Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

There are many memorable moments in a wedding—the dress, the flowers, the food. One item that is sure to determine whether you and your guests have a rip-roaring time is the band. Whether you prefer the classical sounds of a string quartet or the head-banging beats of a rock and roll band, consider this list of best wedding bands in Washington DC and find the musical ensemble that’s perfect for your wedding.

Celebrated String Quartet

For a traditional-style wedding, consider booking the Celebrated String Quartet, or CSQ, as your musical ensemble. The quartet features two violinists, a violist and a cellist who perform everything from classical music to jazz to waltzes and many other forms of music. The group, who has more than 20 years of experience, has received numerous local awards and has performed at many prestigious events, including presidential inaugurations, state dinners and award ceremonies. CSQ wedding music repertoire includes traditional ceremony and reception songs plus dinner, dancing and ethnic specialty tunes.

www.retrospectband.comWhether you’re a fan of today’s hottest hits or power ballads from the 90s, Retrospect is the perfect band for your wedding. This nine-piece band features one male and two female lead vocalists, a three-piece horn section and a three-piece rhythm section. Each song on Retrospect’s playlist, from Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” to Katy Perry’s “Firework,” is performed in its original style. The band also performs popular tunes from the 70s, 80s and 90s plus swing, Motown, big ballads, country favorites and ballroom music.

Swing Machine

Recognized as the DC area’s “premier big band,” the Swing Machine is a 20-piece band with a wide variety of talent and experience. Many members of the band are former members of the Air Force Airmen of Note, Glen Miller Orchestra and the Navy Commodores while others have performed with music’s greatest talents including Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr. and Barry Manilow. The band features a rhythm section, saxophones, trombones, trumpets and two vocalists and specializes in traditional swing-era songs as well as contemporary jazz tunes. Get the party started with the Swing Machine’s rendition of “Old Time Rock & Roll” or get everyone on the dance floor with the ever-popular hit “YMCA.” This band is sure to get everyone on their feet.

Related: Best Places to Discover New Music in the Washington DC Area

Rollex Band

If you’re looking for a band that really knows how to please the crowd, then check out the Rollex Band. Together for more than 15 years, the Rollex Band has performed at weddings, nightclubs and corporate events as well as performed as backup for nationally recognized artists. The seven-piece band consists of two lead vocalists, bass and lead guitars, drums and a keyboardist. Make your first dance with your sweetheart memorable with the Rollex rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “Wonderful World” or end the party with a bang with Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon.” The Rollex Band performs a wide variety of music including today’s hottest hits, jazz, swing, Motown, ballads and ethnic specialty tunes.

The Grandsons

Shake up the traditional wedding music scene and book the Grandsons, a roots rock quartet guaranteed to have everyone chatting about the great tunes long after the party has ended. The band has performed both nationally and internationally and is known to perform an exuberant mix of rhythm and blues, rockabilly, swing and country two-step tunes. The four-piece band features a guitarist who also plays the trumpet, saxophonist, drums and percussions and a bassist. The Grandsons have released multiple CDs to much fanfare and have performed side-by-side with many well-known acts including Huey Lewis and the News, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. The band has performed at many prestigious events including the South by Southwest Music Festival.

Related: Best Cover Bands in the DC Area

Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at