I have to say, Halflight have played some of our best ever weddings this year. This has happened for a number of reasons. It’s usually a combination of the venue, the sound, the couple and the guests (and of course the food!).

When we have one of these ‘best ever’ gigs, I always end up asking myself what it was that made it so much fun. I figure, if it’s good for us, it’s definitely good for everyone else. So here’s a few things from our experience that can make a wedding party that much better all round…

Meet the Band

Couples that come and see us before the wedding strike up a connection with us, and that connection is important for performance because it makes the whole band/audience thing feel more intimate. We feel like we’re all part of the same celebration. Occasionally, we might get booked by a couple that don’t meet us beforehand, and it’s a very different feeling when you’re at someones wedding providing a service like ours without having a connection with anyone there. We’ll still be awesome! But what we’re saying is that it’s better when there’s a relationship there, however small – it helps everything feel more connected and intimate, and that’s what great parties are all about! So if you’re going to book a band – go and meet them first.

The Guests

We love talking to people at weddings. So many interesting characters. Sadly we don’t get a lot of time to do this, but when we do get on well with wedding guests, it makes the night much more fun for everyone. There’s this weird dynamic that exists between a band and an audience. You’ve got to make connections with people so they feel at ease. Fortunately we’re a very friendly bunch of guys and that comes easily to us, but when the atmosphere and the people are just right, it makes for a brilliant party.

The Venue

If you’ve read any of our blog posts, you’ll probably have seen the same advice I’ll give here… hire somewhere that allows you to spread out a bit in the day, and contain everyone at night. Nothing kills a party with your expensive wedding band than all of your guests dispersed over the entire venue in different areas.

This means, where possible, look for somewhere you can…

  • close off parts of the venue in the evening
  • get the bar in the same area as the party (people love disappearing to the bar)
  • keep people together rather than roaming to the four corners of the venue

Another funny thing that you take for granted – the temperature. We played an incredible wedding gig in a empty shell of a mansion house this year, but it was sooooo cold we had to perform in coats and a lot of people had left the party because they couldn’t stand the temperature!

Finally – as a couple, you probably don’t think of this, but acoustics are important for having a band or disco – if the function room is all echoey and there aren’t any soft furnishings, you can bet your butt it’s probably going to sound bad. This may not matter in the grand scheme of things because if there’s music, people will enjoy themselves, but we’re just saying – good sound is more enjoyable!

Mmmm, The Fooooood

Yep, we do enjoy a bit of party food. It’s fair to say that we’re now pretty much connoisseurs of the wedding buffet. If you’re wondering what kind of evening food works well, here’s what we reckon:

  • Keep it simple, but tasty. Fresh pizzas, whilst delicious, take ages to make and aren’t a great idea with all your guests queueing for an hour to get their food. Perhaps this could work if your venue has a big enough pizza oven!
  • Fish and chips in little cones is fab. Filling and tasty. Perhaps not so great for snogging afterwards though.
  • Burgers! Oh how we love a wedding burger. We’ve only ever seen these a couple of times. Coombe Lodge notably do a great wedding burger.
  • Charcuterie – a good cheese and meat spread goes down well. Make sure you buy enough!
  • Tempting though it is to just serve cake for the evening food, we’ve seen people get upset about this. Keep cake as dessert.
  • Bacon rolls. Always popular. You may need a veggie option though. Another one to make sure you order enough – some sneaky guests will eat more than one. Budget for at least 1.5 rolls pp.
  • We love an ice cream stand, or a crepe stand for that matter. These can run all evening.
  • Other things that work well include: pre-made burritos/wraps, salads in summer (seriously, where is all the salad at weddings?), hot dogs, nachos, potato wedges.
  • Our picks of venues for evening food: Coombe Lodge, Blagdon. Old Down Manor, Tockington. Avon Gorge Hotel, Clifton.