The church is booked, the flowers organized bridesmaids at the ready, what will you do differently that will take your wedding from a mere good to incredible? That answer to this is to hire a live band of course!
When starting out on your search, it might seem like everyone one in the world is in the wedding band industry. There are thousands of acts and performers out there each peddling their brand of classic covers and ‘unique’ interpretations. To help narrow your search you should think about what genre of music you want first off – are you after a generic ‘play a bit of everything’ band or something more specific and unusual?
Try not to be too self-indulgent though it’s your wedding. You will want to create a fun and enjoyable atmosphere for all your guests: even if you think late-nineties rap metal is the best thing since sliced bread, will great-aunt Edith rock out to a Linkin Park tribute band?
Check Them Out.
Once you have decided what you want and have looked up a few bands online (or in our directory), you should, if you can, get out and see your first choice band live. There are many acts out there who advertise themselves as a live ‘band’ but are in fact just a singer or two belting them out to an accompanying backing track.
Being able to perform live – as opposed to on a recording – is a totally different skill for a band to master and you will want to make sure they know what they are doing. If they don’t have many upcoming gigs or are playing too far away for you to see them you should ask them to send you a video of a recent live set or rehearsal. Make sure the sound has not been overdubbed however as you will want to get a true idea of their live abilities.
Tell Your Venue.
It is critical you inform your venue of the music arrangements. You will want to make sure they are licensed to play live music and that their license stretches late enough into the night. You do not want to be told that you can only play live music before 6 pm after you have paid the band their deposit.
You will need to work closely with the venue on the logistics of where the band will be set up (do they need a stage?), how and when they will move all their equipment in, what their power requirements are and how to meet any riders they may have. Communication is the key to ensuring there are no nasty surprises on the day.
If possible give the band the contact details of someone at the venue so that they can discuss access arrangements and technical requirements directly. Information can often be misinterpreted or mis-communicated when you have to act as a go-between.
It can be tricky working out when you want the band to start and how long you want them to play for. Most bands will have done plenty of weddings before so you should ask them for their opinion or advice on what they think works best. The band should also be able to tell you what their set times and structure are; normally this will be something like three 45 minute sets or two 60 minute sets with a half hour break in between each.
You will not want to keep your guests waiting around too long after the meal, speeches, cake and coffee are all done for the entertainment to start. An hour at most should be enough for people to relax and chat before they start to get restless. If you have no other entertainment or activities planned you should look to get the band up and playing as soon as possible.
The band will probably want to do a sound check before they start playing so try to usher your guests to a part of the venue where this will not be heard.
Get It in Writing.
Make sure you get a contract with the band agreed and signed before you hand over any money. This should cover the date and time you want them to play, the amount to pay (and how and when to pay it), the length and structure of their use, how many band members there will be and any riders they require. The more detail you have down in the contract, the less chance there will be for any surprise or disappointment on the day. It will also give some recourse against them should anything go badly wrong.