Hiring a live band is a great way to add atmosphere and excitement to your wedding reception. But, unless you are a wedding or events planner, the odds are you have zero experience of booking a live band.
On the surface, choosing a wedding band would appears to be a relatively straightforward task. After all, you know what type of music you like, so surely, it’s simply a case of finding an available band within your budget?
While you could take that route, there’s a lot more you’ll need to consider if you want your wedding reception to be memorable for all the right reasons.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of tips for choosing and booking a wedding band that will help to ensure your big day hits just the right note.
So, if this strikes a chord with you, read on!
Setting a budget
Until you’ve got an idea of costs for the type of band you prefer, your budget may not match your expectations. Costs can vary greatly and are affected by things like the number of band members, how experienced they are and their popularity. And, if your venue is some distance from the band’s location, you will also need to factor in transport and accommodation costs.
Having a little flexibility in your budget will allow you some leeway, but there are other ways to limit costs. For example, some bands may be willing to perform with less players for a lower fee that’s more closely aligned with your budget. Another possibility for reducing costs is off peak bookings; weekend summer weddings usually cost more than midweek winter weddings.
Good live bands get booked up well in advance, so this aspect of wedding planning needs to be very close to the top of your to do list. Leaving it until the last minute to choose a wedding band means you’re unlikely to get your first, or even your second choice.
- Start your search at least twelve months prior to the big day.
- Booking far enough ahead sometimes attracts a discounted rate.
- If you find a band you love, don’t spend too long thinking about it, book them, or you may be disappointed.
Check them out
- Read the reviews on sites like Facebook and Trip Advisor
- Listen to your preferred band’s YouTube videos
- If possible, attend a live performance as it will give you a much better idea of what they sound like.
- Ensure the band has public liability insurance – most venues won’t allow a band to perform without it. Similarly, the band’s equipment should have been PAT tested by an electrician
A band who’ve worked and played together for some time will have the necessary experience to ensure your day exceeds your expectations:
An experienced band will have a broad repertoire and should be to help you choose a playlist that will keep guests happy by appealing to varied tastes.
Remember, the music itself accounts for only half of the band’s performance; they will also be responsible for reading the crowd, timings and emceeing.
The best way of seeing how your chosen band will interact with your guests is to attend a live performance. Watching how the band engage with their audience, and the sort of vibes they give off, will help you decide whether they’re the perfect fit for your big day or not.
Check what’s included
No matter how much you fall for a particular band, it pays to check that the package they’re offering will meet your requirements. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to stretch your budget to include any extras you consider to be essential. Check whether the following popular items are included:
- Learning your first dance song – most bands include this at no extra cost.
- Learning any additional special requests
- Acting as DJ and running a disco between sessions when the band are not playing.
- Emceeing – most bands will act as MC for part of the proceedings, such as introducing the happy couple for the first dance but may charge extra if you want them to act as MC throughout the day.
Don’t assume because most bands include something, that they all do. If you want to avoid expensive surprises, it pays to double check exactly what you’ll get for your money. A professional band should provide this information in a contract which avoids problems by protecting the interests of both parties.
Liaise with your venue
Prior to booking your wedding band, you will need to speak to your venue’s events manager regarding your plans. The following are important points to consider:
- Does the venue have a music licence?
- Is there a curfew on live music? (Most venues require live music to end at midnight to comply with local laws – continuing beyond this point may require a late licence).
- Does the venue have a sound limiter? If so, this will affect your band, and while most professional bands can work around this, they will need to know about it in advance.
- Is there sufficient space for the band to perform? A band with four performers will need at a space measuring at least 3 metres x 5 metres.
- Are there sufficient electrical sockets?
- Will the venue be available to prior to the start of the reception to enable the band to set up?
- Can your venue provide a changing room and refreshments for a band? What, if anything, will this add to the bill?
- Is there suitable parking for the band?
Consider using an agency
There are many benefits to booking your wedding band through a reputable agency or, if you’re based in Ireland, directly through the PartyWizz website. These include:
- Being able to speak with an experienced adviser who can make recommendations based on your budget and preferences
- Being confident that you are hiring a professional and experienced band
- Having a single point of contact if you’re considering more than one band
- A secure booking system
- A legally binding contract.
Plus, if you’ve booked through an entertainment agency and your chosen band cancels for reasons beyond their control, you are much more likely to get a replacement than if you’d booked directly with an individual band.
Using an agency will increase your costs slightly as they are taking a cut too, but if you want peace of mind and less stress, it’s money well spent.
You might like to keep this list of questions handy for when you’re choosing and booking a wedding band:
- Is my date available? (Ask this first to avoid wasting time)
- How many previous weddings have you performed at?
- Will you help me compile a play list?
- Do you charge extra for learning new songs other than the first dance song?
- Are you able to work with a sound limiter?
- Do you provide a DJ and/or emceeing service?
- What time will you arrive, and is set-up time included in the price?
- What time will you finish?
- Will you require a changing room?
- Do you need meals / refreshments providing?
- How many breaks will you need and when will they be scheduled?
- How much deposit do you require and is it refundable?
- Do you offer a discount for early booking?
- Can I pay in instalments?
- Do you have back up if for any reason you cannot attend?
- Do you have public liability insurance and PAT tested equipment?
We hope this blog post has been useful, and that it’s given you the confidence to choose and book the perfect wedding band for your big day.
That’s a wrap
At PartyWizz, we specialise in providing entertainers and suppliers such as magicians, photographers, videographers, musicians and more. We pride ourselves in only working with the best in the business.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. Our team is always happy to help.