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If you fancy Lady Antebellum and Luke Bryan, to Adele and AC/DC, SMITH will deliver a legit, high-energy show that appeals to a wide variety of audiences.

10 Tips For Hiring Wedding Entertainment

1. Book Early

If you book your wedding entertainment nice and early you are not only more likely to get your first choice (the most popular wedding bands are booked 12-18 months in advance for key dates), you will also bag yourself a bargain. Quotes will often be provided on current petrol prices and they rarely go down. Also, the more popular acts become the more they will charge – it’s supply and demand, but if you book them early they are contracted to the quote they provide.

2. Off-Peak Reductions

Have you considered booking a weekday wedding or even in the off-peak months? During the weekends in summer, the majority of the bands and acts could easily book themselves 15-20 times over with the amount of enquiries they receive. Yet during the weekdays or in October, November, January and February, the same acts will struggle to fill their diaries. To help combat this they will offer reduced rates and for a wedding band you can save on average £150 - £200.

3. Augment Your Theme

Many weddings at the moment are based around a theme – sometimes very general like ‘summer’, and some more specific such as ‘festival’ or ‘vintage’. When considering entertainment for your wedding it’s a great idea to use it to augment your theme. For example, a 1920s theme jazz band for your drinks reception and some flapper dancers teaching your guests the Charleston during your evening party would really bring your vintage theme to life.

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4. Consider Your Timings

Weddings very rarely run to time – that’s a fact. So when you are working out your schedule for entertainment, be realistic and ask your venue for their advice.  During your drinks reception is a great time to have entertainment, as it will last longer than you think with photographs - entertainment will take your guests’ minds off their rumbling tummies.

5. Space Requirements

There is no point in booking an 8-piece Soul and Motown band if you only have a tiny dance floor and an even

smaller stage. At the same time, you don’t want your guests rattling round on a huge dance floor with only a DJ in the corner. Think about the space you have to play with and imagine your guests in it before adding the entertainment.

6. Venue Restrictions

Be clear with your venue about the entertainment you are thinking of booking before you pay your deposit. The grade II listed barn may look beautiful and be the perfect backdrop for your big day but if you have your mind set on a rock band for the evening, it may not be possible. Many venues have restrictions, such as sound limiters, which would have an impact on the type of band you can book.

7. Provide Refreshments

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The better your treat your act or band, the better performance they will give in return. If you consider your band may have driven 2 hours to get to your venue, then spent a further 1.5 hours lugging heavy equipment to set up and sound check, a nice quiet space for them to relax and change in along with some food and drinks will ensure they give you the high-energy performance your big day deserves.

8. Check the Terms and Conditions

If you are booking professional entertainment, they will provide a full contract along with terms and conditions. You should check these clearly and pay close attention to cancellation terms and any contingencies they have in place for emergencies.

9. Trust Your Act or Band

If you are booking a professional act or band, the likelihood is that they will have performed at hundreds of weddings previously and whilst each wedding is personal to the bride and groom, your act or band will still know best. For example, many bands will know what set list will work to make sure you have a full dance floor and whilst it’s understandable you will want to include a few of your favorites, you should leave the rest to them. Also, another biggie here is to not have your band starting too early. You don’t want the evening to peak too soon – around 9pm is usually perfect if you are finishing at midnight.

Five Tips For Finding Your Perfect Wedding Entertainment

Wedding entertainment can present a minefield of possibilities when you're not entirely sure what you want for your big day. The experts at eGigger offer their top tips on what to think about when faced with the decision

Music is one of the most important elements in your upcoming wedding. So how do you find the entertainment that you and your fiancéwill love, and will keep your guests entertained until the early hours? Music is very subjective, so make sure you choose a band that will reflect your personality just like all of the other touches you have meticulously planned.

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You can only know that a band is the right fit for your big day by having a detailed conversation. Use a website which allows you to message the band directly, then arrange a phone call and even a face to face meeting. This is one of the most important days of your life and you want to be on the same page with all parties involved. Talk about song choice, style and ask as many questions as you can so that you can make an informed decision.

Do your research

Use a platform like egigger, where you can easily research bands and musicians. Each act has a profile page containing video, biography and vital statistics that make your job much easier. Read reviews and ratings from others who have hired the band; a great resource for finding out what kind of service a band provided for a past customer. Watching videos on YouTube is an essential way of doing further research and it’s also a very good idea to go and see some bands live in action before you choose.

Consider the unconventional

Would you rather have traditional wedding entertainment or are you interested in breaking the mould? You might want to add an unusual twist to your day by hiring a beatboxer, singing waiters or maybe even LED musicians! Either way, adding your own personal and fun twist is sure to surprise your guests and create another memorable spark for your day.

Create your perfect playlist

Spend a few hours with your partner and family thinking of all the songs you just have to hear at your reception. You don’t want to get to the big day and request a song that your band or DJ hasn’t prepared or doesn’t know. Make sure all of those special songs are in your band's set list well before the date. Tip: Use Spottify to create your perfect playlist of party songs and romantic ballads.

Don’t forget the ceremony

Beautiful music during your ceremony is a lovely touch that sometimes gets forgotten. Find a musician who will be able to create the perfect atmosphere when you walk down the aisle. Consider choosing a harpist, violinist or pianist who can create a soft version of your favourite song to really set the tone.

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14 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Ceremony Musicians

When meeting with potential ceremony musicians, cover all of these important questions before making anything official. Not only are they informative, they're also a good way to sense how well you click with them. After all, they're the team you're counting on to set the right mood and feel for your ceremony—the most special moment of the day.

1. Do you have a set ceremony repertoire or will we work with you to choose one?

Why you want to know: You should have a solid idea of how you'll come up with a song list for the ceremony before you book. Some musicians may be more hands on, while others will ask you to drive the selections.

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2. Can you play the nontraditional songs we've chosen?

Why you want to know: If you have your mind set on a particular tune, you want to make sure your musician is able to play it or learn it. Some musicians or vocalists may charge an extra fee to learn it in time for your wedding. It's better if you know ahead of time if they'll be able to perform your songs.

3. Have you performed at a wedding before?

Why you want to know: Playing a wedding ceremony requires a specific set of skills. Your musicians should know when to change the volume to set the right mood as well as help transition guests from their arrival, to the ceremony and then to a celebratory vibe. It's also a good idea if there's a defined leader (if you're working with a music group) who will be your main point of contact for communication and to make any changes during the ceremony.

4. Will you need sound amplification? What's the alternative if my ceremony space doesn't allow amplified sound?

Why you want to know: It's a good idea to have a sense of what equipment your ceremony musicians will need in order to have the best sound quality. But if you're getting married outdoors without access to power, or your ceremony venue doesn't allow amplified sound, you want to be certain they have a plan to give you great sound even without speakers. You'll also want to know if getting the sound you need will require extra instruments or vocalists, which could end up adding on to the price tag.

5. What combination of instruments would you recommend for my ceremony space and vibe?

Why you want to know: You may have always imagined a string quartet, but you'll want to know what the right instruments are to play the songs you have in mind. While you may like the sound of a certain instrument, including it isn't as easy as just adding it to your ensemble. A musician will have a good idea of the right combination you'll need so one instrument doesn't stand out awkwardly above the rest.

6. What's the minimum amount of time we can hire you for?

Why you want to know: A two- to four-hour minimum is typical, so whether or not they'll require you to book them for a set amount of time that's longer than your ceremony may be something you want to consider when deciding whether to use the same musicians for your cocktail hour.

7. Can you also play during cocktail hour?

Why you want to know: Most importantly, you'll want to be sure they're available for the cocktail hour if you're thinking of hiring them for both wedding events. This likely won't apply if you're hiring an organist for the ceremony, but a string quartet is perfect for both the ceremony and cocktails (if they're available).

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8. Do you have experience performing in a ceremony venue like mine?

Why you want to know: You want to be sure your musicians will have no problem troubleshooting some of the issues that come with your venue. Things like acoustics and volume can change drastically if you're in a space with super-high ceilings or on the beach.

9. What songs would you recommend we play during my ceremony traditions (lighting of the unity candle, ketubah signing, jumping the broom)?

Why you want to know: Your musicians can play the traditional songs that accompany your cultural or religious tradition or they may have suggestions for what to play if there's not a set song to use.

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Top Tips For Booking Your 2017 Wedding Entertainment

You’ve fixed a date. You’ve booked the bridesmaids. You’ve visited venues, checked out churches and registry offices, and measured up the back garden for a marquee (maybe).

So, what’s left on the list? OK, there’s the dress and the flowers, but don’t forget – to get the wedding entertainment you really want, you’ll need to book this early too.

According to the wedding time planner at The Knot, you should be booking those crucial professional wedding services 8-10 months before the Big Day. So, if you’re having a wedding in summer 2017, it’s definitely time to contact caterers, photographers, toastmasters, and your wedding entertainment providers.

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Planning wedding entertainment can be a bit daunting, especially given that most weddings are spread over a longer period of time than the average birthday party. It helps to divide your day into time slots, and work out what entertainment you would like in each.

Wedding ceremony

Whatever type of wedding ceremony or civil partnership ceremony you are having, be it church, registry office, or at a licensed venue, live music always makes it more personal, memorable and more enjoyable. So, think about:

  • music before the ceremony as your guests assemble

  • sung music during the ceremony, whether hymns or a solo singing songs special to you

  • instrumental music at the Signing of the Register

  • exit music

YouTube Video

You don’t have to stick with tradition either. So long as the clergy are happy, there is no reason why you can’t have an ‘a capella’ group or pop singer singing in church, for example. However, a civil wedding ceremony (i.e. not one in church) must not include any religious music. That’s why many couples opt for classical music or pop songs. There’s a nice list at Perfect Wedding, if you need some inspiration.

Drinks reception

The main reason most weddings feature a drinks reception is to give guests a chance to mix and mingle in comfortable surroundings while you have your wedding photos taken!

Given that nearly every wedding photo session runs way over time, clever couples include some entertainment as well as drinks and canapés. So, you might have an acoustic duo or trip playing and perhaps a roving street magician surprising guests with clever tricks. For a more fun experience, hire cocktail mixologists to create a special bespoke cocktail, and a roving mariachi band to keep the fun flowing.

Wedding meal/wedding breakfast

Once you start booking wedding entertainment, it’s sometimes very hard to stop! However, don’t feel obliged to have wall-to-wall music throughout the meal, or indeed any music at all. By the time people sit down to eat, they are hungry, glad to take the weight off their legs, and more than ready to tuck into a delicious meal. Getting everyone seated can take a little time, and this is where a roving entertainer can really come into their own. Tabletop magicians can thrill guests at their tables before and during gaps between courses, or perhaps think out of the box with paper silhouette artists or caricaturists.

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America's Music: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

As country music fans from around the world descend upon Nashville for the 2014 CMA Music Festival, the genre seems to be in a pretty good spot right now. The nightly concerts at LP Field have long been sold out, and the artists and songs coming from Music Row seem to be more plugged into the musical mainstream as ever before. Why is this? Billboard examines the reasons for this growing trend in a new series where we talk with some of the most powerful men and women in Nashville, concerning why they think the visibility of country music seems to be stronger than ever.

Though the format has always gotten attention from the mainstream -- thanks to artists like Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton, more country artists are appealing to fans outside of the normal avenues of the genre than ever. Taylor Swift, Luke Bryan, and Jason Aldean have taken their unique styles of music from the arenas to the stadiums, with bigger success than ever before.

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You can also hear more elements of the genre in other radio formats, such as pop, rock, and rap/hip-hop. Though artists from country have always had a strong sales presence – with Garth Brooks and George Strait being two of the biggest music sellers of the past quarter-century, neither act took their singles to pop radio. Shania Twain and LeAnn Rimes did so in the late 90s with songs like "You're Still The One" and "I Need You," respectively, but now it's a little more commonplace for artists from the genre to find success on the Hot 100, such as Swift or Florida Georgia Line. And, it works both ways – with Darius Rucker becoming one of the top recording artists in the business and a member of the Grand Ole Opry – as well as a successful launch of Sheryl Crow as a country artist by Warner Brothers last fall.

Sarah Trahern, CEO of the Country Music Association, feels that the media definitely looks at the genre differently than in the past. "In recent years, country music's breakthrough artists have gotten more access from mainstream media outlets – both due to the success of the trailblazing artists that came before them and also because marketers and outlets no longer perceive country music as a regional format but understand that the country consumer and fan is a highly desirable national and international target who is tech savvy and has disposable income," she told Billboard. "So when the channels open for country music artists to reach a wider audience, the level of talent from our format rises to the challenge."

Gary Overton, Chairman & CEO of Sony Music Nashville, feels that the past few years have really seen country live up to its image as "America's Music," as the fans seem to be running the gamut.

"Mainstream America is in love with country music, and corporate America has noticed," Overton told us. "Today's country music is young and exciting. It's a party. It has a rock edge that kids love - and so do the Baby Boomers, who are tired of 30 to 40-year-old classic rock. Because of this we have increased opportunities for major TV exposure in both programming and national product endorsements in advertising. We have country artists acting in major studio films. We have fragrances, shoe lines, clothing lines."

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