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how to find and hire a wedding music band

A wedding band is guaranteed to light up your dance floor and entertain your wedding guests. Below is a complete guide covering everything you need to do to secure an excellent group for your wedding day.

how to find and hire a wedding music band

wedding entertainment- booking a band - hiring a DJ

When to book wedding musicians and live bands

It is recommended to start searching for bands 10-11 months in advance of your wedding. Wherever possible, it is also recommended to begin your scout earlier if a group is a real must for you.

As bands can only play one wedding per day, the most popular and versatile acts will book up far in advance. Looking early will give more choice and enable you to go with a band whose music gets you excited for your wedding reception.

Live wedding band hire costs

Wedding band prices vary enormously. A local pub band can often be sourced for £400-£700 pounds, but professional wedding bands will typically be priced upwards of £1,100. For a professional wedding band, it is wise to budget between £1,600 and £2,00.

Fees will often include travel, equipment and playlists in-between sets, but it is worth asking for a detailed breakdown inclusive of VAT from the outset.

Related articles: wedding music entertainment options - hiring a wedding DJ - creating a wedding playlist - top wedding songs

how to find and hire a wedding music band

1. Check venues restrictions on live bands

Once you have decided on a budget for your live band, it is worth finding out if there are any restrictions on live music at your venue so you can adapt your search accordingly. Below are questions to ask your venue:

  • Does the venue have any sound limiters/limitations (this can affect power supplies)
  • Do they have any other restrictions on live bands (number of musicians/space, equipment)
  • What insurances are needed
  • Is it possible to connect the chosen group with the venue directly to organise logistics?
  • Any on the day tips to make set up/band arrival go smoothly?
  • how to find and hire a wedding music band
    2. Find wedding musicians and live bands
  • Look at regional and national wedding award-winning bands and those nominated
  • Think back to weddings with great groups and get the names of them
  • Contact your venue to get recommendations about bands
  • Ask your photographer/videographer for any suggestions as they will often have good contacts or remember great bands to video

  • It is also recommended to get the name and details of any bands you see at Birthdays and other small festival events as these will often be much cheaper and most versatile to work with.

    how to find and hire a wedding music band
    3. Shortlist wedding bands and musicians

    When reviewing wedding bands, it is worth paying particular attention to the below so you can shortlist effectively:

  • Review the professionalism of their website and clarity of costs
  • Listen to their music and the lead singers voice in particular
  • Review their repertoire (avoid tribute bands, instead look for wide-ranging genres)
  • Share their music with trusted people to get their opinions (the band must be compatible with guests too)
  • Look to see if bands work through agencies (this will often make booking easier and the T&Cs expansive)
  • how to find and hire a wedding music band
    4. Check availability and costs of preferred groups.

    Contact each of the bands on your shortlist to gather information about their availability, services and costs. Make sure to include:

  • Date of your wedding and venue
  • Why you liked them
  • Request for full services and costs
  • Request for links to videos, music and sample playlists
  • From the responses, you will be able to gather interest level, relative costs and fit for your wedding. When you have a preference order, it is then worth contacting them to arrange a Skype chat and a time to see them perform.

    how to find and hire a wedding music band
    5. Watch the wedding band play live

    When organising a time to come and see the band play live, it is recommended to ask if it is possible to see them play to an audience. This will help to gauge, not only your reactions but those of different demographics. Picking a band with a wide-ranging appeal is crucial.

    Make sure that the vocals are audible and the lead singer has a good rapport with the crowd in-between songs. Check the range of songs and also how the band adapts to the number of people on the dance floor. A band can make or break a wedding reception, so it is vital their performance goes beyond yours and the expectations of the audience.

    6. Questions to ask wedding bands before booking

    Once you have checked out that your wedding band sounds great, it is time to organise a final Skype chat or face to face meeting to discuss detailed questions. This may seem slightly over the top, but it will save a lot of stress and hidden surprises later on.

    In the meeting it is essential to cover off:
  • Backup or coverage in case of sickness (a backup band is vital)
  • Requirements from your venue will be covered (insurance, restrictions etc.)
  • The total performance time and number of sets
  • Assurance that the band members watched will be the same as those who play on the day.
  • How much involvement in the setlist they recommend you have
  • Do they have options to play music in-between sets or to your playlist if you provide one? (This will limit additional DJ costs)
  • how to find and hire a wedding music band
    7. Booking a band for your wedding

    Once you have found a group that is within your budget, play your music style and are excited to play on your day, it is recommended to book early to avoid disappointment. Booking will typically involve paying a deposit and then paying the remaining balance nearer to your wedding date.

    What to do after booking

    After securing the services of your favourite musicians, it is recommended to keep in regular contact. This can be done progressively by; putting the band in connection with the venue, asking whether the band can play your first dance, giving a list of your favourite songs, checking what refreshments they would like on the day, providing guidance on the running order of the day and then finally giving them an alternative wedding party contact for the day.

    Do not stress too much about making contact though as the professionals will contact you to prompt all of this information as needed.

    how to find and hire a wedding music band
    Planning what music the wedding band will play.

    One of the luxuries of choosing a live wedding band is in delegating the stress of the song selection to them. They are the professionals who will have a good understanding of what gets a wedding party dancing and will keep your guests interacting.

    However, to ensure that they do play some of the songs that mean a lot to you, it recommended to make a list of up to ten tracks you would like to hear and ten tracks you'd want to stay clear away from.

    On the day live music tips:

    Designate a member of your bridal party to update the band on the running order. Wedding timings often change throughout the course of the day, and it is vital to get the band playing when needed.

    What to do if you don’t want your band to play your first dance.

    Many couples prefer to have their first dance song played by the original artist as this often provides a much more romantic experience, especially when this is a favourite song. If you would prefer to have a recording played, just let your band know. This is a common request and one they will be more than happy to oblige with. It is your day.

    Related articles: wedding music entertainment options - hiring a wedding DJ - creating a wedding playlist - top wedding songs