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5 things your wedding reception needs to be a huge success:

You’re hitched, the ceremony’s over, and everyone’s ready for a bite to eat and (most importantly) a knees up. The wedding reception checklist can be long, and it’s different for everyone. Some completely forget about wedding band hire, while others find they’ve crammed too much into proceedings and need to cut back.

Silk Street wedding band hire perform at hundreds of weddings a year. These 5 pieces of reception advice are essential for all couples in the midst of planning fever!

1. Plenty of time to set things up

Whether you’re getting crafty yourselves, or the venue are providing everything for you, it’s important to make sure everything’s running on schedule, tables are laid, wedding band hire is on track, and the food is where it should be. The last thing you want on your big day is an extra reason to feel stressed. Call ahead, plan ahead, or delegate to someone you trust. The reception is the biggest part of the day, and precise organisation makes it more enjoyable for everyone – especially you!

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2. Different moods for different guests

A dance floor is an essential at your wedding reception, but don’t forget about the people who aren’t likely to bust a move. Wedding receptions bring together people from every circle of your life – work, family, childhood friends. They don’t all like the same things, but you can bring most of their interests together by making sure your venue has places for dancing, drinks, catching up, and going back to the buffet for thirds and fourths…

3. You and your partner’s individuality

Wedding planning websites are full of ideas for stationery, table decorations, and how the day should run. It’s all handy to know, but can be generic. Your guests are there to see you get married, so it’s only right the occasion should call for a nice dose of what makes you who you are. Whether it’s a special cocktail, joke wedding favours, or props for the photo booth – show your individuality in a way your friends and family will instantly recognise and always remember.

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4. Time to savour the moment

Despite the months and years of planning, your wedding reception will be done in a flash. Enjoy it, savour it, and take some time to step back and congratulate yourselves on all the hard work you’ve put in, and how much your guests are enjoying themselves. The photos and videography will be a wonderful memory, but don’t forget to take mementos from the table decorations and venue too.

5. Unforgettable wedding band hire

Sometimes you want more than just a playlist for your reception entertainment. Your guests will never forget the atmosphere created by a live band playing authentic swing music. The sound fills the room like nothing else, and it’s perfect to dance to, welcome your guests to the venue, or accompany you in your first dance.

Silk Street Swing have been performing together at private parties, weddings, corporate events, and even on TV, since 2009. We travel all over the UK, performing jazz and swing classics at hundreds of venues a year.

If you’re interested in bringing the authentic jazz sounds of Silk Street Swing to your wedding venue, contact us for more details. 

How to throw a mafia themed party with live band hire:

What makes organised crime so compelling? Is it the money, the glamour, the danger? Or possibly all three?

Using the magic of costume, live band hire, and an authentic setting, you can recreate a debauched mafia party (minus the genuine danger). Here’s how to get started and get organised.

Choose your period

Organised crime is one of the world’s oldest professions, so you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Some of the most recognisable periods include the Corleone’s 1950s New York, flash 1980s Miami, and the bootleggers of the 1920s. Britain had its fair share of gangsters too, including the Kray’s 1960s East End, and Birmingham’s Peaky Blinders.

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Source: TIME

Take inspiration from the big and small screens

Gangsters have always been compelling on film. Everything from the setting, to the nefarious activities, and costumes, make for particularly exciting viewing. Even the Peaky Blinders’ famous shaved haircuts, “inspired by the World War I cuts favoured by infantrymen to discourage lice”, are now experiencing an enthusiastic revival.

Use film and TV to bring your chosen era to life. You can use their set designs, styles, preferences, and even favourite meals, to bring your mafia party to life.

Add some authenticity to your venue

You won’t be committing any proper crimes at your mafia themed party, of course. Instead, your interior and decorations can include cheeky nods to the criminal underworld you’re portraying.

For true authenticity, hire henchmen to vet invites, theme your cocktails, and insist everyone check their ‘violin case’ in at the door. You could also create Wanted posters and props for memorable Instagram posts.

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Live band hire

Gangsters are pretty famous for letting their hair down. The Krays owned and ran night clubs through intimidation, Al Capone was king of the Chicago speakeasy, and the Peaky Blinders were keen to take over every pub they could.

Popular jazz and swing are two of the most enduring, evolving genres. They’re the perfect accompaniment for a mafia themed party, and relevant to so many different periods of time.

Silk Street Swing play everything from swing classics to songs with a modern twist – we have a repertoire of 150+ tunes (and counting).

For authentic live band hire for your mafia themed party, contact us to discuss your dates and venue. 

Jazz band hire: A brief history of swing music:

If you’re considering jazz band hire for a party or wedding, it’s important to familiarise yourself with different styles of jazz. Silk Street Swing are inspired by the lindihopping, trumpet-blaring swing era, and can bring it to your wedding, party, or corporate event.

Here’s a crash course to get you up to speed before you start requesting songs and commit to jazz band hire.

From the 1920s to the mid-40s

The swing era officially began in 1935, but its roots can be traced back to New Orleans jazz of the 1920s. Some of the most popular band leaders during this time included Fletcher Henderson, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Don Redman. The increasing popularity of radio allowed some swing and jazz musicians to achieve national fame.

The big band tradition

The ‘big band’ tradition is appropriately named. Swing bands would generally have more musicians than other jazz bands, sometimes up into the teens.

They also “organised their players into sections of brass, reeds, and rhythm, and hired skilled orchestrators to write music for them”. This allowed different sections of the band to play together and in response to each other. Composition would often be complex, featuring a big, memorable melody.

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Hot swing and sweet swing

The Benny Goodman orchestra developed a new genre called ‘hot swing’, which was perfect for ‘jitterbugging’ and often contained more explicit lyrics. This style was particularly popular with young people at the time, and – predictably – was disapproved of by some. ‘Sweet swing’ was the less risqué, PG version, popularised by Guy Lombardo and Shep Fields.

Musicians and band leaders who managed a middle ground between the two were often the most commercially successful, such as Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey.

The rise of vocal jazz

By the 1940s, singers were the star attraction. Ella Fitzgerald was one of the biggest stars in jazz, helping the Chick Webb Orchestra grow in popularity. Frank Sinatra originally sang with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and fast became a national obsession. Singers soon began achieving top billing, rather than band leaders and composers.

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World War II

Swing music faced a few problems in the 1940s. There was a royalties conflict between the American Society of Composers and Producers and TV/radio broadcasters, which didn’t end well for the musicians and bands. Wartime restrictions made it difficult for bands to tour and record, and the government slapped a 30% tax on nightclubs in 1944. By the end of the war, swing had broken up into newer genres to adapt to the restrictions.

Its lasting influence

Modern music would be unrecognisable without the influence of jazz and swing. 1950s and 60s rock music, made popular by Elvis Presley, used swing styles. There have been several swing revivals since, in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. It’s also been adapted by house, R&B and hip hop musicians.

Jazz band hire

Silk Street Swing have helped bring countless weddings, corporate events and parties to life with their sophisticated jazz sound and swing band music. If you’re considering jazz band hire, we’d love to do the same for you.

For booking information, get in touch.

7 swing band crowd pleasers for your wedding reception:

If you’re determined to make your wedding memorable and unique, you’ve probably listed all the fun wedding reception ideas you can possibly think of. Inviting a swing band along for some old-school good times will keep your guests thoroughly entertained.

Here are 7 crowd-pleasing, toe-tapping classics to complete your wedding reception.

1. Cheek to Cheek

Written by one of America’s greatest songwriters, Irving Berlin, in 1935, Cheek to Cheek was composed for the film Top Hat. Starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, the film features one of the most famous dance sequences in Hollywood history. Since then it’s been covered by dozens of other big names, including Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and most recently, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.

2. I Get A Kick Out of You

Made famous by Frank Sinatra, I Get a Kick Out of You was composed by Cole Porter for the 1934 musical Anything Goes. The original version included a reference to the famous Lindbergh aviation family, but Porter edited that verse out when the Lindbergh’s son was kidnapped and murdered. Probably for the best…

3. My Funny Valentine

Originally a showtune from 1937’s Babes in Arms, originally performed by child star Mitzi Green. Ella Fitzgerald, Chet Baker, and Bing Crosby covered it, along with more modern artists like Boy George and Chaka Khan. This classic is a particularly fun wedding reception idea because it’s so well known.

4. Makin’ Whoopee

Written by Gus Kahn and Walter Donaldson for the 1928 musical Whoopee!, you might know this song because of Michelle Pfeiffer’s memorable rendition in The Fabulous Baker Boys. Historically, the lyrics were apparently a warning to men that marriage is a ‘trap’, so it could be a pretty ironic addition to your reception.

5. Someone To Watch Over Me

Written by the Gershwin brothers, one liked it as an uptempo jazz piece, the other preferred it as a ballad. On your big day, the choice is all yours – both are fun wedding reception ideas. Ella Fitzgerald and Amy Winehouse released beautiful and very different versions of this song, 60 years apart.

fun wedding reception ideas

6. Mack The Knife

Originally written in German by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, Mack the Knife was translated for American audiences in 1933’s production of The Threepenny Opera. The character of Mack the Knife is based on a highwayman and criminal with a very dark past.

7. The Lady Is A Tramp

Another song from Babes in Arms, The Lady is a Tramp was covered by Frank Sinatra and used in his 1957 film, Pal Joey. The song makes fun of social conventions associated with the upper classes, like late dinners, trips to California, and partying with men with titles. It’s every down to earth woman’s anthem.

Fun wedding reception ideas – hire a jazz swing band

Silk Street Swing play swing classics from the 20s, 30s, and 40s. We play up tempo hits which are instantly recognisable, slow it right down for the slow dances, and take special requests too.

For a quote and more info, tell us all about your wedding reception.

Hire a live band and choose the cocktails: How to create an authentic Swing era party:

If you’re hosting a 1940s-themed Swing party, it’s important to get all the authentic details right – hire a live band, specify the dress code, and choose the buffet food.

The late 30s and early 40s are associated with war and hardship, but when people had an excuse for a party, they really let their hair down. Alcohol wasn’t rationed, and the end of the Second World War gave people a very big reason to celebrate.

Make sure you get the theme right and host the ultimate Swing Era party.

Define your dress code

Victory rolls, tea dresses, braces, and spats – the fashion of the 1940s is instantly recognisable. Your guests might need a hand when it comes to picking their costumes out, so add a few dress code suggestions to their invitation, as well as the names of 40s icons they can Google.

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Ration the menu

You don’t have to go quite as far as limiting butter and sugar, but some famous wartime recipes will get everyone into the 1940s spirit. Homity Pie, potato floddies, and rock cakes might not mean much to us now, but they were a staple during rationing and they’re surprisingly delicious.

Get creative with the decorations

Whether you’re hiring a space or hosting at home, the decorations you choose really help to sell the theme. Look through your local second hand thrift shops for authentic wireless radios, glassware, and other vintage accessories. If you’re focusing on more of a wartime theme, create some Blitz spirit with Union Jack bunting and Winston Churchill masks.

Teach some dance steps

Some people fear the dance floor, and they’ll avoid it even more if they don’t know their way around a Lindy Hop. Before the party gets into full swing, choose someone in the know to teach some basic steps to some swing classics. Your guests will feel like they’ve been taken back in time, and the dance floor will stay full all night.

Hire a live band to play the Swing classics

Silk Street Swing play all the 30s and 40s classics. Your guests will instantly recognise songs like Ain’t That a Kick in the Head, My Funny Valentine , and Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. We play up tempo hits, slow it right down so you can dance Cheek to Cheek, and take special requests.

Hire a live band for your 1940s party. Our reviews speak for themselves – our party guests love their sound and think they look the part too!

To book, send us a quick message using the form below.

How to create an authentic wartime menu for your 1940s swing party:

You’re looking for the right big band hire and you’ve ordered your authentic 1940s period costume. All that’s left is the buffet.

Rationing meant people could only buy a very limited amount of food each week during World War II. Even the Royal family used their ration cards. Meat, milk, eggs, materials, and many other household staples were strictly rationed, and the government even encouraged people to grow their own vegetables on public land.

If you want to recreate an authentic 1940s party, here’s what people would have been eating.

Rock cakes

A less coarse, less refined scone. Rock buns use sultanas, mixed spice, flour and baking powder. They’re still popular because the recipe’s so simple, and the modern method includes many of the same 1940s ingredients. If you have some extra ration cards, sprinkle sugar on top or eat with jam.

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Lord Woolton pie

Named after the former head of the Ministry of Food, the very first recipe was printed in the Times in April 1941, described as “economic” and “wholesome fare”. Whilst meat was scarce and vegetables weren’t subject to rationing, people would fill their Lord Woolton pie with swede, carrot, cauliflower and potatoes. If you want your party and big band hire to be super-authentic, this historical recipe is an essential addition to the menu.

Potato floddies

Every cuisine has some kind of fried potato, and this is ours. Roughly grate some potato, season it, sprinkle in some flour so it all binds together, and then spoon dollops into a hot frying pan until golden brown. For a 21st century spin, add some parmesan into the mix or use them as blinis.

Wartime carrot cake

From 1940, sugar was restricted to 8oz a week. Instead, people would use carrot to sweeten cakes, scones and biscuits. With the help of some flour, margarine, and sultanas, you have an authentic wartime carrot cake. Carrot cake is now an afternoon tea essential, and we have rationing to thank.

Coconut cream

Combine desiccated coconut, milk, sugar, and cornflour, and you’ve got a simple but satisfying wartime dessert. If you’re a fan of fancy presentation, a few drops of pink food colouring make this dessert a bit more appealing, even though it’s not entirely rationing-appropriate. Pour it into individual moulds and set in the fridge before serving.

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Homity pie

A Land Girls’ favourite, Homity Pie is a cheesy pie containing potatoes, leeks, and whatever else was around. More modern equivalents include cream, spinach, and parsley. It’s still just as satisfying as it was in the 1940s, and just as good for using up leftovers.

Good news! Alcohol wasn’t rationed, just hard to come by

Alcohol production and exportation is always affected by wartime. Italian spirits manufacturers were struggling to source their ingredients during World War II, and Hitler even seized French wine for his own army during the occupation. Here in the UK, alcohol wasn’t rationed but the army was given a very limited supply of rum. For those back home, alcohol could be scarce and much more expensive than usual. For the sake of your guests, this little historical detail might have to be forgotten…

Silk Street Swing are an authentic 1940s-style big band for hire for parties. They can play a huge list of swing and jazz classics, which are perfect for dancing and setting the mood of your wartime themed party. They look the part, so just send us a quick message using the form below and see how we can help your guests step back in time.

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