James McAulay is the Co-Founder & CEO of Encore, an online bookings platform that makes it easy to book outstanding musicians for events. Encore is the largest musicians network in the UK; they receive thousands of requests every month from their customers and have their fingers on the pulse when it comes to wedding music trends. Here, James shares some of his key insights in the first of a three-part series on event music trends.
For many of the couples we work with, one of their top priorities is ensuring their wedding is in vogue and in style.
Keeping up with these trends can be difficult when you don’t work in the weddings industry full-time, which is why people place so much trust in wedding planners, event organisers and suppliers to advise them on what’s hot, and what’s not.
We receive literally thousands of requests every single month from brides and grooms looking for their wedding music, which means we’ve got a pretty clear idea of the emerging trends and hot topics in the wedding music space.
Today, I’m going to share the top three trends in wedding music of 2018 so far.
Did you see Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s stunning 10-minute cello performance at Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding? I’ll bet you did, and so did the rest of the world.
Sheku’s stunning performance has seen demand soar for wedding cellists – a trend that shows no signs of slowing. Honestly, this is the single biggest wedding music trend of 2018 and will undoubtedly continue into 2019 and beyond.
Below is a graph of enquiries we received for cellists at Encore since the beginning of 2017.
As you can see, the spike in May 2018 is enormous, and we actually received numerous enquiries on the day of the Royal Wedding (even DURING the Royal Wedding) from couples hoping to achieve the musical magic that Harry and Meghan did. We even had customers who had previously been looking for a violinist contacting us asking for a cellist instead!
Why all the fuss? Well beyond the star appeal of Harry and Meghan, the cello has one of the most beautiful sounds of the entire orchestra, and is often described as the instrument that “most closely imitates the sound of the human voice”. Therefore, hiring a cellist to perform at your bride’s wedding ceremony or reception is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression with your guests.
Expect to see a lot of cellists performing at weddings for years to come…
Mumford and Sons-style bands
The “festival wedding” is undoubtedly on the rise, with couples taking their guests outdoors and getting everyone closer to nature.
As a result of this, perhaps, we’ve also seen a surge in demand for venues with a barn available for wedding ceremonies and receptions. And the perfect musical accompaniment to a barn wedding, of course, is a Mumford and Sons-style band, and this is something that more and more of our customers are asking us for.
These folk-influenced covers bands offer something different from your usual pop wedding band. You get all of your usual wedding anthems, but with a twist, and you’re sure to have your guests belting along to a few songs throughout the evening.
These bands are often acoustic and feature a double bass instead of an amped up bass guitar, which means your band can roam around the venue entertaining small groups of guests. This is an excellent way to keep up the energy at your party and make sure that guests don’t forget your special day in a hurry.
Speaking of roaming bands…
Hiring a band to perform for the evening party of your wedding is a pretty common thing to do. Set up a stage and a dancefloor, get the band started, and pray that your guests start dancing! However, it can often be tricky to get everyone involved when the band are stuck at the far-end of the room.
One way to solve this problem is to hire a band who aren’t tied down by amps and cables, and who can roam around all areas of your venue entertaining guests as they go. These bands are known as roaming bands (sometimes, strolling bands), they come in various different flavours, and they’re becoming increasingly popular.
A classic roaming band features three, maybe four musicians. They’ll typically have at least one singer, one or two guitarists, and a drummer with a simple drum and percussion to keep the beat going. An example of this trend is Fiddlin About, who have become one of the most popular bands on the Encore platform.
Other examples of roaming bands include roaming jazz bands, barbershop quartets, and mariachi bands. Planning a big headline performance by a static band? Roaming bands are brilliant warm-up acts, either during the wedding breakfast, or just afterwards as guests begin filtering towards the party.
Everyone’s been to a wedding with a static band, but few have been to a wedding where the band comes to you. If you haven’t booked a band for your clients’ weddings yet, we’d highly recommend considering a roaming one!