16 Sep 2014 Admin

Everything You Need to Know When Booking Ceilidh Bands

Your wedding is a very special day, and should therefore be an unforgettable one. If you want your wedding guests to have nonstop fun on the dance floor, booking a Scottish ceilidh band is the way to go. Ceilidh bands are known to create a natural, communal vibe that gets everyone - regardless of age - excited, happy, and dancing the night away.


What’s a Ceilidh?

In the past, a Ceilidh (pronounced as KAY-lee) was a gathering wherein people came together to share poetry, stories, and songs. Nowadays, a Ceilidh is known as a community dance held to celebrate weddings or other major events.

Enter - Ceilidh bands

Ceilidh wedding bands are at the heart of every Ceilidh - providing music, fun, and help with the dance steps. The band consists of a minimum of two players plus a “caller,”(the one shouting the dance steps so that everyone knows what to do next) while some bands have more than three members.
Ceilidh bands use traditional instruments like accordions, pipes, fiddles, and guitars more contemporary ceilidh bands add in electric guitars, keyboards, flutes, whistles, drums and bass. Scott Leslie Ceilidh band consists of three members. A keyboard player and separate dance caller can also be added to the line-up on request.
If you want to see how ceilidh bands play and how they sound, here’s a video performance of the Scottish ceilidh band Ceilidhdonia



What do ceilidh bands do during the wedding?

In a wedding ceilidh, the band usually plays a traditional set for the first wedding dance and then eases guests into dancing simple dances to start with.
Ceilidh dances are similar to folk dancing and line dancing. First, people are arranged into lines or circles. Next, the “dance caller” teaches everyone the steps (usually under 10 minutes) and sorts out any confusion.
The dances are named based on origins and history. Some dances include:
● The Oxo Reel
● Dashing WHite Sergeant
● The Gay Gordons
● La Rouse
● Cumberland Square 8
Here’s a look at some of the ceilidh dances. Music performed by The Sleekit Beasties.


Why should you book a ceilidh band for your wedding?

1. Everyone can join.
The best thing about ceilidh dances is that no experience is required. Everyone can join in the fun - from your 6-year-old nephew to your 60-year-old aunt - making it a fantastic entertainment option for your wedding.
Don’t worry if your guests may seem shy at first; ceilidh band members are known to encourage guests and get them off their seats in no time. 
2. It improves blood circulation.
Think about all the cake you’ve just eaten. Or the long trip where you sat down for hours. Dancing to the tunes of ceilidh bands will allow you to stretch your legs and ensure an improved blood circulation. 
3. You get to meet mingle with new people in a relaxed, fun way.

For those who want to meet new people and skip the awkward phase, try participating in ceilidh dances. The dance involves swapping partners all the time, helping people feel relaxed with each other. After the dance, you’ll be happily sharing a laugh with people you’ve just met.
4. On the other hand, you’ll avert small talk.
You’re not obliged to engage in small talk with your relatives or old schoolmates either. Why? It’s because you’re so busy having a great time with all the dancing!
5. Ceilidh bands venture beyond traditional music.
Worried about the playlist? Don’t fret. Just because a ceilidh is a traditional dance doesn’t mean you’ll be dealing with traditional music all night long. There are modern ceilidh bands that take traditional tunes and mix them with contemporary sounds. The outcome is a highly energetic party tune. Check out Hopscotch Ceilidh Band and Cosmic Ceilidh Band.
6. Great value for money.
With a ceilidh band, you get a live band, endless fun, and everyone on the dance floor. A ceilidh band’s fast-paced music is satisfying and would make everyone remember your special day. 

What else do I need to know about ceilidh bands?

1. While most ceilidh bands don’t require you to provide instruments, they do require a good space to perform in - preferably with a stage.
2. The band normally plays for around an hour in the first set, and another hour for the second set. You can offer food and drinks in between sets but make sure to leave digesting time before starting the dancing again. Second sets are usually faster than the first half.
3.  They can play background music from iPods before and after sets.
4. They might need to do a sound check to ensure everyone can hear the caller and the music.
5. As with all live musicians and entertainers, offer the band a full meal and drinks for free.

How do I book a ceilidh band?

Booking your wedding band through a music agency like Music For Scotland gives you the chance to chose among the best of the best. Simply click on “Ceilidh bands” button on the homepage and you’ll be led to a number of professional musicians.



Browse the band’s profile, watch them perform or hear how they play through audio samples.

Ceilidh bands are not only for weddings, they are also great for private parties, University functions and corporate events.