There are hundreds of live wedding bands advertising their services so here are 10 points to consider when choosing a band.
Musical Ability. This is arguably the most important factor when booking a band, and is also probably the only factor that will be recognised by your guests. Many good bands will have backgrounds in top music schools or performing with ‘big name’ artists. This does not guarantee quality but it is a very safe bet. It is the band’s ability to cover your favourite tunes in a musical way that will make or break the performance.
Repertoire. A good wedding band should have a broad repertoire, and be flexible with it in order to be able to cater to a variety of styles. Bands that can cover a bit of everything (soul, pop, rock, modern chart, 70s, 80s and even jazz/swing) will be the most flexible as they can tailor their performance to the exact specification of the client.
Experience. The ideal band will have played at many (possibly hundreds) of weddings before and will have come across most situations. The band will then be able to adapt to a last minute schedule change and they will know when and how to change the set list to cater for the audience. There is no point in playing a set of 60s rock ‘n’ roll if everyone wants to hear ’80s pop!
Professionalism. This is paramount at a wedding as this will be the biggest day of their life for most clients. It can’t just be treated as “another gig” to get through. Most people who book a live band for their wedding will never have booked one before, and will probably never book one again, so the band should guide the client in all aspects of the booking including schedule, equipment, repertoire, size of band etc. No two weddings are the same and a good band will understand this!
How do you choose a band from the hundreds on offer?
The most important thing is to DO YOUR RESEARCH. The first place to start is the internet. A good professional band should invest in a good website, good demo recordings and good advertising, so they wont be difficult to find. Ask the band where they have played before and how many weddings they have performed at. Speak to the band manager on the phone too, or even meet in person. This will give you a good idea into how professional they really are.
How do you compare prices between the bands?
You should ask for a FULLY INCLUSIVE quote from all bands and ask them to list what is included. In addition to the musician fees they should always include a PA system, stage lighting, background music between sets and travel expenses. Always check how much live music you actually get for your money too as some bands will quote for 120 minutes (2 x 60) and some will quote for 90 minutes (2 x 45).
Can you view a band live before booking them?
Unfortunately most professional wedding bands do not have live public performances that you can view them at. It is always worth asking though as you may be able to view them at another wedding or possibly a public showcase if they have one.
Should you book through an entertainment agency or direct with a band?
Entertainment agencies are a good way to find bands as they will work with bands on a regular basis and will know exactly who is good at what. You will usually pay a little more (20% on average) for a band from an agency though, so if you are on a tight budget it may be best to book directly with a band. If booking through an agency always make sure that they clearly state the commission they are charging and ask who the contract will be with; the band or the agency. This could make a big difference to how your booking is dealt with and the level of come back you have should something go wrong.
How much should you expect to pay?
Most well established, PROFESSIONAL wedding bands will fall into the region between £1000 and £2500 and the price will depend on the size of band and the distance they need to travel to your event. Bands that charge a very small amount may be inexperienced, have no contract or insurance, and are probably not full time professional musicians. You should always ask what is included in the package and what level of protection the band’s contract gives you.
Why should you choose a live band over a DJ?
A live band gives much more of a ‘wow factor’ than a DJ and will often make or break the evening party. DJs are definitely useful at what they do, and in some cases will be more suited to a wedding than a live band, but nothing can beat a live band for the energy, crowd interaction and sheer enjoyment factor!