To view more expert advice on a different topic, please select one from the list below.
I'm with the band
Q. We'd love some live music at our reception, but don't want anything too intrusive as guests will want to chat and catch up. What would you suggest?
A. Tracy Curd says: At Old Skool we offer lots of different packages to suit your needs. Our acoustic duo is the perfect option if you want some live background music whilst your guests have a drink and a chat. We can provide the perfect ambience with some chilled songs to keep your guests entertained, leaving them able to chat and socialise as they enjoy the live music. However, you may wish to consider upgrading to our full seven-piece wedding band, complete with brass section, for your evening reception. You and your guests can make memories on the dance floor from your first dance, which we can happily learn for you, to the end of the night with our arrangements of soul, Motown, disco and RnB. We play songs from the 1960s right up to the present day, so there will be something for all of your guests, young and old.
Tracy Curd, Old Skool
Q. My fiancée and I met at a casino, and I want to surprise her with evening entertainment to reflect that. Are all mobile casinos the same – or is there anything else I should be aware of that will wow her and all our friends and family?
A. Victoria Limrick says: I would personally say most casino tables are the same, however, what I say to my brides and grooms is that with our business you deal with me from the beginning right through to the very end – I will be at your wedding, so you know who will be behind the tables. With 20 years of experience in London casinos I know what I'm doing, and I only work with casino-trained dealers. I also only host one event per day, so although the dealing time is up to three hours I'm available all day for your wedding.
Victoria Limrick, Against All Odds Mobile Fun Casino
It's good talk
Q. There's going to be a lot of kids at our wedding – and we don't want them staring at phones all day! What entertainment will get them off social media and interacting with each other?
A. Gracie Leader says: Although you want everyone attending your wedding to have fun, younger kids and teenagers can be the most difficult guests to keep happy. Little ones soon get bored of the games their parents bring along to amuse them, while teenagers are stuck in that awkward stage of not wanting to chat to adults – and not being being old enough to enjoy the free bar!
At Evo Event Hire we have entertainment to amuse all and every guest, no matter what their age. Our garden games are perfect to keep everyone happy in warmer weather, from giant Snakes & Ladders to interactive play systems, where it's a race to push the button first.
If your wedding is taking place indoors, our retro arcade machines bring a more modern version of well-loved classics to the party. With over 60 games including Space Invaders and Donkey Kong, these machines will have kids asking if video games were really that much fun when you were their age!
Gracie Leader, Evo Event Hire
Thank you for the music
Q. My partner and I want to book a band for our wedding and have created a playlist of our favourite tracks. Can a group turn down the gig if we ask them to learn the songs?
A. Jonathan Babak says: That certainly shouldn't be the case! A good wedding band should already have a large repertoire, so take your time researching, looking for full song lists on their website and even asking for a set list recently played. This will help you narrow down those that fit the bill for what you're after.
If you're almost there but some of your all-time favourite tunes are missing, don't hold back on asking the band if they can learn them. With a little bit of notice, they should be able to take on a variety of requests, making sure you're getting exactly what you want to hear on your special day. And if your band provides a DJ service, they'll be able to add any requests that can't be accommodated by the live band into that set, too… so always ask!
Jonathan Babak, The Shakedown
Q. How have couples changed their approach to wedding planning for 2022 and beyond?
A. Lisa Sansom says: The last 18 months have probably been the hardest the industry has ever seen. The restrictions we've had to face have meant that not only the way people are booking weddings have changed, but also what people are booking.
Regardless of restrictions lifting, we've seen that a lot of people are still keeping their weddings relatively small and people are choosing to spend their budget which would have gone on more guests, on added luxuries like entertainment.
We've seen an increase in people booking more immersive experiences and musicians, which provides a more intimate experience allowing guests to feel more involved. We've had a lot of free standing aerialists which have been booked, meaning people can be in and amongst the action. Couples are also looking for more versatile acts which will allow them to still perform with any restrictions in place, as we have still felt a lot of uncertainty around big events.
Needless to say, people have got a lot of catching up to do and thankfully, we've seen bookings being made into the next couple of years, even into 2025! What most people do need now, is trust and flexibility. They need to be able to trust their suppliers and know that whatever the future may hold, Covid-19 restrictions or not, that their suppliers and event organisers will stand by them and they'll do the same.
Lisa Sansom, RubyLemon
Q. Following the last 18 months, how has the wedding industry changed? Our local suppliers, experts in their field, give us the lowdown...
A. Dessie Poleon says: After the past 18 months, it seems people were desperate to be back with their loved ones to have a celebration. This has made us feel welcomed every time we've recently performed at a wedding, like everyone's been missing us and the band has come to bring the party.
After the pandemic, I expect to see an increase in bookings and weekends filling up quickly as there will be no restrictions and everyone will be ready to celebrate once again.
Couples' priorities have changed and varied as people were affected differently by the pandemic. You have those clients who are now trying to cut down on their band sizes due to change in venues, or perhaps even income, and on the other hand some people are increasing their band size and adding more live music throughout the day for their drinks reception and ceremony. This could be due to increased budgets through saving during lockdown or because the last 18months have made them want to celebrate bigger and better ‒we're looking forward to being a part of some amazing parties!
We have a very easy online system where clients can start planning their event with us. This means that throughout the pandemic, most clients who postponed had good time to get it all in order. When we do our final call before the event, it's usually very easy as everything is already prepared for us. This includes music preferences, schedule and logistics.
Dessie Poleon, Blue Lion Band