Hiring a Band for Your Wedding
Music has a key role to play in any wedding celebration, so you need to take care when choosing the band to hire for your reception. This helpful guide will give you some tips about how to go about selecting the perfect band for you, whatever type of sound you are looking for.
How to Find a Band
Don't leave it too late to begin your search for musicians - you should start making enquiries a minimum of six months before your big day. Before starting your search, however, you need to make some decisions about the musical direction you want to take. What kind of music would best suit the atmosphere and tone of your event? You may want to go down a traditional route and choose a vocalist or contemporary band. If that is the case, word of mouth, or using your own experience from weddings that you have attended could be the best way forward. You friends and family may be able to suggest a suitable band, or you may be able to get suggestions from your caterer, wedding planner, photographer or florist for musicians that they have worked with before. On the other hand, if you would prefer to opt for something a little bit more unusual, you will need to be more creative in your approach. Be careful, though, if you decide to approach a favourite local band with no previous experience of playing at a wedding reception, to be clear about arrangements. You will not want to risk the band turning up late or having too long a set. Another way of finding a wedding band is to use an entertainment agency that will find musicians that will fit in well with your budget and requirements. If you approach an agency, make sure that they give you the chance to listen to the band's music or watch footage of them performing before you make a final decision.
What Size Band to Choose?
When deciding on the right size of band to choose, you will need to bear in mind your venue and the budget you can afford to spend. Consider the acoustics in the room as well as its size – you don't want to overwhelm your guests with too loud a sound. You should also consider whether access to a piano is important or whether a keyboard would suffice. In general, a band may consist of between 6 and 10 musicians, with a rhythm section made up of keyboard, drums, guitar and bass, a brass section which may comprise a trombone, trumpet or saxophone, and a vocalist. Usually, the larger the band, the more expensive the cost, and remember that any overtime will also increase the budget. Musicians often have very strict rules about breaks, so you will need to give them specified rest times – perhaps up to 4 during a four hour celebration. Musicians will probably also need to be fed, and this is something you may want to discuss with your venue.
Choosing Your Music
While your own preferences are very important – it is, after all, your special day – it is essential to remember to satisfy your guests too. If you are inviting guests across a broad range of ages, you should arrange for your band to play a variety of music that includes songs from various eras to accommodate the majority of your party. Many bands will have a list of music that you can select from, however if there is a specific song that you would like played, it is possible that the band may volunteer to learn it for you (although you may need to pay extra for this). Some popular musical styles for wedding receptions include Motown, disco, 1950's tunes or swing – remember that well known songs are likely to increase the energy in the room and encourage dancing. Remember to specify the music that you want for your first dance, especially if you have a special tune that you want played. If you have no particular preference, the band may be able to suggest a suitably romantic classic.
Drawing up the Contract
The contract is a very important part of finalising your arrangements with your wedding band, and you need to make sure that every possible eventuality is covered. All of the details must be covered, from listing the names of the band members to itemising the song list and musical style required. It should also cover elements such as the logistics of the band's arrival and setup procedure as well as the timing of their set and their departure time. You should also set out the terms of the relevant liability insurance coverage as well as their payment schedule and arrangements for their break times and food provisions. You may also want to set out any arrangements concerning possible overtime or any other unforeseen circumstance just to make sure that you are well protected.