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Good afternoon everyone, today we are pleased to welcome Adam from Bands for Hire to the blog to help you with your entertainment planning! There’s so many logistical elements to bear in mind when hiring a band for your wedding, both yours and the venue’s potential responsibility. Who does what? Who will bring the AV kit? What is an AV kit? Do I need to feed them? There are all questions you will need to consider, but don’t worry because Adam has provided you with a handy checklist to help you out!
As every well prepared bride-to-be knows, there’s nothing like a fool-proof checklist to ensure a good night’s rest, especially as the months turn into weeks and the pre-wedding panic starts to creep in!
When it comes to organising your live wedding entertainment, there are plenty of factors to take into consideration, from venue terms and conditions, right through to the band rider.
Whether you’re just about to start your planning or only days away, take a quick look at our checklist to ensure you’re on the right track…
Does your venue allow live music and are there any sound limitations?
Every venue needs a license in order to operate and that means they may well have sound limitations in place, especially if the venue is in a residential area.
Venue terms and conditions can vary; some venues only allow unplugged, non-amplified music, where as others have sound limiters in place, restricting the volume by use of a rather obtrusive power cut if the music gets too loud.
Does your venue have the space for a band/DJ and how many members can they comfortably accommodate?
Space can often be a factor, especially for more intimate weddings. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend a meter width for each musician and three meters depth if the band includes a drummer. For DJs, a typical DJ booth might be 2-3 meters wide with speakers either side of the booth depending on the shape of your venue.
Are there any logistical obstacles at the venue that the band should be aware of?
When preparing an arrival time, bands might assume that the entrance is located fairly close to the stage area, however, this is rarely the case. Stairs and lifts can add up to half an hour to the band’s set up time, so if you want to prevent your schedule from going haywire, it’s always best to double check with your venue and advise your band beforehand.
Does the venue have a terms and conditions form for bands and musicians to sign?
A growing number of wedding venues have agreements outlining their terms and conditions for suppliers and musicians. Terms can include things such as: no live drums, no haze machines, or even the condition that bands must use the in-house PA in order to keep a limit on the volume. It’s always best to send this to your band before making a booking, or you may find yourselves unstuck.
Does the band / DJ provide PA system (aka sound system)?
The majority of bands provide full PA system, but if it isn’t mentioned in the quote then it’s best not to assume. If it isn’t included, you’ll no doubt need to hire something in at extra cost.
If you have over 150-200 guests it might be worth mentioning this to the band at the outset in case they need to cost in larger PA to suit your venue.
Does the band / DJ provide lighting?
Whilst most bands provide lighting, many smaller groups may not, so always ask if it isn’t included in your quote.
It’s also worth noting that whilst most wedding DJs have lighting, many specialist DJs such as those more familiar with corporate events at large clubs, may only bring their own mixing equipment.
Is your quote inclusive of the whole evening or just a specific period of time, i.e. a 3 hour period?
The majority of function bands quote for 2 x 60 minute sets with playlists throughout the evening until midnight. When booking smaller bands such as jazz bands and acoustic duos, you may find they’ve only quoted for a 3 hour period, and so you’ll need to make your own plans for the rest of the evening.
If the artist is performing outside, have you checked their requirements?
Most string quartets, instrumentalists and bands will require a gazebo or similar to protect them from the elements. With British weather being somewhat unpredictable, it’s too risky for some musicians to perform out in the open where there’s the chance of damaging instruments and equipment.
Do the band have sufficient time to set up?
Most wedding bands take 60-90 minutes to set up, often loading in as the room is being turned around for the evening reception. If your meal is fairly late you may need to ask the band about an early set-up so they’re all ready to go straight after the formalities have finished.
If booking a string quartet, will they need armless chairs to be provided by the venue?
Most string quartets will need armless chairs to be provided at the church and venue.
Have you been through your special requests with the band or musicians?
It’s best to give musicians plenty of notice when requesting new songs, most bands are happy to learn a first dance song for your big day but there are a few bands that charge an extra fee.
Similarly with string quartets and other instrumental acts; if sheet music is available then it’s not a problem, but on the odd occasion the band leader may need to spend time arranging your song request for their instruments and this will no doubt incur additional fees.
Have you worked out a schedule for your music?
Whilst schedules frequently go off-track, it’s advisable to have some kind of running order in place. Your evening reception is no exception if you want to ensure a full dance floor – speak to your band and see what they suggest, it’s always best not to peak too early. When planning your evening wedding music you’ll also need to avoid any clashes with your buffet or other highlights such as fireworks.
Do the band require food in their contract?
It’s something that’s regularly glanced over in the contract but almost all musicians do request a simple meal and soft drinks in their rider, especially for evening function bands who will often find themselves working a 12 hour day once travel has been taken into account.
Lots to think about there but as Adam says, a good checklist can save many a sleepless nights when you start worrying about logistics etc!