Top 10 Tips for Booking a Wedding Band

You may know you want a live band, but have you thought about the logistics and discussed a wishlist for the type of performance you're after. Don't forget, it's all about you!
Top 10 Tips for Booking a Wedding Band
Think about the style of wedding band you’d like!

You’ll probably want the style of band you book to be in keeping with the style of your wedding as a whole.For example, if you’re having a rustic festival-style wedding in a countryside barn, you might look to hire a folky Mumford-style band – one that includes instruments like a cajon and banjo.If your wedding is going to be an intimate affair with fewer than 50 guests, you probably won’t want a large soul or funk band. You might instead look for a smaller duo or trio.We’ve noticed more a more themed weddings recently – such as an 80s- or 90s-themed wedding, or a Disney theme for example. If you’re having a wedding full of 90s throwbacks (complete with 90s games for guests to play of course), then you’d probably want to book a 90s wedding band. Their repertoire would feature all the 90s classics, UK garage tunes, old school hip hop and RnB music.

Decide on your ideal budget for the band

Choosing the budget you want to spend on the wedding band can be one of the hardest parts of wedding planning.The costs of hiring a wedding band can vary a lot depending on numerous factors. The main factors include the number of musicians in the band, how far they have to travel to get to your venue, how late you want them to perform until and the band’s level of experience.As a general rule, for a professional wedding band, you should expect to pay between £411 to £455 per musician. That means an acoustic duo would charge in the region of £822 to £910, a three-piece band charges approximately £1,233 to £1,365 and a four-piece wedding music band in the UK would cost about £1,644 to £1,820 to hire for the evening’s entertainment. A five-piece wedding band would cost in the region of £2,055 to £2,275.Many bands will charge much less than this. However, it’s possible they will not meet the requirements of UK wedding venues, which usually require bands to have public liability insurance and PAT certified electrical equipment.At the top of the scale, there are other large showbands that charge anywhere between £5,000 - £20,000 for luxury weddings in the UK. These groups are usually made up of highly in-demand session musicians and singers who have toured with the likes of Adele and Coldplay.

Find local bands that are available on your wedding date

Now that you’ve decided on the style of band and your budget range, you’ll want to start seeing which groups are available on your wedding date.A lot of wedding entertainment websites list bands but don’t indicate their availability. So you spend hours searching for the perfect band, enquire with them and then find out – much to your disappointment – that they are already booked on your date.In our experience, it’s better and quicker for couples to head to a website that allows you to list your requirements (the style of band, wedding date, venue, budget) and then available bands get in touch with you with their quotes for your wedding.This will help you to get a quick and easy overview of which musicians are still available and how much they cost to hire.

Check out their live videos as well as professional promotional videos

Every professional wedding band will have a promotional video to showcase their talent. This indicates they take their job seriously, as they will have invested hundreds or thousands of pounds producing this video. You should also see if the band has any videos of them performing live at previous events.Some bands play at very exclusive events which can be hard to film due to privacy issues, but most wedding bands will have some footage from previous events which should show guests on the dancefloor and give you an idea of what the band sounds like when playing live.

Read reviews from previous wedding couples who the band have performed for

Any band worth their salt will have built up a collection of reviews and testimonials from weddings and private events they've performed in previous years.

Ensure your venue has sufficient space for your wedding band

If you're wanting to book a large soul or Motown band with full horn section of trumpets, sax players and trombones, you should definitely check with your venue that they have sufficient space for the band to perform in. Bear in mind that things like the drum kit and PA system can take up quite a lot of room. If you really want to put on a show, you might also want to hire a stage for the band, but most groups won't need a stage in order to perform.

Ask your venue if there are any noise restrictions or sound limits in place

Many inner-city wedding venues and venues based in old buildings have restrictions on the noise levels permitted at weddings and parties. Some noise limits can be very onerous and mean that even singing is difficult. The majority of professional wedding bands can cope with sound limiters, but it's worth checking the levels with the venue first and then ensuring your band is happy with them too.

Check if there is a curfew on live music and if the band would have to stop playing by a certain time

Most wedding venues require live music to stop by 12 midnight. This is usually in order to comply with local laws and regulations. If you want your party to continue into the small hours, you may need to apply for a late license – and you should also check if your band is happy to play after midnight too.

Find out how long the band takes to set up and sound check, so you can plan the rest of your evening

It usually takes around an hour or an hour and a half for a band to load in, get their equipment set up and carry out their soundcheck. You should get the exact details from your band so that you're able to plan the rest of your day's schedule, in case you don't want to hear any noise from the band during their soundcheck.

Consider other entertainment options alongside your wedding band

Find out how long your band play for, and decide whether you need anything else throughout the evening to add some variety or fill out your wedding reception. Your band may offer a free DJ Service, or your could bundle a Live Band and Professional DJ for the perfect evening of entertainment.

Shaun Brady
Founder and Director of The Groove