Hiring a Band for Your Wedding Reception
A song comes on and you’re instantly transported back and reliving a fond memory. Think of the chills you get from listening to the amazing score of your favorite movie. Or swaying and singing at the top of your lungs at a highly-anticipated concert. That’s the power of music! The music you choose for your reception will undoubtedly set the tone and atmosphere for your special day. Now you may be considering whether you should go with a DJ or a live band to provide dance music at your reception. The answer to that is solely up to you and your partner since every couple is unique and has different priorities, but what we can tell you is that a wedding cover band will feel and sound very different than a DJ.
Live music is engaging on another level. It fills the air with excitement and electricity. There’s nothing like hearing and watching talented musicians perform live. The lights, the instruments, the audience interaction, and the energy is so contagious that everyone will be on the dance floor and if they’re not they will surely be singing along at their seats with a smile on their face. This can’t be replicated by a DJ. Professional wedding bands know how to read a crowd and will make your wedding reception a memorable highlight for you and your guests. It’s like a personal concert experience just for you! If this sounds right up your alley, we’ve compiled 10 things to ask and consider before you hire a live band.
10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Band
1. Ask if they have a song list/playlist you can choose from. Most professional wedding bands already have awesome setlists that you can choose from or will be willing to cater a specific playlist for you and your love.
2. Ask if they know your first dance and father/mother-daughter dance song. Or if you have some absolute must-have songs in mind, ask if they know those too. If they don't know a song, some will learn it at no charge, while others may have a fee.
3. Make sure you have enough space to accommodate a bandstand or stage that's appropriate for the size of the band. Ask the band what kind of space they need and what type of equipment they will be bringing. Do they provide their own stage and lights? These are all crucial questions.
4. Be sure you have enough power to power the band's equipment/sound system and other requirements. Requirements may differ for different venues or indoor vs. outdoor venues so always be sure to check (most bands will provide a rider).
5. What's a rider? A rider is an addition to a contract. In the performing world, a rider outlines a musician's requirements when performing at a venue. It specifies what the band will need and expect in order to perform at their best capacity. It can be anything from hospitality to security. A simple example is that they would require that water and food be provided for them and that they have easy access to a bathroom.
6. Ask how long it will take them to set up and take down so you can plan accordingly.
7. Know how long each set is so you can plan the program around it (most bands have determined sets for how long they will/can play before they need a break).
8. Do you want to use their PA system? Having a live band may be a nice way to make your reception run smoothly. Ask if they will let you use their microphone for announcements and toasts if your venue doesn’t already offer that. Or if they would be willing to play some music from their speakers while they take breaks.
9. Ask if they're open to staying beyond the contracted time (say, for an encore or few) and if so, how much, how it's paid, and when.
10. Do you want a live music component for other parts of your day? Maybe you want some relaxing music during cocktail hour. Your live band may be willing to have their lead singer and guitarist perform as a duo while your guests sip on wine or champagne. This will likely be at a lower cost than hiring someone different altogether. When in doubt, always ask your potential live band what they can do for you as most are flexible and willing to make your day the best it can be.
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Hero photo courtesy of Jennifer Vera Photography