Article: Choosing Entertainment

Choosing a Band & Entertainment for a Wedding or Special Event

formal entertainment

Planning and organising an event of any size is an involved and often overwhelming experience. Unless there is an unlimited budget to pay party planners or event organisers for their services most of the arrangements will be left to an appointed individual to organise the booking of caterers, the venue, distribution of invitations and choose the right entertainment to ensure guests have a memorable time.

The provision of live music or other variety of captivating entertainment is generally expected by guests at a wedding or function these days and by considering all options you can add an element of sophistication, enhance the party atmosphere and create a lasting impression on everyone attending the special event.

From a corporate point of view, choosing the appropriate entertainment for a promotional or networking event can play an important role in reinforcing the professional image of a company to potential clients and business partners.

Bands and Entertainers for Weddings, Formal Functions and Corporate Events

Although not always the case, formal functions, whether it be a black tie dinner dance, corporate event such as a product launch or client presentation and weddings are more often than not associated with entertainment that is more on the conservative side. It is quite common for these type of events to have various stages that range from meet and greet drinks in a bar or foyer, followed by a sit-down meal and culminating in a large gathering, mid evening, for dancing, socialising and general revelry. Weddings in particular are tightly structured with the ceremony, meal, speeches and evening reception all taking precedence at particular times of the special day.

Entertainment During The Formalities

During the more formal stages of an event, live background music is a great way to create an ambience that compliments the proceedings. A string quartet, jazz trio, solo saxophonist, classical guitarist, pianist, acapella wedding singer or even an acoustic duo can add a stylish dynamic without being too obtrusive while introductions are being made and meals consumed. Interactive entertainers such as close-up magicians are also an excellent addition to drinks and meal sessions as they mix and mingle with guests, giving a focus to the room with an element of comedy and illusion that is sure to break the ice. This is especially effective where guests are not acquainted and can create a talking point that immediately puts everyone at ease for the duration of the event.

The Main Evening Entertainment

The main evening entertainment for a wedding, formal function or corporate event is traditionally placed in the hands of a versatile function band, and with good reason. There is nothing that compares to the sound of a live band in action and the right group can really lift a party and create the perfect atmosphere to ensure you and your guests have a night to remember for years to come. The quality musicians that make up a reputable covers band are often experienced in playing to audiences of diverse age groups and musical tastes. As a consequence, they will often have a very large and frequently updated repertoire of popular songs that cover most genres and musical eras with a mixture of party songs and romantic ballads to suit the mood and keep the dance floor full all night.

Bands and Entertainers for Nostalgia and Specific Theme Events

Themes open the door to a huge range of entertainment possibilities, limited only by your own creativity. To an extent, organising a specific themed event can actually make the planning of entertainment more straightforward. Once a decision is made on the theme for the occasion everything else can be linked in, from costumes, food, decorations and of course the specialist band or entertainers that put the finishing touch to the setting.

Period themes such as Roman (Toga Parties), Tudor, Caveman, Arabian Nights or a focus on a particular decade (50's, 60's, 70's) with authentic costumes will make the occasion a visual spectacle. Most party guests find wearing fancy dress appealing and it is a fantastic way to break the ice at any function as many participants will, more often than not, talk about their costume and feel more comfortable socialising outside of their group of close friends.

Planning live entertainment for nostalgia theme events is largely dependent on the decade or period of time chosen. Luckily the professional quality of talented musicians and entertainers in the UK is immense and just a quick search on the internet will often lead you straight to a particular style of entertainment act that you possibly never thought existed. From Belly Dancers for exotic parties to Celebrity Look-a-likes and Tribute Bands and Acts that cover every decade or popular artiste, there are a myriad of performers who can cater to your requirements.

Just browsing this directory alone you'll find tributes to hundreds of bands and artists and also world class theme entertainers with event shows covering everything from James Bond, Harry Potter, Singing Waiters, Firemen, Policemen and even a look-a-like cast of Fawlty Towers characters who will make any wedding or corporate function a hilarious and unforgettable experience. The diverse pool of amazing talent available today means the scope of a theme event is limited only by the organiser's imagination.

The Venue and Performance Area Considerations

The primary consideration with regard to booking a venue when organising an event will be size, although budget and reputation of the premises may also feature in your decision. Depending on how many guests are on the list, the venue should be large enough to seat everyone comfortably during a meal, have a substantial area designated as a dance floor and ultimately have a well staffed bar in an area where guests can talk and mix should they wish to have a break from the entertainment. It is also important to know the dimensions of the performance area for entertainment when hiring a venue because it will influence the size of the band or act you can book.

Checking with prospective entertainers regarding the necessary space required well before the function date is highly recommended. Many are adaptable or can scale down in certain circumstances. However, if you have your heart set on booking a particular band or one that has been recommended to you, for example, a 10 piece soul and motown band or ska band with a horn section and live drummer, liaising with the venue to organise an appropriate allocation of the room as a performance area as suggested by the artistes will need to be on your 'To Do' list.

Remember also that the bigger the entertainment, the bigger the technical requirements will be. This includes the venue having sufficient power outlets for both public address systems and lighting for both large live bands and mobile disco providers. Private dressing room facilities are usually required by entertainers too.

The Importance of Considering Guests

A key point to keep in mind when choosing a band or entertainment act is that your guests should come first. Making them comfortable and ensuring they have an enjoyable experience is paramount to the smooth running of a successful event. Even at a wedding reception where the importance of the celebration is focussed, and rightfully so, on the bride and groom, there should still be a certain amount of consideration given to the personal tastes and age range of the family and friends attending. Unhappy, disoriented and unoccupied guests or those that feel the entertainment is not appropriate for them can cause headaches for everyone including the happy couple.

Children in particular can become restless, especially when much of the entertainment is targeted towards adults. A great way to remedy this is to book a children's entertainer such as a kid's party magician, face painter or kid's disco to set up in an adjacent room while the main entertainment for adults is taking place. This also has the benefit of giving parents a welcome break and could, for example, enable the booking of a 'close to the mark' comedian.

Aside from requests for first dances and special song dedications, try not to be self-indulgent when booking musical entertainment. Ideally, a band that entices the audience to dance and performs a wide range of popular hit songs covering many decades that appeal to most guests, irrespective of their age or musical palate is the one to go with.

Top 5 Tips When Booking Entertainment

1. Book Early!

The best bands and entertainers are very popular and often booked months and even years in advance. Provision of entertainment should be towards the top of your list of priorities when planning a wedding or special event.

2. Seek Recommendations

Ask work colleagues, friends and family for recommendations on acts they may have seen at events similar to the one you are organising. Alternatively, seek out online community forums for advice and first hand testimonials.

3. Preview The Entertainment

If you are tentatively considering a band or entertainment act, make contact and ask if it is possible to see them live at their next performance. Failing that, request they forward a comprehensive live video recording of a recent show.

4. Look Locally First

Without compromising on quality, try to book a band or entertainer local to your area. Travel, accommodation costs and logistical problems are kept to a minimum this way and should result in a more competitive price.

5. Request a Written Contract

For peace of mind always request a written contract from the act once agreement to perform is made. Some bands will require a small deposit to hold the booking and a signed contract serves as a legally binding point of reference.

Share Your Knowledge and Experience

This article highlights some of the main considerations to make when booking entertainment for a wedding or event. If you have any other tips, recommendations or experiences feel free to share them on the comment form below.