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Can an Irish/Celtic Band do Weddings?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Nate74, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. I think this is the right forum for this. Apologies if it's misplaced.

    I'm in an Irish band and we've been doing pubs and private parties for about a year. We do all the typical Irish drinking songs, some jigs and reels and a couple non-Irish covers. We added a violinist a few months ago who works in a string quartet and they make some serious money doing wedding ceremonies which got us all thinking and talking about the possibility of trying to find some work at weddings.

    We would obviously be more for the reception than the ceremony, but it got us wondering about the prospects of pursuing this market? At first glance, we'd have to cut about half our standard pub songs from our set which would then mean we'd have to find another 25 or so songs in our genre that would be more appropriate for an event like that.

    It would obviously be a very niche market but I'm thinking it might be worth pursuing if all it costs us is some promo pix in ties and learning 25 new songs.

    Wondering if any of you who are currently working wedding receptions have a feel for what works and what doesn't? Your overall impression of such gigs and if you've ever heard of an Irish/Celtic band doing a reception?
  2. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I photographed a wedding where an Irish/Celtic PUNK band played, and it went over fine. The drummer played a shopping cart!

    It just matters that it's what the bride and groom want.

    Everyone else can pound sand.
  3. Makes sense. IIRC from my wedding day, my wife chose everything so if we appeal to a bride-to-be, I guess that's 99% of the battle...
  4. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    At the wedding, the bride and groom are king and queen. They like the music you do... you're booked. Period.
  5. Big Brother

    Big Brother

    Feb 13, 2011
    San Diego
    Roving sub-demon
    I think that could be very cool, with a violin you have a lot of flexibility. Add some nice first dance songs that feature the violin and you are golden.

    This sounds a lot more fun and original than the standard cover band in matching suits. :smug:
  6. Goldmine.

    Even better, learn doublebass and team up with the fiddler to do ceremonial classics.
  7. NOAH_FX


    Aug 12, 2010
    Ottawa, Canada
    If i was getting married that's the type of band i'd want! Maybe some bagpipes to walk down the aisle to? :)

    Can the violinist play fiddle as we'll? (Dumb question?)
  8. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011

    Whatever the B/G want is what they get, and Celtic bands can, and often do, rock.

    Here are a few great Celtic bands:

    Off Kilter
    The Dubliners
    The Real McKenzies
    Floggin Molly
    Fiddler´s Green
    Red Hot Chilli Pipers
    Rob Crabtree
    Floggin Molly
    Real McKenzies
    Irish Rovers
    The Battlefield Band
    Seven Nations
    Father, Son & Friends
    Glengarry Bhoys
    The Elders

    Just a sampling of the great Celtic bands. Check them out on iTunes or YouTube, they'll give you some great ideas for your own act, as well as show you how it should be.
  9. BassMom88


    Oct 17, 2011
    Talk to some wedding planners in your area and maybe even some Irish Dance schools.
    When my daughter did Irish Dance, groups would perform at weddings and all sorts of events....so they may have some ideas.
    The schools may even want to hire you for things...we always needed musicians!
  10. gjbassist

    gjbassist Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2005
    Kansas City, MO
    Don't forget The Elders!
  11. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    They're on my list... now.
  12. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    I played in a Celtic ceilidh band for years doing rocked up treatments of trad jigs, reels, slip jigs, waltzes, marches or whatever. It was good fun. The band let me make up whatever style of bass line I wanted for every tune (or tune pairing) and with a pretty handy drummer it used to get pretty wild at times - slip jigs in 9/8 that started slowly and intentionally upped the tempo to dizzying speed, jigs with a bit of slap thrown in, I played quite a few bass lines that owed a lot to Geddy, Squire and even a bit of the old 'Steve Harris' gallop.

    We used to do loads of weddings

    We had a dance caller who had a great collection of ceilidh dances and was a natural front man, and he would get people involved, up and dancing from the off. He would start off with real easy stuff, then move on to more difficult stuff as people got the hang of things. Ceilidh dances are always designed to have one couple start the dance together, then change partners through the whole dance then end up back together - usually accompanied with a huge amount of whooping and often hysterical laughter. It really throws everyone together into a party spirit, and gets them mixing together which is why I think that having a ceilidh at the reception is so popular - when the alternative is to have each branch of the family keeping to themselves.

    I thought that Ceildh stuff would be deadly dull and very uncool (I only joined the band on a dep gig and sort of stayed) but I was surprised to find that the band played some very classy venues, often to 5-600 people and absolutely without fail had people giving us a 5-10 minute standing ovation and yelling for more. Very good for the old ego.
  13. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    Short form? YES

    You may even be able to do the more "formal" section if you go with a more traditional Irish/Celtic vibe than say Floggin' Molly. Weddings can be as formal or funky as the bride and groom. You never know. For example I had some of my geeky friends got married after several years of dating/being engaged with a mideaval themed wedding. Yeah for real. His dad even wore leggings! :eek: :p

    It is also supposed to be the biggest party in a persons life so breaking out the upbeat Floggin Molly type of stuff would be awesome!
  14. Thanks all. Some GREAT suggestions.

    We're definitely more Clancy Brothers and Dubliners than Flogging Molly and Dropkick Muprhys so the "going classy" angle would be what we'd be trying for most certainly.

    @BassMom88 - The Dance School suggestion is great, thanks! When we played at the So CA Irish Festival a few months back, we met several of the larger dance studios in the area and still have all their contact info. I'd thought about wedding planners but wanted to have a little better idea of what we might have to do to transition form "Pub-Irish" to "Wedding-Irish" before going down that path. I guess phone call wouldn't hurt though. Thanks!
    @tekdiver500ft - a few names on there I'm not familiar with. Will check them out. Thanks.
    @DownUnderWonder - yeah, that big piece of lumber next to me in my profile pic is exactly that :)
    @NOAH FX - our violin player comes from a classical backround but over the past several months has really gotten pretty solid with our genre. At what point you call it "Fiddle" I'm not sure, but I'd say she's getting close.

    Again, thanks all for some great input.
  15. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    One of my best friends in Chicago had an Irish band at his wedding and they rocked!!! Easily one of the best wedding bands I've seen.

    I think if you live in an area with an appreciation for Celtic culture like Chicago or Boston, a band like that could do well for events.
  16. Yeah, Boston is sort of the Mecca for US Irish bands for sure. We've had decent luck with it in LA, but really there are only a dozen venues in So CA that really do a lot of live Irish music. But with festivals, the county fairs and a few private parties, we've kept fairly busy for a weekend-warrior type group. The wedding thing really stems from our violinist experience doing string quartet stuff in that area and how much freakin' money they seem to make. Plus we avoid the "how's your draw?" question from dip-**** club owners :)

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