Wedding bands and musicians, where to begin! Wedding music is such an experience and above all, a memory maker. After all, music is a universal language all it’s own. But it’s also a fun way to enhance your wedding day, for you and your guests. We’ve rounded up 10 of our absolute fave unique wedding bands and musicians to book for your wedding! Keep reading for more!
1) Hire Your College Marching Band
As far as wedding bands go, we bet you didn’t have this one on your bingo card! Are you college sweethearts who want to rep your alma mater on your wedding day? Or, maybe you’re just enthusiasts who love tailgating and following the season of your fave local college teams. Whatever the reason, you can hire your team’s marching band (or, at least a portion of them!) to drum up excitement at your wedding reception! It’s a highly interactive experience that puts you and your guests at the center of the beat! Some of our absolute favorite universities offer their bands for weddings! Including the USC Marching Band, UW Marching Band, and Ohio State! Big fan of USC? You’ll be happy to know the USC Song Girls love to accompany the band for a high-vibe dance performance to wow your guests!
2) Mariachi Band
Mariachi Bands are a popular choice for couples planning a destination wedding in Mexico. But, you don’t have to plan a destination wedding in order to hire the festive upbeat rhythm of a Mariachi band! A mariachi band can be made up of anywhere from 4-12 musicians. Members of a mariachi band will play guitarrón, vihuela mexicana, harp, guitar, violin, and trumpet. All while singing a collection of songs with a Mexican & Latin rhythm. Typically Mariachi bands will play the “couple out” from their ceremony, and into their cocktail hour or reception. However, if what you had in mind was the sounds of a Mariachi band echoing throughout your cocktail hour, you can absolutely talk to your musicians about scheduling them at a time that best fits your vision!
3) Second Line
You can thank the French quarter of NOLA for this fabulous celebration of music and love! A “second line” is formed behind the newlyweds and the wedding party by a brass band. The brass band plays the couple into their wedding reception from their ceremony. Usually done in the streets of New Orleans, the duration of a second line will depend on a few things!
If the newlyweds have obtained a permit, then they’ll be allowed to “second line” through the streets of NOLA. Typically for around 6-8 blocks. Sometimes a second line will play a couple from their ceremony venue to their reception venue. Lastly, a second line can also be planned for the sole purpose of playing the newlyweds into their wedding reception. A truly fab second line will accommodate its participants with parasols or handkerchiefs. If you’re ever privy to a second line, your participation will be required! It’s an unforgettable experience and one you’ll talk about for years to come!
4) Zaffa Entrance
A zaffa or zaffe is a wedding entrance traditionally seen in Egyptian and Arabic cultures. The couple is announced into their reception and makes their grand entrance to a row of awaiting drummers. Conversely, this can also be done with a row of drummers following behind the couple as they make their entrance. The sound is both booming and tantalizing and it wastes no time in kicking off the wedding reception with a heap of high energy! During a Zaffa you might even hear the sounds of live singers while your eyes are met with hired dabke dancers, cold sparklers, and cloud machines! It is one incredible experience to witness, and even more fun to take part in!
5) Big Band
The swinging sounds of a 12-piece big band playing saxophones, trumpets, and trombones is a sound that will fill your ears, and vibrate through your reception like no other. Don’t get us wrong, we are fans of all kinds of music at weddings. But there is something memorable about a big band playing renditions of your favorite modern-day songs. It’s a guaranteed way to keep the dance floor lit, all night long! Big bands come in all shapes, sizes, and, genres of music. Whether it’s jazz, swing, or modern bops all the way, hiring a big band for your wedding is an exraordinary experience!
Bagpipers are a long-held tradition at Scottish weddings! You might be wondering if hiring a singular musician to play the bagpipes will deliver the sound volume needed for your wedding. We can safely tell you there is nothing to worry about in that department! If you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing bagpipes in person, it is a boisterous instrument that carries a tune of emotion like no other!
Hiring the right bagpiper will take finding a skilled musician who can deliver music to your wedding in keeping with the tone of the moment. Bagpipes can be played for couples making their arrival to the altar, after they are announced as married, to welcome guests, or in a celebratory manner for your guests to clap along with at your reception. Basically, at any point during your wedding! If you want the sound of bagpipes to fill multiple moments of your wedding, discuss package options with your chosen bagpiper!
7) Steel Drum
Looking for a more laid-back sound to match the beachy, toes-in-the-sand vibe of your wedding? Originally hailing from Trinidad, steel drum bands will play at a wedding to fill the air with the ambient sounds of the islands. Much like bagpipes, steel drums can be played at any part of your wedding from the ceremony entrance to the recessional, your cocktail hour, or even to welcome guests into your reception. Having a destination wedding in the Caribbean? Hire your steel drum player or band to infuse their soothing sounds into your welcome party to kick off your week or weekend of festivities!
8) String Quartet
Let’s be honest, we’ve all longed for our Bridgerton moment ever since The Duke & Daphne wed during the final episodes of the series premiere. While there’s not much we can do to bring back the Regency period, you can still have your Bridgerton moment on your wedding day; with a string quartet! A string quartet consists of first and second violins, viola, and cello. Melding traditional wedding day vibes with your favorite Taylor Swift song, a string quartet is a fab way to get your guest singing along to instrumental versions of your top hits.
9) Dueling Pianos
Dueling pianos are an interactive experience that pulls your guests into an atmosphere of vibrancy & upbeat tunes! All in all, it’s a fabulously fun form of entertainment for your wedding reception! But, it’s not exactly a “let’s keep the dance floor lit all night” form of entertainment. So you’ll want to hire dueling pianos for cocktail hour. Or for a portion of your wedding reception; preferably during dinner and before the dance floor “opens” for the night. Having a full week or weekend of events leading up to your wedding? You can also hire dueling pianos to light up the night at your rehearsal dinner!
Dueling pianos is a highly interactive experience with two piano players “dueling each other” playing at the same time. They’ll work together to get the crowd singing and clapping along to their music. The best part? Your guests won’t have to leave their seats if they don’t want to! One thing we love about dueling pianos is that they operate on a request basis! If you want to make sure your guests get to hear their favorite ballads side by side on dueling pianos, ask them for their song requests in advance through your Guesite event. Your musicians will be able to plan their time accordingly and your guests will love the fully immersive interactive element of this unique wedding music!
10) Cover Band
Looking for something that’s more of a classic choice in the “wedding bands” department? A cover band is definitely a more traditional form of live music at a wedding. But it’s far from boring! After all, is there really anything better than hearing everyone you love, singing along to your favorite song on the dance floor at your wedding? If you’re thinking about hiring a cover band for your wedding, let’s clear something up really quick!
A cover band will perform covers of your favorite popular songs and the songs your guests have requested. A tribute band is a band that is dedicated to only covering songs from one particular recording artist. Either is a fun option for keeping the energy at your wedding reception high. But we thought we should at least explain the difference. Cover bands are talented performers who are skilled at “reading the room”. You won’t have to worry about guests who won’t budge from their seats because your cover band is sure to get them on the dance floor!
Those were our 10 favorite unique wedding bands & musicians! Need to curate a fab list of songs for your wedding day? We’ve rounded up some crowd favorites in the posts below!
- 100 Songs to Add to Your Wedding Day Getting Ready Playlist
- 50 Amazing Songs to Walk Down the Aisle to On Your Wedding Day
- 70 First Dance Songs for Your Wedding That are Unique & Fun
- 100 Wedding Party Entrance Songs for a High Vibe Reception!
- The Best Wedding Music From Ceremony to Reception!
- 100 Last Dance Wedding Songs to Play at Your Reception