This Brooklyn band and its original down-home tunes have made the rounds at alternative local spots like Joe’s Pub and Mercury Lounge. The perfect quirk for a more casual affair.
You’ll dance to: A bluegrass take on “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”
From: $2,200 for 2 hours.
Beatles Tribute Band
This Long Island–based Beatles sound-alike (and look-alike) act has been in the business for 25 years. And their appearance is customizable. Select your favorite Fab Four look: Ed Sullivan (clean cut), Sergeant Pepper’s (psychedelic), or Abbey Road (hippie).
You’ll dance to: “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Twist and Shout.”
From: $5,000 for 2 hours.
The Strung Out String Band
Their repertoire of old-timey Appalachian tunes, with hints of alt-rock and klezmer, is surprisingly danceable. The core band has five members (banjo, fiddle, stand-up bass, mandolin, and guitar) but can be expanded. Having played everything from black-tie galas to barbecues in Prospect Park, this band consistently brings a laid-back good-time vibe.
You’ll dance to: “The Bibb County Hoedown” or “Big Scioto,” a square-dance tune.
From: $1,200 for 3 hours; $3,100–$4,000 for 4 hours; overtime fees apply.
Brooklyn-born Willy Cruz mixes Trinidadian rhythms with strains of Bob Marley and Jimmy Buffett. His three-man band evokes a beachside bonfire, with mellow steel drums, keyboard, and guitar.
You’ll dance to: “Can’t Surf in the City (Dude),” a Cruz original that combines funk with a touch of Frankie and Annette.
From: $500–$3,500 for 1–5 hours; overtime fees are negotiable at time of contract.
This Brooklyn-based band evokes smoky lounges of yore (or Mad Men) with Shawn Clark’s soulful vocals, plus a songbook of jazzy thirties, forties, and fifties standards with hints of rumba and cha-cha. Tailor the band to your needs—a trio for more intimate affairs, the entire nine-piece Lapis Luna Orchestra for blowouts.
You’ll dance to: Billie Holiday’s upbeat and jazzy “Them There Eyes” and the old-school mambo-esque “Sway.”
From: $1,500–$4,000 for 4–5 hours; small overtime fees will be noted in contract.
The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn
Regular performers at Cobble Hill hot spot Bar Tabac, this five-man band offers twenties and thirties jazz supplemented by old-timey-style tunes. They are favored by music aficionados the city over, and even musicians themselves: The band played Lisa Loeb’s nuptials earlier this year.
You’ll dance to: “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” and a cover of Sam Cooke’s croony “You Send Me.”
From: $500 per hour.
Big on the local and national Latin scene, bandleader Jose Conde brings his own brand of jazz- and funk-infused Afro-Cuban beats to a classic Latin American songbook. Conde’s band can go from a traditional Cuban quartet to an eighteen-piece mambo ensemble.
You’ll dance to: His cha- cha-cha version of “El Títere.”
From: $3,000 for 4 hours (three sets with 20-minute breaks in between).
These four world-class musicians (Ariane Lallemand on the cello, Maxim Moston and Vivienne Kim on violin, and David Creswell on viola) are routinely booked months in advance. While ideal for ceremonies and cocktail hours, Anteros can pull off a low-key reception just as well, working tango, klezmer, and Sinatra into the repertoire.
You’ll dance to: A classical take on the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love.”
From: $1,200 for the first hour, $400 per hour thereafter.
Lilith Fair 2.0
Juliana Riccardi Music Group
Riccardi sets the mood with a folksy, boho coffeehouse vibe, matched with an endearingly eclectic set list we can get behind—from bubblegum pop to Elvis to Johnny Cash. The band, whose covers offer uniquely arranged versions of hits, tends to play more offbeat, intimate affairs.
You’ll dance to: A sultry, stripped-down take on Britney Spears’s “Toxic.”
From: $2,000–$6,000 for 4 hours.
The Dexter Lake Club Band
Formed by four Oberlin music grads, the Dexter Lake Club Band defies many classic wedding-singer stereotypes. The high-energy group has played venues like Bowery Ballroom and Webster Hall, as well as weddings ranging from 70 to 700 people. The eighties-heavy set list (mixed with a little rock and Motown) is sure to keep the party moving.
You’ll dance to: Tom Petty’s “American Girl.”
From: $8,000 for the night.
This neo–Rat Pack outfit, specializing in swing and standards, will transport you to sixties-era Vegas. Six-member Double Down brings an energy you don’t always get from agency-selected swing groups—not to mention big-band covers of Nirvana and Motörhead.
You’ll dance to: A swingin’ take on Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades.”
From: $3,100–$4,000 for 4 hours; overtime fees apply.