Hiring a Band for Your Wedding

A lot of people choose to hire a DJ to supply the tunes at their wedding reception and while some would argue that it’s a great idea (they can put on as much Abba as you want!), others would shake their heads and point you instead down the live band route.  Choosing a band to play at your wedding can give your event that little extra something that means guests will always remember your big day – for the right reasons.

The choices are endless.  Would you like a samba band to bring a little rhythm to proceedings?  Perhaps you love rock ’n’ roll and a tribute band full of ageing Jagger-types is what you like.  Or maybe you’ve both got Irish routes and you’d like a band to come and play Whiskey in the Jar until everyone falls over.  Whatever you’re after, make sure you invest some serious time in finding the right musicians for you. Choosing a wedding band, can make or break the reception.

Of course many bands will bring all their own equipment anyway, but some will need additional kit supplied above and beyond the typical guitars and amps, these fall into two main categories, sound and lighting, if the audio isn’t good quality, adaptable and clear there is no point having a band at all, you may as well just stick to DJ’s. There are numerous companies who supply both PA systems and lighting rigs, they will be able to offer advice on how much of each you’ll need for the venue, if they are local, they’ve probably done it there before anyway. Don’t get involved with the professional lighting companies, they will want to provide much more than is required for a typical wedding band, they are geared towards events for professional bands who need truly impressive lighting, remember it’s a wedding, not a concert!

Recommendations

A good place to start is to ask your married friends whether they had live music and which band they used.  Or go further and have a look online.  There are plenty of forums specialising in weddings and wedding planning where people will be more than happy to give you their opinions.  Another important research point is the band’s website, they will ususally have testimonials on there and if they are local, you just might spot one from someone you actually know.  Also, whether they’ve just got a MySpace or a full on web presence that Jimmy on drums built in his spare time, it will give you a clear indication of the band’s professionalism, genre and personality.

How Much is it Going to Cost?

As with most things, if you shop around, you’re bound to find a bargain.  But please remember that this is live entertainment we’re dealing with.  If a five-piece band is happy to play live for 4 hours straight and walk away with a cheque for £250, you’re probably not going to get the highest quality performance.  Expect to pay closer to upwards of £1,000 for real quality.  Expensive?  Yes.  But for that kind of money, you’re pretty much guaranteed an evening’s entertainment that you will never forget. Likewise, with any live bandaspect you will get what you pay for, if for example a friends son takes your wedding photographs for £100, instead of using a professional wedding photographer, you can’t expect the best quality pictures.

It is pretty standard for the band to ask for a deposit, so don’t be alarmed if they want a chunk of money up front.  This is also to make sure you’ve bagged them for the date of your wedding so that even if they get a better offer, they have to honour their agreement with you.

Remember who you Hired!

An important thing to remember is that you should respect the methods of the band you have chosen.  It may sound obvious but if you want a whole lot of covers so that people can sing along, then make sure you’ve hired… you guessed it – a covers band!  It’s surprising how many people book bands that generally perform their own music and then spend the evening pelting them with ‘D’ya know anything by U2?’.  The occasional request might be honoured but remember, let the band choose the set list.  They are experts and will have chosen appropriately. Plus remember to get your wedding photographer to take a few good photographs of the band too, just a little tip.

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