Tips On Hiring The Best Wedding Bands

aka The Ultimate Guide To Booking Your Wedding Band In Ireland

Whether or not you decide to choose PLAYLIST for your big day’s musical entertainment we would like to share some of our experience as one of Ireland’s top wedding bands to help you ask the right questions when it comes to booking your wedding band. We’d like to offer helpful advice and let you in on the secrets of the Irish wedding band industry with a comprehensive look into the dos and don’ts of booking a wedding band. To get the ball rolling, here’s tip #1: When choosing your wedding band it’s very important to remember that each band is only available for one exclusive wedding per calendar date so if you love a band it’s worth ‘saving the date’ with a booking deposit as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

The Best Places To Search

There are literally hundreds of wedding bands in Ireland which begs the question where do you start the search for a great wedding band? PLAYLIST are featured on two of the very best sites for finding your dream wedding band. The first one is Best Wedding Bands. This site is as simple as it gets. Twenty of the very best wedding bands in Ireland all on one site. The other site is the Wedding Band Association of Ireland ( A single enquiry to either of these sites will generate replies from only those bands that are available on your date. This is an invaluable time saver! Also, WBA bands adhere to a set of professional standards (check out this informative video) meaning you can book a WBA band with confidence. Verified online reviews are also essential when it comes to booking your band. Facebook and Google are great platforms for reviews as couples require an account on either site to leave a review. Also, the Wedding Band Reviews website is a great resource for obtaining verified reviews for your band. PLAYLIST are one of the few bands in Ireland to have 5 star ratings on all of these reviews sites.
“From our first email to the last song of the night they were extremely professional, our dance floor was full the whole night.
All of our guests commented on the whole entertainment package Playlist provided us.”
Stephen & Michelle, Rathsallagh House, 15th September 2017

Is The Band I Book The Band I Get?

What do we mean? Well, believe it or not some bands (or brands) actually have multiple line ups using the same name. This means that you might go to see “Band A” called BLAH at a showcase but in fact “Band B” (still called BLAH) will turn up at your wedding. Now you might be absolutely fine with this but personally if I pay to see Coldplay I’d prefer if U2 didn’t show up instead. To be guaranteed that the band you book is the band you get it’s worth paying a visit to the Wedding Band Association website. All WBA bands have only one line up so you can book with confidence!

PLAYLIST… your dream band! is an independent, established, premium, award winning wedding band with over a decade of experience and a thousand weddings under our belt. We only perform at one exclusive wedding per calendar date and we are proud members of Ireland’s Wedding Band Association.

“From the first time we met the lads nothing was too much trouble. They are all lovely and so professional.
Everyone commented on how much they enjoyed PLAYLIST. Our day would not have been the same without them.
Stephanie & PaulParkview Hotel, 3rd November 2017

How Long Does A Wedding Band Play For?

Most wedding bands will play for at least two hours. Try to get a feel for how ‘flexible’ your band will be on the night. There are lots of things that can affect timings on your wedding day such as the weather (it’s Ireland after all!), the photo shoots, the duration of the meal and of course the best man’s speech (why did you choose that guy haha?)PLAYLIST… your dream band! perform the very best dance floor filling LIVE music for up to three hours with a short interval to coincide with the evening buffet. However, don’t worry if things don’t go 100% according to plan with your schedule! We’ll gladly take a shorter break or even play straight through to make up for precious dancing time 🙂

“Everyone raved about Playlist after and although they play a super long set the night just flew by as we never left the floor.
Linda & BrianFarnham Estate, 16th September 2017

Can A Wedding Band Play Your First Dance Song Live?

Not all wedding bands do so it’s definitely worth checking this out if you have something special in mind. Consider the vocal line up (male or female) and instrumentation of your band when choosing your song. It’s probably best to steer clear of Adele or Celine if you have an all male band for example. If you’d prefer the original recording then it’s also worth checking with the band if they can source this for you and have the facility to play it through their sound equipment.

PLAYLIST… your dream band! have played every kind of first dance conceivable! From all time classics such as Tony Bennett’s “The Way You Look Tonight” to modern favourites like Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” and everything in between. We’ve even had a groom actually write a song for his bride. He sent us a demo and asked us to perform it as a ‘surprise’ first dance (no pressure lads!!) We do our utmost to ensure that every first dance is delivered with passion & authenticity as it’s such a memorable part of your wedding.

“You learned our first dance song, and it was brilliant. Better than the original
I cant wait to hear it again when we receive our DVD, its a memory from our wedding we both will never forget
Keira & GordonTrim Castle, 19th November 2016

Make Sure They Cater For Your Favoured Style Of Music

Some bands roll up and play the exact same set night in night out. This might be because they are not fully live and are reliant on backing tracks (if you love your music, this is best avoided!) or they are just plain lazy (even worse!!) A fully live band should have the flexibility to perform a wide variety of music and be able to change things up at the drop of a hat. These bands are usually fairly receptive to requests and your musical taste. However, it’s really important to consider all of your guests. In order to fill the dance floor, a good wedding band will play music from a range of genres to appeal to everyone.

PLAYLIST… your dream band! have an absolutely humongous repertoire to choose from (see for yourself!) and we’re 100% live. Part of what we do so well and one of the main reasons that couples book us is that because of our vast experience playing at more than a thousand weddings, we are experts in choosing the right songs to play in the right order to keep your dance floor full. We don’t arrive at your wedding with a list of songs that we’re going to play. Instead, we read the room throughout the night picking the very best tunes from our song list resulting in the most successful night’s entertainment.

The only complaint we received was that guests couldn’t sit down because every song was better than the last!”
Lesley Ann & DeclanBalyna House Moyvalley, 14th October 2017

Should I Book My DJ With My Wedding Band?

If your wedding band provides a professional DJ service to complement their live offering then this is strongly worth considering. Just make sure that your band is offering a proper service. In some rare cases, the band’s own DJ might simply be a lonely laptop hiding on the corner of the stage with a dodgy cable hooked in to the sound equipment which is mysteriously shrinking in size as the night gets later and later!

At PLAYLIST HQ, we take our DJ skills seriously… very seriously! As well as allowing you as much input in to the DJ set as you desire there are several undeniable benefits to booking our professional DJ service:

  • our proDJ service lasts for up to 2 hours until the very wee hours providing you with up to 5 hours of continuous floor filling entertainment when booked with our live band
  • we use the same high specification sound and light equipment as the band ensuring a seamless transition from band to DJ – no gaps!
  • we already know what your guests love so we will continue to select the very best floor fillers to keep people dancing
  • we won’t repeat any of the songs the band have already played (unless asked!)
  • we accept requests on the night from your wedding guests
“PLAYLIST provided the DJ who once again kept the floor full.
Everybody at the wedding was super impressed and I’m sure I’ll see Playlist again at friends’ weddings.
Lyndsey & BarryThe Lord Bagenal Hotel, 24th March 2017

What About Ceremony Music & Drinks Reception Entertainment?

It’s always worth having a look to see if your wedding band have options for ceremony music and afternoon reception entertainment. From a practical point of view it’s super easy to deal with one supplier/point of contact for your full day’s entertainment. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to save as many bands offer attractive packages to include daytime music… leaving you with a few extra €€€s for that magical dress or perhaps a photo booth!

PLAYLIST is also home to Ireland’s quirkiest, hippest, funkiest, craziest and just downright awesome ukulele trio The Uke Alikes! Another amazing talking point for you and your guests that’s both memorable and unique. We also work with Ireland’s finest vocalists (male & female) for more traditional ceremonies and we can provide piano or guitar instrumentalists as well as sophisticated jazz ensembles – the perfect romantic backdrop to your bubbles & canapés!

“We also had The Uke Alikes for our reception, which added such a lovely atmosphere to the day.
We could not recommend them enough. Thank you!!
Neasa & ShaneKilshane House, 15th July 2017

I Want To Dance Already! What Is The Normal Setup Time For A Wedding Band?

Every band’s set up is different. Depending on the line up and amount of sound and lighting equipment required set up times can vary greatly. A well established, professional band should be efficient and be able to set up everything, sound check and start playing your first dance within an hour. Some bands may take ‘liberties’ with the set up time citing complex costume changes and elaborate stage design as excuses but remember they’re there to entertain not faff around with gear. Some bands offer an ‘early set up’ option though this will typically incur a rate supplement and isn’t usually necessary. Our friend and professional wedding photographer Gary Barrett has an interesting perspective on set up times and wedding bands in this useful blog. We’re one of his “great wedding bands” by the way 🙂

As well as being your dream band, PLAYLIST are also a firm favourite with photographers, videographers and banqueting staff. We’re always on time (frequently early!). Providing the access is good and the stage area is clear we can be up and running in less than 3o minutes. More dancing time yay!

“PLAYLIST were so professional and very responsive and helpful which is so important when planning a wedding.
Michelle & CathalFerrycarrig Hotel, 22nd September 2017

See Them Play Live At A Wedding Band Showcase

A showcase is a fantastic opportunity to get to see a wedding band ‘in the flesh’ so to speak without the need to ‘gatecrash’ an actual wedding. Although some couples don’t mind one or two people popping in to have a look at the band in action at their own wedding, it’s become increasingly common for couples not to consent to this. Showcases can in some cases be an informal pub gig but a lot of professional wedding bands host exclusive, intimate showcase events especially for engaged couples. They provide not only an opportunity to hear and see the band live but also meet the band members and ask any burning questions that you might have 🙂

PLAYLIST… your dream band! organise regular showcase events. They usually last about an hour. Admission is free and you are more than welcome to bring along some family and friends for a valued second opinion. Also, if you happen to be based overseas we encourage you to invite someone to our showcase on your behalf. We also offer a preview of our fabulous ukulele trio The Uke Alikes so it’s well worth popping along. Visit our showcase page to find out about our next scheduled event.

“We went to their showcase in Dublin last year and were very impressed with them.
They really put us at ease and everything ran smoothly. Thank you so much for a memorable night!! 
Roseann & Edward, Newpark Hotel, 1st July 2017

Always Ask For A Booking Contract

Most bands require a booking fee to secure or ‘save the date’. Once a band receives a booking fee from you the date is yours. You should receive a receipt for the booking fee and a booking confirmation. To make sure you and your band are on the same page ensure you request these! The booking confirmation can take the form of an email or electronic document and should include any terms and conditions associated with your booking. We strongly recommend communicating electronically where possible so that you have a virtual paper trail of all correspondence. You should also check if under any circumstances your booking fee is refundable. For example, with PLAYLIST you booking fee is ‘fully refundable’ pending a satisfactory live viewing of the band within 3
months of booking. This gives you complete confidence and peace of mind when booking and also helps to ensure that you don’t lose out on your date to another couple.

Make Sure The Band Has Public Liability Insurance

It may sound boring but it’s extremely reassuring to know that your wedding band is covered in the unlikely event of any accident occurring on your wedding night. It’s also a good way to distinguish professional bands from the cowboys. This is why it is so important to check if they have public liability insurance. Although only some venues insist on bands having their own insurance, it’s important that both your venue and your band carry their own PL insurance to ensure complete cover in unfortunate circumstances. PLAYLIST are fully insured both on the road and at your venue. We care about the welfare and safety of you and your guests so no matter what band you book make sure that they’ve dotted their i’s and crossed their t’s 🙂

Always Check What Payment Options They Accept

Professional bands that operate on a full time basis should be in a position to accept payment securely by all of the usual methods including debit/credit card, cheque, bank transfer or cash. Usually bands will request a booking fee up front to secure your date and then a second instalment to settle the outstanding balance. Most wedding bands will ask for the balance to be settled prior to their performance. If you choose to pay by bank transfer, card or cheque then any outstanding balances should be paid at least one working week in advance of your wedding date to allow the payment to clear. If you wish to pay on the night of your wedding most bands will accept payment in cash before the performance begins.

See our recommendations for the best wedding venues in Ireland!