Congrats if you've recently got engaged - it’s such a fun and exciting time planning a wedding. There's so much to get done and whilst it can seem like a daunting task, if you write a priority to-do list and go through it carefully and methodically, it should be a piece of (wedding) cake.
As a busy party band gigging nearly every weekend, we've seen all sorts of weddings across the UK and love to see how each bride and groom has chosen to celebrate their big day - no two weddings are ever the same! When you attend over 60 weddings a year, the good ones stand out and this all comes down to good planning and paying attention to the important parts of building the dream day.
So we've come up with our Top Five Wedding Planning To-Dos, to set you off in the right direction...
1. Set your date
Are you hoping for hazy sunshine or a frosty morning as you walk up the aisle? We play weddings throughout the year, but obviously the summer months are most popular, particularly May to September. As many people book their holidays in August this can often be a time that people avoid and often there's plenty of sunshine and warm whether in May and June.
Don't forget venues will offer big discounts for midweek weddings, and we've often found these are a success as friend and family take a few days off work and treat the wedding like a mini-break. We also offer midweek discounts Sunday - Thursday!
2. Set your budget
When it comes to finance, think outside the box - if you don’t have a big budget you can still have a truly amazing day if you go for quirky instead of costly. Could you have a festival wedding in a friend’s field? Do your parents' friends make fabulous cakes that can make up your dessert table? Does your best friend's dad have a beautiful vintage car he'll lend for the day?
Once you have set your budget you can get cracking and start making your dreams a reality. We've met some couples who get their budgeting right by making sure they allow a decent proportion for entertainment. Guests might enjoy the plush decor and exquisite food, but booking a band who'll set the dance floor alight, encourage crowd surfing, get the kids and grandmas dancing together and have everyone singing at the top of their voices to all their favourite songs, will always be money well spent. A DJ might be a little cheaper, but it just won't offer the same gig vibe!
3. Choose Your Venue
It’s a really good idea to have a look at lots of different wedding venues to see what works for you. The venue can be a little bit like finding your dream dress; you may have a vision in your head but when you go to try it on, you might find it’s not quite suited to you.
Looking at plenty of venues will give you the best possible start to finding your dream location. Try to be a little flexible on your wedding date or you may fall in love with your favourite venue but they haven’t got your date available.
Some of the best locations we've performed at have been tipis in fields - this gives real festival vibe and always suits a band performing, especially when it feels like a mini version of Glastonbury. Other favourite venues include wine bars and restaurants - they offer a less stuffy vibe than a traditional hotel or golf club and can often offer a good price as they're not the usual go-to for couples looking to get hitched.
Two memorable locations that spring to mind under this umbrella are St Bart's Brewery in East London which has a great stage for the band and an upper balcony level which makes for a good atmosphere. The second is Lusty Glaze Beach Restaurant in Newquay, Cornwall which sits alone at the bottom of a cliff, looking out onto a beautiful sandy beach. Here, a large marquee sits beside a seafood restaurant and allows plenty of space for the band and a big beach party!
4. Choose Your Food
Weddings are notoriously long days and guests will always look forward to enjoying some delicious food to soak up that alcohol. Timing your food offerings right will make sure nobody goes hungry throughout the day!
As much as we all enjoy a fine dining experience, we've seen wedding guests can be just as happy with a gourmet pizza van or help-yourself hog roast. Many couples opt to leave dessert altogether (saving a fair amount of dosh) and let guests help themselves to some wedding cake and a cheese platter in their own time. As a band, we always advise couples to make sure everyone has had some time to digest before we start our first performance, as nobody likes to bop on a heavy stomach.
5. Book the band!
This is SUCH an important part of the day. Imagine a film with no soundtrack - it just doesn't have the same emotional impact. Bands like us get booked up to two years in advance, so it's always best to decide on this pretty early on.
Music should accompany you walking down the aisle but also think about entertaining guests as they wait for the bride to arrive - either with an acoustic duo playing mellow versions of some romantic songs live or a playlist of your favourite chilled songs a sound system.
The same goes for your post-ceremony drinks reception, where a live trio singing jazz or mellow pop songs can work well to provide afternoon entertainment. Switch to a playlist of music through speakers over dinner (or sneak in some singing waiters) before setting the party alight with a proper live band for the evening - nothing beats it!
We can provide several playlists of music through our speakers making sure there's never a silent moment from the moment we set up to the venue's curfew.
Ruby & The Rhythms - professional party and wedding band available in London, Surrey, across the UK and internationally.