The Ceilidh

Home Ceilidh Links Ceilidh Bands The Ceilidh Ceilidh Music

Here are some tips for organising the music:-

  To find a ceilidh band to play at the wedding. Use your search engines to find one. Try typing 'Scottish ceilidh band' .
  Agents can supply bands but they will always charge extra for this - best to contact the band direct.
  When you contact a band, ask them for a demo CD or where they will be playing so you can hear how they sound live.
  Listen to samples of ceilidh music online (see "Ceilidh Music Samples,") so you will know how it should sound.
  Opt for a more modern version of the music.
  Find out if you need a caller to lead the dancing.
  Encourage all of your wedding guests to get up and join in the dance.

Other tips about the venue:-

  Check the venue is allowed to have 'live' music and that it is licensed to the time you want to finish!
  Try to have the bar in the same room - otherwise some (guys) stay at the bar all night.
  Drinks are important. Plenty refreshing stuff for all the dancers.
  Don't expect everyone to dance all the time. A good band will give the dancers time to recover as well as keeping
the momentum going.

Space for dancing - This is important - Ceilidh dancing requires much, much more room than dancing at a disco, where you dance "on the spot" round the proverbial handbag (sorry chaps!) Movements in Ceilidhs include galloping up and down and swinging partners, so more room per person is required, and the more space the better. So it's essential to discuss space with the venue manager, to ensure that enough room can be created for the dancing if the venue isn't actually designed for holding dances or similar functions. The management should be prepared to move tables and chairs aside to make an area for dancing. A rough guide is an absolute minimum of 6m x 6m, (approximately 20' x 20') but preferably bigger.

Space for the Band
- This will vary depending on the number of musicians, but the average trio Band likes at least 4m x 3m for setting up - and considerably more if it is a bigger lineup - please check this with the band when booking. (Do allow enough space for the DJ to set up if you are having a Disco too - see Point 10).

Flooring - Many venues have a purpose-built, solid, wooden dance floor, which is the best type of floor for a ceilidh. (Ideally it's sprung too). If there is no wooden floor, you can dance on carpet but it's not the most exciting surface to dance on - you lose the opportunity of noisy "foot-stamping" which is part of the fun! Watch out for floors that are very slippery - some venues have a tiled or polished floor and this can be dodgy when doing the livelier ceilidh dances. Some places offer a segmented "mobile" wooden dance floor, which the management assembles on the day. These can have quite steep metal edges and therefore pose a potential safety hazard. In this case, it's almost better to dance on carpet than on a floor where people could trip over at the edges. However, some hotels insist on using their self-assembled flooring to preserve their carpet, so this has to be negotiated and discussed carefully.
Flooring for functions outdoors or in a marquee - It's not easy or pleasant dancing on grass, and concrete can be harsh on the knees if you take a tumble. If at all possible, make sure a marquee has a solid wooden dance floor area. Please note - the Band needs covering underneath them in a marquee or if they are playing outdoors - it's not acceptable to put equipment and musical instruments on bare grass or dusty concrete or other potentially damaging surfaces.

Staging - It's a bonus if a stage area is provided but it's far from essential. Some venues have a ready-built stage, others will build a portable one, but a Ceilidh can easily take place with the band and caller on ground level. It's preferable for the Caller to be raised up a little so he / she can see what the dancers are doing, but if this isn't feasible, the dancing will still happen! There's no escape!

Lighting - Reasonably bright lighting in the room is best - not as dim and gloomy as a Disco please! Some ceilidh bands have lighting.