Hiring a Band: Part one by Brother Ray Music

Hello all, Maria here :) After quite a lengthy debate on our Facebook page recently where I asked, Which type of supplier do/did you find most difficult sourcing? Finding a great live band to hire for your wedding was top of the list. Some of you it seems, are not even sure where to start looking.  So… I thought I’d try and help!

Please note, I’m not a musician, although occasionally (after copious amounts of wine) I do convince myself I have a voice like Beyonce. Fear not though, you’ll be relieved to hear, I do know some excellent professional musicians that can help :)

This week I’ve arranged a two part special dedicated to finding the right band for you and where to start looking. I have chosen two of Wales’ leading wedding bands to offer their advice.

Today, we have the beautiful Julia Coles who is the lead singer from Brother Ray music. They performed at our Cwtchmas Party back in December and were fabulous!  Coming up on Thursday, we then have Nathan from The Duplicates offering his advice too. I’ve worked alongside both these bands at recent weddings I’ve photographed. Both are brilliant! They are leading professionals in the welsh wedding industry and highly sought after. Only the best for our readers :)  

Let’s hand you over to Julia for part one…

cwtch3Hi Cwtch readers, I’m Julia and I’m the lead singer and organiser of Brother Ray, a Funk, Soul, Disco and Pop Covers band based in Cardiff. We’ve performed together for over 6 years and LOVE every second of what we do!

Cwtchmas Party 185153Image by Tim Bishop Photography

Having now performed at hundreds of weddings, as a band, we have a great insight into what makes a great party! Every wedding is different and every couple have different needs and tastes so there are a number of things to consider when looking for the right entertainment for you!
The best thing about a wedding is that there is usually a big age range of guests to entertain. This however is something to consider when looking for entertainment, especially if you’re thinking of having a band or a DJ, as certain bands specialise in particular era’s or genres. It’s lovely to see Nan dancing with the bride to a hit they both know!
There is quite a large selection of bands in the South Wales area, all offering different things from Rock covers, to Soul classics. Live entertainment often doesn’t come cheap but from our experience offers such a special addition to the evening. As bands we all know each other and have worked with one another in different guises and events over the years, so if a band you like are unavailable we will be sure to suggest some other great bands that suit your requirements!
Many bands also perform live at public gigs so it’s worth getting in touch with a few of them and popping out to see them perform live before booking if it’s possible. This is also a great way to meet the band members first and It’s also lovely to meet our couples beforehand so that we have a taste of your personalities and preferences before the big day!
Daytime entertainment can also be a beautiful addition to your drinks reception, be it a harpist, vocalist or violin player. Some bands offer this laid back setup as part of a package to keep your guests entertained all day long!
julia coles
The main piece of advice I’d like to share or suggest is ‘What kind of party/atmosphere do you want for the evening at your wedding?’ Not all couples want everyone up all night dancing and would rather a chilled back atmosphere with some light background music. Each couple is different! (Although all of the Brother Ray Bride and Grooms are on the dancefloor all night!)
I thought it might be useful to share a top tip checklist for you to use when looking for your entertainment!


  • Check the bands setlist – Something for everyone? Do you like the songs?
  • Will the band perform your first dance?
  • Where are the band based and will they travel to you?
  • Do they offer lighting?
  • Do you want a DJ or an ipod playlist?
  • Can they recommend a DJ they work with?
  • How long will the band perform for?
  • Do they have insurance?
  • How much do they charge?
My final piece of advice would be BOOK EARLY! Many couples leave entertainment as the last thing they book. We hate turning away couples who are really excited to book us. So many bands are made up of full time musicians so their diaries fill up quickly.
Get searching early and have fun looking. Also, feel free to get in touch!
Julia, Brother Ray xx


One thought on “Hiring a Band: Part one by Brother Ray Music

  1. Pingback: Hiring A Live Band: Part Two by The Duplicates | Cwtch The Bride

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