How to Hire a Wedding Band – The Definitive Guide With 27 FAQs From Real Couples

Updated 20 November 2023
Reading time — 15 minutes
How to Hire a Wedding Band – The Definitive Guide With 27 FAQs From Real Couples

In this blog post, we've put together our definitive guide to hiring a wedding band with real questions from couples, as answered by the live music experts at FixTheMusic. The article contains tips, advice and inspiration for your own wedding, especially when it comes to hiring your wedding band, and also the best questions to ask when booking a wedding band.

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I think you'll agree that finding a wedding band is one of the hardest parts of wedding planning. Well, fear not – as we’ve put together the complete guide on how to hire a wedding band. It’s full of useful tips and suggestions, as well as 27 frequently asked questions that we’ve gathered from speaking with hundreds of bands and real couples searching for their wedding music.

If you’re reading this blog post, chances are you’ve recently become engaged. If so, congratulations! As the excitement sinks in, your mind will soon start to focus on getting some of the main suppliers and items for your wedding booked.

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Wedding bands on FixTheMusic have public liability insurance and PAT tested equipment.

So why do I need to read this guide?

Hiring a wedding band is often one of the trickier aspects of wedding planning: there are so many great musicians in the UK to choose from and picking the style of band to suit your big day can be a defining decision for the feel of the wedding.

At FixTheMusic, we supply bands for thousands of weddings each year in the UK and across Europe. From speaking with wedding couples each day, we’ve got a good sense of the frustrations and difficulties that they face when they begin their search for the band of their dreams.

In this post, we’ll cover:

(A) Top 10 Tips for Booking a Wedding Band

(B) 10 Questions to Ask When Booking a Wedding Band

(C) Frequently Asked Questions covering every aspect of Hiring a Wedding Band

(D) Our Personal Recommendations for the UK’s Best Wedding Bands

If you have any questions that aren’t covered in this guide, send an email to and we'll do our best to help!

Further down the page, we've also added some extra sections packed with useful information...

What about finding a wedding band at the last minute?

Trust and security when hiring bands online – how FixTheMusic leads the way

Responsible hiring of bands and musicians in the UK

Planning timeline checklist for UK weddings

The 9 most popular first dance songs for weddings (Updated June 2023)

(A) Top 10 Tips for Booking a Wedding Band

The following assumes you’ve got your date set and venue booked – or at least a rough idea of where in the UK your wedding will take place.

1. Think about the style of wedding band you’d like

2. Decide on your ideal budget for the band

3. Find local bands that are available on your wedding date

4. Check out their live videos as well as professional promotional videos

5. Read reviews from previous wedding couples who the band have performed for

6. Ensure your venue has sufficient space for your wedding band

7. Ask your venue if there are any noise restrictions or sound limits in place

8. Check if there is a curfew on live music and if the band would have to stop playing by a certain time

9. Find out how long the band takes to set up and sound check, so you can plan the rest of your evening

10. Pay a deposit to secure the band using credit or debit card

We'll expand on each of these tips in the advice below...

1. Think about the style of wedding band you’d like

You’ll probably want the style of band you book to be in keeping with the style of your wedding as a whole.

For example, if you’re having a rustic festival-style wedding in a countryside barn, you might look to hire a folky Mumford-style band – one that includes instruments like a cajon and banjo.

If your wedding is going to be an intimate affair with fewer than 50 guests, you probably won’t want a large soul or funk band. You might instead look for a smaller duo or trio.

We’ve noticed more a more themed weddings recently – such as an 80s- or 90s-themed wedding, or a Disney theme for example. If you’re having a wedding full of 90s throwbacks (complete with 90s games for guests to play of course), then you’d probably want to book a 90s wedding band. Their repertoire would feature all the 90s classics, UK garage tunes, old school hip hop and RnB music.

2. Decide on your ideal budget for the band

Choosing the budget you want to spend on the wedding band can be one of the hardest parts of wedding planning.

The costs of hiring a wedding band can vary a lot depending on numerous factors. The main factors include the number of musicians in the band, how far they have to travel to get to your venue, how late you want them to perform until and the band’s level of experience.

As a general rule, for a professional wedding band, you should expect to pay between £411 to £455 per musician. That means an acoustic duo would charge in the region of £822 to £910, a three-piece band charges approximately £1,233 to £1,365 and a four-piece wedding music band in the UK would cost about £1,644 to £1,820 to hire for the evening’s entertainment. A five-piece wedding band would cost in the region of £2,055 to £2,275.

Many bands will charge much less than this. However, it’s possible they will not meet the requirements of UK wedding venues, which usually require bands to have public liability insurance and PAT certified electrical equipment.

At the top of the scale, there are other large showbands that charge anywhere between £5,000 - £20,000 for luxury weddings in the UK. These groups are usually made up of highly in-demand session musicians and singers who have toured with the likes of Adele and Coldplay.

So once you’ve decided how much to spend on your wedding band, the next thing you’ll want to do is start getting a few prices from bands that are available on your date. You can read more in our blog post on how much wedding bands cost on average.

3. Find local bands that are available on your wedding date

Now that you’ve decided on the style of band and your budget range, you’ll want to start seeing which groups are available on your wedding date.

A lot of wedding entertainment websites list bands but don’t indicate their availability. So you spend hours searching for the perfect band, enquire with them and then find out – much to your disappointment – that they are already booked on your date.

In our experience, it’s better and quicker for couples to head to a website that allows you to list your requirements (the style of band, wedding date, venue, budget) and then available bands get in touch with you with their quotes for your wedding.

This will help you to get a quick and easy overview of which musicians are still available and how much they cost to hire. FixTheMusic can help here – our system does the heavy lifting so you can sit back and enjoy the wedding planning process.

4. Check out their live videos as well as professional promotional videos

Every professional wedding band will have a promotional video to showcase their talent. This indicates they take their job seriously, as they will have invested hundreds or thousands of pounds producing this video. You should also see if the band has any videos of them performing live at previous events.

Some bands play at very exclusive events which can be hard to film due to privacy issues, but most wedding bands will have some footage from previous events which should show guests on the dancefloor and give you an idea of what the band sounds like when playing live.

5. Read reviews from previous wedding couples who the band have performed for

Any band worth their salt will have built up a collection of reviews and testimonials from weddings and private events they've performed in previous years. When you book a band on a secure platform like FixTheMusic you can also see when the reviews are from verified bookings on the site, giving you an extra layer of security.

6. Ensure your venue has sufficient space for your wedding band

If you're wanting to book a large soul or Motown band with full horn section of trumpets, sax players and trombones, you should definitely check with your venue that they have sufficient space for the band to perform in. Bear in mind that things like the drum kit and PA system can take up quite a lot of room. If you really want to put on a show, you might also want to hire a stage for the band, but most groups won't need a stage in order to perform.

7. Ask your venue if there are any noise restrictions or sound limits in place

Many inner-city wedding venues and venues based in old buildings have restrictions on the noise levels permitted at weddings and parties. Some noise limits can be very onerous and mean that even singing is difficult. The majority of professional wedding bands can cope with sound limiters, but it's worth checking the levels with the venue first and then ensuring your band is happy with them too. You can read more in our guide on sound limiters.

8. Check if there is a curfew on live music and if the band would have to stop playing by a certain time

Most wedding venues require live music to stop by 12 midnight. This is usually in order to comply with local laws and regulations. If you want your party to continue into the small hours, you may need to apply for a late license – and you should also check if your band is happy to play after midnight too.

9. Find out how long the band takes to set up and sound check, so you can plan the rest of your evening

It usually takes around an hour or an hour and a half for a band to load in, get their equipment set up and carry out their soundcheck. You should get the exact details from your band so that you're able to plan the rest of your day's schedule, in case you don't want to hear any noise from the band during their soundcheck.

10. Pay a deposit to secure the band using credit or debit card

Some bands don't request a deposit in order to book them. In our experience, this tends to be quite risky, as there is very little commitment to the booking and the band is liable to back out or cancel at the last minute. A deposit payment means everyone is taking the booking seriously and ensures the band will hold the date in their diary for your wedding. At FixTheMusic, you can pay your deposit securely online using credit or debit card. Your money is then held securely by FixTheMusic and only released to the band after the wedding. This is the most secure way of paying for your band and also provides the band with sufficient protection too.

(B) 10 Questions to Ask When Booking a Wedding Band

Some of these questions have been covered in the tips above, but you should always ensure you ask the following questions when booking a wedding band:

1. Do you have public liability insurance?

All professional wedding bands in the UK will hold public liability insurance. Your wedding venue will likely ask that you send them the band's insurance details a few weeks before the wedding date. Read more in our blog post on Public Liability Insurance for UK Musicians and Bands.

2. Is your equipment PAT-certified?

Similar to public liability insurance, most UK wedding venues will require you to provide them with a PAT certificate from your wedding band. This will cover any electrical equipment that the band is bringing onto the venue's premises and ensure that the equipment has been tested and is safe to use. Read more on our blog post on Portable Appliance Testing (PAT).

3. How long does it take you to set up and sound check?

Most bands will take between 60 - 90 minutes to get set up and sound checked. The sound check is an essential part of the band's preparation and ensures they will sound as good as they can once they start performing. The soundcheck can sometimes be a little bit noisy - so if you are having your wedding breakfast or dinner in the same room as the band, you might want the band to arrive earlier in the day to carry out the soundcheck. There may be an extra fee for the band to arrive early, so you should check this with the band before you book ideally. Some bands can carry out a "line check" rather than a full soundcheck, to minimise the amount of noise they make, but this is usually not as effective as a proper soundcheck.

4. What time will you arrive at the wedding venue?

Most wedding bands quote based on the assumption that they will arrive at your wedding venue at around 5pm or 6pm. If you need the band to arrive a lot earlier than this, you should ask your band about any early arrival fees. It might be possible for only one band member to arrive early to start getting set up if necessary, which may reduce the extra cost.

5. Do you have to finish by a certain time?

Almost every wedding band in the UK will expect to finish their set by 12 midnight. This is usually a requirement of the wedding venue too (and local council). If you're wanting the party to go on later than that, make sure you ask the band about this before booking, as there will almost certainly be an additional fee for the band to stay later than midnight.

6. Will you perform our first dance live?

Most wedding bands will be happy to perform your first dance live for you at your wedding. If you have an idea of what your first dance might be at the time of booking, it would be a good question to ask the band if they can play that specific song. Sometimes the band will say they'd prefer not to perform the song if it doesn't fit with their musical style (e.g. if you're asking a ceilidh band to perform a rock song). Most bands don't charge any extra to learn one new song, which is usually the first dance.

7. Can we see your setlist?

Each wedding band will have a setlist of the songs that they usually perform at weddings. This setlist will have been refined over many years and is based on their professional experience of what works well at keeping people on the dancefloor all night and with music that fits their style. Many wedding couples will ask the band if they can pick songs from the band's setlist. In our experience, it's much better not to question the band about the order they play their songs and to leave it to them to decide. The band will judge which songs to play on the night, using their intuition and experience. They're the professionals after all!

8. What requirements do you have on the day?

The vast majority of professional wedding bands are self-contained and don't need you or your venue to provide them with anything. They will bring their own sound system, lighting and instruments. The only thing you normally need to provide for the band is a hot meal and drinks on the night. It's also appreciated by musicians when couples provide them with a secure and warm changing area for them to leave their belongings and to relax in before their live sets.

9. Do you have any dietary requirements?

The musicians will have likely left home around lunchtime in order to arrive at your venue in good time to load in and get set up. So having a hot meal at some point in the evening is essential to ensure the best performance from the band. Your wedding venue will usually ask that you confirm with any suppliers if they have any dietary requirements, food intolerances or allergies.

10. Will the singer from your videos be the singer at my wedding?

Many wedding bands use a pool of singers and don't guarantee who the singer will be at any particular wedding. This is usually not a problem, as the band manager will know and trust the singers they work with. However, if you have any questions or preferences about the singer, you should discuss this with the band to make sure you aren't disappointed on the night.

We hope the above best questions to ask your wedding band before booking them is helpful. Check out our blog for the latest advice, tips and advice.

(C) Frequently asked questions covering every aspect of hiring a wedding band

In this next section, we’ll cover an exhaustive list of the most frequently asked questions that we receive at FixTheMusic from our couples who are hiring a band for their wedding.

For most couples, their wedding is the first time they have booked musicians or even organised a party. So it’s only natural that you’ll have a lot of questions about what can seem like a complicated process.

FixTheMusic provides bands for thousands of weddings and private events each year across Europe and worldwide. We've put together some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about hiring a wedding band, a few of which are listed below:

1. How far in advance should I book my wedding band?

You should aim to book your wedding band as soon as possible, but at least 12 - 18 months in advance of your wedding date. Most of our best wedding bands have bookings at least two years in advance. If your wedding is on a Saturday in May, June, July, August or September, you should really be looking to book at least a year to 18 months in advance of your date. This is because most weddings fall on a Saturday during summer so our bands receive the most enquiries for these days. That said, there are more and more weddings taking place on Sundays and mid-week (especially on Thursdays and Fridays) so it’s best not to wait too long before locking down your band. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this advice even more essential: almost every wedding from 2020 re-scheduled until 2021, 2022 or even 2023, which will have an impact on the availability of the most popular bands for many years to come, with peak Saturdays in summer for the next couple of years being particularly in demand.

2. Can I see wedding bands perform live before I book?

Usually it’s not possible to see the band live. Most professional bands perform at private events only, such as weddings and corporate events. It’s not usually possible for the bands to allow potential clients into these venues to watch them perform. It is occasionally possible so there’s no harm in asking. And sometimes wedding bands will do the odd gig at a pub or festival that’s open to the public.

3. How long do most wedding bands perform for?

Most bands play 2 x 45 minute or 2 x 1 hour live sets at weddings. Some bands will play for longer than this. The bands will usually tell you how long their sets are when they provide you with their quote.

4. What happens between and after the wedding band's live sets?

Most bands provide a laptop DJ service. This isn’t the same as providing the service of a professional DJ who reads the room and adapts to the feel on the night. Instead, they will have a playlist (usually on something like Spotify or iTunes) that they play out of their PA system. It's worth checking the details of this with the band, as some wedding bands only provide the live music and prefer to leave the rest of the evening's music to the couple or a professional DJ.

5. Can I choose the music that the wedding band plays in between and after their live sets?

Yes, usually you can send the band a list of requests before the wedding and the band will download them onto their laptop or device, ready to play on the night. Alternatively, you can compile a playlist and bring your own device to plug into the band’s PA system. You should check this with the band first, as not all bands are comfortable with others using their own equipment.

6. What songs will wedding bands play?

Most bands have a repertoire of songs that they perform regularly at weddings. This will be a tried-and-tested playlist that they know works well at weddings: it appeals to guests of all ages and keeps people on the dance floor. The set list will change throughout the year, as the band adds and removes songs.

7. Will the wedding band learn my first dance song?

Yes! Most bands will be delighted to learn your first dance song and perform it live for you on your wedding night. If it doesn’t fit the band’s style (e.g. if your first dance song is a jazz song, but you’ve booked an indie-rock band), then they might suggest you use the recorded version of the song and the band will play this out of their PA system.

8. Can I give a list of songs to the band to play at my wedding?

Most bands will usually learn one song for your wedding that isn’t already in their setlist. Some bands will offer to learn 2 or 3 new songs, but in our experience they are rarely able to learn more than this. It can be very time consuming for the band to learn and rehearse new songs, and especially so for singers to learn all the new lyrics.

9. Can I indicate my song preferences to the wedding band?

Yes. Most bands will be happy for you to indicate which songs from their set list you dislike and don’t want them to play, and songs that you like and absolutely want them to play on the night. The band will usually then build their setlist around these preferences.

10. What time will the wedding band arrive?

Most bands aim to arrive at around 5pm to be ready to play by 7pm. During this time they will set up their equipment and carry out a sound check, essential to making sure the volume of the band is appropriate to your venue and that any sound / noise limiters are taken into account.

11. Can the wedding band turn up earlier than that?

Yes, most bands will be happy to turn up earlier than 5pm, but you should expect to pay them for the extra time. A lot of wedding couples worry about the band setting up while guests are at the venue. Bands with lots of experience of weddings should be able to set up discreetly and without making too much noise and mess. The noisiest part is when they have to carry out the sound check, but this should only last about 15 - 30 minutes.

12. What time will the wedding band finish?

Most bands expect to finish by midnight. This suits most weddings as the majority of venues require live music to stop by this time.

13. Can the wedding band stay later than midnight?

Usually, yes, the band can finish after midnight. But bands will normally charge a slightly higher fee for this later finish, and this should be arranged with the band in advance.

14. Can I use the wedding band’s PA system after midnight?

Usually, yes. Though this will also attract a slightly higher fee, as it means that at least one band member has to wait until the end of the party to pack up the PA system and head home. Some band members might be a couple of hours’ drive away from your venue, so finishing at 1am means they won’t arrive him until 3am or 4am.

15. Will the wedding band bring their own equipment?

Yes. Professional wedding bands will bring their own equipment. This includes a PA system, mixing desk, some basic lighting for the dance floor and their own instruments. If you are planning a particularly large wedding with hundreds of guests, you might consider hiring in a larger PA system and more lighting. Not all bands in Europe provide their own equipment (e.g. they might not bring lighting), so you may wish to check this before booking.

16. Do wedding bands need a stage?

No. Most bands are happy to perform without a stage, though it can look special if you can offer them a stage to perform on.

17 If I do provide a stage, how much space will the wedding band need?

This will depend on the size of the band of course, but to give you a rough idea, a 4-piece band would usually need at least 5m x 4m. This is to provide room for not only the band members themselves, but also their instruments (keyboards and drum kits take up quite a bit of space) and other things like speakers and a mixing desk.

18. Can I or my guests perform or sing with the wedding band?

If you ask the band in advance, most will be happy to allow you or one of your guests to sing or play along with them for one or two songs. We always advise checking this with your band first.

19. Do I need to hire a DJ as well as a wedding band?

Most bands will provide pre-recorded playlists between and after their live sets, so your entire evening will be covered. However, if you want a professional DJ who will adapt his music choices on the night and interact with guests, then it’s better to hire a DJ as well.

20. If I do hire a separate DJ, can the wedding band and DJ share equipment?

Bands and DJs will often share the same PA system, as it can look cluttered to have two sets of speakers around the dance floor. However, you’ll need to discuss this with both the DJ and band before the event to check the equipment suits everyone’s requirements and that everyone is happy to share. One problem can arise when the DJ is booked to provide music into the small hours, but the band is to finish at 11pm. In this case, it would make more sense for the band to use the DJ’s equipment to save the band having to wait until the DJ had finished his set.

21. Do I need to provide anything for the wedding band?

Professional wedding bands will normally bring all their own technical equipment and instruments. However, most will expect to be provided with a hot meal each and soft drinks. The musicians will probably have left their homes around lunchtime to arrive at your venue in good time to set up and soundcheck. It can be a long day for them and they will be much more energetic on stage if they’ve had a good meal and refreshments before performing for you. The bands won’t expect to be given the same meal as you provide for your guests. Most wedding venues have an option you can purchase in advance for your suppliers or you can give the musicians access to your buffet if you’re having one.

22. Will the wedding band members be the same as the ones I’ve seen in their videos?

Not always. Most professional bands will have a core group that plays at the majority of weddings they are booked for. However, they will also have a group of deputies (or deps as they are known in the industry) that they call upon frequently to cover for band members. This is a standard and essential practice in the music industry. Most musicians work as freelancers, meaning they might work for different function bands or tour with famous pop groups for example. Being able to draw upon a deputy musician to cover a band member who is unavailable (or ill) means the rest of the band can still work.

23. What do wedding bands wear?

You should get a good idea of what the band wears from their videos online. Most will opt for a smart shirt, but if you have a particular theme or any requests, let them know well in advance. For example, if you’re having an 80s style wedding, you might want to check if the band could wear appropriate clothing to match!

24. Will the wedding band need parking spaces?

Most bands will arrive by car as it’s the easiest way for them to bring their equipment and instruments. Having 1 or 2 parking spaces available for them to use that are close to the venue will be appreciated by the musicians. In certain cities such as London, you might also need to cover the costs of parking.

25. Can wedding bands play outside?

If you’re getting married in Europe, it’s a good idea to make the most of the summer months and have as much of your wedding outside if possible. That said, the weather isn’t always the most reliable – so whilst many bands will be happy to play outside in principle, they will always require access to a shelter from the elements, whether that’s strong sunlight or rain. Musicians’ instruments can be worth thousands of pounds and a small amount of water damage or sun can have a devastating impact on the instrument.

26. Do I need a contract with my wedding band?

The most secure way to book a band is to do so via FixTheMusic. All bookings are governed by the agreement on our website, which is based on the Musicians Union standard contract and amended by the particular details that you agree with your band by email (date, venue etc.). The contract provides protection to both parties.

27. What time does a band usually start at a wedding?

Most wedding bands will start performing at 8pm. This gives enough time to perform their two 60 minute sets with a DJ set in between and afterwards until they finish at midnight. It also allows time for the band to set up and sound check following the wedding breakfast.

(D) Our personal recommendations for the UK’s best wedding bands

At FixTheMusic, we hand-pick the UK’s best wedding bands available for hire. We’re incredibly proud to work with the country’s best musicians who consistently receive superb feedback from couples and their guests alike.

You’ll find a diverse range of groups: from classic rock, pop and indie bands, large soul and funk bands, as well as bands riding current trends, such as DJ, sax and percussion groups and 90s-style, hip-hop and UK garage covers bands.

Here are a few of our favourites...

View more videos and read verified reviews of Scintillate ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of Luna Showband ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of The Legends Collective ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of MOJO ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of Forever Diamonds Showband ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of The Millionaire Showband ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of Groove Addiction ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of PYT ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of Fusion Girls ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of ROAMEO ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of Mashup Kings ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of Jupiter Funk ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of The Upshots ➡️

View more videos and read verified reviews of Aptitude ➡️

What about finding a wedding band at the last minute?

Picture the scenario...a couple of days before your wedding day, you get a call from the wedding band you’d hired to say that they won’t be able to perform on your special day.

There are usually legitimate reasons why musicians may need to cancel shortly before your wedding, from illness and injury to bereavement.

This is usually not a problem for ensembles like wedding bands and string quartets, as such groups generally work with a small pool of professional musicians, meaning that a replacement player can be brought in at the last minute.

It’s obviously a greater problem for soloists, who will need to liaise with other musicians in the hope of finding a replacement, and the client may need to do the same.

Aside from these “legitimate” reasons for late cancellation, other factors could be at play here. Hobby or amateur musicians who have agreed to play for a low fee (perhaps because you have a low budget) may be tempted to take another higher-paid booking on the same day instead. It’s often the case with more informal bookings, e.g. where a deposit has not been taken, or with musicians who request cash payment on the day.

But the fee is probably the main issue — a low fee will mean the musician is likely to accept more lucrative work instead if the opportunity arises.

So we’ve talked about the reasons why musicians might cancel at the last minute, but what should you do if it happens to you?

We may be able to help you source replacement musicians, as our system will automatically send your enquiry to relevant, hand-picked, professional musicians, and those available will respond to you directly with a quote via our messaging system. It means that you’re likely to find a top-quality musician, even only a day or two before the wedding or event.

Recently, we came to the rescue of a bride-to-be whose string quartet cancelled only three days before her wedding. A friend recommended that she try FixTheMusic, so she submitted an enquiry.

She received an offer from an outstanding solo violinist, who was well within her budget, accepted the offer and paid online by card within minutes. Our lightning-quick messaging system meant that they were able to discuss all the finer details of the big day, so the bride-to-be felt reassured that the violinist would be the perfect choice for her special day.

We’ve also helped a pub owner in Hampshire, who needed a professional bagpiper at the last minute for their New Year's Eve event, and our system sourced an outstanding Irish band at short notice for a St Patrick's night at a pub in London earlier this year.

At FixTheMusic, we’re certainly not accustomed to blowing our own trumpet, but we strongly believe that our enquiry system offers something completely new and much-needed in an industry that is, in general, incredibly slow to innovate and move with the times...most musicians still don’t accept secure online payment by card; old-fashioned agents muddy the waters with complicated fee structures and the confusion and delay caused by unhelpful intermediation of messages between client and musician; other sites provide last minute musicians but list thousands of bands and musicians, and this lack of curation can make it very difficult for bookers to come to a decision...

Our clients have told us the they want to see a carefully curated selection of the UK’s best professional musicians so they can feel confident knowing that the live music at their wedding or event will be absolutely first-class.

They’ve also told us that they want direct contact with musicians without agents getting in the way. And they’ve told us that they want to be able to pay securely online when they’re ready to book. We’re striving to offer all this and more as we continue to innovate at FixTheMusic.

We’re proud that we’ve yet to have a cancellation on FixTheMusic since we launched the website. That doesn’t mean that it won’t happen at some point, as musicians get ill from time to time.

But if one of our musicians does have to cancel at the last minute, as professional musicians they know that they will need to try their utmost to find a replacement, and we’ll also do our very best to help with the search.

Trust and security when hiring bands online – how FixTheMusic leads the way

Nobody likes being scammed – especially when it comes to music. In the 1990s, producer William Barrington-Coupe manipulated hundreds of pre-existing recordings in a bid to pass off his wife Joyce Hatto as a world-class pianist.

The heist was heightened by the excruciating embarrassment of the many record critics who praised the recordings for their originality.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, nine-year-old Lin Miaoke won the hearts of millions of people after her performance at the opening ceremony – only to be revealed as a lip-sync stunt.

She would hardly be the first singer to be accused publicly of faking performance, as the history of UK pop – from the Everlasting Love Affair’s 1960s session musician scandal to various TV performances by Cheryl Cole (now Fernandez-Versini) – shows.

In 2013 Robert Mawhinney, the lead singer of LA rock band Lights Over Paris, cheated investors out of $11 million by wildly exaggerating the extent of the group’s success. And just last year Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams lost a high-profile court case to the Marvin Gaye family estate who successfully sued them for plagiarising one of Gaye’s records from the 1970s.

So there’s a rich history of muso hoaxes, and it’s not unique to the glitz and glamour of mainstream showbiz. In a more parochial case of ‘fake it till you make it’, a musician from Borders was taken to court last month after allegedly pocketing payments for a ceilidh band that never showed up to any gigs.

Whether he got away with it or not, the case raises the question what you should do to protect yourselves when hiring entertainment for your private event.

In today’s digital world, it can be hard to tell the pretenders from the professionals. When it comes to booking function musicians in particular, the recent Scottish case highlights the importance of having a contractual agreement in place.

You want to know that the band you’ve fallen in love with online is going to deliver on your special day – and that you haven’t just handed over your money to a group of imposters.

With FixTheMusic, you can enjoy the security of a third-party mediator. We personally vet all musicians and acts who sign up to our site. When you pay the deposit to secure a booking, and the remainder 45 days before your date, it is worth noting that all transactions are processed through Stripe, the most secure online payment platform used by hundreds of trustworthy sites including Lyft and OpenTable.

And, most importantly, the entire fee is held safely in escrow until you’ve danced the night away, after which we pay our musicians. Put simply, we’ve got your back at every stage. Take a look at our booking agreement which governs every transaction made through our site.

Read what other customers have said about us in our five-star reviews on Facebook and Google.

We are very proud to have achieved only 5-star reviews in the several years since we began FixTheMusic.

And rest assured that with an impressive database of thousands of professional musicians on hand across the UK, FixTheMusic is uniquely positioned to be the best possible safety net for your event, with 24/7 customer service and its own in-house team of professional musicians.

Responsible hiring of bands and musicians in the UK

We encourage event planners to think carefully about their responsibilities. Hiring musicians offers rich experiences for your guests, but it comes with a certain level of commitment. Here are some ways you can be a responsible live music host...


Make a first aid kit easily available.

Fire Prevention

We are providing the suggestions below to get you started.

The Government has published a guide to fire safety in England and Wales, which you can access here.

Your local fire service is responsible for enforcing the fire safety laws and in some cases they may want to inspect your venue to make sure that it is safe for your guests.


Ensure you have a clearly marked fire escape route.


Ensure your venue is properly ventilated. If you have gas appliances, you should make sure you have a functioning carbon monoxide detector, that appliances are serviced regularly, and that you are following any gas safety regulations that apply to your venue.


Ensure you have adequate public liability coverage.

Also have a read of our Booking Agreement.

Planning timeline checklist for UK weddings

We've put together a handy timeline checklist, tailored for UK weddings so you can stay organised as you prepare for your special day.

24 months

You should start making a provisional booking with the venue and Registration Service to secure your preferred date. Research where you would like to hold your reception and start to make enquiries.

18 months

Some of the best wedding bands and musicians will start taking bookings about 18 months in advance (some bands are even booked up more than 2 years in advance), so to avoid disappointment, it’s best to start making enquiries as early as possible.

At this point, it’s a good idea to make a final decision on your wedding budget, and how you are going to subdivide this into broad categories, e.g. catering, entertainment and flowers.

Receive quotes from wedding bands

12 months

Get in touch with the Registration Service to schedule a time to give Notice.

9 months

Make bookings with your photographer or videographer, your catering suppliers and venue decoration company (e.g. for table and room decoration). This would also be a good time to book your honeymoon.

At this time, you should also make final decisions on your guest list, including bridesmaids, page boys, ushers and best man. Start to think about your dress and your bridesmaids’ dresses and about hiring formalwear for the men.

6 months

A good time to make your order for the flowers. Have a think about your gift list — an online gift list with John Lewis is an easy and fun way to do this. 6 months before the wedding is also an ideal time to book transport for your special day.

4 months

Place your order for stationery, and purchase the rings. At this point, you should also decide on the menu for your wedding breakfast and order the wedding cake.

3 months

It’s a good idea to check your passport is up-to-date and go through any final arrangements for your honeymoon, like booking hotels or itineraries. This is also the traditional time to send out wedding invitations, along with information about accommodation in the area. Think about presents for your attendants.

10 weeks

Return the ceremony plan to the Registration Service and settle the fees for the ceremony with the venue.

8 weeks

Contact guests who have not responded. Also think about purchasing currency for your honeymoon, if required. You should give provide the caterers with your final guest list. With 8 weeks to go, this is the time to organise the stag and hen nights, and to book your hair appointment.

This is a good time to make contact again with your wedding band or musicians, to discuss details like parking on the day, changing facilities, any song requests you might have, and to discuss their food arrangements (most bands will request some food and drink on the day).

2 weeks

At this point, it’s essential to check final fittings for the bridal gown and the bridesmaids’ dresses and make sure that hired clothes are collected. Start to pack for your honeymoon as the wedding day will come sooner than you think!

The 9 most popular first dance songs for weddings (Updated June 2023)

To devise this list, we conducted extensive research on the weddings booked via FixTheMusic, but we also created our own survey which was completed by several hundred brides in the UK.

Although some of the weddings have not yet taken place, nearly all the couples have decided on their first dance song. Here we present the most 9 most popular wedding first dance songs.

So here are the most popular first dance songs for weddings...

1. Perfect by Ed Sheeran
2. All Of Me by John Legend
3. Marry You by Bruno Mars
4. At Last by Etta James
5. Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
6. I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz
7. A Thousand Years by Christina Perri
8. Marry Me by Train
9. How Long Will I Love You by Ellie Goulding

12 Best Alternative First Dance Songs for Weddings (by Zazie Claris)

Tired of hearing the same old first dance songs? Had enough of Ed Sheeran?

We’ve got the perfect list for you.

FixTheMusic has handpicked twelve of the best alternative first dance songs for you to play at your wedding. These hits will have your guests talking about your first dance for years to come.

Our talented musicians can rearrange any song and will transform your fave hits into the ideal first dance soundtrack.

Wedding bands on FixTheMusic have public liability insurance and PAT tested equipment.

Take a look at the list below for some epic first dance inspiration:

2 Become 1 - Spice Girls

This iconic 90s tune will give your wedding that hit of pure nostalgia and is the perfect choice for anyone looking to add a bit of spice to their wedding day.

Cheerleader - OMI

In 2012 OMI gave us the anthem that is ‘Cheerleader’, and a guaranteed way to give that added spark to your first dance. This tune will have all the crowds on the dance floor and no one can resist belting out the famous lyrics: ‘Oh I think that I found myself a cheerleader’.

7 days - Craig David

Craig David’s 7 days is the ultimate Y2K love song and will be the perfect selection for any naughties-loving couple. You can celebrate any day of the week with this hit.

Adventure of A Lifetime - Coldplay

Coldplay has released tonnes of potential first dance songs, but we recommend ‘Adventure of A Lifetime’ for something a bit different and more exciting than your standard rendition of ‘Yellow’.

Ain't Nobody - Chaka Khan

The goddess of soul herself, Chaka Khan. Nobody can resist this absolute hit, with the iconic lyrics giving everyone that buzz of nostalgia. This is one of the coolest first dance songs out there, and the number of possible musical arrangements are endless.

Everlong - Foo Fighters

For the rock-loving couple, this Foo Fighters track is the definition of a rock love song and will provide the perfect soundtrack for your alternative first dance.

Teenage Dirtbag – Wheatus

This year 2000 track from the famous pop-rock band, Wheatus is an unquestionable banger. This will be the first dance choice that nobody expects but everybody loves.

What Makes You Beautiful - One Direction

This One Direction classic might be a little cheesy, but is definitely one of the most fun love songs out there. Carefree, low-key and irresistible, this hit is a great choice for any fun-loving couple.

Wake Me Up – Avicii

Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’ is the ideal song for any duo looking for that wanderlust spirit in their first dance. The lyrics never cease to enchant and will inject that little bit of magic into your dance.

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out - The Smiths

Another 90s hit, this Smiths tune will ensure that your first dance is effortlessly cool and different to all other weddings. Truly unique, this song will give your wedding an edge like no other.

Joker - Steve Miller Band

We’re throwing it way back with this 1973 classic from the American Steve Miller Band, this excellent tune and its captivating musical arrangement will have everyone on the dance floor. Completely irresistible, it is impossible to stay still while this song plays.

Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen

Another vintage classic, Born To Run is the epitome of the alternative love song, how can you resist a declaration like ‘baby, we’re born to run?’. An undeniable tune, an even better first dance.

FixTheMusic is a one-stop shop for booking outstanding professional musicians – and it's completely free for you to use.

Fill in the enquiry form to receive offers directly from hand-picked musicians. Once you've confirmed details with your preferred act, book and pay securely through our secure online checkout.

So if you’re now ready to receive offers from highly recommended wedding bands, just tell us about your wedding and you’ll have musicians sending you their offers in a few hours.

Receive free quotes

— Ed is a recovering lawyer, having worked at international firm Hogan Lovells in London and Hong Kong before moving to a specialist practice in Mayfair. He left law to return to one of his earliest passions — music.

Adam is a co-founder of FixTheMusic and works on everything from copywriting and marketing to design and user experience. He studied Music at Cambridge University. Adam is a keen pianist, and also learned cello and trumpet from an early age.

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