How To Choose Music For An Afternoon Wedding Drinks Reception

Weddings are unique events. Each wedding breakfast and drinks reception will have a different combination of guests, venue and entertainment requirements, so finding a perfect musical match can take some time!

You might be wondering what kind of music your guests would enjoy, and how you can make that work with your budget and venue. Fortunately there are a huge number of options available, so we’ve written this guide to take you through some of the most popular – and more surprising – choices our clients have made for their special day, and show you how to fit great music in with all your other plans.

What’s the best style of music?

Live music in any genre makes an event special, and can be as much of a reflection of your personal taste as what you wear. The choice you make depends on what you would like the music to do for you. Do you have a lot of very young guests who would love some entertainment while they’re waiting for the cake? Would you like some gentle background music as a soundtrack to a formal meal or drinks reception? Or would you just like to hear your favourite sounds and share them with your friends?

Jazz bands are one of the more versatile options, available as everything from solo pianists to big bands. They can provide a selection of time-tested classics that everyone will recognise, or draw on a more esoteric catalogue to impress serious aficionados. If you like your jazz a little spicy, a Latin band can give your drinks reception a groove to remember, as well as an entertaining show!

Classical music is a wonderful way to enhance an elegant reception or wedding breakfast, and the pieces the musicians play can vary a great deal. While all string quartets, wind trios and other classical groups will have a repertoire of classical favourites, some will extend their range to include pop hits and medleys of folks songs. All of them list their repertoire on their profile pages, and it can be worth speaking to the musicians themselves for more information.

Guests always enjoy traditional music, with many couples still choosing klezmer and dhol for Jewish or Asian weddings. The increasing popularity of world music means there is a wider range of music available than ever before, so why not try something original and exciting? Steel bands and bluegrass bands are ideally suited to outdoor events, providing great music as well as visual entertainment.

If your budget is fairly modest, but you still want the magic that live music can bring, how about a soloist? A cocktail pianist, harpist or solo guitarist can provide gentle sophistication and a musical background without being intrusive. The swing revival has brought a flood of tributes to Rat Pack-style singers who can draw on the glamour of a bygone age to create a classy accompaniment for your food and drink.

If you’ve already booked a wedding band it’s worth checking to see if they can provide a smaller line-up for earlier on in the day, such as an acoustic guitarist/vocalist, a cocktail pianist or a jazz trio. Using the same musicians for the whole day could save you money and help keep stress levels to a minimum!

Choosing an act

Once you’ve decided on a style browse acts on the relevant music section on our site. Each act has a profile page featuring a biography, photos, audio samples of their playing, a repertoire list and testimonials from previous clients. Some also have video clips to view online.

Dealing with the venue and equipment

Make sure you get in touch with any musicians you have booked well before the actual day, so that you can explain the arrangements to them and they can make sure you’re happy with the music they plan to play, giving you the chance to specify any special favourites. Wedding musicians always have to work around the rest of the day’s events, so will be keen to hear about your plans and what you’d like them to do. They usually provide all their own equipment, so you won’t have to worry about organising this – though it’s always worth checking with them beforehand!

Some venues are designed with live music in mind, and some can easily accommodate it. Others might be a little more difficult because of noise or space restrictions, but you can work around these kind of problems. It’s easy to keep the volume down by using an adjustable backing track, or save space (and money) by using fewer people. Good wedding musicians will have experience of many places, and will be able to adapt to your requirements with enough notice, so make sure you tell them as much as you can about your venue.

Function Central makes booking wedding music easy

Function Central is a wedding music agency specialising in wedding musicians who have been hand-picked for their talent, professionalism and reliability. We take over 600 wedding music bookings a year and get great feedback from our clients. We make choosing and booking your wedding entertainment easy, providing support and advice right up to the day, and even a 24-hour helpline.

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