Encore Blog

Top 10 Musical Ideas for an Outdoor Ceremony

Planning an outdoor wedding but not sure what music would work best? Here are our 10 top choices.

Choosing the ceremony music you and your partner both like can be tricky. When you also consider the technical needs of musicians, the volume of your guests’ chatter and creating the perfect atmosphere for this precious moment, it might feel overwhelming! It’s a good job we’ve done the hard work for you.

As a general rule, acoustic instruments will be the easiest to play outside, because these instruments need no plug sockets. They have the added benefit of sounding and looking beautiful (we know how important those wedding pics are) and they don’t require any amplification. No plugs = no stress.

If you have a large venue and are concerned about the sound carrying in the space, then you could either increase the number of musicians involved or choose an amplified option that works easily outdoors.

Here are our top 10 musical ideas for the perfect outdoor ceremony.


Singing Guitarist

  • Atmosphere: Relaxed summer vibes
  • Cost: £250-£400
  • Encore’s picks:

A singing guitarist will be able to sing and play the songs special to you and your partner, so if you have some specific tunes in mind and love an acoustic cover, this is a great option for you.

Because they accompany themselves on the guitar, you are also only paying for one person’s time, making this a cost effective option.

Thom is a fantastic singing guitarist on Encore Musicians, performing Here Comes the Sun. A fitting track for your own sunny wedding day!

String Quartet

  • Atmosphere: Classic and elegant
  • Cost: £750-£900
  • Encore’s picks:

There’s nothing quite like a string quartet. Whether you want a classic rendition of Pachelbel’s Canon as you walk down the aisle, or prefer some classy arrangements of your favourite pop tunes to entertain your waiting guests, the quartet is a popular choice.

As their instruments are acoustic and built to naturally project, the four players will definitely provide enough sound to carry in a large space.

City String Ensemble  are a brilliant string quartet, showcasing here all the different genres and styles a quartet could provide for your wedding ceremony music.

Brass Band

  • Atmosphere: Something different
  • Cost: £800-£1500
  • Encore’s picks:

If you want to dance your way back down the aisle then look no further. A brass band is the ultimate way to get feet tapping and hear your favourite songs in a unique arrangement for brass players with portable drums.

These instruments are naturally loud, so there is absolutely no risk of not hearing these guys and they’ll be able to move around the space, or lead a procession to your next venue!

More is More are a fantastic example of a strolling brass band, showcasing covers of everything from Daft Punk to Despacito.

Harpist

  • Atmosphere: Classic and elegant
  • Cost: £250-£400
  • Encore’s picks:

Moving back to something a little more traditional for wedding ceremony music, the harp is a beautiful instrument, visually and musically. With 47 strings, its unique sound will definitely carry outdoors. Some popular songs you might enjoy hearing on the harp include Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring or Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years.

Harps are particularly valuable instruments so it’s important they have a rug to set up on, and shade or cover in case of bright sunshine or any rain. You can learn more about their needs in this Harpist Booking Guide.

Tomos here demonstrates the beautiful sound of the harp with his performance of La Source by Alphonse Hasselmans.

Acoustic Duo

  • Atmosphere: Relaxed summer vibes
  • Cost: £400-£600
  • Encore’s picks:

If you like the idea of vocals at the wedding ceremony, but want something a little more impactful than a solo singing guitarist, then an acoustic duo is for you. They’ll be able to perform covers of your favourite songs and with the additional member, you can also expect some beautiful harmonies to transport your guests.

In this clip O&O Duo showcase a range of tracks possible with an acoustic duo, kicking off with Build Me Up Buttercup.

Classical Duo

  • Atmosphere: Classic and elegant
  • Cost: £400-£600
  • Encore’s picks:

Mixing it up with two classical musician can lead to stunning results. You could choose two string players, a flautist and harpist, or (as in the example below) a harp and cello duo.

The combination of players means you’ll hear those beautiful melodic lines in harmony with the accompaniment or bass line and you could choose the instruments you love best. The two instruments will project outside better than one solo classical instrument alone and it allows for some really special musical arrangements.

You can request anything from classical pieces to your favourite songs, all with a touch of elegance.

Duo Bellatando show just how beautiful some popular songs sound on the cello and harp.

Strolling Band

  • Atmosphere: Something different
  • Cost: £1000-1500
  • Encore’s picks:

Much like the brass option above, a strolling band are an upbeat function band specifically designed to be on the move so you can position them wherever you like for the ceremony, and don’t need to worry about any cables or plugs you’d expect with a normal function band.

These groups can perform full versions of your favourite songs as they usually have a full line-up including vocals, guitars and usually another instrument such as a violin. These groups are often well suited to including a folk or jazz element in their songs because of the instruments used.

Fiddlin’ About are a sensational strolling band, here performing in a pop / folk fusion style with two singing guitarists and a violinist.

Choir

  • Atmosphere: The ‘wow’ factor
  • Cost: £1000-5000
  • Encore’s picks:

If you’re getting your wedding inspiration from Love Actually, or maybe even the recent royal weddings, then finding a choir may be on your mind. Choirs are a sensational way to wow your guests and create a truly magical atmosphere. Whether you want them to be a surprise for your partner or to be the consistent accompaniment to the ceremony, there is nothing quite like human voices in harmony to pull on everyone’s heart strings.

Because a choirs instrument is their voices, it’s the easiest thing to perform outside!

Here’s an example of a classical choir, The Clothworkers Consort of Leeds performing two traditional madrigals.

String Duo

  • Atmosphere: Classic and elegant
  • Cost: £350-500
  • Encore’s picks:

If a string quartet is a little too big for your space, or budget is high on the priority list, a string duo is a wonderful option. The two players work in harmony together, one playing the melody and the other the bass-line to give wholesome performances of your favourite music.

Cupid’s Bow perform the classic Pachelbel’s Canon on two cellos. A popular and traditional piece for the entrance for the bride.

Strolling Vocal Group

  • Atmosphere: Something fun
  • Cost: £800-1200
  • Encore’s picks:

The final entry is another strolling group, much like the one earlier, but this time with a focus on barbershop style vocals so you get that mix of voices in harmony and backing instruments keeping the energy high and the sound really full.

This is a great option for a couple looking for an upbeat, quirky band with great charisma. Your guests (and you!) will love it.

Wandering Soul are the essence of this style, pulling together fun, spontaneous and soulful performances tailored to each couple. Here they perform a wedding favourite, L.O.V.E.

Cover image courtesy of Thom Music & James Richard Photography

Chiara Beebe

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