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Revealing the secrets of 13 years as a band for hire

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Revealing the Secrets of 13 Years as a Band for Hire: Crafting the Ultimate Live Music Experience

Written by Jonny Ross

I have performed in a wedding band for over thirteen years and have been lucky enough to work in some of the most desirable locations in the U.K. You could call me a veteran, but at the respectful age of 35, I prefer “seasoned’. My journey started at the young age of 15, when I performed in a pop punk band, singing the songs of Blink 182 and Green Day (I even had the haircut to go with it). As I got older and my haircuts got marginally better, I started to make a small living performing in pubs and bars. Here, I learnt the importance of song selection and entertaining a crowd. I paid my way through university performing at bars, and after graduation, I delved into weddings. Whilst some of the locations I sang in at university were far from the luxury wedding venues I perform in today, my time singing in pubs and bars is more important than any music course or class I have ever been on. No matter where I am performing, the principles remain the same. Good song selection, high energy and being surrounded by incredible musicians. 

In this blog post, I will detail what makes a great wedding band for hire and what you should look for in your search for live entertainment. I’ve also created another page where you can see my top recommendations for wedding bands in the U.K.

Revealing the secrets of 13 years in a wedding band

The three most important factors behind creating the ultimate wedding band for hire

The Wedding Bands Song selection

The best wedding bands for hire know what songs to sing and at what point in the evening. My band and I have never once written a setlist. We have a repertoire of around 60 “Bangers” that we can unleash at any moment. Within the first 3-4 songs, we can generally get a feel for what music will go down well and will go with the flow of the crowd. Any of these 60 songs will usually get a crowd on their feet at any moment. If I am honest, I don’t like some songs on the list, but I love performing them due to the reaction the songs get. No wedding singer gets in the car and blares out “Little Respect” by Erasure; however, having 300 people sing it along with you on a Saturday night is terrific fun, and we’re lucky to do it as a career. All bands should pick songs based on what gets the best reaction and keep the dancefloor full. 

We are very strict about what songs can be added to this list, and if they don’t get the desired reaction on the first release, they are banished forever.

If you’re browsing wedding bands, look at their song selection and ask yourself, have you or would you dance to that song on their list? Other than the first dance songs, I would challenge you to refrain from shaking your tailfeather to one of the songs on our list. 

All wedding bands should have highly skilled musicians.

I’ve always classed myself as a performer rather than a musician. I’ve always made sure that I’ve surrounded myself with incredible musicians that can professionally perform a multitude of genres. Skilled musicians can read the crowd and keep everyone engaged by playing appropriate music for you and your guests. They also can switch things up on the fly to keep songs fresh and exciting. 

Having a group of talented musicians behind me gives me the confidence and ability to be an engaging frontman. No matter what song we are playing, it will be played to an excellent standard, and all I need to think about is having fun and putting on a great show. 

Wedding bands need a good and energetic frontman/woman.

You can be the best band in the world with a song selection that will even get granny dancing; however, if the frontperson doesn’t bring the energy, your crowd will feel it. From my time working with wedding bands, the most charismatic frontperson I’ve ever seen is Abi in “Marc and Abi”. She works the room like no one I’ve ever seen. She has people dancing on tables, on the floor with her and parades the room with her trumpet, followed by a line of people. She’s like the pied piper of wedding singers. 

Abi is a very talented musician, but the defining thing will remember from their performance is her energy, enthusiasm, and ‘no holds barred’ approach to performing. She is amazing!

The three most important factors behind creating the ultimate wedding band for hire

What else should I be looking for when hiring a wedding band?

The characteristics mentioned are what I class as the most important factors in creating a great wedding band. But what else should you be looking out for in a wedding band? 

To help, I have put together 3 other areas to consider when booking a wedding band; please see them below:

Do the wedding band have good light and sound equipment?

Other things to consider when booking a quality wedding band is equipment and learning to do sound. Bands are often challenged with rooms that are acoustically challenged or have sound limiters. If the band has good knowledge and sound equipment, they can deal with any challenges they face. We ensure that all our bands are proficient in handling live sound and have high-quality equipment. 

Have the wedding band got good reviews?

The thing we are most proud of as a company is our Trustpilot, Google and Facebook reviews. The reviews speak for themselves, and whilst I trust the musicians, you must go into your wedding day with the same level of trust. When doing your research, check if the band have regular reviews and that they reflect what you are looking for in your wedding or event. 

Do the band dress smartly?

“It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed” is the mantra I have always followed when deciding what my band and I should wear for a wedding. A band should feel part of the event, and whilst it is ok for us to dress a bit more “avant-garde,” you want the band to reflect the event’s status and be an extension of your wedding party. 

The ultimate wedding band

Where can I hire a band with all of the above qualities?

All of the bands for hire that we represent meet the above expectations. They’re all incredibly talented, have an incredible music repertoire and are lovely people I know and trust personally. If you pick any of the bands on our roster, you will receive excellent service and have nice and trustworthy people at your event. 

In conclusion, the secrets to a good wedding band are pretty straightforward but extremely important. We love what we do for a living and are honoured to do our hobby as a job. Successful wedding bands perform the above principles to a world-class level and are ruthless with their song selection. We all love what we do; hopefully, that is reflected in the energy we bring to events. 

Thanks for reading!

 

Jonny Ross

wedding band harrogate

FAQ

Why hire a band for your wedding?

Wedding guests judge how much they enjoyed the day based on how good the party was. Naturally, we are very biased about the role of music at weddings, but if you think back to any event you have been to, the thing that generally sticks in your mind is how good the music was, how much you danced and how this made you feel. Hiring a good band for your wedding or event will ensure your guests have a great time and remember the event for it’s funfilled atmosphere.

 How much does a wedding band cost?

The cost of hiring a band is determined by the number of band members, their experience and the event’s location. For a local gig, our bands range from £1300 to £1860 for a 4-5 piece band. For show bands with 8 band members or more, prices can be upwards of £2,500. 

How long do bands perform for?

Bands typically perform for 2x 45-minute sessions. You can extend this to 2x 60-minute sessions if you wish and add a Dj in between to ensure an entire evening of entertainment. 

Will the wedding band perform my first dance?

Of course! All of our bands offer the option of performing your first dance live. I love performing the first dance live, it’s a great way of connecting with our customers, and it gets all the guests in one place, ready for the night ahead. 

When I hire a band with Jonny Ross Music, when will I speak to them about final details?

Booking a band with us is very straightforward, we will put you in touch with the band leader 4 weeks ahead of the date. They will then go over the timings, song requests and any other questions you have. Once we have the song requests and timings, we are good to go!

How to start a wedding business?

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The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Wedding Business 

Blog Introduction: Weddings are big business. According to the most recent statistics, wedding industry spending in the UK alone is estimated at around £14.7 billion annually and continues to grow every year. Being a part of this booming industry can be both exciting and lucrative. If you’ve been dreaming of starting your own wedding business, now is the time! Here’s everything you need to know about how to get started. 

how to start a wedding business

Business Plan 

The first step in starting any business is having a solid business plan. Your plan should include detailed information on your target market, services offered, pricing structure, marketing strategy, and financial projections. You should also research other wedding businesses in your area so that you can differentiate yourself from the competition and stand out from the crowd. Having a good plan in place will set you up for success and make it easier for you to achieve your goals down the road. 

Identify Your Niche 

The wedding industry is vast and varied; there are countless niches to explore such as event planning, catering, photography, videography, florists, hair and makeup artists, DJs, etc. It’s important that you identify what services you plan to offer and focus on that niche so that potential clients know what they can expect when they hire you. 

Secure Financing 

Starting a business requires capital upfront which means you will likely need some form of financing or investment. Luckily there are many options available such as small business loans or venture capital investments if you have a particularly compelling idea or product/service offering. It’s also important to keep track of all your expenses; knowing exactly where your money is going will help keep things organized and allow you to make smart decisions regarding finances moving forward. 
             

Conclusion

 Starting a wedding business can be an incredibly rewarding experience both professionally and personally; not only will it give you an opportunity to work with people on one of their most special days but it’s also great way to build relationships with vendors in the industry and grow your network with potential clients. A little bit of planning goes a long way towards making sure that this venture is successful; just remember to stay focused on your niche, develop a clear business plan with realistic financial expectations, secure financing where necessary, and don’t forget about marketing! With hard work comes reward – best of luck!
Bride dancing at a wedding

The top 10 most popular wedding bands

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The top 10 most popular wedding bands

Choosing your wedding music can be tricky, especially if you’re hiring a wedding band. To make things a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 most popular wedding bands available to hire with Jonny Ross Music.

Guaranteed to get your guests in the party mood, these acts are based in Leeds, ideal for a Yorkshire wedding. They can also travel to weddings around the UK and abroad.

Top ten most popular wedding bands

1. Big Shout Band

Pop and rock with a talented horn section

Graduates from Leeds Conservatoire, Big Shout Band deliver infectious energy and enthusiasm through their top-tier horn section, guitar and bass prowess, and tight drums and keys. 

Big Shout Band have been housemates as well as bandmates, and their bond shines through their slick onstage performances. Performing as a 5-piece or 7-piece band, these lads have an impressive repertoire. Enjoy tracks spanning Prince and George Michael to Jessie J and Daft Punk. 

2. The Northern House Band

Motown and soul classics

Looking for one of the best UK-based Motown function bands? The Northern House Band won’t disappoint!

With powerful male and female vocalists, this 5-piece wedding band are known for getting guests onto the dancefloor with classic Motown hits from Marvin Gaye to The Contours, as well as modern pop and rock anthems.

Northern House Band

3. The Wilde Ones

Indie wedding band for old and new rock and pop

Graduates from The Leeds College of Music, The Wilde Ones have managed to tour the world with a plethora of acclaimed artists alongside forming their own events band. This supremely talented group always bring their A-game with powerful lead vocals, sax, and a faultless rhythm section.

Their repertoire includes hits from The Beatles, The Killers, Oasis, Pulp, George Ezra, and more.

4. The Jazz Standard

Award-winning jazz musicians, perfect for a retro vibe

Do you have a passion for jazz, swing, and pop? The Jazz Standard will dazzle your wedding guests with a vibrant array of timeless jazz and pop tracks delivered in their signature vintage style.

5. Marc and Abi

Lively pop and rock vocalists with an acoustic option

These energetic vocalists have played all over the world at weddings and other events. Marc and Abi are known for bringing buckets of charm to their performances and delivering passionate renditions of songs from their vast repertoire — whether it’s “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira or “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse.

They’re available to book as a 4-8 piece band. Alternatively, if you’re looking for acoustic wedding entertainment, Marc and Abi can showcase a beautiful array of chilled hits as a duo, too.

6. The Jonny Ross Band

Sought-after rock and pop wedding band

With years of experience in events, The Jonny Ross Band have a well-earned five-star reputation in the UK and international wedding scene. One thing’s for certain — these musicians know how to put on a big show with chart hits, rock anthems, and party classics.

From Frank Sinatra and Neil Diamond to Avicii and MGMT, they’ll provide something for everyone.

7. Dae La Roux

Floor-filling rock, pop, and indie bangers

Dae La Roux are a 5-piece function band with a stellar reputation for bringing their all to every wedding performance. These talented musicians boast a vast repertoire of rock and pop songs from classic acts such as Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry to contemporary bands like Stereophonics and Kings of Leon.

Dae La Roux

8. The Pop Punk Allstars

Pop-punk classics

If you’re hoping to dance to your favourite pop-punk anthems on your wedding night, look no further than The Pop Punk Allstars. This 5-piece band will provide nostalgic pop-punk hits from the 90s and early 00s. Get ready to rock out with your nearest and dearest.

From Fall Out Boy and Avril Lavigne to Blink 182 and Paramore, their repertoire will delight any pop-punk fan.

9. The Rolling Keys

Energetic rock and pop to please the crowd

With world-class musicians from a broad range of impressive backgrounds, The Rolling Keys are an experienced 5-piece wedding band with a set list that includes hits from Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys, Queen, and more.

The Rolling Keys never fail to light up the room, fill the dance floor, and charm every wedding guest.

10. Something For The Weekend

Upbeat 90s dance tracks

Something For The Weekend is a professional, charismatic collective with oodles of experience performing at weddings and parties. The four musicians are known for their energetic renditions of 90s dancefloor hits from the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire, Justin Timberlake, and Basement Jaxx.

Find your perfect wedding entertainment with Jonny Ross Music

Good luck choosing your wedding band! If you’d like more information about hiring a wedding band, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Jonny Ross Music.Take a look at all our bands for hire or learn more about hiring an acoustic act, professional DJ, or Sax & DJ service for your wedding.

How much is a wedding band?

How much is a wedding band?

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How much is a wedding band?

Planning a wedding is incredibly exciting – but it also involves keeping track of your budget. From flowers and dresses to party favours, and the all-important drinks, wedding expenses can soon add up.

So when it comes to finding your perfect wedding entertainment, how much money should you put aside? 

Whether you’re recently engaged or have your date and venue booked, here’s all you need to know about wedding band costs.

How much is a wedding band?

Should I hire a live band for my wedding?

Not everyone decides to have live music for their wedding. It all depends on your preferences – you may wish to have a low-key event with a playlist of your favourite songs. However, on-stage wedding entertainment can make for a truly memorable celebration.

Another option is to hire a wedding DJ. Both wedding bands and DJs can interact with your guests in a unique way that builds a fantastic atmosphere. 

And for the ultimate party, a wedding band and DJ combination is guaranteed to get everyone dancing. With Jonny Ross Music, you can add a DJ to your wedding band package for £250.

How much does a wedding band cost?

As with any service, wedding band hire varies in price depending on the location and the band’s experience.

As a ball-park figure, you can usually expect to pay between £750 and £5000 for a wedding band. Ultimately, the more you spend, the more experienced an act you get.

Other factors that can affect the cost of a live wedding band include:

The number of performers

Essentially, the more band members there are, the higher the cost. 

The cost per performer fluctuates in line with the cost of living. At the time of writing, you can expect to pay around £300 per band member.

Approximate costs

Solo performer £520

Duo- £750 plus

4-5 Piece Band- £1300 -£1800

A larger collective with strings, a brass section or multiple singers can cost upwards of £1800.

If you’re having a chilled, intimate wedding, you might want to go for a solo performer or acoustic duo. They’ll create a fantastic atmosphere that won’t be too loud or overwhelming for small groups of people.

On the other hand, larger events can benefit from full bands to fill the space and get everybody up on the dance floor.

Your wedding date

Is your wedding booked for a peak time? Due to increased demand, some bands may charge a higher rate for weekend or summer weddings.

Sound and lighting equipment

Wedding bands will bring along all the instruments, PA systems, and lighting equipment they need to perform to their best. The cost of insurance on this equipment may affect the price the band charges — included in their package quote.

Performance duration

How long would you like your band to perform for? Often, wedding bands perform two 45-minute sets. However, you may be able to discuss the option of three shorter sets or two 1-hour sets. Don’t want to cut the fun short? Sometimes paying a little extra is worth it so your guests can dance to their hearts’ content!

Many of our acts provide evening-only and longer full-day packages so you can get the most suitable performance time for your event.

Bespoke songs

Most wedding bands have a broad repertoire of songs that you can select from. Many will also learn your first dance song for you at no extra cost.

However, if you have other specific songs in mind that aren’t on the band’s set list, they may charge extra to cover the costs associated with learning them from scratch. 

Travel

You might be looking specifically for wedding bands local to you. But if you have your heart set on a particular act based further afield, they may charge for extra travel costs. 

At Jonny Ross Music, our wedding, function, and party bands are mostly based in Leeds. We love performing at celebrations all over the country — and even internationally. However, if your wedding is outside of West Yorkshire, we ask for 60p per mile to cover costs. 

Hire a wedding band with Jonny Ross Music

Whether you’re planning a small celebration with a handful of loved ones or a big bash with lots of guests, hiring a live wedding band will create a fantastic event you’ll remember for a lifetime. 

While prices vary depending on your wedding location, the number of band performers, and several other factors, it can be beneficial to book your wedding entertainment through a reputable agency that can assist if there are any issues.

Our talented acts will provide the atmosphere you’re looking for and we offer clear pricing packages to make planning your wedding as stress-free as possible. Browse our wedding bands, and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about our performers, travel, or pricing.

Check prices for a wedding band
10 upbeat first dance wedding song ideas

10 upbeat first dance wedding songs

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10 upbeat first dance wedding songs

This article will give you 10 upbeat first dance wedding songs that you may not have yet considered!

Wedding planning can often be overwhelming due to the number of decisions you have to make before the big day. Picking a first dance is one of the many big decisions, and it is essential to get it right. You want the song to reflect you as a couple, be different from the standard tunes such as “Thinking out loud” and “All of me”, and be romantic. As close to 2 weeks before their wedding, some of our customers still haven’t chosen a first dance. They come to us for ideas in the hope we can suggest something different. I always advise picking something upbeat and having fun with the song.

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What are the best first dance songs you have performed live?

The best first dances I have performed have been upbeat songs people can dance along to. When choosing a first dance, couples always look at slow romantic songs. Whilst that’s a lovely idea, don’t be afraid to consider having more upbeat music to set the party’s tone. Traditions are slowly fading, and couples are approaching everything with an open mind. Starting the evening with a lively first dance song will set a tone for the evening and lead to a better party.

Jonny Ross Band

Image courtesy of Hamish Irvine

What first dance wedding songs can you recommend?

With that in mind, we have put together a list of 10 upbeat first dance songs that are lively, fun, and all your guests will love! One of them is The Sugarhill Gang- “Apache (Jump On It)”, which we picked for the first dance song at our wedding. We chose it, as it’s a bit of fun and music everyone knows the dance too! (If you don’t know the dance then click here)

Another song I have chosen is Jess Glynne- “Right Here”. One of our very talented DJs, Kyle had this as his first dance; they started with the acoustic version, then he remixed it into the dance version and invited everyone to the dancefloor. It was amazing! I love this idea for new couples! You can have a little dance together for the acoustic section while the photographer gets the snaps in, then get the guests on the dance floor when it kicks in to the original dance version. This idea also works very well with a Saxophone!

All our bands will be happy to perform any of the songs listed. So why not pick an upbeat first dance wedding song and ask your band to cover it live!

10 upbeat first dance wedding song ideas

A great shot from our first dance! All our family got involved and everyone stayed on the dance-floor from that point onwards.

Image courtesy of Marie Lloyd Photography

The wedding trend of the year: sax and DJ combos

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As any betrothed couple knows, weddings take a lot of planning. And one concern for many is how to choose wedding entertainment. You might have looked at traditional wedding bands or considered hiring a DJ.

But if you fancy giving your big day an extra special edge, why not go for a saxophone and DJ set?

Why hire a saxophone player and DJ for your event?

The combination of a saxophone and DJ set results in a dynamic show filled with energetic melodies. The bringing together of a DJ and live instruments is a surefire way to get guests on the dancefloor.

Sax and djA mix of genres

The saxophone’s unique sound compliments a whole array of genres – from Motown and funk to Ska and classical. If you have an eclectic music taste, a DJ can seamlessly blend your favourite tracks. Meanwhile, a live sax provides an extra touch of vibrancy.

Book a saxophonist for your event

Book a saxophonist for your event

A bespoke set

Sax and DJ sets are ideal for playing covers of upbeat pop and rock but they can also create a chilled ambience, ideal for a sophisticated afternoon soundtrack. You can choose the vibe you want.

When you book with Jonny Ross Music, you can tailor the performance to suit the atmosphere you’re after. You can even add percussion players!

Hours of entertainment

Whether you’re organising a small wedding or something grand, a saxophone and DJ set will create a fantastic atmosphere all evening, so you don’t need to worry about entertainment.

Wedding DJs usually play for the whole evening, with a saxophone player accompanying them for three 30-minute slots.

It’s fun, interactive, and a little bit different

With a saxophone and DJ combo, you get the benefit of a recorded music set, complete with lights and visuals, plus the joy of live music. Often, saxophonists will ad-lib, hopping in to create one-of-a-kind accompaniments for the DJ’s tracks.

2L6A3939 scaledSax and DJ packages from Jonny Ross Music

Flexible, original, and memorable, a sax and DJ package is a great addition to any wedding or celebration. Get in touch to discuss your wedding entertainment.

5 Wedding Bands you Need to Know About

5 Wedding Bands you Need to Know About

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With wedding and events officially back on the scene for 2022, we couldn’t be more excited to share our latest repertoire of bands for hire with you. These guys offer everything you need to get the party started – even for those guests who usually avoid the dance-floor. Playing old school classics to the newbies on the block, we have a selection of live wedding bands that we just know you’re going to love. Without further ado, here are the 5 function bands you need to know about folks…

5 Wedding Bands you Need to Know About

Big Shout Band

Let’s kick things off with Big Shout Band, a 7-piece band that are dedicated to performing those classic 00s pop songs that never seem to get old. We’re talking Daft Punk, TLC, Jessie J and more – the perfect opportunity to relive the soundtrack of your teens with your favourite people. And if that’s not enough to tempt you onto your feet, Big Shout Band are loaded with one of the most talented horn sections in the North of England. Graduates from Leeds Conservaratoire, this wedding band have been house mates, band members and best friends for years – and it shows. They’re cool, cohesive and their energy is downright contagious.

BigShout band

Rolling Keys

Hold up people… we need to talk about Rolling Keys! The ultimate wedding entertainment for your celebration, this five-piece band are renowned for performing a huge variety of mega hits and floor fillers. They come with a tonne of experience and plenty of enthusiasm, having performed at west end shows, arenas, high-end studio recording sessions and more. With female-led vocals and a tight-knit rhythm section, you’ll be spoilt with everything from 50s to current tunes, as well as all your favourite classic hits. Long story short; Rolling Keys will make you wish the party would never end.

Rolling Keys

Marc & Abi

Marc & Abi need to be on your radar. Available as a band and duo, this act will certainly stop you in your tracks, offering energetic wedding band music that you and your guests will adore. Their diverse repertoire has been played across the globe, including Bora Bora, Bali and Fiji. They’re quirky, fun and provide just the right amount of sass courtesy of their fusion of female and male vocals.

Wedding Band Birmingham

Dae La Roux

Let us introduce you to Dae La Roux, an epic five-piece band that perform anything and everything you could ever want to hear, from Motown, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Indie and Pop. Their vocals are powerful, their enthusiasm is infectious and their rhythm is irresistible. Promising plenty of crowd-pleasing tunes from any era, they’re guaranteed to create an electric atmosphere for the duration of your celebration. What’s not to love?

Dae La Roux

Northern House Band

Say hello to Northern House Band, a sleek Motown-meets-Soul act featuring some of Leeds’ finest upcoming musicians. You can hire them as a duo, trio or five-piece – the choice is yours! Their authentic array of female and male vocals come with a set of classics, including Marvin Gaye, Amy Winehouse, Queen and more. Whether you’re having a smaller celebration or an extravagant event, the Northern House Band will adapt to any setting to make sure you have an unforgettable performance.

Northern House Band

We hope you’ve enjoyed checking out the latest wedding bands here at Jonny Ross Music. Don’t forget to drop our team a message if you’re still on the hunt for a band to hire for your wedding or event – we’d love to help out. In the meantime, make sure you’re following us on the ‘gram for daily music updates!