Tying the knot during the pandemic can be a bit of a hassle. Event restrictions, a cap on guest numbers and social distancing rules are just some of the things you might be wrestling with in the lead up to your big day. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on choosing some great live music to entertain your guests even during COVID-19! At Encore Musicians we’ve helped thousands of couples book their wedding music. Here are our top 10 options we’ve picked out that are perfectly suited for your COVID-19 nuptials.
What kind of live music does the government allow?
Before diving in, let’s recap the current government guidelines for events in the UK.
The name of the game is to try to reduce what the government calls “the cumulative aerosol transmission from both those performing in and attending events” – which basically means try to avoid spreading the small water droplets which we produce whenever we breathe out.
You can do this by:
- Positioning your performers in areas with good ventilation (or outside)
- Asking them to wear face masks if they are performing indoors
- Limiting the overall number of performers and congregation
- Limiting the number of performers who make their music by breathing out a lot (like singers, brass and wind players)
- Avoiding any relatives who tend to unleash small showers of spital whenever they talk (we’re looking at you, Great Auntie Bessie…)
Best Outdoor Options
Ideal for: ceremony, reception and evening entertainment
Price range: 2 – 4 piece bands from £400-£1000
If you’re looking for something a bit more laid back for your outdoor entertainment, an acoustic duo is for you. Typically comprised of a singer with an acoustic guitarist, they specialise in smooth pop covers in a stripped down live-lounge style. They usually have a huge repertoire of pop songs to choose from – so you can pick out your favourite tunes and make sure they get some air time.
New Orleans Brass band
A based on the traditional music of the 1920s New Orleans jazz scene, these bands are perfect for adding a touch of vintage charm to your outdoor reception. Planning a traditional English garden party reception? These guys will be right there with Bertie Wooster style tuxedos to set the scene. They can also pull out more raucous pop covers if you need to get people on the dance floor later in the evening.
Plus these bands are easily loud enough for their music to carry while your guests are listening at a safe distance.
Why not spice up your reception with some spicy Mexican mariachi music! Playing catchy Mexican numbers as well as contemporary covers in a Latin style, these brightly dressed compadres will have your guests bobbing their heads in no time.
Strolling bands bring the music to your guests, roaming around your event dishing out canapés of musical goodness to your guests (at a safe distance). Usually formed of acoustic guitarists, singers, drummers and trumpeters, they are well suited to performing stripped down covers of your favourite songs. With bountiful Mumford & Sons-style folk covers up their sleeves, these guys are an ideal choice if you’re planning a rustic festival wedding.
Best Indoor Options
Ideal for: ceremony, reception
Price range: £200-£400
If you’re limited on space, a solo instrumentalist is the perfect option. They don’t take up much space, and if they’re not singing, they won’t be producing much of the government-prohibited aerosol particles. And they’re cheaper too!
Probably the most versatile instrument, a pianist can play everything from upbeat boogie woogie to smooth classical music for you to walk down the aisle to.
Plus pianists tend to bring amplifiers for their keyboards, so they are great as an outdoor option as well.
A guitarist is a perfect option if you’re going for more of a folky aesthetic at your wedding. Don’t forget they can also perform more classical pieces if soothing instrumental music is what you’re after at the ceremony.
Nothing beats the beauty of a harp at your wedding. These instruments are immediately visually striking even before they’re played by a professional harpist. Being large and expensive, they’re not particularly well-suited to outdoor performances but are a very popular option for ceremony and reception music.
Looking for something a bit more traditional but don’t have space for a string quartet? A violinist could be just the musician for you. Plus they’ll usually play with a backing track to make sure the sound is still full and rich.
Like a violin, but bigger, cellists have skyrocketed in popularity at weddings since Sheku-Mason Taylor’s amazing performance at Harry and Meghan’s wedding back in 2018 (remember that?). They have a rich, deeper sound than the violin and are often compared to the human voice – perfect for setting the atmosphere at your ceremony.
For centuries string quartets have been touchstones of quality and sophistication. Playing everything from classical hits like Pachelbel’s canon to movie theme and pop covers. Unlike singers or brass instruments, the musicians aren’t spreading lots of aerosol particles around so are perfect for indoor performances where you have a bit of room.
Tight on space? Reduce it to a string duo or trio and get that same sophisticated sound with a smaller number of performers.
We really hope you found our top 10 COVID-19 wedding entertainment ideas helpful!
THIS IS A GUEST FEATURE WRITTEN BY // Jonny Venvell // Head of Artist Relations at Encore Musicians
Encore Musicians provide accurate quotes from available musicians with a 5000-strong roster of musicians from across the UK.