One of the best ways to make sure your wedding day is really memorable is to have really great entertainment that guests will not be able to stop talking about. Depending on what you read, the average cost of a wedding in the UK is something like £12,000 – £25,000. It is entirely possible to spend much more or less than this but we have found this to be a realistic average. It makes sense to allocate a reasonable amount of this to entertainment – the phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ is especially relevant to bands!
1. Will a band be able to play at my wedding venue?
This is really the most important question you will have to ask when booking your wedding entertainment! Speak to you wedding organiser or the venue to find out if they allow bands to play at their premises. Sometimes it will not be possible but most venues these days will allow this. They will often require the band to be covered with public liability insurance and play with equipment that is PAT tested. You should ask the venue if they have an installed sound limiter. This will severely affect the band’s ability to perform for you and many bands will not be able to take the booking if that is the case.
2. Which band should I pick?
You may have seen a band that you like play at a friend or relative’s wedding. This is a great way to find a band as you have first hand experience of their sound and what they look like! However, you should still shop around as there are lots of wedding bands out there who play music in different styles. If you want something specific you can always contact a band to see if they can help you out? Use Google and agency websites to find a range of bands to check out.
3. How much should I pay for my band?
Popular wedding bands have lots of outgoings – equipment, rehearsal time, insurance, fuel costs and maintenance to name a few. As professionals they will take care of their business and won’t settle for using second rate gear or performing without the correct insurance. They will reflect this in the price and the band you want may charge anywhere between £1000 and £5000. Bands will perform for less than this but you may find that they cut corners in many of the areas above. It comes down to whether or not you want to risk paying less for a band who may let you down or will not fulfil their contractual obligations to you.
4. Am I safer booking the band through an entertainment agency?
Many party bands will be available to book either directly or through an agency. Be aware that most agencies ask bands to change their name whilst working for them. You may have to do a little digging to find the contact details of a band you originally discovered on an agency site. Once you approach them directly they should deal with you in the same professional way that an agent would. Agents often want to get the bookings made with minimal discussion, leaving you unsure about certain aspects of the booking. Dealing directly with a band may give you more opportunity to discuss the finer details. The added bonus is that direct, the band will usually cost much less. Agents typically add on a 20% fee for which you don’t actually receive any improvement of service.
5. What kind of music will the band play at my party?
You should be able to see a list of songs the band can play on their website. They should have recordings and hopefully video allowing you to hear them live. You should pick a band whose music you and your guests will enjoy. Bands may focus on a particular style of music or they may play a range of different styles. There are so many bands out there that you have a great selection to choose from!
6. How long will the band perform for?
You should check the length of time the band can perform for. Bands usually play a standard total of about 2 hours which will be split into two sets of music which last for an hour each. Often the band will be able to play longer than this but may have to charge an extra fee for the additional work.
7. Will I have to fill out contracts and pay a deposit for my band?
Often wedding bands will ask you to complete a contract to secure them to play at your event. Good bands will receive many inquiries to play at weddings and parties – especially during the summer months where the majority will take place. A contract will protect both parties against cancellation. A band should certainly not cancel with you once they have been booked. It is often worth checking online to see if they have been mentioned positively or negatively on any forums. You should expect a short notice cancellation fee to apply with most of the good wedding bands. They will have had to turn down other work to keep your date free and they may struggle to fill that date if you cancel, especially if it is at short notice.
8. What other services will the band provide?
Often bands will provide a number of ‘free’ extras. Examples may be:
- Playlist music from a laptop at the breaks in their set and at the end
- A free live first dance
- Learn an extra song of your choice
The band should specify in their literature as to what extras they can provide. They should be able to talk through all of these options with you.
You should make sure you do your research before booking your perfect wedding band. Look at their repertoire and feedback, listen to videos and recording and speak to them to make sure you are happy with what they can provide and the fees. If you put this time in then you will end up with a professional band who will be able to put on a great show for you and your guests!