The following article was published:
“You swore you’d make your wedding plans as stress-free as possible. After all, the most
important thing is the love you share for each other, right? But your wedding day is
looming and preparations need to be made. Among them, what kind of music to go for?
It’s tempting to ignore everyone else and base the decision on your own personal tastes.
After all, it’s your wedding. But, if your elderly Grandma Joan is attending, is it wise to
have an Eminem tribute band playing? Of if you know Uncle Peter can’t wait to get down
to Abba’s Dancing Queen, is it sensible to book that techno DJ friend of yours who always
Over the last ten years I’ve sung at hundreds of weddings and I’m going to note down a
few points to keep in mind when booking wedding music for your big day.
What’s the style of your wedding? Rustic, Bohemian, Shabby Chic, Sophisticated?
Choose a performer that goes well with your chosen theme. For example, acoustic acts
are very popular and are great for the lawn before or after the ceremony. Or perhaps
you’d like a string quartet to play at the champagne reception. If you have a large hall to
fill with many guests maybe you’d prefer a function band or DJ?
As a performer I sing Jazz and Motown. But not necessarily at the same event. Jazz goes
down well at sophisticated, intimate weddings while Motown is a popular choice when
there’s a wide range of ages and tastes to keep happy. Everyone can dance and
teenagers all the way through to grandparents can enjoy it. Once, at a wedding where I’d
just sung my Motown set, I had a mother approach me in grateful tears after seeing her
nineteen year old son dance in public for the first time in more than ten years. That’s the
power of choosing the right music!
I’ve also sung in several function bands. Their role is to keep the whole gamut of guests
happy at weddings and parties and they’re a great middle of the road option if you like
current and classic chart hits.
Next, what are your personal tastes as a couple? Is music vitally important to you? If so
you might spend a few months scouting around for local indie bands you love, maybe
even ones that play original music. If you’re more interested in a particular genre, say pop
or rock, then go ahead and book an appropriate function band with good references and
a playlist of popular hits.
What do you know about your guests? Will you be inviting mostly your friends from
college? How about your coworkers? Family? Are your guests more conservative or
radical? Do they seem to prefer contemporary party hits or more traditional music? If you
invite your little cousins, will the music be appropriate? Maybe you want to invite people of
all ages. In that case, booking a DJ might be a more versatile choice. Usually they can
play a wider range of musical styles. You want to like the music as a couple, but you also
want to make your loved ones happy!
What’s your budget? It’s easy to forget that your budget is important when choosing
wedding music. Booking a solo performer is usually best with a smaller budget. A
band/DJ usually serves to a bigger budget (and venue size). If your budget is very high,
you may even be able to book one of the contestants from a TV pop show like Idol or X-
factor. They could be fairly affordable and a great talking point among your guests. If you
do your research ahead of time hopefully you’ll be very happy with your choice!
Also, if you find a band you like but their price is a bit out of your range, ask them if they
can perform in a stripped down line up. For example, I sing Motown as a solo with
backing tracks, and also as a girl duo or trio, all the way up to a 10-piece band. That way I
can keep my act accessible and affordable and still suit most budgets. You should keep in
mind that many contracts ask you to provide the band with food and drink. This might be
an expense you hadn’t reckoned on.
How big is the venue? Venue size is something people often overlook. I’ve been at
venues where a full band has been booked to play but the reception room is tiny. If there
are no alternate spaces for people to relax in you might end up blowing Granddad’s ear
drums out! If space is limited but you’d still like to dance, you may want to consider
booking an artist who performs with backing tracks. That way all they have to bring along
is their compact PA system and iPad versus a whole raft of musical instruments, sound
monitors and large speakers.
Most artists who perform solo, as I often do, are great at getting the audience involved
and have enough presence to fill the stage. So don’t worry that a solo act won’t have
enough charisma to entertain your guests.
How do you choose the right band? Size of venue, budget, and type of guests should
narrow down your options. But don’t forget about your personal tastes as a couple—it’s
your celebration! Before booking the band, you should get to know the way they perform.
Request a demo CD, watch them on YouTube or try to see them at a live showcase. This
will help you decide if the band is what you’re looking for and if it is appropriate for your
type of wedding.
And if you’d like music written just for you? These days, very few couples want a
cookie cutter day so weddings are becoming more and more customized. This also
applies to wedding music. I believe that every love story is unique and deserves to be
shared, so I started a company called Blockbuster Bride. My team and I create specially
written music that tells your love story. You can also use lyrics from this bespoke song in
your wedding stationery or have it as the soundtrack of your wedding movie or slideshow.
This personal experience can be a great way to remember your wedding forever!
Your wedding is a happy celebration for you no matter what. But reduce your pre-wedding
stress to a minimum by asking yourself these important and you’ll keep your guests
happy too. Booking the right band will make your special day unforgettable!
Listen to Shola being interviewed about wedding entertainment here:
Shola Kaye is a London-based Jazz and Motown singer who performs internationally in a
variety of line-ups. She’s sung support for Florence and the Machine and Andy Abraham
(UK Eurovision contestant and X-Factor runner-up). She’s also the founder of
www.blockbusterbride.com, creating custom wedding songs for brides and grooms
worldwide. Find out more at www.motownsinger.com and www.sholakaye.com”
Example of Shola’s Twitter Page that I worked on:
Example of a biography I wrote of Shola for various websites:
“Shola is a London-based professional Motown/Jazz singer, public speaker, and founder of
several wedding-oriented companies. A woman of many creative talents, she changed
careers and residential locations quite a few times before finding exactly what she wanted to
do in life. Presently, she is the happiest she has ever been and encourages everyone to follow
their hearts and find their true passions.
So let’s start from the beginning. How exactly did she get to be such a successful
entrepreneur and renowned singer/songwriter? Shola was born in London to Nigerian
parents. A British family fostered her for years before she attended Cambridge University.
Following graduation, she became an award-winning Chemistry teacher and moved to the
United States to earn her Masters degree. She changed her career and decided to join the
corporate world. A management consultant at Goldman Sachs in New York City was a
financially rewarding job for her, but she wasn’t happy. A natural introvert, Shola wasn’t
comfortable presenting and pitching ideas to prospective clients.
With lack of confidence and a stifled creativity, she left the company and started studying
with one of the world’s top vocal coaches, Seth Riggs. She moved to London to start a new
career as an account director for a design firm while simultaneously studying with another
top vocal coach, Kim Chandler. She eventually decided to leave the corporate world and start
a new dream: life coaching. It was this job that built up her confidence enough to become a
professional Motown/Jazz singer. Shola has performed at gigs supporting stars such as
Florence and the Machine, Paul Young, Tony Hadley and George Mellie, and has entertained
at many weddings and corporate functions in front of audiences as large as 15,000 peo ple.
She also performs with a live jazz band as well as offering a tribute to Diana Ross. Recent
corporate clients include John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Sony Pictures and Waitrose and
Shola regularly appears at venues such as The Park Lane Hilton, The Groucho Club and
Harvey Nichols, London. She has appeared on TV in the UK, Spain and Iran and her
performances have been featured in the Huffington Post and Digital Spy.
Along with professionally singing and speaking publicly (mainly at corporate events) about
changing careers and doing what makes you happy, she has founded two wedding-oriented
companies called SongBelles and Blockbuster Bride. Having sung at numerous weddings,
Shola was often curious about the bride and groom’s story. She realized that photo
slideshows and wedding videos would be so much more emotional and personal when
accompanied by an original song about the couple. So she decided to combine both her
business education and love for entertainment into two separate businesses. SongBelles is a
company that turns a story into a song, video, and live performance. The SongBelles team
will create exciting set-pieces for corporate events, including a bespoke song containing your
business message and a fully branded, themed, industry-specific live show to promote and
spread awareness of a company’s brand. SongBelles can also create exciting set-pieces for
weddings and other special occasions.
Blockbuster Bride is another company that Shola founded. With her team, she creates video
slideshows with specially written music that show and tell a bride and groom’s love story.
The lyrics from these bespoke songs can also be used in the couple’s wedding stationary
and/or party favors.
Shola is widely available for gigs and for keynote speeches and workshops. She loves to
speak on topics such as encouraging people to overcome setbacks while simultaneously
finding one’s unique voice. If she doesn’t already do enough, she has also developed a
workshop for corporates with an emphasis on: 1) developing conversational speaking skills
for work-related presentations 2) using storytelling to engage audiences 3) utilizing drama,
vocal variety and expression to create a compelling audience experience. In both her keynote
speeches and workshops, Shola continues to use the power of song and musical performance
to create a unique, refreshing and memorable experience for attendees.
Shola has become very successful not by sitting around waiting for her life to find its right
course, but by working hard and taking chances. She followed her heart and it led her to
great happiness and personal fulfillment. She is the perfect example of her own life coaching
advice and she continues to change lives every single day with her public speaking and
astounding musical performances.”
Some of Shola’s Companies/Websites That I Worked On: