Wedding Pianist and Piano Music Agency
How much does a wedding pianist cost?
Hire an amazing wedding pianist for your wedding.
If you want to impress your guests with an incredible wedding pianist then we would love to help you.
PianoDJ is the most respected wedding pianist agency in the UK.
Book a wedding pianist with a good backup plan.
You don't want to worry about being without a wedding pianist on the day of your wedding. This is why we pay for a backup pianist to be on standby 365 days a year.
Accidents, emergencies and illness happen regularly and you need a backup plan when something as simple as a sprained wrist can take a pianist out of action for weeks.
Take control of the music that your wedding pianist plays.
Your wedding is such a special day and this is why you should be able to choose the music that you wedding pianist will play.
All of our pianists love learning new music and we never charge any extra for learning requests.
Trusted by Venues Across the UK
Piano Music for your Wedding
You can hire a wedding pianist to play piano music for any of the 4 daytime sections of your wedding.
- Wedding Ceremony
- Drinks Reception
- Wedding Breakfast
- Turnaround Period
Most couples book a pianist for their whole daytime reception because it offers great value for money and it takes care of the music for the whole day. Other couples just choose to book a pianist for one or two sections of their wedding day.
A wedding pianist for your ceremony.
Your wedding ceremony is the most important part of your wedding day.
You can hire one of our wedding pianists to play the most magical piano instrumental versions of your favourite songs so that this moment becomes a memory that you treasure for the rest of your life.
Top 4 Ceremony Piano Requests
A wedding pianist for your drinks reception.
You are going to feel such a rush of excitement and happiness during your drinks reception and I promise that you won't be able to stop smiling.
Hire one of our talented wedding pianists to play upbeat, lively, fun, exciting music for your drinks reception to keep this atmosphere of celebration for your guests who have to wait for you while you have your wedding photos taken.
Top 4 Drinks Reception Piano Requests
A wedding pianist for your wedding breakfast.
Put your feet up, tuck into the greatest feast of your lifetime, sit back, soak up the atmosphere and let it all sink in.
If music is important to you then you should book a wedding pianist to play all of your favourite songs and pieces of music on the piano.
This is a way for you to add your personality and style to your meal and background piano music will break the uncomfortable silence that you often get at weddings.
Top 4 Wedding Breakfast Piano Requests
A wedding pianist for your turnaround period.
At some wedding venues, there is a turnaround period during which the venue staff collapse tables, stack chairs, sweep up mess, lay a dance floor and get the room ready for the evening dancing.
All of your guests will be asked to leave the room when this happens and it can be a really fun treat to hire a wedding pianist to play toe-tapping music for your guests during this time.
The wedding pianist will become your warm-up act, they will take requests and play music that will help get your guests in the mood for a night of dancing.
Top 4 Turnaround Period Piano Requests
from 318 wedding pianist reviews.
Wedding Pianist Testimonials
You need to be completely confident that your wedding pianist is going to be absolutely brilliant. They need to be an incredible musician, extremely reliable and have a good backup plan for emergencies.
Here are a selection of testimonials from the 318 couples that have written a review about the wedding pianist they booked from PianoDJ.
We had Tim as our pianist and he done a lovely job during our drinks reception and wedding breakfast he played beautifully and everyone commented how lovely the background music from the pianist was. We had Tom as our DJ for the evening and he was absolutely fantastic he played everything that we wanted him too he also played everyones request and he was brilliant with the kids everyone commented how good he was and said how a DJ could make or break a party and Tom deffinately made it. My daughter was asking him for frozen before the evening reception had even started and frozen was what she got and he even gave her the microphone to sing along he went above and beyond to make our evening a great night. Thank you.
We had an amazing wedding day and was made even better by Tim and Tom being there. They both did an amazing job and all my guests said how great they were. I couldnt believe how long he played the piano without a break. Would highly recommend. Played all my songs that I requested and even the pianist played songs again when we returned from having photos done that I had asked for. Very thoughtful.
We absolutely have to thank PianoDJ for the amazing job they did at our wedding a couple of weeks ago. The whole team were so helpful and efficient right the way through the process, from booking and selecting music to the organsiation and seamless running of the day. We gave Tim quite an extensive list of music for the piano and he worked so hard on the day covering all the music beautifully. I have had so many compliments from family and friends about the quality of the music and what a nice guy he was to talk to. In the evening the dance floor was always full and I had so many people asking me where I found the DJ! James was so friendly and reassuring on the day (especially for a couple who were dreading the first dance!!). He worked hard to include all the music we asked for and understood our tastes perfectly. He is really approachable and some guests were able to put in requests on the night. The set up of the DJ area was taseful and suited the style of the wedding perfectly. As I have said there have been endless compliments about both elements of the music provided and I would not hesitate at all to recommend PianoDJ to anyone. Our day could not have gone better and PianoDJ were a big contributer to making it perfect for us and our guests. Thank you Amy and Jack Davis
We had an afternoon tea inspired wedding at Down Hall with piano music during the drinks reception and during afternoon tea itself. Joe was fantastic. We gave him a list of songs we liked and he did some other stuff too which made the atmosphere just perfect. So many guests (some with musical backgrounds and some who are usually hard to please) told me how good he was! We borrowed James electric digital grand which looked great too. In the evening William did the DJing and again we received so many compliments from the guests. We’d spoken to William and James before and were very specific that we did not want our wedding to feel like a night club and it certainly didn’t. Music was great. Dance floor was full all night. William was friendly and approachable but also not too vocal on the microphone which was something we’d asked to keep to a minimum. Initially I was unsure about going with a DJ rather than a band but pianoDJ were the perfect choice… I still have blisters on my feet to prove it!! Thank you James William and Joe!! :o).
Mrs. Susan Cole
I would just like to take this opportunity to say thank you so very much to the hugely talented James Hughes for playing the piano during our marriage Wedding Breakfast and then in the evening being D. J for us on 18th January 2013 at the County Hotel, Chelmsford. He played for my son Kip and daughter in law Lorraines Wedding in February 2011, and he made it really special for them, so we knew it would be perfect ! James was at the venue setting up before the ceremony and my husband Graham and I were able to spend time getting to know him, he put our minds at rest straight away ! We had chosen many pieces of music that we loved, and wanted our guests to share in listening during the meal. James also added many other popular tunes that everyone knew, his played flowed really well and all thoroughly enjoyed ! In the evening James provided a disco for us. WE were asked prior to the day all our favourite artists and styles of music. Being in our 50’s and 60’s most of the music we requested was 60’s and 70’s era, plus up to date tracks of today’s popular music. James was a lovely bright and friendly character and Graham and I will be grateful for his services to us for the rest of our lives ! Thank you James, hope to see you again very soon, we will certainly have no hesitation in recommending you to all our friends for any celebratory occasion !
Caroline Jane Tucker
PianoDJ played at my wedding at Braxted Park and the music was absolutely fantastic. The skill of the pianist was awesome and the sound was simply beautiful. The booking process and communication was very easy with no hassle. I would have no hesitation in recommending PianoDJ. Thank you so much!!
Sherri & Pete Bennett
We would like to thank James and Will for an outstanding service they provided on our wedding day. From playing the piano during the ceremony and Wedding Breakfast to DJ'ing at the Evening Reception. James accommodated all requests we had. The music played by James on the piano during the Ceremony and Wedding Breakfast was faultless, he played all our requests and it all sounded beautiful. We both love our music and we have had numerous guests say to us since the wedding it was the best evening reception they have ever been to and the DJ was amazing. Again James and Will played all our requests and we along with our guests loved it. I (The Bride) didn't leave the dance floor from the moment the music started until the end! Fantastic team, fantastic skill set and Piano DJ comes highly recommended by us! If we have any other parties in the future too.. Piano DJ will be our first port of call 🙂 Thanks again! Mr & Mrs B
Piano DJ, were extremely professional and so friendly! The pianist was fantastic, and the DJ in the evening was great! Favourite part was definitely the confetti cannon! Brillint!
We definitely made the best choice in picking them! I would highly reccommend them to any of my friends having a wedding or big celebration!! I just wish we could experiencethe whole day over again! Thanks so much for everything! Hopefully our paths will cross again in the near future!
Michael and Emma Gittins
Words can not describe how amazing having Tim play the piano was. He arrived well in advance to get set up, we had to rearrange a few things due to rain. It was perfect music for a perfect day. My mums side of the family especially loved it as their Father played piano. Tim played a song which Father used to play which my mum absolute loved. Worth every penny, such a professional, friendly group. Thank you Tim for making our day so much more special 😀
Helen and Stuart Walker
We contacted PianoDJ just two days before our son’s wedding at Hanbury Manor when the harpist we had booked became unwell and had to cancel. We were amazed and delighted when James Hughes told us that an excellent pianist was available. Our expectations were then exceeded on the day when Tim Balnaves performed beautifully during the ceremony, the drinks reception and the wedding breakfast. All of our guests remarked on what a wonderful contribution his playing made to the success of the day. Despite the lateness of the booking, Tim was able to accommodate all of our music choices and played them with great skill and sensitivity. He more than lives up to the name of the company! We would highly recommend PianoDJ for your special event and can’t thank James and Tim enough for turning what could have been a disaster into a triumph!
A big thank you for making our wedding day special, Charlie was excellent and played our chosen music perfectly.
Jenny and Scott x
Peter and Margaret Lines
Excellent service, very high quality pianist made a major contribution to a very special day with 130 guests Many, many thanks
Peter and Margaret
I used to DJ full time and know plenty of others who could have DJ’s my wedding for Free however I saw James play a few years ago and loved how he gets involved in the evening not just pressing play on a laptop. Engaging the crowd and showing his passion for music and entertaining the audience – He took requests that night and it was a great evening. My wedding James and Will were just the same playing requests engaging the crowd and mixing tracks too (something that most dj’s nowadays don’t bother) I have had so many people complement me on how great the music was and I couldn’t recommend someone enough. Great evening made extra special by two great dj’s. James also was our pianist during our wedding breakfast which was made a great touch getting one guy to do two things – but it was initially the evening disco that I was relying on James to do – and he surely did not disappoint. If you are looking for someone to DJ at a wedding ask yourself do you want someone who’s cheap and talks all night or someone that’s committed to music and entertaining your crowd. These are your guys.
We booked PianoDJ for our wedding at Mulberry House for a pianist during our ceremony and DJ for our evening reception. We initially met James at a wedding fayre at Mulberry House well over a year before our wedding and we were instantly impressed by the range of modern piano music covered (we had some niche requests!) and also the fact that James was so friendly and helpful as we discussed our wedding music plans. We are so thankful to PianoDJ for making our day incredibly special. Our guests are still talking about what great music we had throughout the day and what a fantastic DJ we had. James was very engaging with our guests and added little touches to the evening which made the night fun and enjoyable for us all. I would also like to mention how amazing his heart light is in front of the DJ booth – our wedding photos look fantastic with the heart in the background and so many of our guests were asking if we had hired it as it looked so beautiful! There was never a moment when the dance floor was empty and you couldn’t get our guests off of it as they were loving all of the great music played. I know I am biased but James is definitely the best wedding DJ ever and he will play anything you want him to. I highly recommend PianoDJ and thank you once again for helping to make our day one of the best ever! Karen and Robert.
Les & Rachel Donnelly
We are so glad that we moved Tim from our ‘may be’ to ‘must have’ list. His playing was the finishing touch for our drinks reception, and helped create the ambience I was looking for. we had so many positive comments re: the music, and Tim was so friendly and accomodating for requests. We would absolutely recommend PianoDJ. Thank you
My wife and I cannot thank Tim enough for his incredible playing on our wedding day! His version of ‘Ribbon in the Sky’ by Stevie Wonder, which was our ceremony entrance song, blew us and our guests away! Tim played throughout the wedding breakfast too and guests were thrilled to have their requests played. Thank you so much for helping to make our day really special. Kindest regards, Gary & Gemma Bond
Keely & David Hull
We want to say a huge thank you to Jamie for playing at our wedding – He was fantasic! Our guests loved the music and it created a great atmosphere for our wedding. We would recomend Jamie and PianoDJ to anyone who is thinking about having music at their wedding.
Thank you again!
Keely & David Hull
Stephanie and Ian Clarke
The service provided was fantastic and all of our guests loved the piano playing after the meal. The djing music selection was brilliant too and had our guests dancing all night. Thanks for doing a great job!
Nicky & Tiffany Wright
We would just like to say thank you so much for attending our wedding. The music was perfect and we felt extremely at ease with having you both there on our special day. Thank you so much for listening to our guests and playing their rquests as well as our own. We could not have asked for more.
We would certainly recommend you to everyone who asks us about a good DJ.
Carol & Sead Bulja
We very impressed with the service and music that you played for us. Excellent commication throughout. Tim was very polite and professional and would and will recommend your services. Shame we did not book your services to DJ as well, as we were not impressed with our DJ as he completely messed up our first dance, he just played the music and did not encourage our guests to dance.
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Wedding Pianist FAQ
What is the difference between a wedding pianist and a pianist?
A wedding pianist is a pianist who specialises in playing wedding piano music.
It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a modern pianist, a jazz pianist or a classical pianist to play at your wedding.
A wedding pianist will play music with a romantic theme and they will play a range of music that appeals to guests of a variety of ages from your preferred genre (classical / jazz / modern).
You wouldn’t want your guests to be bored by long and tedious classical piano music, confused by complicated jazz solos or uninterested with modern piano songs that only the teenagers would know.
A wedding pianist has experience in playing music that your guests will recognise and they have spent a lot of time putting together a set of music that will make the day feel even more romantic and special.
Most wedding pianists will be more than happy to learn requests for your wedding because they understand the importance of adding a personal touch to the music.
As a pianist you can specialise in various areas: concerts and recitals, live bands, shows and musicals, recording music in studios, teaching, accompanying other musicians, ballet and dance, playing in bars and pubs, etc. All of our pianists specialise in weddings.
Will a digital keyboard sound like a real piano?
Digital pianos are designed to replicate the sound of a real piano. Keyboards are designed to play a range of different sounds, effects and rhythms. All of our digital pianos have the full range of 88 keys (the same amount of notes as a real piano) and many of them have wooden keys with a weighted action so that the feel of pressing a note on the digital piano is the same as on a real piano.
This means that our wedding pianists can play the same pieces of music that they could play on a real piano. The sound of the digital piano depends on the quality of the instrument – just as a cheap real piano will sound horrible, a cheap digital piano will sound horrible too. Our musicians use top of the range professional instruments that sound absolutely beautiful. You can listen to over 100 recordings made using our digital pianos.
How much does a wedding pianist cost?
We have an interactive price list on our website so that you can see how much a wedding pianist will cost before you make an enquiry. We have set fees that reflect the standard running order of a wedding. You can book a wedding pianist for the ceremony, drinks reception, wedding breakfast, turnaround period or any combination of these. If your wedding has a different format to this then we will quote you a price that reflects the amount of hours that the pianist will be playing for.
Our aim is to build a network of exceptional pianists across the UK and this means that there should always be a wedding pianist living within a reasonable driving distance of your wedding venue. In the event of a local wedding pianist not being available, we may look to charge travel expenses on top of the advertised price. You will be advised of this at the time you make your enquiry.
Can I have a wedding pianist if my venue doesn't have a piano?
The short answer is yes, you can still have a wedding pianist.
All of our wedding pianists have professional digital pianos that they can bring to your wedding venue and this is included in the standard price of a wedding pianist. We have a trade account with Roland (the best digital piano manufacturer) and we encourage all of our wedding pianists to use their digital pianos. Our wedding pianists use digital pianos that sound just like a concert grand piano and every note will sound as stylish and beautiful as you would expect from an acoustic instrument.
How loud will the piano be? Is it loud enough or too loud?
The volume of piano music is just right too…the piano music will float around the gardens and the rooms in your venue so that all of your guests can hear the music and it is quiet enough that your friends and family can chat without struggling to hear each other. The piano is a really versatile instrument.
Which venues/areas do your pianists play at?
Although our office is based in Bishop Stortford, we have a brilliant team of pianists who are based all over the UK, including Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk, Sussex, Suffolk, Kent, London and the Midlands. We work regularly at venues in all of these areas and our musicians are often booked to play further afield as well.
Will my guests be able to chat over the top of your piano playing?
I can assure you that your guests will be able to talk comfortably whilst enjoying the piano music. The piano is a beautiful instrument. When it is played sensitively, it forms a lovely backdrop to conversations in sophisticated and romantic settings.
There is a long standing history of high-end restaurants and hotels using live piano music to create a really special environment for afternoon teas and fine dining. The UKs most famous restaurants have a live pianist playing background music – Harrods, the Dorchester Hotel, the Ritz and the Savoy.
Can we buy a piano recording instead of hiring a pianist?
For us to be able to make a recording of your chosen track and have the licensing rights to give it to somebody we have to pay a licensing fee and for a pianist to goto a studio to record the track.
As a special request we can offer this service for our customers at a cost of £50 per track. If you would like to request a song to be recorded please use our contact form to make an enquiry.
Why have a wedding pianist for your civil ceremony?
Your wedding ceremony is the single most important part of your wedding day. It is during the wedding ceremony that you will become a married couple and it is at this moment that your life together truly begins.
In a mixed-sex couple it is traditional for the bride and groom to spend the night before the wedding and the morning of their wedding apart from each other – to be joined together again when the bride walks down the aisle at the start of the wedding ceremony.
Setting the Mood for Your Guests
All of your wedding guests will be really keen to arrive in plenty of time for your wedding ceremony. This is a really exciting moment for them as well and you can be sure that they will arrive at your wedding venue ahead of time. It is quite normal for guests to start arriving up to 30 minutes (and sometimes even an hour) before the start of the wedding ceremony. During this time, it is traditional for the bride to be adding the final touches to her hair and make up or driving to the venue and the groom is likely to be making the final arrangements at the venue. These can include sorting pinning on button holes, trying to remember how to tie a cravat, running over final plans with the venue staff and speaking to the registrars.
This means that your guests will largely be left unattended to make themselves at home somewhere at the venue. Most venues do not serve any alcoholic drinks before the start of the ceremony (due to licensing rules) and you will want to avoid leaving your friends and family with nothing to do. You can hire a wedding pianist to play romantic background music as your guests arrive. Music is used by the best directors in films and movies to create an atmosphere and set the mood for the story that is about to unfold and at your wedding you can do the same. In fact, you can do this even better, as live music is countless times more emotional and romantic than a CD/mp3 soundtrack.
You want to set the mood for your guests so that when they arrive at your wedding venue after a long drive, they feel relaxed and well looked after. Live piano music will help them forget about the queues on the motorway, it will make them smile and it will focus their attention on your wedding so that they can really start to get excited about your wedding ceremony.
Impatience, Nerves and Excitement
I meet a lot of grooms at wedding fairs, showcases, exhibitions and weddings around the country and in the 10-15mins before the start of their wedding ceremony you see all sorts of different emotions start to kick in. I can remember from my own wedding day that I was extremely impatient for the wedding ceremony to get started. I kept looking at my watch and checking the time. It felt as if time was standing still!!
The other two key emotions that you see are nerves and excitement. I have met grooms who are so nervous about standing in front of their friends and family for their wedding ceremony, or grooms who get suddenly really nervous about the enormity of the event. They will stand rooted to the spot, pale as anything – it reminds me of the first day at secondary school feeling!! On the other end of the spectrum, you see extreme levels of excitement, pacing around, gibbering chatter and sometimes even tears of joy and last minute sobs / hugs with the best man.
The top and bottom of it is that the 10-15mins before the wedding ceremony are probably going to be one of the most intense experiences of your life so far.
This is where a wedding pianist will really help you out. It can be so calming to have your favourite pieces of music played on the piano as you wait for the wedding ceremony to begin. You can hand pick all of the songs that you find relaxing and send these over to the pianist to learn so that on the day of your wedding you stand the best chance of making it to the start of your wedding ceremony in one piece. I know that it really helped me on my wedding day.
The Most Magical of Entrances
The entrance of the bride is a moment that most women have been dreaming of for years and years and years. It is one true fairytale moment of a lifetime and it is the most magical moment of the whole wedding day. This is the moment where your fiancé, all of your friends and family will see you for the very first time in your wedding dress. WOW – what a moment.
After years of planning, this is what you have been waiting for. A mind blowing wonderful dress, new shoes, beautiful flowers, stunning hair, perfect make up and hours of preparation. This moment has to be perfect.
If your wedding was a piece of cinema, then the director would save the best piece of music for this moment. This is your chance to make an unforgettable impression on your fiancé, to create a memory that you both will cherish for the rest of your lives and you deserve to have your favourite piece of music in the world played on the piano by an incredible wedding pianist. Piano music can set an atmosphere in a handful of carefully played notes and it will heighten the experience of your wedding entrance (and probably make a few people cry with happiness).
Other Key Moments for Music in the Wedding Ceremony
After your wedding entrance, the formalities of your wedding ceremony begin - the marriage service, the ring ceremony, the readings, your promises and your wedding vows. At the end of these formalities you will officially be married!
The celebrations don’t begin straight away, however, as you have to fill out all of the legal paperwork and sign the marriage register. This admin process usually takes 5-10 minutes (depending on how long it takes your photographer to stage all of the photos) and during this time, your guests are left seated with nothing to do. They have to sit and wait until you have finished signing the register.
If you choose not to have any live music during this time then it can really kill the atmosphere as your guests sit in silence with a few occasional whispers. One of the great things about a wedding pianist is that the volume of the piano music can be controlled by the musician so that it is at a perfect level to accompany this part of the ceremony. Your guests will feel less awkward chatting over the top of gentle background music and it gives them something to enjoy during the admin period of your wedding ceremony. You can pick two of your favourite songs and the pianist will learn a wedding piano remix version especially for your wedding day.
As soon as the legal paperwork is complete, your wedding ceremony will draw to a close. The final moment of your wedding ceremony is when you walk back down the aisle – this time together as a married couple. You are now married, all the nerves will be gone and they will be replaced with the best feeling of happiness…ever!!
This is where the celebrations start and you should pick a really upbeat song that is going to lift your spirits even further. Let the party begin!!!
Why have a wedding pianist for your drinks reception?
The drinks reception is the start of your wedding day celebrations and during this time you will be kept busy by your photographer taking your wedding photos, you will have short conversations with all of your guests who will be dying to wish you congratulations and with any luck you will get to enjoy some lovely champagne and canapés.
If you are getting married at a church then it is likely that you will have a short photo shoot in the churchyard before you head over to your reception venue. If the weather is behaving itself then it can be really nice to use the backdrop of a beautiful church for your group photos. When these photos are coming to an end, your wedding guests will start to make their way over to your wedding reception venue. It is traditional for your wedding guests to arrive at your wedding venue before you so that they can give you a really special welcome when you arrive. Top tip: ask your driver (whether family member or professional chauffeur) to have a drink ready for you for the drive so that you can both have a romantic toast on the way over!
Your wedding guests will arrive at your reception venue in dribs and drabs, gradually congregating in the area that you have chosen for your drinks reception. One of the common mistakes that couples make for this part of the day is that they forget that their guests will be standing around waiting and doing literally nothing for about 20 mins. The venue will often not serve food and drinks until you arrive and this means that your guests are left unattended and with nothing to do. You don't want your guests to have a bad first impression of your wedding venue and be quiet and subdued - you want them to arrive, be wowed and for a buzz of excitement to be created ready for your grand arrival.
Imagine if your guests arrive at your venue and they find a wedding pianist playing really cool, upbeat arrangements of catchy songs or if they arrive and find a pianist playing stylish and sophisticated cocktail jazz or if they arrive and find a piano player performing romantic classical piano music. You can craft the perfect impression of your wedding venue and set the exact style and mood that you want to create for your guests with a pianist. For example, for a festival themed wedding the pianist could be playing wedding piano remixed of indie and alternative festival anthems or for a wedding in a grand country house the pianist could be playing Gatsby themed swing songs.
If you are having a civil ceremony then it is likely that you will have chosen a wedding venue that allows you to have your wedding ceremony and wedding reception at the same location. Many hotels, country houses, wedding barns and restaurants now have an area of the venue in which you can get married. This means that at the end of your ceremony, you and your guests will already be at your reception venue and the drinks reception will start as soon as the ceremony is finished. In light of this, you want to make sure that your wedding pianist has two professional keyboards so that they can have one set up for your ceremony and another set up for your drinks reception. This means that the pianist can move from the ceremony area to the drinks reception area without any delay and can start entertaining your guests without an awkward 15 minute gap while the keyboard is moved.
Spring and Summer drinks reception
In the spring and the summer, it is likely that you are planning to have your drinks reception outside. The UK has a reputation for throwing the best summer garden parties and this is recognised across the world as a stylish, fun and quintessentially British activity with picnic style food, refreshing drinks, games and live music. There is nothing better than standing in a beautiful garden and sharing a couple of hours in the sun with family and friends. It is really lovely touch to add live music to your outside drinks reception and there is nothing better than the sound of piano music drifting across the lawns and gardens and (weather permitting) pianists absolutely love playing outside for drinks receptions. Professional keyboards are such flexible instruments because they can be connected to discrete external speakers that spread the sound of the piano music around the garden. This means that everybody can hear the music but it is at background level so that all of your guests can chat over the top.
It is likely that you will be involved in a lot of different photos during your drinks reception. Traditionally, wedding photos taken during the drinks reception include lots of different group shots with photos of you in combination with different sets of your guests (brides family, grooms family, each set of parents, siblings, friends, work friends, relatives, stags, hens, etc).
These photos are still popular, but one of the current trends in wedding photography is now moving to a photo shoot style of photos. Your photographer will take you both away from your guests and you will visit 4-5 different locations at your venue to get some really beautiful and stylised photos of you as a married couple. Form chatting with photographers, I understand that they focus on these styles of photos because they were finding that after the wedding, most couples were picking these type of photos for their wedding album and not the groups shots. The downside of this is that it means that you will be taken away from your guests for a considerable amount of your drinks reception. This means that you will not personally be able to entertain them and do the rounds. Many couples choose to book live music and arrange activities for their drinks reception to keep their guests entertained during the wedding photos. Piano music is the favourite live music choice for couples who booking music for their drinks reception and it can be combined with other elements such as garden games, a magician, a charactaturist, archery, a treasure hunt, canapés, a video guestbook, cocktail waiters, an ice cream cart, street performers, bouncy castle, vintage funfair stalls and many other lovely ideas.
Another trend in wedding photography is reportage photography where the photographer takes natural photos of you and your guests having a good time and enjoying yourselves. If you prefer this style of photography then you need to do a bit of forward planning to make sure that you and your guests are going to have a good time. You need to think about interesting things for your guests to do (so that there is something for your photographer to take photos of) and you want to make sure that everybody has a smile on their faces! You will treasure your wedding photos for ever so it is worth putting in the effort now to capture a really happy moment. Live music can make people laugh and cry and feel happy or sad. Live music had the most amazing qualities and it has been proven to have incredible emotional effects on humans. A talented wedding pianist will react to guests in the same way as a professional DJ does on the dance floor. The pianist will see what people are enjoying and they will focus on playing music that will make people smile. For a drinks reception, it is really easy for your guests to interact with your pianist and make requests. You will often find guests having a little dance to the piano music. You will see feet tapping, conversations starting and the atmosphere will be fantastic.
Autumn, Winter and bad weather drinks reception
For weddings in the early autumn, British weather is too unpredictable to know whether you will be outside in the sun or inside in the rain for your drinks reception. If you hire a wedding pianist to play for your drinks reception then you already have a contingency plan for bad weather. After a couple of pieces of upbeat piano music, your guests will soon forget about the bad weather and the mood will be lifted. There is nothing worse than rushing inside when the rain starts and standing in a silent room in a soggy jacket or wedding dress. A wedding pianist will work really hard to transform the mood. They will have lots of tricks up their sleeves and you will find that the chatter and conversation starts up again really quickly and that it moves away from moaning about the bad weather to more exciting and fun topics - such as your wedding!
In a way, for autumn and winter weddings, you almost need to do a bit more work to make up for the fact that there are not huge gardens to enjoy and interesting spaces for children to explore. You are more limited to the types of entertainment that you can choose and you need something that compliments the indoor space and makes your drinks reception even better. There is something really nice about being in a warm room in the winter. It is cosy, intimate and a great environment to catch up with family members. The focus of an indoor reception is more on conversations and enjoying the pleasure of each other's company. Live music provides a really good ice breaker for guests who do not know each other that well and a wedding pianist can play such a variety of music that appeals to a whole range of people that there is going to be something for everybody to enjoy. Music is known for triggering memories and when this happens, it often starts a conversation. For smaller spaces, a wedding pianist can control the volume of the keyboard / piano to create the perfect balance so that everybody can hear the piano music yet it does not become too loud or intrusive in any way. For festive weddings, an indoor drinks reception can be the perfect place for Christmas music on the piano. Nothing beats festive favourites being played live on a piano next to a roaring fire.
Why have a wedding pianist for your wedding breakfast?
After your wedding ceremony and drinks reception - a good two hours of standing up and a whirlwind of activity - you will finally get to sit down and take everything in when you take your seats for the wedding breakfast. The wedding breakfast is the main banquet meal of your wedding reception. It is called a wedding breakfast because it is your first meal together as a married couple. I can remember from my own wedding, when I sat down next to my wife and everything started to sink in. I can remember looking around at my guests and thinking how happy I felt and how lucky I was to be surrounded by such amazing people.
This is the time that you can really sit back and enjoy yourself. You are going to be served a menu of your favourite food that you have both handpicked especially for your wedding day and inbetween courses there is nothing better than sitting back and enjoying some of your favourite songs in the world being played on a piano. Piano music is the epitome of style and romance and all of the best hotels and restaurants have a live pianist playing in their premier bars and restaurants. Your wedding day deserves the best and it is little extra touches like a wedding pianist that help to transform a meal with friends into an occasion worthy of your wedding day. Top tip: I went to a friends wedding and they had booked a string quartet to play for their wedding breakfast. The string quartet played for half an hour and then took a 15 minute break. Their break coincided with the gap in-between courses of the dinner and we were all sat in silence waiting for the next course to be served and for the string quartet to return. A wedding pianist can play for 2-3 hours without a break, although you should expect a short 5 minute break if a call of nature is required!
As a special treat for your friends and family you can arrange for the wedding pianist to play a selection of their favourite songs. In the run up to your wedding, you could do a little bit of detective work and find out what song your parents / best friends / favourite family members had for their wedding as they walked down the aisle or for their first dance. You can then ask the pianist to prepare these songs and play them during the wedding breakfast. As the meal progresses, you will hear murmurs of excitement from around the room as your guests recognise their favourite song being played. This is a really subtle trick that works really well to heighten the experience of the music and the meal for your guests.
If you are a music lover, then perhaps you have a music theme for your wedding. It is quite common for music lovers to name the tables on their table plan as different songs/bands/musicians. Another common theme for table names is films / movies / Disney. If you are going for a musical theme then it follows quite naturally to have a wedding pianist to play for your wedding breakfast. To cement the theme, you could ask your pianist to learn one piece of music that reflects each table name.
It is quite a fun idea to include done some of ice breaker on your table. You will have a group of 10 people sitting together for 2-3 hours and even good friends might need something to liven up the conversation after a while. You can buy packs of ice breaker cards which have interesting questions that guests can ask each other or fun games that you can play. These can be a really nice touch. A recent trend is to have a quiz running throughout the meal with a (alcoholic) prize for the winning table. Our wedding pianists regularly get asked to provide some specific music for the music round of the quiz...and it can be quite fun for one of your ushers to have the job of organising this so that you can both take part in the quiz as well.
Towards the end of the meal it will start to dawn on certain people that they are about to stand up and give a speech in front of all of your guests. This can be a nervous moment at the best of times - especially for the best man who has the tough job of playing a comedian for the day. Ask your wedding pianist to play some more relaxing and calming music towards the end of the meal just to help settle the last minute jitters of the speech makers. On one occasion we were asked to prepare a special piano accompaniment for the groom who sang his whole speech. That was a really amazing experience and it was such a beautiful and emotional moment.
Why have a wedding pianist for your turnaround period?
Not all weddings have a turnaround period, so this might not apply to you. At some venues, the evening reception and the dancing happens in the same location as the wedding breakfast. For example, Gaynes park and Down hall. At the end of the meal you will all be asked to leave the main reception room and move to an ante room for 45mins to an hour. During this time, the venue will clear away some of the tables, tidy the room, unveil the dance floor and the DJ will arrive to set up ready for the evening party.
Depending on your wedding venue, this can be a really successful part of the evening or it can be a bit of a disaster. Essentially, you want to avoid the feeling that you are being turfed out of the room into a holding area. It is your wedding day and every single part of the day should be really special and have an important role.
I personally think that a well mastered turnaround period can actually set up the evening party for an incredible night.
Try and imagine the experience of eating a three or four course banquet and then sitting through 30-60 minutes of speeches. You are absolutely going to want to stretch your legs and stand up. You will have been sitting down and relaxed into a comfortable and perhaps sleepy state of mind. The best thing that you can do is get all of your guests onto their feet and arrange for something to get them out of this lull. You should make sure that the room that you go to for the turnaround has an assortment of drinks (including teas and coffees), that there is minimal seating so they your guests don't get into a sitting down state of mind and that there is something exciting going on to put energy back into your guests. A wedding pianist is a great option for the turnaround period. You should ask your pianist to play an upbeat set of music - almost a warm up set - to get everybody in the mood for the DJ when you go back into the other room for your evening party. This is where you want the pianist to be showing off and showboating with exciting music that will really put an oomph into the atmosphere. This is the hardest spot for a musician as they really have to pull out all of the stops to inject a huge amount of energy into their playing. Only a really talented wedding pianist will be able to achieve the desired effect here.
The other thing to consider is that you might have evening guests arriving during the turnaround period and these guests will certainly have some catching up to do in terms of merriness and being in the mood for dancing and a great party. The turnaround period will also be their first impression of the venue and of your wedding day and you will really want to make them feel welcome and part of the group during this time so that everybody gels together ready for a great time later in the evening. You can combine a wedding pianist with some other really fun activities such as a video guestbook, table tennis, table football, wine tasting, fire breathers, casino tables, giant Jenga, beer pong (or other drinking games) etc. The trick is to get everybody having fun and in a really good mood. Start to break down inhibitions so that everybody gets into the partying spirit. Top tip: just before returning to the main room for the evening party make sure that everybody has a drink in their hands. This means that after the first dance there won't be a rush of guests to the bar leaving an empty dance floor and instead, people will crack on with the dancing straight away.
Find out more about PianoDJ
We have a growing library with more than 50 videos of our wedding pianists playing a whole range of music from DnB to Metal to Chart Hits to Indie and you can watch our cool wedding piano instrumental covers on our wedding pianist video page.
You can also listen to our popular wedding pianist recordings page with over 300 piano instrumental recordings.