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  • Henry Clark

To Play or Press Play: Choosing Your Perfect First Dance Feel

First of all congrats! You're almost there! So you've been thinking about your first dance? Now, the big question – should your wedding band serenade you live or press play on that carefully chosen track? Let's dive into the pros and cons of both options to help you make the perfect decision for your Yorkshire wedding with SouthWestBand!

Photo by Hamish Irvine -

Live Performance:


1. Personal Touch: A live performance adds an unmatched personal touch, creating a special and intimate atmosphere. It is unique, it will never sound exactly the same, even if we performed the same song again straight after.

2. Tailored Interpretation: Your wedding band can tailor the song to match your style, adding a bespoke touch that recorded music might miss. Only want to slow dance for 30 seconds then kick the beat in and get your guests up with you? We got you!

3. Memorable Experience: Live music has an energy that can't be matched by pressing play on a track. It creates a lasting memory for the two of you that resonates with the story of your day.

4. Easy edits: So you've found the perfect first dance song but there are a few dodgy lyrics in there? No problem, we can edit those out or switch a few words round. Some prime examples are 'Tenerife Sea' by Ed Sheeran - Really good first dance choice but get rid of the end section where he sings another woman's name for 30 seconds. 'I Wasn't Expecting That' by Jamie Lawson. Perfect first dance lyrics until it turns incredibly sad during the last couple of lines. Or 'Grow Old With Me' by Tom Odell, mega popular first dance choice that often requires a word censored.


1. Performance Variables: Live performances can be affected by variables like acoustics or unforeseen technical glitches. These are very rare and can even happen with pressing play on a track. However, a seasoned band like SouthWestBand knows how to navigate these challenges seamlessly.

2. Instrumentation differences: As standard SouthWestBand comes as 'Power Trio' with guitar, bass, drums and three vocals. Many recorded tracks nowadays can have up to 50 different layers of instrumentation, whether that be keys, choir, samples or even a full orchestra! That simply cannot be recreated like for like with three instruments. So if you are looking for a carbon copy of the original you're probably better off going with the original.

Pressed Play: Convenience Meets Predictability


1. Precision Timing: Recorded music ensures precision timing, this is perfect if you are having a choreographed first dance. You know to the second how long the song will be and have zero fluctuations in tempo. Side note, we do have a good number of our tracks professionally recorded in the studio. We can send over if you need our version to choreograph to before we play it live on the night.

2. Original Artist's Voice: Hearing your song as you know it, by the original artist, can be a comforting and nostalgic experience. Sometimes we wouldn't be able to play the same song in the original key. This is especially the case if the song has a female vocal. We SouthWestBand are Yorkshire lads, its safe to say were probably not going to be singing a prime Whitney song in the same register!

3. Location flexibility: Opting for recorded music can open up options for the location of your first dance. A recent example of this was at the venue 'Danby Castle' in Scarborough where the couple had their first within the castle ruins. It looked pretty epic, check it out here ⬇️


1. Lack of Personalization: While the song itself may be significant, a recorded version lacks the personalized touch that a live performance can bring. Once you hit play you're in the song for the long haul, especially if the song doesn't really ever 'kick in'.

2. Less Intimacy: Unless youve opted for an EDM banger the original recording probably won't capture the energy and emotion of a live band, potentially reducing the emotional impact of your first dance.

Conclusion: Finding Your Rhythm 🕺💃

Choosing between a live performance and playback ultimately boils down to your personal preferences and the atmosphere you want to create. If you seek an intimate, one-of-a-kind experience that resonates with your love story, a live performance (preferably by SouthWestBand) is the way to go. However, if precision and convenience are top priorities, pressing play might be the better fit for your wedding day.

As a wedding band we would love to perform your first dance for you but also won't take it personally if you choose the original track. It is your decision, one of many around your big day and we support what you feel is right for you.

Whatever you choose, remember it's your moment, and SouthWestBand is here to ensure it's the moment you deserve.

Check out our YouTube channel playlist 'First Dance Ideas' with tons of videos that can hopefully give you some inspiration:

For bespoke wedding entertainment in Yorkshire, visit today and check our availability for your big day. Your love story deserves a soundtrack as unique as you are!

Much love,


Photo by Hamish Irvine

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