Your Essential Guide to Choosing a Live Wedding Band
How to choose your wedding music
Choosing the right band can guarantee you a wedding reception you and your guests will remember for years to come
We don't need to tell you that when you're planning a wedding there's a million and one things to think of. As well as the venue, the dress, the rings, the food, the transport, there's the small matter of the entertainment. Choosing the right band can be the difference between a wedding reception you and your guests will remember for years to come and a wedding reception you'd rather forget.
Hiring entertainment is one aspect of wedding planning that many couples find stressful; after all, it's not often you're called upon to book a live band! If you have your heart set on hiring a wedding band, but don't have a clue where to start, fear not, we've got some great tips to make booking a brilliant band a breeze...
Talk To Your Wedding Venue
Before you even think about booking a wedding band, you need to have a frank conversation with your wedding venue. For varying reasons, many wedding venues enforce restrictions on live music. It's essential you check whether your venue allows live music, and if they do, whether they impose any volume restrictions. If there are any restrictions in place, it's your responsibility to inform your band before you book to ensure they are happy to work within the limits.
To ensure volume restrictions are adhered to, many venues use a sound limiter. If your venue uses a sounds limiter, it's important you find out the decibel limit and inform your chosen band of the limit before you book. Most bands are able to modify their performance to fit within all but the strictest decibel limits, but they'll need to know in advance, so they can bring along appropriate equipment.
If all this talk of sound limiters leaves you puzzled, don't worry, entertainment agencies are experienced in working with venues with sound limiters and can answer any questions you may have.
Book Through a Trusted Agency
Booking your wedding band through a reputable wedding entertainment agency brings with it a host of benefits. A good agency gathers a wide range of quality-controlled wedding bands in one place, making it easier for you to contrast and compare different acts all at once, whilst being safe in the knowledge that each band is a professional outfit you can rely upon to deliver a high quality performance on your big day.
Entertainment agencies are also a godsend if you're not quite sure what you're looking for in a band. Experienced advisers will speak to you to get to know all about your wedding and then make expert suggestions based upon your specific requirements. These advisers will also talk to bands on your behalf, so even if you make enquiries about multiple acts, you only have to communicate with a single, named contact.
Another area in which agencies excel is in the security of the booking process. Established entertainment agencies offer online payment through secure third-party payment systems and will draw up legally binding contracts between you and your chosen act, giving you the peace of mind that your booking is set in stone.
Always make sure you find reviews of both the agency and your chosen wedding band on independent review sites like Trustpilot, Facebook and Google.
Set Your Budget
The price you can expect to pay for a live wedding band varies dramatically, ranging from the hundreds of pounds all the way up to the tens of thousands. In general, the more band members in a band, the more you should expect to pay. Other factors included the experience and popularity of your favoured band and how far they'll need to travel to perform at your wedding - travel expenses and accommodation fees soon add up.
The average cost of a 4-piece band is around �900 to �1300. If this doesn't fall within your budget, you can still secure top-class live musicians for your big day. Many bands will be happy to offer a reduced line-up to bring their fee more in line with your budget, or you could opt for a solo or duo act. With clever use of loop pedals and/or professional backing tracks, solo and duo performers can skilfully replicate a full band sound for a much lower fee.
Select Your Sound
No matter how out there your musical tastes, there's a band out there who can deliver a performance to suit your style. If you're browsing an entertainment agency website, you'll find that bands are conveniently split into different genres and styles, making your search for the perfect act all the simpler. If you're struggling to find a band that fits the bill, get in touch with the agency - after a quick chat about your preferences, they should be able to reel off a host of suitable acts.
When you're choosing your wedding band, do spare a thought for your family and friends. If a full dance floor is your priority, then consider a band with the ability to perform songs from a range of genres. That way, everyone gets their turn to let loose to a favourite tune.
Once you know the rough style of wedding band you're looking for, it's time to find your dream band. Often, you'll watch a band's promo video and it'll be love at first sight; that's the band for you. But, even if you're a smitten by a band, you should drill down into what they offer to ensure you book an entertainment package that meets all your requirements.
Take a good look at your chosen band's repertoire. If there are songs you simply HAVE to hear at your wedding reception, but your band doesn't know them, you're going to be disappointed on the day. While most wedding bands will learn your first dance song as part of their standard package, additional special requests will generally incur an additional fee to cover the time and expense involved in learning extra material.
Other things to find out about your band are whether they supply sound and lighting equipment within their standard fee (most do), whether they provide a DJ service and what time they will arrive, setup and finish. Also, you may wish to book optional extras such as additional musicians for an expanded line-up or an acoustic set of daytime background music.
Book Your Wedding Band!
This one seems obvious, but it's crucial we emphasise this: if you find a band you love, don't wait around, get them booked ASAP, before someone else does. Top wedding bands fill their diaries up to two years in advance, especially for peak summer weekend dates, so avoid the anguish of missing out on your dream act by snapping them up right away!
If you have any questions about wedding entertainment, no matter how big or small, the friendly team at Entertainment Nation are happy to help. They're available from 10am until 10pm, 7 days a week and you can chat to them via telephone (0800 53 000 35), email or Live Chat.