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Based on the theme and style of your wedding, there are quite a few different types of wedding bands that you might pick from. In fact, if your budget allows it, you might even have the option of mixing and matching several different bands to get some variety going throughout your big day.

Still, before you know who to pick, it helps to know some of the styles available. Keep reading to learn some of the primary options you will have as you explore this market:

Celtic: You can choose a Celtic band even if your wedding isn’t Celtic themed. Of course, if it is, then it’s a great fit. They can play a barn dance or a ceilidh to spice up the day. These kinds of bands work out great for an outdoor wedding, particularly in rural settings, as their lively jigs and lilting melodies will make memories that last a long time.

Instrumental: The right instrumental ensemble can be a classy option. They’re ideal for before and after the actual ceremony, although they also work well for cocktail hour and even your wedding breakfast should you choose to have one. String quartets are always in style, but harp, flute, and cello ensembles are growing in popularity too.

Jazz And Blues: If you’re looking for a wedding reception that is as sophisticated as it is laid back, this is a great way to go. The right jazz band can play easy listening any time, venturing into slow jazz for a wedding breakfast or cocktail hour. They can also up both the volume and tempo for after-dinner dancing.

Latin: If dancing is going to be a high priority, then this is quite an effective option. Latin bands are also great at heating up summer weddings, especially outdoors. Book your band to play for several hours following dinner, so your guests can do the samba, salsa, and cha cha cha.


Pop: If you plan on an evening reception featuring a disco, then pop music makes for a good choice, especially with a young crowd. There can be something for everyone when hits are combined from the 60s through 90s, perhaps with a few contemporary tunes sprinkled in. Find some way of subtly letting the group know they can get a bit more risque when the grandparents head out for the night.

R&B: This makes for a modern and sultry wedding, particularly if your reception venue is either a night club or something close. R&B music covers many different tempos, so the same band can play all parts of the reception to add some soul to the day. However, this kind of music does work better in the evening.

Reggae: If you want an informal and laid-back wedding, this works great for something small, or even for second or later weddings. It’s almost a must for any event with a Caribbean theme. The right reggae group will make guests think the sun is shining even when it’s not.

Rock: Many wedding couples wouldn’t think of this, but if either of you are rockers at heart, then nothing else might even matter! Even a rock band should be able to customise their set to uplifting and light songs from many different decades. If you want something hard in there, try to start off with dance numbers everyone can do, before putting some heavy in the middle. Then finish things off with some lighter tunes.

Steel Drums: This is a great way to get the Caribbean vibe without the reggae if it’s not your thing. You can make a truly unique reception with a variety of styles, be it merengue, bossa nova, soca, or calypso.

Swing: The ideal blend of fun and glamour, the right swing band will keep feet tapping all day long. This is great for formal black tie events, and guests might be shocked to find out how many classic swing hits they already know.

Choosing your wedding music band should reflect your wedding, but you need to consider your guests too. What does your guest list look like? You want to cater to your own musical tastes, but there should be something for all generations and walks of life that are coming. A great wedding music band will make each guest feel like at least one song is played just for them.


You also need to consider the restrictions of your venue. Consider it’s shape and size. Does it have a special entertainment area or even a stage? Or is the band going to need some of the dance floors? A small venue might mean your band has to be a four-piece or smaller. Larger open spaces might allow for more performers. Check your venue for suggestions about bands they know fit and work well within their space.

You also need to know the length of time you need the band to fill. Most wedding bands will have five-song demos or something similar to present their skill and style. However, if you need someone to play for three or more hours, then things are a very different ballgame. If you can, experience wedding bands live in action to see if they’re able to hold up their energy level over a long set. Can they adapt to changing moods and play requests they get asked for?

There are other questions you should ask yourself, your venue, and the band. The answers need to be formally written into your contract. These questions include but are not limited to the following:

    • What are they going to wear?
    • How long do setup and sound checks take?
    • Will they learn your first dance music?
    • Can they make announcements about dances and cake cutting?
    • Could the extend the set if need be?
    • Just which musicians are going to play that day?
    • What sort of equipment are they going to have with them?
    • Do they have enough insurance and back-up equipment?

The downside is that you obviously have quite a few decisions to make in this process. The upsides are that there are many choices you can pick from for staggering variety and that each category has many good bands available to make your big day something special.

Darren L. Smith

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