How to choose wedding music: Band, DJ or something a little bit different?

So you’ve booked the marquee, sorted the caterer and got your guest list underway – now on to worrying about the photographer and invitations, perhaps? Recently-married Hetty Lintell says forget that and instead look towards arguably the most important piece of the wedding reception puzzle: the music.

Times have moved on since the Four Wedding and a Funeral days of recycling the same old band to do the rounds. These days, couples are looking for stand-out entertainment with a difference.

It’s not something you can leave til the last minute, since top-notch bands and DJs get booked up ludicrously fast –  often, rather terrifyingly, more than a year in advance.

Panic not, however, as here’s our choice of bands and DJs to check out if you want your party to go with one massive swing.

Roaming band

The London Essentials

Having fallen for the charms of an acoustic band playing in restaurants along the French Riviera (The Troubadours), we wanted to recreate this relaxed party atmosphere, and suspected that if we surprised our guests with a band when they least expected it, it would blow the roof off.

We were right. The London Essentials know how it’s done: they have played for Oprah, on Necker Island for Branson family weddings, and more recently for Princess Eugene’s wedding in October. They are an acoustic five-piece band who appear from nowhere to ‘roam’ round tables between courses, and by the end of the meal, those who aren’t on their feet are probably dancing on the tables, wildly elated.

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The utterly charming lads will have everyone – from grannies to little ones – captivated by their energy and joie de vivre, and they work their magic time and time again (they are flown all over the world, often playing every night to high acclaim). There wasn’t one thank you letter after my own wedding that didn’t mention how sensational they were.

Big bands

The White Keys

For mind-blowing vocals and performances to match, this funk, soul and disco band can offer everything from soulful solo artists to a 6-piece band. If you’ve got a huge crowd to entertain, you could always opt for the full 12 piece party band…I saw them perform once, and couldn’t be dragged from the dance floor.

Soul Beat

One the best bands I’ve ever seen at a wedding. Request the female singer with knock-out attitude, who gets involved with the crowd on the dance floor.


Playlister DJs

Ben Bridgewater (from Playlister DJs) has a style described as ‘upbeat and bouncing’, having curated the playlists in some of the coolest venues around the world, he will work with you to get the music spot on for your party. Modern remixes with old classics and surprising twists are his forte, keeping energies sky-high. And he is a charmer to boot.

Itchy feet

Having started out doing parties at the University of Leeds (where I first heard a set by Leo, the main DJ) they now have expanded and you can opt for a DJ or full band depending on your needs. Their soul and disco classics with a funky house edge are foot-twitchingly good, you’ll not draw breath from the dance floor. They’ll also take a lot of the hassle off your hands, setting up their stage, sound and lighting – and they can even help find a venue.