Alot of my friends getting married ask me the same question: "How do I book a band for my wedding?" Finding and booking a band for your wedding can be extremely challenging. There are numerous factors to consider. In this post, I will attempt to help you learn how to book a wedding band. I will also touch on some of the challenges and how you can work through them to find and book a band that will be a great fit for your wedding.
1. Price Tag
The best wedding bands are usually dedicated to the craft and may even exclusively play weddings. These bands will generally be experienced seasoned veterans and will help your wedding go off without a hitch. There’s a catch though. The price tag reflects their experience level and the wedding entertainment market. The average costs for wedding bands of this caliber can be anywhere from $5,000-$10,000. If you aren’t working with a large budget, this can bring your plans to have a band at your wedding to a screeching halt. If this is within your budget, that’s great! You will not be disappointed.
If the $5,000-10,000 price range is out of your budget, don’t despair, you have options! If you live in or near major metropolitan area, your options are plentiful. Cities are teeming with awesome cover bands. These bands will suit your needs well because often they are happy to offer up their services for a premium that is well above what they typically receive at a bar or club. However this price, generally speaking, will still be far less than what a dedicated wedding band receives.
Do your research! My recommendation is to find out the popular cover bands in your area and GO SEE THEM. Go see a band and if you like them and think they would be a good fit, introduce yourself when they are on a break or after the show. Get their contact information and follow up with them on pricing and availability. You can certainly ask their general price range but most bands will not be able to give you a quote without first knowing the details of your event.
Most professional bands book up about a year in advance and will often book their whole year by the New Year. If you find a band you like, book them as early as possible. If you drag your feet on a band you really like, chances are they may give your date away to someone who is ready to book. If you know you want to book the band, ask how much they require for a deposit. Generally speaking, a basic performance contract will suffice for these situations.
When booking a band for your wedding, it is best practice to require a performance contract. Performance contracts serve to protect both the buyer and the band via the contract, as well as the deposit. Contracts also help to consolidate all of the details of the performance into one place, so that everyone involves understands the logistics and expectations of the performance. And of course, their main function is to protect against cancellation, disputes, and other unforeseeable circumstances. You can ask the band if they have a contract that they use or you can draw up your own. I recommend doing a google search for performance contracts and perhaps using a template. Make sure you iron out the details and make sure everything is agreed upon prior to entering into the contract. Things like date, time, place, load in times, points of contact, length of performance, etc. should all be agreed upon prior to drawing up a contract. This brings us to our next point, Details, details, details.
4. Details, details, details…
Planning is king (or queen) when it comes to wedding. A well-organized schedule is key to making sure your day goes off without a hitch. The entertainment schedule is no exception. It is important to set realistic expectations for the band. Most weddings that we’ve played, the band ends up playing for around 2 to 3 hours total. That’s not say that some don’t go shorter or longer, but I’d say that’s about the average. Make sure you discuss your expectations of the entertainment schedule with the band you are booking. If you want them to start right after dinner and then take a break for cake cutting, be sure to make that known well in advance. If you want them to hold off until after all of the formal wedding things are done and then rock the house, make sure you convey this to them. Here are a few things to consider when you are planning to have a band as part of your wedding.
- Place, Date, Time of performance.
- Performance Space/ Stage – Where will the band be setting up?
- Power requirements – How much power does the band require? How many outlets/circuits/amps?
- Will the band be joining you for dinner – Do you need a table for the band + sound company? Will they eat elsewhere?
- What time can the band load in and get set up? What time do they need to be quiet by?
- Is the band going to be the MC for the wedding or do you have a DJ covering this? It’s a good idea to provide the names and pronunciations for the introductions prior to the date of the wedding.
- What is the start time? How long will the sets be? How long will the breaks be?
- Do you have a “day of” or emergency contact for the band to be able to get in touch with?
- Are there any songs you are going to ask the band to learn? This should be discussed well in advance of the wedding to give the band time to learn them. The best band will be able to learn a few songs for you but keep in mind, even the best band may not be able to pull of every song EXACTLY like the record so if you are used to hearing your first dance song a certain way, considering having them play the song on an iPod.
- Set list – Do you have a specific set list for them that you created from their master set list? I advise leaving some of this to the band’s judgment and giving them a few suggestions.
- Be ready to pay the band the remainder of the fee directly before or after the wedding.
5. Have Fun!
You paid good money to have a band at your wedding! Enjoy it! Request some songs you know that they play and that you like. It’s your day! Some of our favorite people we have met and come to see us often are folks whose weddings we played.
Hopefully with these 5 tips, we can help you make the booking, preparation, and day of your wedding go off as smoothly as possible. Just remember, minor or major snags happen at almost every wedding. The best thing is to take a deep breath, just go with it, and ENJOY THE MUSIC!
Fighting Friday is one of the most sought after Boston wedding bands. We are currently booking weddings for 2015 and 2016. If you're thinking about having a band at your wedding, why not consider Fighting Friday, Boston's best wedding band.