I was absolutely elated this week to hear on the news that apparently the recession is ‘officially declared over’. Fantastic! I thought I’d take inspiration from this and write about the absolute, ultimate wedding entertainment schedule. It is, after all, the biggest day of your life, and although I know a lot of you will still feel like you should hold back the pennies, I thought we could all do with a bit of positive thinking.

When it’s the biggest, most important day of your life, I hate to think of anyone having to compromise. So, I think it’s time for a bit of ‘what if I were a millionaire’ thinking (it’s my favourite game to play!). A bit of positive thinking is never a bad thing and, even if you don’t have a huge budget, perhaps I can inspire you with a few entertainment ideas.

Here’s a run-down of what I feel would be an amazing entertainment schedule for a super, no holds barred, dream wedding.

While Your Guests Are Arriving

There’s nothing better than starting as you mean to go on. It’s important to set a nice ambience for the rest of the day, but you don’t want to waste anything with too big an impact on your guests’ arrival at the venue. So, my ultimate entertainment option here would be a harpist. Live harp is a beautiful option, especially for earlier on in the day.

Closeup of Strings on a Harp

The Ceremony

There are whole articles about ceremony music and entertainment within the ceremony, so I won’t go on too much here. But I will say that the best ceremonies I have ever been to or worked at are the ones that were personal to the couple. You can choose to have as much or as little music in the ceremony as you like, but in my ultimate entertainment schedule I’d include something as the guests arrived and waited, the all important bridal entrance music, perhaps one or two musical interludes, something to cover the signing of the register and, of course, unforgettable exit music.

As Guests Enter the Ceremony Room

I’d hire a string quartet to play as the guests enter the ceremony room and wait for the bride’s arrival. You can find some fantastic string quartets these days, some of which can play a good mix of the standard classical pieces, and also their own take on modern pop tunes. Imagine having your string quartet playing a beautiful rendition of ‘Purple Haze’ by Jimi Hendrix!


For a musical interlude, perhaps in the place of a reading, I love the idea of having a barbershop quartet perform a song. There are quartets out there who will write, arrange and perform a song especially for you. They can include funny dittys about you and your other-half, or perhaps selected members of the bridal party, your parents etc. I’ve seen this once before and it was fantastic! They are quite comical, which is a lovely touch to lighten up the ceremony and make it really personal to you. If you’d rather keep the giggles for the wedding breakfast, this could also work well there.

Signing of the Register

My idea of the perfect entertainment to cover the signing of the register and the exit music would be a gospel choir. There’s nothing more beautiful than the sounds a gospel choir can produce, and nothing more uplifting to do your first walk as ‘Mr and Mrs’ to.

Reception Drinks

I’d make use of the string quartet again for the reception drinks entertainment, perhaps keeping the classical pieces for the ceremony and bringing out their more quirky, modern numbers here. If you’re having a summer wedding, a string quartet out on the lawn, while your guests mill about chatting and drinking champagne, is just divine. I can’t think of anything more perfect!

String Quartet Playing at Wedding Reception

Wedding Breakfast

A jazz or swing band are always a fabulous choice to have over dinner for your wedding breakfast music. They set the mood fantastically well, warming up your guests into ‘dancing mode’ for later.

I’d also choose some kind of surprise entertainment for the wedding breakfast, like singing waiters. This is an absolute must if you fancy something completely different for your wedding breakfast, and something your guests will rave about for months, or even years, afterwards!

The Room Turnaround

A lot of wedding breakfasts and receptions take place in the same room, so there will be a period of time where the venue staff will need to turn the room around. This is quite often a bit of a ‘dead’ time at weddings – the guests get shifted out into another room, they chat and drink, or perhaps go to their room and freshen up… but I always think this is a wasted entertainment opportunity. What about hiring a saxophonist to roam around your guests? This can set the mood wonderfully, and also looks fabulous!

Saxophonist at Playing Wedding

Evening Reception

Again, a big subject that I could write about all day! In most circumstances, of course, you would book one band to cover your whole evening, but since I’m being extravagant with this, my ideal line-up for the evening reception would be…

  • A swing band to start off the evening with an hour set to get everyone up dancing.
  • An ultimate function band, perhaps as large as a 12-piece, featuring a live brass section and multiple vocalists. A band like this will perform two or three sets, keeping your guests dancing into the early hours.
  • A professional DJ to play between and after the band sets is a great finishing touch. It makes the transitions between the bands smoother and means you have someone to make announcements and hold everything together throughout the evening.

So there we have it! My ultimate wedding entertainment schedule! I hope this has given you a few ideas, or maybe inspired you to budget that little bit more to make your big day extra special!

Guest post by Sera Golding of MIB Music

Images from…

Harp: Pixabay

String Quartet: Fiona Kelly Photography

Saxophonist: Martin Beddall Photography