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For Brides

April 10, 2022

How to Hire a Live Wedding Band

wedding couple dancing to first dance song at River Road Jasmine House

What do most guests remember from a wedding? In fact, what do you usually remember from a wedding? The answer is usually the music. According to a survey from Wedding Wire, almost 50% of the people they surveyed said that the music was one of the most rememberable parts of the wedding.

Of all the vendors to pick from, the wedding band can be one of the most difficult. You can do a walk-through of the venue, you can sit down for a cake tasting, and try and dresses, but it’s hard to get a real sense of a wedding band.

So where the heck do you start? How in the world do you pick a wedding band – no fear! That’s why we are here to help.

Ask for Recommendations

Before you start your search from scratch, ask your friends and venue. In most cases, the venue will have the name of bands who have played there. While they might not be the perfect fit for you, it’s a great place to start.

More than likely you have a friend who has been to DOZENS of weddings (we all have THAT friend). Pick their brain and ask what bands they’ve heard and who they like. You’ll be surprised how often people remember a band from a wedding.

Create a List of Wedding Bands

In the middle of finding your band, your head can start to swim with all the different band names and options. What really helped us and what helps most brides is to create a list of spreadsheet of all the band names and choices.

This sounds like a nerdy tip, but we promise it will keep everything straight and can help you avoid having to go back through emails and websites, etc. We create a simple spreadsheet that had all the basic details on it:

  • Name
  • Contact Info
  • Cost
  • Genre/Speciality
  • Size of band/ number of members (this is important if your venue is limited on space)

For a type-A person like me, this made everything easier and less stressful. As we continued to talk to the different bands (and some DJs) it was nice to put additional notes because the names or just cross off options as we ruled them out.

What Kind of Music do you Want Your Wedding Band to Play?

Okay, we know this might be a really obvious point, but seriously think about it. Not every band plays all kinds of music.

Why do we even bother to include this? Because we’ve heard stories about couples talking to bands or hiring bands that were NOT a good fit. So how do you make sure they know what you’re looking for? The best way is to build your playlist BEFORE you talk to bands.

If you want to dance to The Beach Boys, Darius Rucker, or even The Red Hot Chilli Peppers – just make sure the band knows what style of music you want and that they can accommodate that.

What Equipment Will They Need and How Much Space do You Have?

If the venue is new or has never had a live band at a reception, this can get a little tricky. One thing you want to BE SURE doesn’t happen is the band shows up to the venue and they can’t play because they don’t have enough space or there is nowhere to set up the equipment.

Obviously, if the band has played at the venue or the venue has hosted dozens of bands, then this shouldn’t be a problem, but let’s assume that isn’t the case.

So let’s say you’re getting married at a brand new venue and you’re having a wedding band. The best place to start is with the band. Ask them how much equipment and space they will need. If they have pictures from other weddings, this can give you a great idea of the setup.

Once you have that information, you can take that to the venue owner or even go to the reception space and see how that lines up with your reception venue. If you have any questions about space or equipment requirements, you’ll find them now.

In fact, if you’re not 100% we always recommend talking to someone from the band, either getting them on a Facetime call or having them meet you at the venue. Always better safe than sorry. You don’t want to find out on the day of your wedding that your band can’t play.

Be Prepared to Ask Questions

Shoutout to Wedding Wire for compiling some of the best questions to ask a wedding band during your search. These questions will tell you A LOT about the band

  •      What are the band’s favorite songs to perform?
  •      What’s your playlist? Will you work with us on the song list?
  •      How many singers and instruments are available?
  •      What type of wardrobe do you wear to perform?
  •      Do you provide ceremony and cocktail hour music?
  •      How many breaks will the band take and what will play when they’re on a break?
  •      How many hours are included and what are your costs?  Are there overtime fees?
  •      Do you have any specialty groups or songs the band can play?
  •      Will someone in the band act as the emcee?

Some of these seem kind of obvious, but it NEVER hurts to ask them.

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