All About Ambience – Your Musical Guide to the Drinks Reception

The key word for drinks is “ambience”. Your champagne reception should move towards creating an air of ambience – and your choice of wedding entertainment will help you set the mood. This is the time of day to create a relaxed and sophisticated vibe.

There’ll be plenty of celebratory energy buzzing around the place once you’ve finished with your wedding ceremony, so the entertainment should never be overt in trying to increase energy levels. The energy is already there – the music just supports the mood by catalysing conversation and introducing an air of sophistication.

So, what kind of live wedding band or performer would be most effective in creating this atmosphere? Any acoustic, mellow instrumentalists will generally work well. If there’s a piano at your venue, try to utilise it. The instrument is aesthetically fabulous while creating a focal point and conversation piece.

Pianists are generally a very inexpensive form of wedding entertainment (you only need one of them) and tend to have excellent repertoires. More often than not they’ll play to the room – in other words, mix and match the material depending on the demographic and the mood of what’s going on around them. The intuition of a quality professional pianist is something that can be trusted.

Jazz Trio - Double Bassist

If there’s no piano available, it may be an idea to look at other alternatives. A harpist would be another relatively inexpensive option which gives a fabulously elegant and relaxed feel. Remember: relaxed is always useful at this stage of the day.

If you’re after something a little more imposing, string quartet wedding music is another classic choice – perhaps the most sophisticated of them all. A string quartet in a lovely acoustic space is hard to beat. You might also be surprised at how warm and elegant a brass group can sound, too. That would be a more left-field choice for a drinks reception, but just as enjoyable as any other option.

The type of venue is an important consideration when you choose your drinks reception music. A larger space – or a space with a high ceiling – will usually require a little more volume, so an act with more than one member would be a good starting point to consider. Conversely, a small room with lots of reflective walls and flooring will give an intimate experience which you may find too loud with a string quartet or other larger group.

And if you’re planning an outdoor drinks reception? No problem! The great thing about any smaller, acoustic form of wedding entertainment is that indoor and outdoor set-ups are equally feasible. So no matter how close the call on the weather front, you needn’t ever worry that last minute changes can’t be made.


Another unusual choice – which is a personal favourite of mine – is a jazz trio. You get the smooth, sophisticated melodies, but you also get the drum kit and the double bass giving off a wonderful groove – a perfect tonic and gets guests in the mood right away. A jazz group is perfect for larger spa
ces, outdoor receptions or marquees, producing real music that oozes warmth and sophistication- and at Artists by DFC we have a mix of jazz bands for hire.

So you’ve figured out what kind of ambience and style of musicians you want, but what about the songs they’ll play?

In terms of repertoire, you’ll find most experienced professional acts will have a wide range of styles to choose from – whether it’s classical, jazz, retro-pop or modern-pop. You’ll be able to decide exactly what you want in advance or agree ahead of time that the act will ‘play to the room’.

Our advice for brides and grooms is always simple: for great wedding entertainment guaranteed, pick experienced, quality performers. Let them do what they do best, and leave your worries at the door. Trust is hugely important when it comes to making choices for your wedding.

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