Having the right live band for your wedding day is a must, which is why you should check out our guide to picking your perfect wedding band here.

Considerations when choosing a live band for your wedding reception

Booking a band for your wedding is one of the big highs of wedding planning. It’s so exciting to put your mark on the wedding reception with musicians you both love! But since it is also quite a big expense, it’s important to do your research and to be 100% sure before you commit.

It’s not only about ensuring the band meets your needs and expectations, but you also have a responsibility to consider the venue’s rules and regulations around live music, as well as give some thought to local residents.

With all of this in mind, have you got any ideas of what you’d like to hear at your reception?

What style of music do you want?

If, like most of us, you can’t afford to book your favourite band of all time for your wedding, what is the next best thing? A tribute act, perhaps? Or something different altogether that you know will please the vast majority? Do you and your partner even have the same taste in music?

These are discussions that need to be had early on to ensure that you are both on the same page when it comes to searching for the stars of the show.

Does the music go with your theme?

Most professional wedding bands will have extensive experience performing at events and will therefore know how to please a crowd. They might even be adaptable to an extent, so if you want a mixture of musical styles, they might be good all-rounders with multiple singers to help mix things up throughout the set.

Often, though, wedding bands will have a speciality (after all, it’s their business and livelihood so they stick to what they do best!) therefore you might expect them to have either a mainstream pop sound, a jazz sound, a classical sound or possibly even a folk sound. Their style and sound will probably be what draws you to them in the first place.

If, however, you opt for a band that isn’t as well-practiced or hasn’t played at weddings before, then you risk your live music being a bit disjointed if you’re not careful. This might not seem like a big deal if the band is good, but tying your entertainment into your theme is something to have a think about if you want the day to flow nicely.

Understand your venue’s live music policy

Most venues will have policies in place to ensure the safety of guests and staff as well as to respect those in the vicinity of the area. As such, your band might be required to stop playing by a certain time, may need to adjust the volume of their speakers (smaller venues, in particular, will have a cap on how loud music can be), and there may be other clauses related to language, safety and indecency to name but a few.

Should you go through an agency or book the band directly?

To make certain that your booking goes smoothly and without a hitch, we encourage you to go through a legitimate, wedding music agency. Not only can you expect nothing but professionalism from all parties, but this may offer you some extra peace of mind when it comes to things like cancellation policies or circumstances out of your control.

That said, you can strike up an agreement with your chosen band directly and potentially save yourself money by going direct. If opting to go down this route, we suggest trying to maintain regular communication with someone close to the band (an agent or friend) who may be more accessible than the busy band members themselves.

Most importantly though, read all the reviews you can get your hands on and go and see them perform if you get the chance so that you know what to expect!

What will your budget be for the band?

As you can imagine, live music is often a more expensive option than a DJ set because the music is unique and usually involves numerous people needing to get paid for their time and talents. However, prices will vary from one act to another, depending on the show they put on, the type of music they perform, the instruments they play, the clothing they wear, the length of their set, and so on.

Their fee might also be higher if they have a solid reputation or have any accolades such as having been signed in the music industry, appeared on a show or if they feature celebrity guests.

When it comes to setting aside a budget for the evening entertainment, you should have conducted market research and be prepared to set yourselves a limit based on the array of prices you’ve found.

If the music is very important to you or you simply fall in love with a band, then you know to throw as much as you can into this pot as it will be a very memorable part of your wedding day.

Ask about their availability

If you want the best of the best when it comes to live performers then you should expect them to be booked up well in advance, which is why you should be asking about their availability at the earliest opportunity. The last thing you want is to get your hearts set on a particular band only to find they have no availability until the year after your big day!

Regular wedding contractors might even be harder to secure than an ordinary performing band since wedding dates are usually booked 18-24 months in advance.

Ensuring the band fits in with the day’s timings

Lastly, once you manage to secure your favourite performers, it’s important to work together to find suitable timings for the live music. At most weddings, the music will kick off as the evening reception starts. But if your evening guests arrive at 7pm and carriages are at 11pm then this might be too long a segment for a band to fill.

They might suggest splitting their set in two, with a break in between. If your band will require food and refreshments, then discuss this with your venue to ensure that the catering team is aware and can have these available for them at the right time.

Bear in mind that your band will need to set up and then pack up after their performance, possibly with a long journey ahead before they get home. This is just another reason why you should discuss timings with them and the venue and get the logistics sorted in good time.

Once everything falls into place, that’s when you can start to get really excited about dancing with all your loved ones to some amazing live music!