Choosing the music for your big day

Hampton Court Castle 2017

So, you've had the romantic (or maybe not so romantic) proposal. You cried (or maybe not) and said yes. It's Facebook official! Congratulations, and welcome to the world of wedding planning. 

It really isn't as difficult as you might think - download yourself a checklist, decide what's most important to you and your other future spouse and work out a budget. Then, stick to it!

Recently, we saw a survey about what the couple feels is important vs what their guests feel is important about a wedding day. It really isn't the perfect wedding favours, or that last bit of bunting. For both couples and guests, food and music came out top as the most memorable parts of their big day. Now, we're only experts in EATING rather than making food, so this blog is to help you consider what you want to HEAR on the big day.

Split the day into sections: guests arriving to ceremony, ceremony itself, photographs / drinks reception, wedding breakfast, evening entertainment. 

Arriving to the ceremony. Normally, the bride will make a big entrance so guests will be arriving about 30 minutes prior to the ceremony. Do you want to welcome them with a live quartet (saxophones or brass make an interesting change to the standard string quartet), or perhaps the venue could play something from your phone or a CD. Remember to check whether wifi is available if you choose to stream from Spotify! 

Ceremony - now this depends on whether it's a civil or church ceremony. You can't have anything religious at a civil ceremony, so do check with your registrar. How long will the walk down the aisle take - choose a section of a piece that will be just right for your timings. Live performers can do this more easily than trying to stop a recording halfway.

Signing the register - you can account for 2-4 songs during this time to keep your guests chatting. Happy background music - perhaps your favourite songs from your last holiday?

Post ceremony - traditionally the time that photographers whisk away the happy couple to look lovingly into each other's eyes. You'll want a little background music to keep conversation flowing. Allow for an hour here normally - your live quartet will be perfect for this, and know to keep subtly in the background rather than blaring your guests.

Wedding breakfast - most people choose not to have music during the breakfast to allow chatter to take over. However, if you're feeling flush, how about a harpist to add that extra bit of elegance?

Evening entertainment. Your chosen evening entertainment (normally a DJ or a live band, and you can't beat a bit of soul from The Soul Department) will need to unload and set up. They have a lot of gear - a 9 piece soul band needs approx 3x6 metres ideally - and you want them to sound their best. So, try to have them arrive by 6 to set up either in the evening room or arrange the breakfast room so that the stage is away from the top table. Then, they can be sound-checked and out of your way by 7.30 when your evening guests arrive.  

They'll need a room to change in and stay out of your way when not playing, and bearing in mind they'll be there until after midnight please remember to feed them!

First dance - do you want the band to perform a special number for you? Most can learn a new number for a small extra cost if it isn't in their set already. Alternatively you could ask to play something from your phone through their PA system. Then it's onto the big party. Get all your guests on the dancefloor and make sure there is a LOT of twirling!

To save on costs (and where space is limited), a lot of couples choose to have a main live band and instead of a DJ the band can play a setlist through the PA before they start and during their break. Again, be careful about relying on wifi especially if you're in a barn!

Questions for your venue:

What's wifi coverage like?
Are there any steps between unloading area and stage?
Do you need to see Public Liability Insurance proof from the bands (all good bands will have this)?
Can you arrange lower cost meals (sandwiches or bowls of chips are great!) for the musicians?
Do you have a sound limiter - and if so what size band do you normally have?
Do we need to use the venue's recommended DJ / band?

To find out about booking The Soul Department, email Abi: find us on Facebook or just contact us through our site!

Kicking off the year in style..

After a very successful 14 years as Junction 2 with many successful performances under our belt, we thought it was time for a reboot to refresh the band with a new name, personnel and songs.  From the very start of 2018, the transition is complete and already building a busy calendar of engagements - so it's very much business as usual. Watch this space for more news.

We are really looking forward to seeing you at your next special occasion!!