The designer dress, the breathtaking venue and the sought-after photographer may all be top of your wedding checklist, but for me, scouting a great band was also in my top three wishes. I was always of the impression that no one really remembers a good or an average wedding band. They'll never forget a terrible band, and likewise, a fantastic one. Cue: Truly Medley Deeply. When my friend recommended them after seeing them first-hand at a wedding, I knew I had to check them out. And despite booking Truly Medley Deeply without seeing them in person (only on YouTube), the gamble paid off.
Our guests, of all ages, gave them glowing reviews – "My feet hurt so much from dancing," "I've lost my voice from all the singing," "I want these guys for my wedding!" – which really proved my point that it is so important to secure a great band. In my experience, I found that I should never underestimate how much a decent band can really make the evening reception; it's all people talked about the next day. We chat to Truly Medley Deeply about their top tips for choosing a band…
Think about your guests when choosing a band
What I loved about Truly Medley Deeply was their USP. They play the best parts of songs and turn them into medleys, hence the band name. There was also no micro-managing; I chose five music genres I liked but pretty much left it to them to decide what to play. "Each medley we play (90s Boybands vs Girlbands, UK Garage, 80s rock, Indie, Motown, Classic House etc) is crafted to take the audience back to a certain time and place, attached to memories and shared experiences," said Nick Goodwin, who leads the band.
"We pride ourselves on reading a crowd and working out ourselves what they'll enjoy at different times in the night, and it's always great for everyone to be a little surprised when certain nostalgic tunes come out of nowhere during our set." He added: "Always think about the different groups of people present and what music can bring them together. What kind of memories do you want to have from the day? Maybe singing Wonderwall in a circle, maybe raving to Ibiza classics, belting out Celine Dion power ballads or grinding to dirty R&B, or maybe it's all of the above. Hopefully not at the same time!"
WATCH: Truly Medley Deeply specialise in medleys
Budget for a great band if you can
You might not even think about hiring a band, but live music really does bring the wow factor to a reception, if done properly. And there are ways you can get a cheaper price. "Try going rogue and having a Tuesday wedding," said Nick. "The price depends on a lot of factors, principally the date and location, but I think it would be pretty difficult to find a great band of any size for less than £1,000. Peak dates like summer Saturdays will be in much higher demand than anything else."
Do your research
"It's definitely ideal to see a band yourself if you can," said Nick. "However, it's possible that bands you might want to book won't have the availability or inclination to play at pubs, showcase events or wedding fairs that you could easily come along to. In that case, look through their videos, websites, social media and see if there's anything that grabs you."
Consider a live band for your first dance
You may want to have live music for your first dance to make it "really special and unique", said Nick, but "if you like the original way the song is sung or you're a huge fan of the artist, the recorded version might be the way to go". He added: "Often the couple will ask for a slower song to start and then want it to break out into something uptempo to kick off the party. A good band can often make this transition feel really natural, organic and fun! With our medleys we specialise in moving smoothly from song to song so it's often something we're asked to do for the first dance."
Don't panic if you can't pick a first dance
You could spend days agonising over what 'your' song should be if you don't already have one, but ask for help from the experts. "We keep a record of everything we've done over the years and send it over to clients in case it gives them any ideas. Don't agonise too much over it," said Nick. "If nothing is springing to mind as 'your' song or you're not overly keen to put on a Strictly routine, I'd choose something upbeat, classic and popular. Do your best for 30 seconds and make sure your best friends and close family are primed to come join you on the dancefloor!"
Book early to avoid disappointment
As with most wedding planning, the sooner you can book, the better. On average, couples book with Truly Medley Deeply about eight months in advance although others have booked within weeks of the event, so it's always worth asking.
Consider booking a DJ for the second half of the dancing
It's quite common to kick off the dancing with a band before moving on to a DJ as the night progresses. Truly Medley Deeply generally plays two sets for 50 minutes each, with a 40-minute break in between in which they DJ. Then, you might want to hire a separate DJ to keep the party going. Although Nick says: "There's no cut off point for some parties. After finishing the dancing sets at a wedding we did in South Africa last year we ended up staying all night with the guests, taking requests on acoustic guitars until sunrise!"
Truly Medley Deeply are a collective of London-based musicians that play over 200 weddings every year. They were founded at Cambridge University in 2010, and now travel all over the world playing at private events in exotic locations – ice palaces in Sweden, private beaches in Hawaii, safari ranches in South Africa – and across the UK. Visit trulymedleydeeply.com for more information and check them out on Instagram on @tmd_band.