Happy Otter Photography

Wedding photographer in York covering Yorkshire and the Northern England

Bishop Auckland Wedding Guide

Wedding Planning: Hiring a wedding band

When planning a wedding, one of the main things to think about is how to entertain all the guests! One option is to hire a wedding band... I had a chat with lead singer of Share the Darkness, Phil, to find out about hiring a band for a wedding.

Why should a wedding couple book a band rather than just a DJ?


DJ’s are good at providing a wide range of music to suit all tastes.  Bands, on the other hand, while usually performing a particular style of music, have an ability to engage with an audience in a way that DJ’s often don’t or can’t.  We think, though, that a mix of both makes an ideal wedding event with a DJ opening the show for say an hour, a live band performing after a short break and then the DJ finishing off the night. Incidentally, in Share The Darkness we have our very own DJ and disco so we can actually provide both at weddings.


How should a couple go about beginning to look for a suitable band for their wedding?


Research, research, research. We would advise couples to use the internet and social media in their search for a band. Here in the north east, for example, there are many Facebook groups which Share The Darkness recommends – simply type Wedding Bands North East or Musicians North East and follow the pages. Of course, there is really no substitute for word of mouth recommendations so ask friends who have recently married for their views.


Generally how long will a band play for at a wedding?


That is usually down to the wedding party and how the event proceedings have been planned and organised. Share The Darkness have a two hour show split into 2 x 1 hour sets. That said, we are happy to perform to client requirements.


What questions do wedding couples generally ask, and what are the answers?


‘How much do you charge?’ is almost always the first question. With Share The Darkness we have a scale of fees depending on the distance we have to travel and how long we are expected to perform. ‘What kind of music do you play?’ comes second. Bands need to be totally honest with their answer. After all, it would be highly embarrassing and damaging to professional integrity to offer soul music and then spend the majority of the night playing rock and pop. It’s more straightforward for us, though, as we have a specific popular genre which doesn’t readily mix with others.  


How far in advance do good bands get booked up?


Would you believe that sometimes booking a band is left till just a few weeks before a wedding. This means, of course, that many aren’t available owing to already having been booked. In our experience anything within a range from six to eighteen months is quite normal.


Is it difficult to/ how do you entertain toddlers, teenagers, all the way up to grandparents?


When performing at weddings it is important to remember that families and friends will range in age from babies to OAP’s. Young children are generally quite happy dancing and singing along to any kind of music. Teenagers can be more challenging if the music isn’t to their taste but will usually sail through the event in order not to upset the families of the bride and groom. The great grannies and the like, although more often than not happily letting their hair down,  are often concerned about a show being too loud. Experience helps us get the balance right across the ages.


What are the limitations of venues a couple should think about if they want a band?


First of all make sure the venue has a license permitting live music. We have had experience of being booked prior to the client asking the venue if live music is permitted. That was an awful situation which brought stress and disappointment to the bride and groom. And, of course, we lost a booking.  Secondly, always check what time limits a venue may wish to impose. Where some will happily let parties continue into the wee small hours, there are others who may restrict performances to end at a particular time.


What things have you seen go wrong at weddings, and what advice do you have for couples to avoid them?


The list is too long to offer in detail. However, here’s an eye popping taster… venue closed upon arrival, family arguments, a bridesmaid going into labour, photographer not turning up, inclement weather. We’ve seen all of these and more. How to avoid such situations?  You can’t! Just be prepared for any and all eventualities. We guarantee, however, that ninety nine percent of all weddings are trouble free.


What makes a great wedding?


There are three aspects to a wedding party. The bride’s family, the groom’s family and their mutual friends. Where both families get along and mix together lies a guarantee of a good time.  Mutual friends can often be the glue that binds. There is a growing tendency these days for brides and grooms to pull out the stops with a number of party surprises for guests. These include magicians, a visit from a celebrity or even a piece of drama, song or dance rehearsed by the bride and groom and kept secret from guests. We always say that a great wedding is precisely that… a great wedding. However, a great marriage is far more important.



Do you have a favourite local venue?


Now that would be telling.  Prudence prevents us from naming a favourite. However, we have never been disappointed or had any problems at the many venues we’ve played.


Do you perform requests?


Yes. We ask the engaged couple to tell us two songs of their choosing several weeks in advance. If we already know the songs, all well and good. If we don’t, the more notice we receive helps us to rehearse them for the big day. We are not a juke box, though, and generally discourage mid performance requests.

Share the Darkness

"more Irish than a Dublin pub"

Phil, Geoff, Mark, Gary and Cathy make up this talented and lively band of musicians who are local to Bishop Auckland and Spennymoor areas and perform throughout the North East and the wider UK. They are the perfect entertainment for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, pubs, clubs, festivals and all social occasions.