To Book wedding barn dance & ceilidh bands

Request: I want the lowest priced barn dance band to play at my wedding reception and wedding ceremony;  some of the things that I said about the selection of a low priced string quartet (above) also applies to booking a low-priced barn dance band, but there are some differences. Where is a string quartet has to have four people, a barn dance band can be anything from one person to 8 or nine. Obviously, the more people are in the band, the more people have to be paid and the more the barn dance band will cost.

You might been surprised when I said you can have a barn dance band of one person! This is quite rare, and the only one that I'm familiar with our accordionist who play an electronic MIDI accordion. This is a fearsome instrument which is half accordion and half synthesiser. The accordion part is like any other piano accordion, with a keyboard for the right hand to play the tune and buttons for the left-hand play chords. If it is set to play in a accordion mode, i.e. using the air from the bellows to vibrate the reeds, it sounds like an ordinary accordion. But then there is the MIDI bit.

Just about anything is possible when MIDI is selected. It is effectively then like a keyboard synthesiser, where you can have accompaniments with multiple instruments playing rhythms and harmonies, just at the press of a button. The button presses change the pitch of the accompaniment, and their various other things that can be done to invoke introductions and exits from the music. It can even have a full rhythm percussion section.

And while doing all this, the accordionist calls the dancers throughout microphone. (They obviously don't go onto the dancefloor to do the calling, as some callers do, during the dancing, as the whole machine is wired up to the MIDI controller and also it weighs a ton, (quite often they are on a support stand).

So, although there is only one person that you have to pay, it is not necessarily the cheapest option, in part because of the cost of the MIDI accordion and the amount of equipment that has to be transported, and partly because a single person who can do all that is quite an exceptional animal. Most such musicians have at least two heads and forearms, so genetically they're quite unique!

Request: outdoor wedding ceremony; outdoor wedding ceremonies can be quite magical, but the reality is that in this country, they can be a complete washout and utter disaster. So if you are planning an outdoor wedding ceremony, you have to also have an indoor backup ready to switch to at a moments notice. This applies whether or not you are having music for your wedding ceremony.

So if your booking perhaps a string quartet, or a harpist or soprano to play at your outdoor wedding ceremony, it is not just the wedding ceremony music that you have to think about, but the logistics required for the musicians. If it is a string quartet, then it's fairly straightforward. They need shade to protect their instruments from the bright sunshine that you hope will be blazing away on your wedding day. They need protection from wind and cold, should that be the way the weather goes, because although you and your guests may be willing to brave out the icy blasts of so many British summers days, instruments, fingers of musicians, music and music stands can't tolerate such conditions. They are not in the grip of true love, which will protect the bride and groom from even noticing the horizontal snow showers that are sweeping across the lawns.

Although a string quartet can – in doors at the drop of a hat, should the weather turned nasty, the same doesn't apply to a harpist. The harbour has to be wrapped up loaded onto a trolley and trunk laboriously in doors. Many harpists will not take their instrument outside at all, or if they do they will only do it on days that clearly have no threat of the weather turning bad.

If you are having something like a pianist with an electric piano, or perhaps a lounge jazz trio who are using a synthesiser and perhaps some form of amplification for other instruments or vocalists, then there has to be protection from rain set up where the musicians are going to play, because although you and your guests may bolt for the indoor ceremony room as the spring showers cascade down, the musicians can't do that. There equipment takes at least half an hour to set up and the same to take down, so it would become ruined in a spring downpour, not to mention the electrical hazard of having wet electrics.

So by all means have an outdoor wedding ceremony, some of the most memorable I've played at have been outdoors, but do your planning probably and make sure that when you book the string quartet or harpist or whatever kind of live music it is that you are hiring, that the wedding will be outdoors, what facilities you are preparing for them at the outdoor wedding location, and what your plans are should the weather turned nasty.      

Request: piano music for wedding ceremony;   we just discussed the meticulous planning that has to be done for an outdoor wedding ceremony, and although booking a pianist for your wedding ceremony is less arduous, unless there is a piano of suitable quality at the church or civil ceremony venue (in the ceremony room itself that is), then the kind of planning that is discussed earlier is necessary.   

Request: find a string quartet for my civil partnership ceremony; we have a huge selection of superb string quartets covering just about every part of the UK, so organising a high quality string quartet for your civil partnership ceremony should pose no problems, but remember, the earlier you book, the more selection you will have.

Request: I want a prestigious string quartet to play at my wedding ceremony; now, the first thing to establish is what is meant by prestigious. Normally this would mean a famous string quartet. Unless you are thinking in terms of very unusual string quartets like 'The Bond String Quartet', who are all were (I'm not sure if they're still operating?), An all female string quartet specialising in pop numbers; or the Vitamin String Quartet (an American string quartet specialising once again in pop covers), then one is talking about a classical string quartet.

If this is what your meaning, unless you're ready to stump up something like £10,000 for the event, and probably not even then, you are not going to get a well-known and established classical string quartet who are on the concert circuit and are producing CDs. 

Request: find the best string quartet to play at my wedding reception and wedding ceremony;    best string quartet could be best in the number of different ways. Is it the string quartet that has the best performance technique? Is it the string quartet that plays the best repertoire, and if that is the meaning, what is the best repertoire ? (Best in this sense is what best suits your musical taste, so look at the repertoire lists of the string quartet on our site or tell us the kind of music that you like, is it baroque, classical romantic, music from the shows or from the films or pop covers?) Or best could be in terms of price, for most people it would be the cheapest string quartet or the lowest cost string quartet, and what could be achieved here depends on how early you book, (if you book early, you have more choice because quartets get booked up the closer to your wedding day you are, and if you have choice you can select one that hasn't got a long way to travel, as this affects the price considerably.) And of course, some lucky people can regard the best is the most expensive.

Request: find the ceilidh band to play entrance music for my ceremony;   this has been covered earlier. Normally one would ask for a folk session band to play for wedding ceremony, in that normally, (but I suppose not necessarily always, and I'm thinking of weddings held outdoors, or in the woods), normally they don't include dancing. Generally, the Person who is asking this question might be thinking of having a ceilidh in the evening for the evening reception, and have instrumentalists from the ceilidh band playing as a folk session band for their entrance to the ceremony. The problem with this is if there are several hours gap between the ceremony and reception, where the band would have to wait around, and this would add to the cost. But sometimes people have a ceilidh immediately after their wedding ceremony, particularly if there are a lot of young children at the wedding who might get tired late in the evening, and then it would be possible for the band to play for the entrance music, during the signing of the register, and then for the exit of the couple, prior to moving to the venue where the ceilidh was take place and set up their.

Dependent on the instruments, they may be able to play completely acoustically during the wedding ceremony (i.e. without any amplification), or they may need amplification. Some bands will have small very portable amplifiers that would be sufficient to uplift the sound of quite instruments sufficiently for the ceremony, or to make something like a bass guitar sound at all (bass guitar makes no sound without an amplifier). If the only PA system they have is a large one that they use the ceilidh, this could be a problem. So as always, make it clear what you're wanting at the time of booking so that any problem is can be resolved, or we can tell you that the band is unsuitable for what you're wanting and perhaps offer you an alternative.