally whimsical aura, making it a perfect addition to this list.
Sarah Munro proves just how wonderful combining ukulele and voice can be in this stunning cover of the American folk song, Wildwood Flower
A relatively new kind of style, inspired by the jaw-dropping musical antics of Postmodern Jukebox, vintage-themed jazz band kinds of bands perform fresh jazz or swing-tinged takes on popular classics from all eras. Think the Top 40, but sent back into the swinging 60’s, or the Billboard Hot 100 redirected to the roaring 20’s. It’s no wonder this type of band has got so much good press!
If you and your guests would appreciate someone new and exciting to dance to, or if you just haven’t heard Ed Sheeran’s music through the prism of hot jazz, then you’ll be happy you chose a vintage-themed jazz band for your whimsical wedding.
Getting your musicians to dress to your theme
Musicians are always into doing something new, so asking them to dress to fit your specific theme will no doubt be greeted by a big grin. Whether you need them looking debonair, want them to adorn a florist-approved flower in their lapel, or wear a specific type of garment (e.g., kilt, kurta, lederhosen), getting your musicians to dress to your theme is a sure-fire way to add a touch of whimsy and style to your wedding. If this sounds up your alley, make sure to let your musicians know well ahead of time so they can get prepared!
Dancing is a crucial aspect of any wedding, and a ceilidh band takes this to a whole new level. Getting all your guests to dance together is a ceilidh band’s top priority: say goodbye to your fears of unimpressed in-laws watching from the corner of the room. The ceilidh band caller (one-part comedian, one-part drill instructor) will ensure that the atmosphere is upbeat and lively, encouraging young and old to join the festivities. They’ll call the steps to the dances, crack a few jokes, and make all the whimsical hopes for your wedding come true.
There are many bands out there that specialise in the music of a specific period, or exclusively cover songs by a certain artist. At first glance, you might think that tribute bands are a bit twee. But you’d be wrong. These bands go the extra mile to reproduce all aspects of their chosen influence. ABBA, Queen, Motown-era, 1960’s-era, they’re all fair game, and tribute bands will blow you away by showing just how close they can get to the real thing.
Johnny Cash tribute band, CASH, are just about the closest you can get to seeing ‘Walk The Line’ live
Transporting you directly to the romantic street performances of Paris or Rome, an accordionist is a fitting choice of musician for a whimsical wedding. They can roam or stay put. They can play older music and newer music. They can dress to match the setting or remain in the background. Romantic and elegant, hiring an accordionist will add an old-world charm to any wedding.
Getting the DJ to play your favourite genre
The cake has been cut, you’re ready to let off some steam, but you don’t really want a run-of-the-mill DJ set to see you through to the end of the night. You want something a little out-of-the-box. Whether that means recreating the joyous scenes of a New York discotheque, imitating the freeing atmosphere of a hard-bop club in the 1950’s, or reliving the 1970’s through a Woodstock-inspired playlist, a correctly chosen DJ can deliver that, and then some. Don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild! Taking a few musical risks for this portion of your wedding can only be a good thing, and asking the DJ to play a genre you love, whatever that may be, will let your whimsical side shine through to all your guests.
Recalling the Golden Age of jazz music, a crooner, the affectionate American epithet for singers like Frank Sinatra (thought he didn’t like the term himself!), is the perfect choice for a slice of vintage whimsy. They’ll perform jazz standards (e.g., Fly Me To The Moon, My Way) from The Great American Songbook, keeping your guests charmed with their debonair styling and dulcet tones. You’ll be transported to a different time and place, that much we can guarantee.
Cover image courtesy of The Swing Ninjas