Your entertainment could take up a large chunk of your wedding budget, so getting the best deal possible is essential. You’ve spent hours trawling through wedding blogs, music agencies and supplier directories, and your mind is just about frazzled! It appears there’s an abundance of wedding bands and musicians available at every corner, so whittling them down to the last few is an overwhelming task to say the least.
As a music agent I’ve spent the last six years looking for the best bands in the country, and so you have my sympathy. What was once an industry set aside for the ageing musician has in recent years seemed to become saturated with singers and bands of every age looking to make a living from performing at weddings and private events. With the ever-evolving state of the music industry, perhaps today’s young musicians are more inclined to partake in wedding gigs as a way of financing their songwriting and originals projects.
With so many options available, and all at staggeringly different prices, it’s difficult to decipher the good from the bad. So what affects the price of a wedding band, and what steps can you take to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible?
A band is a business the same as every other wedding supplier. Therefore their fees generally settle at a point that reflects their experience and how in-demand they are. With this in mind one might assume that the higher the quote, the better the band. Whilst this is true to an extent, many other factors can affect prices…
How Local are the Band?
Travelling distance can have a big impact on a band’s price. Searching locally is always advisable, for both for your pocket and the environment. Many couples may assume that it’s just the travel expenses involved, but keep in mind that it also comes down to the extra time involved for the musicians. A six-hour round trip will be a major factor when quoting, especially if a band feels they have a good chance of finding another gig locally.
How Many Musicians Do You Need?
Bigger is almost always better. However, before you look for a 12-piece party band, consider your venue and check the small print in your contract. Many venues will have sound limiters or restrictions in place, meaning a larger band is either impractical or not allowed. Check with your venue before you book your band so you aren’t caught in a contract you can’t stick to.
The number of musicians in a band will be the main factor when it comes to price. My advice would be to set yourself a budget and see what options are available. You may find that a smaller band, such as a rocking trio, sound as good as a five-piece, and for a fraction of the cost.
Can You Get an Off-Peak Discount?
If you’re getting married in the winter or autumn months then it’s worth asking for a discount. Whilst bands rarely offer discounts for peak summer Saturdays, some bands will offer a deal to secure a booking off-peak.
When Do You Need to Book Your Wedding Band?
We start receiving enquiries two years before a wedding date, although I personally feel this is a little too early. Yes, you will find yourself with the pick of the bunch, but quotes will be higher. Bands won’t have decided their fees for the future, and will be confident of more enquiries for the same date. Some bands may not quote for a wedding two years in advance, especially those with big ambitions for the future. By booking 9-18 months in advance you’ll have a great choice of bands at your fingertips, without paying a premium.
If you’re looking to get a great deal and you’ve got the stomach for it, you could wait and book last minute. However, this will the limit the number of available bands so think hard before going down this route.
What Else Can Increase the Cost of a Wedding Band?
Bands usually base a quote on a 5pm – 6pm set-up. To have the band all set before the wedding breakfast will likely incur an additional charge for their extra hours. Furthermore, check what finish time your quote is for. It will often be a midnight finish, so if you have the venue until 1am this will also up the price.
Hopefully this serves as a good insight into the mind of a musician, how they quote and how to get the best deal. I’ll now leave you in the capable hands of Google – good luck with your search.
For more tips read 5 Ways to Get Amazing Wedding Entertainment On a Budget.
Guest post by Adam Mezzatesta of Bands For Hire
Images from (in order of appearance) The Gypsy Carnivals, Jamie Berry, The Mesh Band and The Flip Top Floozies