How to Hire a Wedding Band
It’s true that while DJs seem to be the most popular choice for your wedding reception music these days, have you considered hiring a live band? It’s hard to find something that will instantly transform your reception as dramatically as live entertainment during your reception. Have you ever noticed that movies like My Best Friend’s Wedding and The Time Traveler’s Wife have live bands? Nothing is as amazing and classy as a live band.
Sizes of Wedding Bands
When booking a wedding band, size is an important consideration. Most bands have between 5 and 7 members, but the band you choose should roughly correspond to the size crowd at your reception.
Three players would seem tiny for a reception with 400 guests, while a small, intimate gathering would be overwhelmed by a 9-piece orchestra. Make sure that the space your band will need for its members and sound equipment is available at your reception venue.
What Live Band is Right for Your Wedding?
How do you choose the right live band for your reception? Recommendations are great, but keep in mind that you may be getting a recommendation from someone with markedly different taste in music, or they may be the satisfied exception to the rule for a sub-par wedding band.
You can also find area wedding bands on the Internet and request song samples or demo CDs, but let’s face it: a band is only going to feature their best (possibly doctored) work on a demo CD. The only way to know what they perform like live is to see them perform live.
So how do you know what a band sounds like live without crashing a stranger’s wedding? Obviously, if you’ve recently been to any weddings with awesome entertainment, call up the bride and get her band’s contact information. Many bands also periodically hold free public performances to get their name out there.
What to Look for When You See a Wedding Band Perform
Going to evaluate a potential wedding band isn’t like going to a concert. You can’t just show up and enjoy yourself – bring a notebook and a pencil, because you’re there to work!
Take careful notes of everything you like and don’t like about the band: what instruments do they use? Is the lead vocalist male or female – or one of each? (Bands with a male and female vocalist are typically capable of a wider range of songs.) How do band members dress and conduct themselves? What is their range of song genres and types like?
Questions to Ask a Live Wedding Band
When you find a band you like, it’s time to meet up to ask questions. Don’t feel bad about interviewing several bands before you settle on one that feels right. You’ll be spending a lot of money on your reception entertainment, so you’ve got the right to be picky. Some must-ask questions include:
♥ Are you available on my date?
♥ How long have you been together? How new is your newest member?
♥ How much experience with weddings do you have?
♥ Do you have insurance?
♥ What is your rate per hour? Does that include travel, set up, and other extra costs?
♥ What is the reservation charge and/or deposit?
♥ What is the remaining balance and when is it due?
♥ What are your overtime charges?
♥ Is there a cancellation fee?
♥ What if there are weather problems (for an outdoor gig?)
♥ Will you learn a special song for our first dance or other dances?
♥ Do you use recorded tracks at any time, or play with recorded backing tracks?
♥ Do band members need meals?
♥ How does your dinner music differ from the dancing music?
♥ How do band members dress?
♥ Will you do announcements and introductions of the wedding party?
♥ Can I see your standard contract?
♥ Can I have three references?
Asking these questions can help you zero in on the right band to book for your wedding reception. Some bands can be booked for up to a year in advance, but 4-6 months in advance is realistic.
A live band is the kind of thing that will make your reception stand out from all the rest your guests have attended in the past. Watch a band perform live, schedule a separate interview with plenty of questions, and pay attention to your gut feelings in selecting the wedding band you’ll hire for the big day!
♥ Jenny Evans
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