While some people love a disco and the flexibility of putting their own playlist together (including some old favourites of course), there’s nothing quite like having a live band at your wedding reception.
But as music is so subjective, how do you choose a band that really will be a crowd-pleaser?
Booking a band needs to be high up on your ‘to do’ list. Wedding bands get booked up well in advance – and remember they often play other gigs too.
Speak with your wedding venue to find out what size of band is suitable for the available space. There’s no point booking a 20 piece band if there’s only room for 5. Check the venue’s policy for live music. Most will be happy for you to have a live band, but there are likely to be restrictions in place on volume and cut off times. Venues don’t want to upset their neighbours so you need to adhere to their rules. Make sure your band know of any restrictions beforehand.
There are a variety of ways of finding a good wedding band. Entertainment agencies are one route. They are set up with lists of different musicians and bands and will help you to choose. The benefit is you know you’ll be getting a professional outfit who are experienced with weddings and how to get everyone up and dancing. And if you want other forms of entertainment such as magicians, some agencies will be able to help with this, too.
If you don’t want to go through an agency, have a chat with friends who are knowledgeable about the local music sector. Some people put out a call on social media for recommendations. In either case, make sure you can watch some videos of the band performing or, even better, get along to see them at a gig.
An experienced live band isn’t a low cost option. The very least you should expect to pay is £500 plus expenses for a compact, local band – but this can escalate into the thousands, especially if the band has lots of members and are travelling a long distance.
Most wedding bands will play a mixture of genres designed to get your guests up on the dance floor. Certain genres like heavy metal are probably best avoided (unless you, your friends and family are all metalheads!). Pop and rock, soul and Motown are all good options. A band with a brass section is always good for foot stomping classics. And of course, a seasoned wedding band will know exactly the right musical buttons to press to get all the generations on the dance floor. Definitely discuss the playlist well in advance, especially if you want the band to play a ‘first dance’ – as they may have to learn it especially.
Most bands will bring everything they need, but it’s really worth checking this or if there is anything they expect you to supply (including what they need in terms of refreshments).
Confirm your booking
As soon as you are sure you have the right band, book them! Don’t forget that there are lots of other wedding couples looking for a band, and you don’t want to lose them. You may well have to pay a deposit to secure them – make sure you have written confirmation.