Now we all want our wedding entertainment to be a crowd puller, and it doesn’t get more interactive than with a ceilidh band.
From the ceilidh veteran to those that have never danced a Scottish dance in their life its fun, its fast and definetely an ice breaker for your Wedding Guests.
I am thrilled to welcome the lovely Simon of the Scotch Bonnet Ceilidh band to give some sound advice on choosing and getting the best from your Ceilidh band….
“The first – and most important – reason you should choose a ceilidh band for your wedding is because you want to.”
“Not because it’s expected, or because your parents want one, but because you want a ceilidh.”
“Now, with that out of the way, why on earth would you actually want a ceilidh?”
“Because they’re great fun!”
“A ceilidh is a fantastic way to get your guests involved in the evening reception.”
“For those (like me) who lack the ability and/or the confidence to strut their stuff on the dancefloor to a covers band or DJ, what better way to get them up than to have someone walking them through the steps, safe in the knowledge that everyone around them is doing exactly the same thing?”
“While many of your Scottish guests may know the dances from their school days, most ceilidh bands offer a ‘caller’ to explain the dances, so ceilidh newbies won’t feel left out.”
“Ceilidh bands come in all shapes and sizes; if you’re looking for a traditional accordion and fiddle duo, you’ll find it, while if you’re after a techno DJ with live fiddle, you’ll find it too, though you may have to look harder!”
“Don’t rule out a ceilidh because you don’t like ‘twee’ Scottish music; just find a band you do like.”
“But wouldn’t a ceilidh from 8pm until midnight be a bit much? Yes, it probably would. Unless your friends and family are all triathletes, four hours of high-octane dancing would be overkill.”
“Most bands offer a ‘ceilidh and DJ’ package, which gives you the best of both worlds; you get to Strip the Willow, and throw your shapes during the disco.”
“Check with your band before booking that the DJ is happy to take requests; it’s your day, so the playlist should reflect your taste in music, or at the very least, shouldn’t contain songs you can’t stand!”
“The important thing is to make sure you get the right ceilidh band. After all, they are going to be the public face of your evening reception.”
“If they’re exhibiting at a wedding show, pop along and say hello; have a chat with the musicians. Get along to see them play, if possible.”
“While some bands may invite you along to see them at a rehearsal, it’s not the same as seeing them playing at an event, with the caller interacting with the dancers.”
“Also check if the line-up you see will be the same as you get; you wouldn’t want to book the band you saw and loved, only to find four different musicians arriving at your venue to play for you.”
“Beware of ‘ceilidh police’ bands – the ceilidh should be fun for everyone.”
“While getting the steps right is fairly important, choose a band that will ‘go with the flow’ rather than pointing out if your pas de basque isn’t up to scratch.”
“Look at all the options, and let the band know what you’re looking for.”
“My approach is that the client should always get what they’re looking for; if I get an enquiry saying they’re looking for a traditional Scottish Country Dance band, I’m more than happy to pass on the details for another band that fits the bill.”
“Convincing the client that my band – with its full drum kit, electric and bass guitars – would be suitable is only going to result in a ceilidh where everyone knows the wrong band were booked!”
“In terms of cost, prices for a ceilidh band can vary massively.”
“Factors may include the number of musicians, how well-established the band is, the distance to the venue, and any extra cost for an early set-up or a later finish.”
“Expensive doesn’t always mean better, and cheap isn’t always a great deal.”
“Somewhere between the two lies the happy medium of excellent value for money, where the person paying says, “I’ve never been so happy to pay a bill!” I hope you find it…!”
Simon Fullarton has been playing at ceilidhs for more years than he cares to admit, and formed the Scotch Bonnet Ceilidh Band in 2012.
He is also a lecturer in Music and Sound Production.
To Contact Scotch Bonnet Music