The Wedding Band Glossary for Newbies

 The Wedding Band Glossary for Newbies

As with any industry, the wedding band industry is riddled with jargon and shorthand. This can sometimes make it difficult to find out the information you want, especially when you've got so many other things to organise as your big day approaches.

Don't know your breakables from your backline? Never fear - we've compiled the following list of terms you'll likely come across when you book a wedding band, along with some easy-to-understand definitions:



An amplifier, or 'amp' for short, is an electronic device which boosts electrical signals. Amps are commonly used to increase the volume of electric guitars and microphones - you'll be able to see the guitars connected to amplifiers via cables during the band's performance.

AV (Audio/Visual)

Audiovisual, often abbreviated to AV, refers to any type of electronic media which involves sound (audio) and sight (visual), such as a music video.



The term 'backline' refers collectively to the various amps and speakers used by a band for their performance. The backline gets its name from its position on the stage, towards the back and in a line.


The de facto leader of the band - the head honcho, the big cheese who holds all the cards and calls all the shots. The band leader won't always be the lead singer, but will be the one chiefly responsible for liaising with clients and agents.


This is the name given to certain parts of a drum kit, particularly those parts which are more easily removable and are more peculiar to a drummer's own unique sound. Typically, the breakables include the cymbals, snare drum, bass drum pedal and sticks, which are added to the main body or 'shell' of the drum kit.

Booking Agent

The company through which you hire your wedding band. A booking agent will ensure that you get the service you paid for, which offers you a lot more protection than dealing with a band directly.



A percussion instrument which consists of a hollow wooden box with a sound hole in the back and thin strips of metal - the 'snare' - inside across the top. Usually played with the hands or fingertips, hitting the middle part of the face can replicate the sound of a bass drum, whereas hitting the top of the face (where the 'snare' touches from the inside) can replicate the sound of a snare drum.

A cajon is a popular alternative to a drum kit, particularly among acoustic bands and buskers, as it produces a natural, less overbearing sound and is easy to transport.


A written agreement listing all the terms and conditions expected to be followed by both parties, signed by both the band/supplier and client. The contract will also state what happens if either you or the wedding band you've hired does not follow these terms.

Cover Band

A band which exclusively plays or 'covers' material written by other artists. A cover band may emulate the original style of the songs they are covering, but may also adapt the songs they are covering to suit their own sound.


Db – Decibels

Decibels (notated as Db) are measurements of loudness of sound intensity. Wedding bands and DJs will often have to play music below a certain decibel limit set by the wedding venue.

Dep (Deputy musician)

A deputy musician or 'dep' is a substitute player, rather than a full-time member of a band, who is drafted in to cover a performance in the original member's absence. If a member of your wedding band falls ill in the days before your wedding, the band will need to draft in a dep rather than pulling out of the gig.

DI Box

A Direct Input (DI) Box is a device used onstage which balances the electrical signal from an instrument to the desk and then to the speakers. This is commonly used for bass guitars and acoustic guitars, and helps eliminate peaks and troughs in the signal, ensuring a more even volume output.

DJ service

Many function bands offer an optional DJ service as an extension to their package. Instead of working alongside a separate DJ, a member of the band will mix tracks and take song requests throughout the evening.

Drinks reception

A social function where drinks are served to guests. In wedding terms, this is the part of the day where your guests move from the wedding venue to the reception venue and are welcomed with drinks.


Electric Drums

An electronic drum kit is made up of pads designed to resemble a traditional drum kit, which send out signals when hit with drumsticks. These signals then come out of an amp. The signals can either be converted into realistic drum kit sounds, or can be manipulated to create sounds more akin to a drum machine. Furthermore, the volume of an electronic drum kit is much easier to control, as the pads themselves don't make a lot of natural sound - so it's just a case of turning the amp up or down to the desired volume.


Once a band has finished their set, if they've been particularly well received, they may return to the stage for a song or two more. We borrow the word from the French for “still, again” - which, coming from an audience, is music to a band's ears!


Front of House (FOH)

In the live music world, the Front of House (FOH) usually refers to the PA System (sound system) facing directly at the audience.

Front man

A member of the band, usually the lead singer, whose other main role is to engage with the audience.


An event, usually either private or corporate, with invited guests and usually some form of entertainment.

Function Band

A live band hired to play at events and functions who perform covers of well-known songs to suit a varied audience. Visit our function bands page to find out more.



A concert, a show - any type of performance for a band or musician. Usually reserved for paid performances, the word evolves from a shortening of 'engagement'.

Green Room

The waiting area where an act can prepare themselves for their performance. The act will often use this area to take a quick break and recuperate between sets as well.


House Band

The resident band at a given venue. If a band goes down especially well with a crowd of regulars, a venue may well offer thema regular gig, or 'residency'.

Horn section

A group of musicians who play horn or brass instruments. Common members of this section include the trumpeter, the trombonist and the saxophonist.



In-ear monitors (IEMs) allow the musician to hear a personal mix of the performance. This is especially useful if the musician needs to hear one instrument above the others, without it affecting how the audience hears the overall performance.

In-House PA

Sound equipment provided 'in-house' come from within the company or venue, rather than being outsourced.


One of many names given to a gap between performances. An interval gives the performances a chance to recharge their batteries, and also creates dynamics in the levels of excitement - your guests will be much more excited to see the band return to the stage once they've had time to miss them!


A piece of music without vocals, with the melodies provided by the instruments only. Instrumental pieces can either be written to be performed without vocals, or can be reworked so that the vocal melodies are instead played on an instrument.

iPod Music between sets

If the budget doesn't quite stretch to a manned DJ service, a popular alternative is to simply plug in a mobile device into the band's PA and play a custom playlist of music related to what the band themselves feature in their set.


Line Check

A line check is carried out before a sound check. This check is to confirm that everything is plugged in and powered up as it needs to be.


When all the equipment is loaded out of the vehicles that transported it to the venue, it's a load-in. When it's time to pack up the equipment after the performance and load it all back into the transport, it's a load-out.



The manager of a band is responsible for organising the band members and offering them advice, with a view to ensuring that they deliver the best service possible whilst also ensuring that they receive the best treatment possible.

Manned DJ Service

Whilst most evening wedding bands provide free playlists throughout the evening, many also offer a manned DJ service as an optional extra. This usually involves a band member taking song requests and mixing songs for your guests on the night.


A Master of Ceremonies, often shortened to 'MC' or 'emcee', is tasked with 'warming up' the crowd and introducing the band to them.


Speakers for the benefit of the performers, usually situated at the front of the stage or performance area. These speakers are aimed back at the performers, rather than towards the audience, enabling the players to 'monitor' their individual volume levels and overall performance.


Party Band

A cover band who plays a set of upbeat, floor-filling anthems. Expect an engaging, high-energy performance with plenty of opportunities to sing along!

PA System

A Public Address System, or 'PA System' for short, is the collective name for the equipment needed to amplify one or more microphones. Typically, a PA System will include microphones, an amp, a mix desk, and speakers.

PAT Certificate

A Portable Appliance Test (PAT) certificate shows that an item of portable electrical equipment has passed a PAT test, and is therefore considered safe for public use.

Piano Shell

A piano shell is basically an elaborate keyboard stand. If a band wants to make their keyboard look a little classier from the stage, a piano shell is a much lighter alternative to lugging a grand piano everywhere with them!


Public LIability Insurance (PLI) is a must-have for any act you hire. PLI covers a range of outcomes, from accidental damage to the act's equipment to accidental injury during their performance.

Playlists between sets

Bands will usually break their performance up into 2 or 3 sets, so it's customary to arrange for some music to play during the band's downtime to keep the party atmosphere alive. Wedding bands will often prepare a playlist of several songs to fit the same mood as their setlist which they will play for your guests through their speakers - but will usually be very accommodating if you ask in advance for your song choices to be included.


The part of a wedding where the bride walks down the aisle. This iconic moment is usually set to such standards as Wagner's 'Bridal March' or Pachelbel's 'Canon in D', also increasingly couples prefer to choose their own unique song to walk down the aisle to.


Someone tasked with spreading the word of an upcoming event, or spreading awareness of a particular band.


RAMS (Risk Assessment and Method Statement)

In addition to a risk assessment, a method statement lays out how various tasks are intended to be carried out. This statement can be referred to in order to ensure all resources and personnel are available to facilitate these tasks.


The list of songs a band has prepared. New songs will be added and old songs will be dropped, but some stand-out classics will no doubt be there to stay.


The part of the wedding ceremony after the couple has exchanged vows and prepares to walk back up the aisle. This part is usually accompanied by recessional music.


A list of additional requirements from an artist or band, all of which are expected to be met. Typically, this list will include things such as food, water and a private area for the band to prepare in (a green room).

Risk Assessment

A process in which anything which could go wrong at an event is taken into consideration, with preventative steps then taken.

Roaming Band

A band that literally roams around the audience members, rather than staying onstage. Acoustic guitars, banjos and mandolins are a common sight when a roaming band marches up to your table, as these instruments are light and can easily be strapped to the player. 



The entire list of songs the band has agreed to perform on that occasion. Most wedding bands will want to stick closely to the set, as they will have been rehearsing those exact songs in that exact order in preparation - so if you have a special request, make sure you ask the band well in advance so they can give it the same amount of attention.

Sheet Music

Music or lyrics notated on a sheet of paper which a musician can read from in real time. Sheet music is especially useful for dep musicians who may not have had as much time to rehearse a piece of music before they're drafted in for a performance.

Sound Ceiling

A system used by some venues to direct music down towards the dancefloor. Sound ceilings are more suited to DJs playing in smaller venues than they are to live bands.


After the line check, but before the band performs, the sound engineer needs to test that each member is playing at the correct volume. This will guarantee an even, more enjoyable sound.

Sound Engineer

The Sound Engineer will be responsible for making sure all instruments are being played at the correct volume in order to give you the best overall effect. They're the ones asking the singer to say 'one two, one two' into the microphone during the soundcheck. You'll see them over by the sound desk for most of the time tweaking the faders - it's best to leave them to it!

Quite often, wedding bands will do their own soundcheck to reduce the overall cost for couples.


A sub, or subwoofer, is a type of loudspeaker which is specifically designed to amplify lower, or bass, frequencies. These are used in conjunction with the other parts of a speaker to give the listener the full effect of the music being played.


Wedding suppliers are the various professionals working to make your wedding day the best it can be. As well as bands, suppliers include wedding planners, photographers, caterers - everybody who has a hand in making your dream day come true.

Supplier's meal

Since many of your wedding suppliers will be working for several hours on your special day, they're bound to work up an appetite! It is customary to offer your suppliers food and other forms of refreshment - this will often be mentioned in their contract.

Stage Piano

Not quite a keyboard, not quite a piano, but somewhere in between! A stage piano is designed to be far more portable than a traditional piano, and is usually plugged into an amp when in use.

Stage plan / Stage plot

A stage plan or stage plot is a map or diagram of the stage, allowing the band and stage crew to figure out how best to utilise the space available and account for all equipment needed.



A T-shaped stand, often used by DJs, from which disco lights can be hung.

Technical Rider

A technical rider is a list of requirements that a band will need the venue to meet in order for them to be able to perform. This will typically include things like access to power points.


The toastmaster will be the person on your special day who is responsible for calling toasts and making important announcements. You'll want to pick someone who can make themselves heard over a crowd!


The period between an enquiry for a wedding band being sent to an agency and a quote being sent back to the client.


The name given to an acoustic set without amplification. You'll find a whole host of unplugged acoustic bands in our roaming bands section.



Lights that shine directly upwards, creating a beautiful effect when directed at a white reflective ceiling.



A variation of electronic drums designed by the Roland company. V-Drums are similarly played through an amplifier, meaning they can be played at a more controllable volume than acoustic drums - plus, a wider range of sounds is achievable thanks to the V-Drums' MIDI capabilities.

Zone Array

A directional speaker system which focuses the sound on the dancefloor area. With a Zone Array system installed, a lot less sound is lost - which also means that the music will be heard at a lower level elsewhere at the venue.