Navigate your way through the entertainment maze with our handy guide to getting the party started…
AGENCY – When planning, you should hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Booking your entertainment through an agency such as Freak Music provides you with both financial protection and an emergency replacement service. It represents over 1000 acts, including The Honey Moons [above], with everything from mariachi bands to string quartets.
BAGPIPES – Hiring a piper to play at your wedding will give it a little splash of tradition. The bagpipes are always a big hit with wedding guests, especially if you have relatives or friends coming from overseas. Piping For All Occasions offers a range of packages to suit all budgets, starting with a lone piper playing you and your guests into the church.
CEILIDH AND COVERS – One top money saving tip when booking the entertainment is to find a band that can play more than one style of music. This means you only have to book one act for the evening. Cut the Cake, a five-piece from Fife, get the party started with traditional ceilidh numbers (with a caller), and then keep everyone dancing afterwards to swing, rock, pop and disco.
DECADES – Your guests will span all ages and tastes, so it’s crucial your entertainment reflects this. MOJO play classic hits from the ’50s right up to the current top 40, so there’s sure to be something for everyone. Unless, of course, the maid of honour just loves death metal.
ENTERTAINMENT ONE-STOP SHOP – Most couples don’t know where to start when it comes to their wedding entertainment. If this sounds like you, you need the help of a one-stop shop like Hireaband, whose website features a selection of live bands, DJs, acoustic soloists, magicians, string quartets, tribute acts, caricaturists, gospel choirs and even a Robert Burns impersonator. As you browse, you can create an online shortlist – your very own Britain’s Got Talent line-up – and then all you have to do is pick the winner.
FIREWORKS – Fireworks look spectacular, but the bill doesn’t have to. “Using the company closest to your venue will keep operating costs down,” advises Colin McNair of Midnight Storm. “And with our value pricing, there is no compromise in display design or execution.”
GENTLEMEN – Wedding band Splendid Gentlemen are a three-piece from Glasgow who also record their own original music under the name King of Crows. Their set-list reads like a who’s who of the rock’n’roll world, but you can also see some Michael Bublé and Black Eyed Peas thrown in for good measure.
HARPIST – No matter how stressed out the bridal party gets because your great-aunt has lost her teeth, mellow harp music will supply some much-needed calm. “The relaxing ambiance created by the enchanting sound of the Scottish harp is the perfect backdrop for any part of your wedding,” says harpist Pippa Reid-Foster.
INSTRUMENTS – Bring a big-band vibe to your reception by choosing a band with a wide variety of musicians. Covers band Revolution7 bring the funk with a saxophonist and a trumpet player – just don’t blame us when you end up on Youtube going crazy to Proud Mary.
JAZZ, CLASSICAL OR MODERN – Classically trained flautist Sue Evans of Sue Evans Music can turn her hand to them all, bringing a touch of sophistication which sets the tone for an elegant drinks reception. “Live music is always a great choice for your wedding ceremony, drinks or dinner, providing atmosphere and flexibility for you and your guests,” says Sue.
KARAOKE – is a great way of engaging everyone and having a laugh, but go through your guest list beforehand and identify anyone who’s likely to hog the mic all night – like that friend from uni who thinks she’s Adele after a couple of glasses of wine, or your uncle who missed his calling as a Mick Jagger impersonator.
LOW-NOISE FIREWORKS – Previously, venues near residential areas or livestock banned fireworks, but Saltire Fireworks’ low-noise versions mean more locations than ever will allow you to finish your night off with a bang.
MAGICIAN – Times have changed from the cheesy Paul Daniels era. The popularity of Dynamo means magicians in 2013 are smooth, cool and laidback, which makes it even more impressive when they completely flummox you. Billy Reid, one of the finalists in the Magic Circle’s Close-Up Magician of the Year, showed us a trick at a wedding show this year and we were blown away.
NOISE – Some venues have noise restrictor systems and strict curfews, so always ask before you book. You should also discuss this with any potential bands and they will advise you if they’ll have any problems with this. Noise restrictions might mean halving the size of that ten- piece band you like, but better that than having the music cut out.
OFFSPRING – It can be hard to keep children occupied at formal events, but there are solutions to suit a range of budgets. You could make up activity bags (there are plenty of ideas online), or, if a lot of your guests have little ones, you could consider hiring a mobile crèche from a reputable company such as Tinies.
PYROTECHNICS – More and more couples are choosing dazzling pyrotechnics from 21cc Fireworks to accompany special moments of their day, such as the cutting of the cake and during the toasts. They are silent, safe for use indoors and can even be concealed inside table centres for a real wow moment.
QUARTET – When you think of Lady Gaga and Guns N’ Roses, you probably can’t imagine hearing their songs played by on a violin. Check out the Cairn String Quartet and prepare to be amazed: they cover everything from classical to Christina Aguilera, and will work with Richard Bett, a Royal Conservatoire of Scotland composer, to create an arrangement of any song you love. They’ve recently released two wedding albums, the first containing more popular, traditional pieces like Pachelbel’s Canon and Greatest Day by Take That, while the second has a decidedly contemporary slant, covering Foo Fighters and Queen among others.
RECEPTION VENUE – If you’re planning anything unusual for your entertainment, make sure you run through your plans with the venue. Some will not allow fireworks or confetti cannons, for example, so double check to avoid disappointment.
SURPRISES – Imagine your guests’ faces when a waiter starts performing an acapella rendition of Nessun Dorma, only to be joined one after another by other waiting staff, chefs and even planted guests. Singing Waiters by SOS work with professional opera singers to ensure your surprise is beautifully executed.
TWOSOME – Glasgow-based Heatwave Duo are a dynamic twosome who make up in energy and soul what they lack in numbers. Their extensive set-list will keep everyone dancing all night, playing everything from retro classics to modern pop, and everything in between.
UNFORGETTABLE – Whatever your budget, there will be an act, band or DJ for you. You have to remember this will be one of the most special days of your life, so don’t stress out if the piper you like can’t play your date, or if you can’t afford to book Westlife. You will be so busy having an amazing time with your new hubby, friends and family that any little hiccups will become a funny story, not the major drama you fear.
VIENESSE WALTZ – Why not consider taking dancing lessons with your H2B? Your friends and family won’t expect your first dance to be straight out of Strictly, but taking to the floor with finesse and half-decent rhythm is a lovely way to start your married life in style. Glasgow-based Dance House offer a ballroom basics class, which is a great place to start.
WATERFRONT SHOW BAND – A flexible band makes all the difference. Waterfront Show Band provide a range of services from an intimate vocal PA, right up to large-scale concert set-up with a full lighting show. They’ve travelled all over the UK in the 14 years they’ve been together, so they are wedding music experts.
X FACTOR – Every bride hopes her day will have the x factor, but now you can ensure it does, as Graeme Barrie Wedding Entertainment has joined forces with X Factor-starlet Hollie Burns. Their packages include a ceilidh band, live music from Hollie and a disco afterwards.
YOUR DAY – Above all, this is your day, but you have to consider the guests when choosing your entertainment. You might like nothing better than raving at festivals every summer, but some of the older rellies might be a bit distressed by four hours of non-stop techno.
ZOMBIE – Don’t overdo things too early in the day or you’ll end up looking like one of these! Remember, it is a long day, so make sure you drink enough water and have as much sleep as your giggling bridesmaids will allow the night before!