Expert advice about entertainment

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your London Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yourlondon.wedding

 

Time to party

Time to party

Q. We're worried about keeping our guests on the dancefloor all night. How do we make sure the DJ plays the best mix of tunes?

A. David Parkinson says: My first step is to have a chat with my couples about the style of music they're into so I can begin to create a playlist. I also suggest that when couples send out their invitations, they include the option to make a song request on the RSVP; this gives the DJ a great platform to start with and will keep the dancefloor rocking.

I build a playlist to include important tracks such as the entrance songs for the ceremony and reception as well as the first dance. I'll always go through this with the couple to ensure they're happy. On the night, we're always ready to read the crowd and switch genres so all guests are catered to. An experienced DJ will create an upbeat party atmosphere to get everyone joining in.

David Parkinson,DJ Dave B
www.djdaveb.com

 

I need somebody

I need somebody

Q. Help! I'm clueless about music – and I don't even know whether to plump for a band or a DJ, let alone how to hire a good act – how can I narrow down the options?

A. Becky Carewe-Jeffries says: Becky says: Don't panic! There are expert agencies out there who have already done all the hard work for you. Choosing the music for your wedding day is easy when you have people you can trust providing you with the best options, so you can just sit back and pick the music that gets you excited.

A DJ is the perfect choice for a smaller venue or if you're limited by budget. You could also opt for a DJ Live option, which means you would have live musicians – a vocalist and a saxophonist, for example – playing alongside a DJ. This unusual act helps to capture a nightclub's aura and the infectious energy of live musicians.

Live bands, meanwhile, are a sure-fire way to get people of all ages up and dancing on your big day, one of our acts is even interactive meaning the musicians are in among your guests, dancing the night away with them.

Becky Carewe-Jeffries
www.articulatemusic.co.uk

 

Mix it up

Mix it up

Q. Our wedding party is very mixed with guests aged from four to 90 – how can we get them all on the dancefloor; does a universally popular playlist exist?

A. Elisabeth Chidi says: Elisabeth says: It's to be expected that your wedding will be a collection of family and friends from differing age groups, and therefore it'll be difficult to cater to everyone's musical tastes but, if you aim to choose a list of songs that the majority of your guests would at least be familiar with, you can create a great party atmosphere.

Below, are a few tips to help:
1) Remember that for the most part, the music choice should be something that you – the bride and groom – want to hear on your special day; use this as your main musical inspiration.

2) Add to this a selection of current pop hits plus a few songs from each era of music, i.e '60s/'70s, '80s/'90s and the naughties – think Motown hits, ABBA sing-alongs and Rihanna.

3) Throw in a few popular rock anthems, for example Queen or Bon Jovi, and in no time, you've built a playlist that has something for everyone. If this sounds like a little too much to take on, consider relieving your stress by hiring a live band with years of experience entertaining guests of all ages.

Elisabeth Chidi
www.soulplay.co.uk

 

All night long?

All night long?

Q. We love the idea of a live band but we're worried that we'll lose guests from the dancefloor between songs – any advice on creating the ultimate party atmosphere?

A. Tim Owen says: Tim says: There are a few professional bands out there who actually medley each song together throughout the set. Bands like this are rare, as it requires so much rehearsal and professionalism. Find a band that provides lights and a really good PA and ask to see live video of them to check how they sound. Tell them within your initial enquiry that you want each song to start immediately after the previous song, with no gaps. If they don't medley each song together, they might still be able to minimise the gaps to almost nothing. The next tactic of keeping people on the dancefloor is to minimise their other options. Have most of your tables removed from the party room and book a venue where the bar is in the same room as the band; this alone can make or break a party. The third thing to get right is the time; if the band is on too early, people will feel inhibited and shy. Wait until they've had a few drinks and it gets dark. Have the band start at around 9pm and you'll be onto a winner!

Tim Owen
miamivibe80sband.com

 

Play on

Play on

Q. We're hunting for a band for our evening do and we'd appreciate some guidance. In terms of the setlist, how many songs can we request and is it usual for the bands to bring their own equipment on the day, or will we need to hire a sound system.

A. Tim Owen says: Tim says: In terms of a band's setlist, it's always best to find a band whose signature tunes closely match your faves. You want your band to sound at their best, and that's most easily achieved when they're performing the music they're most familiar with. If you're hiring a good quality band, you should be able to have confidence in them to know which songs will get everyone on the dancefloor and which order to play them in. It's also good to remember that your guests' musical tastes may differ to your own, so it's usually advisable to describe the 'mood' you'd like, rather than particular songs. When it comes to requests, many bands perform several shows per week so rehearsal time can be very limited. However, most bands will be happy to learn a song for you for free or perhaps for a small charge. Nearly all professional quality bands will provide their own PA suitable for audiences up to around 300 people. Some bands will have PAs suitable for 500 or even 1,000 guests. For larger capacity events with crowds of 1,000 or more, you may need to hire a professional sound team in to run a larger PA and lights.

Tim Owen
miamivibe80sband.com

 

The entertainers

The entertainers

Q. We want our wedding to be one big party – what should we look for in a venue?

A. Glenn Mainwaring says: First think about the season and the flow of your day – you may want to prioritise outdoor space for a summer wedding so your guests can make the most of the weather.

Next, if you want to party into the wee small hours, then bear in mind that some venues only stay open until midnight or earlier! Make sure your chosen venue operates a late license before you confirm your booking.

Food and drink are key to any party – so always insist on a menu tasting.

Last, don't be afraid to ask for a discount – London venues can be so competitive and there's no harm in asking. If you're successful you'll be able to splash out on a top-notch band.

Glenn Mainwaring
www.lso.co.uk

 

Dance like everyone is watching

Dance like everyone is watching

Q. We're not natural dancers and are nervous about our first dance – have you got any tips to help us battle through?

A. Royston says: To help you create a performance that brings nothing but joy, follow these five tips:

- SONG CHOICE IS EVERYTHING
When I work with artists, I help them to develop a personal style that complements their sound; if the two don't match, no dancer can find harmony between the beat and their steps. Choose a tune that means something to you; the more you can become lost in the lyrics, the less you'll overthink your steps. If you're relaxed, everything comes a little more naturally.

- GET INSPIRED
When I'm choreographing a routine, I look at old music videos and shows for inspiration. I recommend that you pick three classic films or music videos that inspire you (Dirty Dancing is always a good choice!) and pick up sections/steps from there.

- USE YOUR CHEMISTRY
On your wedding day, you and your partner will inevitably feel more loved up than ever. Use this! Great eye contact is key to adding romance to a routine, helping you and your partner to feel connected.

- COUNT US IN
Counting in line with your steps prevents you from forgetting the routine, racking your brain for what's set to happen next.

- A SMILE SPEAKS A THOUSAND WORDS
It's your first dance, the most important thing is to enjoy the moment. Have fun and forget about stumbles – worst-case scenario you'll entertain your guests! Keep it lighthearted and everything will fall into place.

Royston
www.rndcreatives.com

 

Play on down the aisle

Play on down the aisle

Q. I love the idea of a string quartet playing me down the aisle and during the reception but I don't know anything about classical music. What pieces would you advise to build atmosphere at various points of the day?

A. Kirsty MacLeod says: It doesn't have to be classical! We've done many a wedding, and couples have requested such a wide variety of music to walk down the aisle to – from the Star Wars' score to Single Ladies! Our most popular request for the ceremony is Pachelbel's Canon in D Major. Delibes' Flower Duet, Elgar's Salut D'Amour and Handel's Queen of Sheba are also very popular with our clients. Or how about the traditional Wedding March by Mendelssohn? A good string quartet will be able to guide your through the choices and often publish repertoire lists on their website too.

Kirsty MacLeod
www.dahliamusic.co.uk

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