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  • A Bluffers Guide To Swing Bands For Weddings

    by Brad Lazarus



    Curious about what type of swing band might be right for your wedding. Watch the video to find out more…

    00:35 – Most swing bands cover music from the 1920s to the 60s

    00:51 – Swing music was the dance music of its day

    00:59 – People will dance to a swing band… as long as it’s a great one!

    01:08 – Swing bands are perfect for vintage or other similar themed weddings

    02:24 – Go for the largest band you can afford.  At least one horn player will make the difference


    Click here to see our collection of exclusively managed swing bands


    Hi!  Brad Lazarus here with a short bluffers guide to swing bands for weddings.  Swing bands or swing music is generally characterized by a rhythm section of double bass and drums with a pretty heavy horn element of trumpet, trombone, and saxophone.

    Bluffers Guide to Swing Bands For Weddings


    Most Swing Bands Cover Music from the 1920s to the 60s

    Most swing bands will cover the music broadly from the eras of the 1920s right up to the 1960s.  So if you’re looking to book a swing band, you’re probably going to get a mixture of all of the songs that came out of those eras.


    Swing Music was the Dance Music of its Day

    The real danceable swing style actually came out of the era of 1935 to 1945 when swing music really was the dance music of its day.  So if you’re looking to book a swing band for your wedding and you’re worried about people getting onto the dance floor, just really keep that fact in mind.  It was the dance music of its day.  So if you’ve got the right swing band that really know how to get the floor filled, you shouldn’t have any problems.


    Swing Bands are Perfect for Vintage or Other Similar Themed Weddings

    If you’re looking to have a vintage theme or an art deco theme or something of that kind of era, then look to bands that specialize in 1920s and 1930s style.  That’s really going to enhance your theme for you.


    Prominent Figures of the Swing Era

    People refer to artists like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and those Rat Pack guys as very much swing music.  Strictly speaking, they are swing music.  They came from the eras of the late ‘40s through to the ‘60s which is only characterized by what they would call… it was known as swinging pop, really.  But if you’re looking to book a swing band, the chances are, they’re going to play quite a heavy proportion of that repertoire as well.


    Look for a Swing Band that can Cross Over to Other Genres

    Now, here’s a big tip.  Find a swing band that has the ability to be able to cross over into that more classic, pop, and soul material as well.  It’s really going to help you for later on in the evening.  People love to hear that swing and that jazz style but as the evening progresses, they also want something a little bit more mainstream.  And a band that has the versatility to be able to progress seamlessly from that swing into the classic pop of Stevie Wonder, Motown, that type of feel is really going to do a great job for you.


    Go for the Largest Band You Can Afford With at Least One Horn Player

    The other great piece of advice I’d give you is try and go for the largest band as possible and that includes at least one horn section.  The horn sound is such a significant part of swing music that lacking that, it will feel slightly empty.  The dynamic won’t necessarily be there.  So go for the largest band you possibly can for the budget.


    If you’re thinking about a swing band for your wedding, click the link below.  Check out the three swing bands that we have on our roster.  They cover all the repertoires from 1920s right through to the 1960s and some even more kind of classic, contemporary material as well they cover.  So check those out.


    If you’ve got any questions or comments, please leave them below.  If you’d like to hear some more information about other areas of booking a band for your wedding, just let me know and I’ll do a video for you as well.

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  • How To Find Unique Wedding Entertainment That Entertains ALL Night

    by Brad Lazarus


    Watch this video to discover ways of finding unique wedding entertainment that lasts all night…



    00:19 – Unique Wedding Reception Entertainment

    00:40 – How Do You Find Unique Entertainment for the Whole Evening

    00:55 – Find a Band that Will Bring a Uniqueness

    01:08 – Look for a Musical Specialism

    01:20 – Look for Charisma, Personality, Style, and Magnetism

    01:36 – Soul Fiesta

    02:02 – Schwing

    02:33 – The Jazz Cannons


    Get Your FREE Guide here – 7 Surprising Ways Your Wedding Band Can Transform Your Party From Bland…To Grand!


    Hi!  My name is Brad Lazarus and I’m here this week with a wedding entertainment inspiration tip.  So let’s get to it.


    How to Find Unique Entertainment for the Whole Evening

    So this time of year, there’s always a lot of talk about wedding trends for the year to come, and one of the things that really stood out to us was this idea of wedding reception entertainment and unique wedding reception entertainment.  Now, there’s talk of couples looking for nontraditional reception entertainment to create kind of a spectacle and a memorable evening.  What they’re referring to a lot of the time are jugglers, fire eaters, dueling pianists, that type of thing.  Now, this is all great, but this type of cabaret style doesn’t give you entertainment for the whole night.


    Find a Band that Will Bring a Uniqueness

    So how can you create that element of uniqueness without booking an act that only plays for 30 minutes cabaret style?  So my suggestion to you is to look for a band that has that element of uniqueness and personality and authenticity which can play for the whole evening.


    Look for a Musical Specialism

    Now, how do you find the characteristics of uniqueness and personality within a band?  Well, what you’re looking for is some kind of specialism.  For example, what style of music they play is unique to them, the charisma of the lead singer.


    Look for Charisma, Personality, Style, and Magnetism

    The purpose of the live band at your wedding is not just to kind of crank out the tunes and begin to look increasingly bored throughout the whole evening.  What you’re looking for really is a band with a personality, a charm, a character, a likeability, some kind of magnetism that really comes off the stage.  So they really need to be pouring their life and soul into the performance, with the whole thing being fun, entertaining, without a of self indulgence on their part.


    Things You Could Maybe Ask Your Band to Do for the Evening

    Here’s a couple of ideas of the things that you could ask your band to do or find a band that has these types of characteristics, or something that can really thrill your guests for the evening.  Now, one of the things that Schwing do is they lead the bride and groom into the main hall, the main ballroom, or main function room with a procession led by their horn section.


    The other thing you can get the band to do is maybe if you… a lot of bands will play for two hours.  So that leaves some kind of flexibility.  Make sure they’re flexible.  And you can maybe take about 15 minutes of that performance and have some cabaret performance between the main course and the dessert.  Here’s the Jazz Cannons performing I Want to be Like You, a kind of a fun drum solo type thing which goes down exceptionally well, and is really a talkable event for the evening.  Some people really chatting about this throughout the rest of the evening.


    And we’ve got loads more ideas like this of what you can get your band to do or at least find the band that can do certain things in our free guide, “Seven Surprising Ways Your Wedding Band Can Turn Your Event From Bland… to Grand!”  So just click on the link below and you can download that guide.


    I hope that’s been useful for you and see you next time.

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  • What Can You Expect to Have Included in Live Band Fees

    by Brad Lazarus


    Watch this video and find out what you should expect to have included in live band fees.

    00:17 – Don’t add to your ‘To-Do’ list

    00:23 – The types of fees are best

    00:37 – The PA sound system

    00:54 – Guest numbers and size of venue and how that effects the PA

    01:07 – Stage lighting and dance floor lighting

    01:56 – Is staging included?

    02:13 – The playing time ‘norm’

    02:23 – Why the bands flexibility is key

    02:46 – Why time parameters are your friend

    03:14 – A good meal is very welcome when you’ve been traveling all day!

    03:48 – Check out The Jazz Cannons and The Milestones


    Check out a selection of handpicked bands that could make your wedding amazing! 


    Hi!  Brad Lazarus here with a live band hiring tip for this week, and I’m going to run through some of the things that you should be looking out for as you start to bring in quotes for the various bands you’ve been looking at.  So let’s get going.


    Don’t Add to Your ‘To Do’ List

    When you book a band, you really want to be ticking things off your list of things to do.  My suggestion to you would be to look for quotes as inclusive as possible because the last thing that you need to be doing is booking a band, ticking it off your list, and adding another five or six things to do.


    PA Sound System

    In terms of what you should be looking out for, really the first thing is the PA system.  Be clear on the number of guests that you’ve got coming to your event and anything under about 200 guests, most band PAs should be included and anything over that, they need to be thinking about hiring in a larger PA.  So just be clear on the numbers and the size of the room that the PA the band is supplying is able to cope with.


    Stage Lighting and Dance Floor Lighting

    Stage lighting and basic dance floor lighting, I would suggest you want to be included.  You don’t want to become an expert in production and lighting and have to go and source that for yourself.  So definitely have that included.  Now, here’s actually Jimmy Cannon of the Jazz Cannons giving you just an example of a setup that the band use for guest numbers of up to about 200 in a marquee which holds about 150 to 200 guests.


    Jimmy Cannon: Hello, I’m Jimmy Cannon and I’m a singer and the band leader for the Jazz Cannons.  We are here at Winter Castle actually.  We are in the grounds and in the marquee.  So we’ve got our desk and our microphones and all our instruments up here on stage.  And this is the perfect size actually for the seven piece.


    Staging Isn’t Normally Included in Most Band Fees

    It’s not really normal for a band to include staging in their fees.  So, you know, my suggestion to you would be to have a chat with the venue or your marquee company and see if they can supply something for you.


    Two Hours Playing Time is Normal but Check to be Totally Sure

    The next thing to consider is how long the band will play for, what is included in that fee.  Normally, up to two hours is the norm.  Just be sure; some bands only play for two 45-minute sets.  Also, just be sure on the flexibility of that playing time.  Is it two one-hour sets, three 40-minute sets?  Are they able to change on the night relatively easily?


    Be Clear on Time Parameters

    The biggest tip here is just to be clear on time parameters.  You’re likely going to be booking a band quite a few months if not a year upfront of the event date itself.  So things change, your schedule will change, you just want to make sure that you’ve got some basic time parameters.  Let’s say for sake of argument, you want the band to be set up by 6:30 p.m. or later to play for their allotted time which may be two one-hour sets or three 40-minute sets to finish at midnight.  Just be sure and then you’ll go about your business organizing the rest of the event knowing that those time parameters are in place and you can work within them.


    A Good Meal is Very Welcome When You’ve Been Traveling All Day!

    Be sure that the band require a meal.  My suggestion to you would be to treat the band as well as you can and offer them a hot meal.  They’ve often been traveling for long periods of time, then they set up, and then they have a little bit of downtime where they can get together as a band, have something nice to eat, and then they’re all fresh and ready for the performance, and I guarantee you’ll get a lot more out of them if you give them that hot meal and a place for them to bathe themselves at the venue.


    Now, I hope those tips have been useful for you as you go about gathering those quotes.  If you wanted to check out either of those two bands in the video, that’s the Jazz Cannons or the Milestones, just check out the links below and you can link through to the bands’ websites and watch a little bit more of them and if you wanted to make an inquiry, please do so.  So all the best and we’ll see you next time.  Thanks.

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  • Band and DJ: Do You Need To Book Both?

    by Brad Lazarus


    Find out the do’s and don’ts of booking a band and DJ at the same time

    00:06 – Band and DJ: Do You Need To Book Both?
    00:21 – Is it common for a band and a DJ to be booked together?
    01:30 – When you would seriously consider booking a DJ…
    01:34 – Consider the start and finish times for your wedding party
    01:41 – And work out the time the DJ would need to fill
    02:01 – A DJ is a great option if your wedding is going on into the early hours!
    02:24 – What are the alternatives to a DJ?
    02:34 – You provide an iPod with preloaded playlist
    02:43 – Ask the band to provide music between their sets
    03:05 – What you’ll want the band and DJ to do if you’ve booked them both
    03:13 – Get them talking to each other!
    03:28 – The band should be able to ‘plug in’ to the DJ’s speakers
    03:43 – Cut down on the amount of equipment and look less cluttered


    Get on the VIP Guest List to see our bands


    Hi!  Brad Lazarus here with a wedding entertainment tip.  This week, we’re going to cover the question of band and DJ, and do you need to book both?  So let’s get straight into it.


    Is it common for a band and a DJ to be booked together? 

    This has come from a conversation that I’ve just come off the phone with a client with.  And he asks “Presumably, it’s quite common for a wedding to have a band and a DJ.  What do you normally do?”  Well, it’s not always common.  Now, the best way of explaining this is as an example.  Let’s say you’ve booked a band for two hours which is quite normal for after dinner.  Your dinner finishes at 8 so you want the band to come on around about 8:00, 8:15, let’s say 8 o’clock, and your wedding finishes at midnight.  Well, that leaves you four hours.


    In those four hours, the band will play two.  That leaves you two hours leftover.  Most weddings with the best intention will run over by 20 minutes to half an hour, so you’ve now got an hour and a half.  Let’s say that in between the band break, you want to do a cake cutting or a buffet, so that’s a minimum of half an hour, 45 minutes.  So now all you’ve got really is between 45 minutes and an hour for a DJ to play.  Now, a DJ between £300 and £600, whichever quality of DJ and what he includes, that will be the rough cost, starts to look like quite an expensive DJ.


    Let’s look at scenario of an earlier or later wedding finish time

    Now, another scenario where you might want to book a DJ is let’s say that your band comes on at round about 7 o’clock or you’re finishing at 1 a.m., 2 a.m. in the morning.  Now, you’ve got a lot more time to fill around the band’s performance.  Now, that’s when you should really consider having a DJ because a DJ can… you’ll get more value from him, he’ll be able to read the room, respond accordingly with the right records at the right moment.


    Now, let’s consider the band coming off at midnight and you want your guests to stick around until 1:00, 1:30 in the morning.  You’re more likely to engage with those guests with an actual DJ who’s putting on records and reading the crowd and responding with the right record than you are with just an iPod playlist.  So I would say the rule of thumb is just to consider a DJ when you’ve got more than about an hour and a half to two hours’ worth of time to fill around the band’s performance.



    What are the alternatives to a DJ? 

    Now, the next part of the question is if we don’t have a DJ, what are the alternatives?  Well, I would say that there’s a couple of alternatives


    here and they both involve using the band’s PA.  Now first off, you can provide an iPod with a playlist on it which the band should be able to manage and play through their PA for you.  The other alternative is that you ask the band to provide an iPod playlist and music in between sets and either way, there should be nothing for you to worry about.  Just double check exactly what it is that the band are going to be playing.  It’s probably along the lines of a similar type of style to what they perform as a band, I would imagine, but double check that anyway.



    What you’ll want the band and DJ to do if you’ve booked them both

    Now, the next thing is what happens if you do decide to book a DJ and you’ve also booked a band?  Well, you’ll really want the two parties to

    be cooperating with each other.  Otherwise, you’re going to have a lot of equipment and gear in the room where your wedding party is going to be.  So I would just double check that.  What’s normal is for the band to be able to plug in to the front of house speaker system effectively of the DJ, because once the band finished, the band would need to kind of peel away if you like, leaving the DJ to carry on.  So the DJ provides the bulk of the front of house and the front of house meaning is what your guests will hear through the speaker system.


    Well, I hope those tips have been useful for you, and all the best with your research, and see you next time.


    Check out the bands on our exclusive roster


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  • 6 Tips To Get More From Your Live Wedding Band Research

    by Brad Lazarus


    Try these helpful research tips while you’re looking for a band for your wedding

    00:15 – Get More From Word-Of-Mouth Recommendation
    00:47 – Ask for shortlisted recommendations
    01:05 – Narrow your Google search down
    01:18 – Use location based keywords
    01:29 – Search Google using genre based keywords
    01:52 – Tap into wedding blog case studies
    02:23 – Look for dedicated entertainment forum threads
    02:53 – Tap into wedding directories on wedding blogs

    Take advantage of the FREE ‘Made to Measure’ Wedding Consultation
    Brad Lazarus here from with a wedding entertainment tips update. In this new episode, I am going to respond to an email I received from Harry who’s getting married in August in Gloucestershire, and that’s happening this year, and he writes: “I don’t really know where to look, who to book, and what to look out for. I just want a great band for my wedding. Can you help point me in the right direction?” Well, yes we can. In this episode, we’ll give you just a few tips on how you can get more from where you’re searching. So, stick with us and we’ll get straight into it.


    Get More From Word-Of-Mouth Recommendation

    So, the first one is word-of-mouth recommendation. Now, you’ve probably got a bunch of different word of mouth recommendations from various different friends, family, colleagues which is great, and pursue those. Ask them if they can dig into their notes and let you have maybe three or four of the band options that were on their shortlist. That way, you’re going to get a little bit more from each of those recommendations. So everybody has a shortlist. Ask them if they can go and dig into their notes and let you have those as well.


    Narrow Your Google Search Down

    Now, the next one is a good old Google search. Yes, you’ve probably done that and been returned a bunch of results which has been pretty overwhelming and you’ve not known really where go from there possibly. One way of narrowing down your options is to start using location-based keywords. So start with the big towns and cities where you’re having your wedding – London, Manchester, wherever that might be, and see what results you get from there.


    Search Google using Genre Based Keywords

    The other option is to start using genre-based keyword searches or music genre-based keyword searches. So, if you’re looking for a party band, then maybe, why not start using the search term “soul band for weddings” or “Motown bands for weddings” and see what options you get. Because you won’t just get specialist bands, you’ll get bands that play that style of music as well as others as well.


    Wedding Blog Case Studies

    Now, wedding blogs. Wedding blogs have exploded over the last few years, and what they do really, really well is case studies. So when you go onto some of these wedding blogs like RockMyWedding, for example, is a great one. Go and have a look at the case studies, scroll down to the bottom of the case study, and you’ll find various different links to wedding suppliers that have been featured in that case study. Follow those links to some interesting options that you might be able to add to your shortlist.


    Dedicated Forum Threads

    Now, forums are a great place –, – great places to go and have a look for, you know, live band ideas. Look out for the dedicated wedding entertainment threads that are on them because you’ll filter out a lot of the noise that way of everybody else on the other threads. So that’s a place to start. There will be a bunch of links and people talking about the options that have been presented by other people in the thread.


    Wedding Directories Courtesy of Wedding Blogs

    Now, directories. Directories have moved on a lot over the last few years, and what’s interesting is a lot of the larger wedding blogs now have various different wedding supplier directories. So for example, back to, if you go on there and there’s a tab on there which is a wedding supplier’s tab, click on that and you’ll see a bunch of different options for you to sift through there. Another great website directory is, and for all you blokes out there, is also a great place to start. So I hope you found that useful.


    Made to Measure Consultation

    Now, if you are still looking for your band, a little bit confused, and a bit of direction, then we offer a totally free service called the Made to Measure Consultation. We’ll capture all your thoughts, your ideas, any logistical requirements that you have from the venue, any pressures that you’re having from, you know, family that might be paying for some of the band, and we’ll put all of that together and we’ll crunch all of that and we’ll deliver you some recommendations based on those personal requirements which you can then use as a checklist moving forward. And it’s a really useful 10 minutes. That’s all it takes, 10 minutes. Click here to take advantage of the offer.

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