The average cost of an American wedding is over $30,000.

The price of a venue, catering, outfits, and photographers is impressive. The investment, however, is a romantic one intended to last a lifetime. Couples plan to make memories that guests will cherish for years to come.

Live wedding entertainment is traditionally a bit more costly than DJs. Many families, however, believe that they are worth the expense. 

Live music is unique in its ability to read and energize a crowd. The band musicians can change their tempo or expressiveness depending upon the tone of your guests. And they set a mood that recorded music can’t compete with.

Before you throw the soiree of the century, however, you will want to do a little planning. Here are some things you should know before you hire your entertainment. 

1. Think About Your Budget

The average cost of a wedding band is around $4,019. A DJ, by contrast, may only cost you around $1,292.

Don’t forget to talk to your provider about the cost of the service and how it will get broken down before you hire. Will you get charged for the overall performance, or will each hour and musician get listed separately? You may also want to think about how you will tip musicians.

Many guests are willing to invest in a wedding band to create an unforgettable experience. Make sure you know exactly what you are paying for, and how you will be paying for it before you hire live musicians. 

2. Get It In Writing

A written contract should be part of your arrangement with your musicians. Be sure to include start and end times, location, and the length of the band’s performance.

You will want to allow for at least a thirty-minute soundcheck at your reception venue before guests arrive. You should also include the number and duration of breaks and any specific songs you requested. If you are planning on providing meals or dressing rooms for your band, this should get spelled out in your contract as well.

Your form of payment and payment date can get included in your contract. There should also be a clause in which you outline a plan for compensation in case either party cancels.

Your band contract many include information about the lighting, sound, and instrument needs of your band, especially if you will need to provide them. A contract may also include a stage plot to be followed at the reception hall.

3. Get Your Band Early

If a band is popular, they could get booked a year or more ahead of events. This is particularly true during the spring and fall when weddings are the most popular. Live entertainment should be one of the first things you book after you get engaged.

4. Check Them Out

Good bands will let you watch them in action before you commit to hiring them. They may be able to give you a sample in a studio or invite you to a club gig. Make sure the band can take requests, and that their look and style reflects your vision for your wedding.

5. Ask Questions

As with any vendors or service providers, you will want to do a little research before making your decision. 

Find out if your band has ever played in your venue before, and what they thought of the layout and acoustics.

You may even be able to ask the manager of your venue if they can remember what it was like to work with the band. Were the on time? Did they seem flexible and easy to work with?

Ask how many weddings your band typically plays each year. Do they have any references you can speak to about their experience?

When you call references, be sure to ask about timeliness and friendliness. Did they feel comfortable asking for everything they wanted at the wedding?

You should also find out about your band’s insurance policy. If there is an accident you will want to make sure that everyone is protected.

6. Plan Your Set

Know ahead of time when you will need music supplied. If you are expecting your musicians to play for the cocktail hour and ceremony as well as the reception, spell out exactly which instruments should be playing and what style you envision. Some folks opt for a solo pianist or harpist to provide a classy atmosphere. 

A good wedding band will be able to give you several suggestions for first dances, bouquet tosses, and other traditional moments. They may also be able to play you examples of traditional music, such as Greek, Jewish, or Italian songs.

Be sure your band writes down any specific songs you want to be played. You may also want to know how they will handle requests. For example, if a lot of folks are requesting songs, a bridesmaid may be appointed to determine which ones should be honored and which can be played if there is time.

7. Do A Test Visit

Invite your band to check out your venue ahead of time with you, especially if they have never played there before. If they are professional, they will be taking note of acoustics, platforms, and sound equipment available that will make their jobs easier.

Live Wedding Entertainment

Hiring live wedding entertainment does not have to be a chore. With a little homework and planning, you can book the music of your dreams in no time. Your guests will be talking about your wedding for years to come!

For more information on great reception musicians, contact us today.