If you are currently in the midst of wedding planning and feeling a bit overwhelmed...
This afternoon we are talking wedding entertainment. Choosing your wedding entertainment can be a tricky business. If you are currently looking for a wedding band then you may not know where to start. There are a few questions you need to be asking to make sure you get the right band for your wedding. Some may seem obvious, while others may be questions you have never thought of. To make sure you get all the information you need and choose the right band for your perfect day, The experts at Entertainment Nation have given us some amazing advice, with these 10 Questions you MUST ask your band before booking them.
Planning your wedding reception is a whirlwind of excitement. It’s so easy to fall in love with a wedding band, get carried away and book that band there and then – only to discover at later date that the band can’t travel more than 2 miles from home, they need you to supply audio equipment or they won’t play past 10pm.
As the old saying (sort of) goes: hire a wedding band in haste, repent at leisure.
Having helped more than a few happy couples find their ideal wedding band over the years, we here at Entertainment Nation can help you avoid the common pitfalls that come with booking a wedding band. As long as you ask these questions before you snap up your band, you won’t have to worry about any nasty surprises or hidden costs.
Here are the essential questions you need to ask before you book your wedding band:
This is a biggie! It’s no good getting all hyped up about a band and then discovering they only perform within one hour of their hometown – which is three hours from your venue!
If you’re down in Cornwall and your favoured band is located up in Newcastle, there’s a chance they’ll consider the journey to be too far – or you’ll end up paying much more than you would for a more local band due to travel expenses.
Booking a band that has played at your venue before, while not essential, makes the whole process much smoother. The band will know what the journey to the venue is like, where they need to get set up and any quirks unique to your venue, meaning you get a group of musicians who aren’t stressed out from an odyssey of a journey and an arduous set up.
This one seems obvious, but it’s well worth asking. Wedding bands tend to have a list price that’s based upon performing in their local area. If you need your band to travel, you want them to arrive early or stay late (more on which shortly), the band need accommodation or you want to book any extras like an acoustic set for your ceremony, these will all affect the total fee. At Entertainment Nation, we quote a total fee that includes travel, accommodation and any extras, so you aren’t hit with any hidden fees later down the line.
Although every wedding band is different, the standard arrival time is around 5 or 6pm. This gives the band plenty of time to get set up and sound checked ready for your first dance and the start of the celebrations. If you’d like your band to arrive early for any reason, this will usually incur an extra fee, so always get that arrival time set in stone!
The same goes for a band’s finish time, which is generally 12am. If your wedding reception party is going on until 1am or later, agree this with the band first and avoid the mood-killing moment the music finishes at midnight, leaving you all stood in silence on the dance floor. As with an early start, a late finish will usually cost extra.
The amount of live music you get will again vary, but as a general rule bands offer 2×60 minute sets or 3×40 minutes sets of live performance, which you are free to choose between. If you require alternate timings, be sure to discuss this with your band prior to booking.
Some wedding venues come ready equipped with lighting rig and PA, but if yours doesn’t then you’ll need to ascertain whether your band will supply this equipment, Most professional wedding bands will supply high quality PA and lighting as part of their standard package, but it’s always worth checking.
There’s no reason a freshly-formed function band can’t do a great job, but a band that’s used to playing together will not only be a tighter musical unit but also have the experience to ensure that your reception runs smoothly.
The first dance is a precious moment, and your special song performed live is a beautifully romantic accompaniment to your first dance as a married couple. That’s why you need to discuss whether your band is happy to learn your first dance before booking. Most wedding bands are happy to learn your request within their standard fee as long as they have plenty of notice.
Where it gets tricky is when a band is asked to learn a song that doesn’t suit them at all or is of a genre they don’t feel comfortable performing. In this case, you may have to consider another band or choose to have the recorded version of the song played through the band’s PA.
If you have strong ideas about songs you want to hear, then make them known to your band. Ask for a sample set list and if there are any songs you absolutely can’t stand, inform your band. Likewise, if there are any tracks you can’t live without, make this known to the band also. Be aware that if you are making any requests outside of your band’s repertoire, they may charge for the expense incurred in learning new material.
A word of caution: try not to influence your band’s set list too much. Professional wedding bands spend years honing their set lists, thinking long and hard about which songs go where and constantly gauging audience reaction, resulting in a running order that never fails to create a crackling atmosphere and a packed dance floor. Trust your band and they will deliver a night you’ll never forget.
By the time they arrive at your venue, the band will probably have been on the road for hours and then have to switch to heavy-lifting mode and transfer all their gear from the van to the stage. A bunch of hangry musicians is the last thing you want at your wedding reception, so make sure they get access to a hot meal and a supply of water and soft drinks. Bands are generally happy to join in with the evening meal or buffet.
There you have it; ask these questions before you book and the only thing you’ll have to worry about is photos surfacing of those embarrassing dance moves you were pulling while your band was rocking out on stage!
If you have any questions or you’re eager to begin the wedding band booking process, head on over to Entertainment Nation. Our friendly team of wedding entertainment experts are available from 10am until 10pm, 7 days a week, and are always happy to help.
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