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Wedding Planning: Music At Your Wedding – Where To Start

Wedding Planning: How to start sorting out your wedding music

Starting to think about your wedding planning? Know that you want music at your wedding but not sure where to start? After reading this guide you’ll be ready to get organising your Wedding Music.

Music is a crucial element in creating the vibe you want at your wedding. But we understand that the prospect of choosing and hiring the right band or DJ for your unique day can be daunting – especially as you probably have hundreds of other things to think about, too.


It’s important to include music in the early stages of your wedding planning, because when the music at a wedding is an afterthought, it shows. You want the soundscapes to be seamless and to fit your day perfectly.

So where do you start with planning and booking music for your wedding?

What Style of Wedding Are You Planning?

Before you get caught up in the practical details, step back and take the wide view. Consider the kind of atmosphere that you want your wedding guests to experience, and then think about the styles of music and musician that you think would contribute to that vibe.

Different styles for different parts of your wedding

It’s important to think about each stage of the wedding day itself and whether you want (or are allowed) live or recorded music.

Many musicians and wedding bands will be able to cater for different types of music and ways of delivering it, depending on what you need. Or you might decide that you want to have different musicians and bands at different stages of your wedding.Wedding Day Timeline - Encoremusicians.com

Read more: The full rundown on your Wedding Day Timeline / Schedule and what you need think about?

Music for the Wedding Ceremony

Don’t forget about the Wedding Ceremony itself. If it’s place of worship, you might want something classical or specific to your religion of course. In many venues it’s quite normal for the music to be part of the ceremony, with resident musicians on hand. Make sure to find out and plan this out separately if so.

If the Wedding Ceremony is taking place elsewhere, for example at the same venue as the rest of the day, you might want a Wedding Singer or a Wedding Violinist for a more emotional feel to your wedding.

Wedding Ceremony Music Harpist

Music for the Wedding Drinks Reception

It’s quite normal to mix up the music and styles at weddings. You might like to have ‘classy but low-key’ for the Drinks Reception – for example, a String Quartet, Jazz Band or Harpist – and then have a DJ plus Saxophonist or Party Function Band for the main dancing.


String Quartet for Weddings - Encore Musicians

Read more: 5 Qualities You Should Check Your Wedding Band Has Before You Book

Music for Dancing at Weddings

This is a huge part of any wedding and the style of music should appeal to as many of your guests as possible. If dancing is the goal then of course it will be up-beat, make people stand up and have a great time regardless of the style of music you opt for.

Perhaps you’d like to recreate the Ibiza feel at your wedding and go for a DJ and Saxophone combination, or perhaps a Wedding Covers Band to play a range of current and classic tunes that will have everyone jumping.

There are so many options here, even once you choose what type of musician, so this is where that Wedding Music Playlist will really come in handy! This is really where you want your personality to shine through the music, as well as be an opportunity to have a great dance with everyone that you love!

Pro Tip: It can help to make a playlist of bands, artists and songs that you like, and then listen to them with your dream wedding in mind. Do these tracks fit with what you’re going for, or not? Once you have a list of music that fits the bill, you can use it as a starting point for finding a DJ, band or instrumentalist who creates a similar sound, or can cover those songs!  


Read more: Honest Advice From 35 Couples Who’ve Been There And Done It

Then, Get Practical

Armed with an idea of what it is that you’re after, it’s time to think about two key factors in choosing your wedding music:

  1. Your budget
    At Encore, we use the Musicians Union’s rates as a guide for calculating budgets. It’s important to pay musicians fairly and to be realistic about what you can get for your money. The number of musicians in a band, the instruments they’ll bring, and the distance they’ll have to travel are all variables which will affect their rate.
  2. When, and for how long, you want your band, musicians or DJ to play.
    Get clear about which parts of your wedding will include music; for example, you might want a violinist or harpist to accompany your ceremony, a function band for you and your guests to get down to on the dance floor, and a DJ or playlist for dinner.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to be aware of where you expect your musicians to play, too, and how that might affect your choices. If your wedding is outdoors and unsheltered, provisions will need to be made for protecting electrical equipment in case of rain. Or if you want acoustic music but your wedding is in a large space with low resonance, you may need to rethink and arrange for amplification. 

Research and Book!

Once you’re clear on the big picture and the key practicalities, you’re ready to research wedding musicians and book them up.

Remember that the best ensembles are booked well in advance and are unlikely to be available at short notice. If your wedding is going to be in the peak summer season, you’ll need to book your band early.

Use Encore’s tailored musician matching service to narrow down your shortlist, and then spend a relaxed evening (or five) listening to demos and imagining your perfect wedding day. Talk to your friends and family as well; their honest opinions can give you inspiration and bring you back down to earth if you get carried away with an unsuitable music choice.

Pro Tip: Grab a bottle of wine, your partner, and dance around the living room. It’s a foolproof method for choosing the right wedding band. We promise.

When you’re ready to get deep into the logistical details, from insurance to payment to sound systems, we can help: read our Wedding Band Booking Guide.

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Barri Coen

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