How to Find Live Entertainment That Fits Your Wedding Aesthetic

Get expert advice on how to choose wedding music that truly fits your vibe.

1. Figure out how much space your entertainers will need when planning your layout. "When it comes to live entertainment during the reception, get a good understanding of how much space your entertainers will need at your venue so you can accommodate them, dancing, tables for dining, food, and more!" —Melissa Wilmot, Founder and CEO, WedBrilliant

wedding entertainment
Photo: Megan Faith Photography via WedBrilliant

2. Keep the overall vibe at the front of your mind when starting your search. "When searching for the perfect entertainment for your wedding celebration, there are some key considerations to keep in mind — overall vibe, type of wedding festivities, and budget! If you're looking for live entertainment for your ceremony, strings or an acoustic guitar may be your best bet, while a jazz band or trio could work nicely for an upbeat cocktail hour. For receptions, we love the vibe of a killer DJ or a hybrid entertainment experience — DJ with brass or drums to keep your guests on the dance floor all night. —HoneyFitz Events

wedding entertainment
Photo: Anna Delores Photography via HoneyFitz Events / Band: Dart Collective

3. Communication is key! "A great band can always read the energy and vibe of the crowd. Of course, you'll want to communicate your 'must play' songs, including specialty dances, but be sure to choose band you trust can pivot their set list to keep party going." —Bri Williams, Bri Williams Events

4. Determine the logistics. "Do they require a stage? If so, what size, and is that realistic within your venue? Is there a decibel level restriction at your venue or in your area? Do they have specific requests regarding feeding the musicians? These questions may seem like a 'figure it out later' detail, but it is crucial to work through this before contracting the entertainment to ensure things run smoothly. No one wants to book a band only to find out that they require a 24' stage that doesn't fit within your venue space." —Alexandra Denniston, Owner & Lead Planner, Eventlightenment Planning

wedding first dance
Photo: Anna Delores Photography via HoneyFitz Events / Band: Dart Collective

5. Be clear about what you don't want as well as what you do want. "Your 'do not play' list is just as important as your 'must play' list. Your band will be better able to understand your personal style and your wedding style and can tailor a custom set list based on those preferences." —Bri Williams, Bri Williams Events 

6. See if you can check out your band or DJ performing live. "Entertainment is one of the top categories your guests will always remember. Once you narrow down a list of the entertainment (band or DJs), one of the questions I always tell my clients to ask is if they have any shows to attend. Typically, wedding bands have gigs aside from weddings, so it's always a great idea to see them in person to get a feel for their styles and aesthetic in terms of their performance and attire. That will help guide you in the direction of the entertainment vendor that will be cohesive for your wedding." —Casey Stamouli, Owner & Lead Planner, Casey & Co. Events 

7. Lean on your planner. "While working with a planner, they can certainly pinpoint the best fit for your entertainment needs as they will know your style, budget, and personality. The three questions we always ask when choosing the right band for your wedding are: Who are the singers and band members, or will they be chosen at a later date? Can you provide videos of the band members chosen for your wedding? What are your alternative options in case someone doesn't work out for our date any longer?" —Erica Trombetti, Infinite Events

wedding entertainment
Photo: Corbin Gurkin via Bridal Bliss

8. Be mindful of your venue's restrictions. "It's important to consider the noise or music restrictions at your venue to be mindful of throughout the evening. Often, live entertainment must stop around 10pm, but there are so fun alternatives to incorporate if you are wanting to keep the party going. One of our favorites is a 'Silent Disco.' Using specialty headphones that play the same songs, guests can still have the feeling of live entertainment without the noise. Plus, it's a hilarious event to watch from the outside and allows for some great photo opportunities!" —Ari Busch, Operations Manager and Lead Planner at Bridal Bliss

wedding entertainment
Photo: Kadi Tobin Photography via Feathered Arrow Events

9. Remember that your live entertainment will also impact your design. "Live entertainment can really be a wow factor for your wedding aesthetic when done well. If our couples are leaning towards live entertainment, we like to find out the budget they're hoping to spend on live music, as this directly impacts whether or not live entertainment is carried throughout the entire event or just one piece of the day (maybe just ceremony or just cocktail hour.) We also want to keep in mind that wherever the live entertainment will be for the event should be incorporated into the design, so adding florals to the front of the stage or cold sparks as a fun surprise for guests will really take the entire experience to the next level for your guests." —Danielle + Hannah, Joyfully Gathered

wedding dance
Photo: Kelly Boitano Photography via Joyfully Gathered / Band: Ben Mallare Events & Entertainment

10. Know your guests! "This is completely a know-your-crowd answer, but start first with when you close your eyes and think about your reception. What are your guests dancing to? Do you see dance floor lighting? Is everyone singing along, or is it more tame? Classic ballroom weddings with a large stage are begging for a 1940s big band-style orchestra to fill it up, but is that the type of music your friends and family are most used to dancing to?" —Ashley Lachney, Owner of Alston Mayger Events

11. Match your entertainment to your theme. "The type of live entertainment you choose for your wedding should continue the tone of your wedding theme. For example, if you prefer a modern aesthetic, a great choice would be a string trio at your ceremony or a band at your reception. Or, if you want to enhance a cultural theme, finding specialized musicians or entertainers would be a delight for your wedding guests. With so many options, it is imperative that you do your research in the form of calling agencies to see what they offer or directly contacting independent entertainers, asking the venue if there are any regulations when it comes to live music, and making sure you know what your entertainment budget can afford you." —Lisette Gatliff, Lisette Gatliff Photography

wedding entertainment
Photo: Anna Delores Photography via HoneyFitz Events / Band: Dart Collective

12. Consider a live vocalist! "If you are looking for a very passionate and memorable addition to your ceremony music, consider adding an amazing live vocalist. We have a few favorites we recommend in our area, and when added to the existing string quartet or other musicians, it creates quite a dramatic effect." —Valarie Falvey, Kirkbrides Wedding Planning & Design

13. If you're picky, make sure your entertainment can work with that. "If you are a couple who has a lot of preferences regarding genres or specific songs, make sure you request a detailed song list from your potential entertainers ahead of time. Do they play the music/songs that you love? If not. are they willing to learn them? Do they have a limit to the number of songs they will learn for your wedding, and what is the deadline for you to submit songs that aren't on their list? No matter how amazing a band might be, if they don't play the specific music you hope to have at your wedding, they may not be a good fit." —Alexandra Denniston, Owner & Lead Planner, Eventlightenment Planning