The right band will make your big day, but the wrong one will break it. How can you be sure you’re getting the right one? Here are a few tips to narrow down your list of bands to find the perfect one for your special day.
1. Start planning early!
Good bands get booked as much as a year in advance. If you chose a Saturday sometime from May to September for your wedding, you’re competing with hundreds, or even thousands, of other couples for about 40 desirable dates. The odds of you wanting a band the same day someone else does are high. As soon as you lock down your venue, start scouting bands.
2. Know your budget
You wedding dance is probably going to be the longest item on your wedding day schedule. Expect that it will come at a fair cost. That said, you hopefully have an idea of what your overall budget is and how much you can afford for a band. Keep the number in mind during your planning process but be willing to shift. Regretting hiring the wrong band for your wedding just because their price was right may not be easy to live with down the road.
Tip: Don't know how much to budget? Check out our post "5 Steps To Hire A Band For Your Wedding."
3. Get your values in line
If you don’t know where you’re going, chances are you won’t get there. What does your dance floor look like? How are people dancing? What is the lighting like? How loud is the band? You must be able to visualize your dance for it to become real. You’ll need a band whose sound and stage presence aligns with your desired outcome.
4. Make up a list of bands to consider
Call up some friends whose wedding’s you attended. How was their experience with their wedding band? Referrals from friends are you best source for unbiased and unfiltered information. Next, turn to the internet. Use google to find a list of bands that suite your genre preferences. For a handy 'Band Scoring And Info Sheet,' check out "5 Steps To Hire A Band For Your Wedding."
5. Can you find answers to all your questions on their websites?
An organized website that answers your questions demonstrates efficiency and a detail-oriented approach to business. If finding answers to your questions is difficult or every page just asks you to “Contact Us”, you might be wasting your time. Limited information shows a lack of organization or an attempt to ‘lure’ you into making contact. If a band’s website can’t communicate with you efficiently, they probably won’t be able to ether. Lack of efficiency means time wasted and more of your precious wedding budget spent unnecessarily.
6. Do their live videos show crowd interaction?
A wedding dance band can’t just be wallpaper music. Connection with your guests is crucial to create the lasting memories and special moments you want at your wedding dance. If the band doesn’t have raw live videos with fans screaming in the background, they may have pre-recorded their video's audio and lip synced to it. In that case, they may still be great musicians, but their video is no testament to their crowd interaction. The best way to judge this is to see them live.
7. Go see the bands
A great band website indicates that a band is organized and takes their work seriously. A polished promotional video indicates that they have a budget to pay a great film crew, editors and sound production team. Depending on the context, it may also demonstrate great musicianship and crowd interaction. That said, you’ll never really know what you’re going to get until you check out a band live. Find out when their public shows are and check them out.
8. Will the band fit on your stage?
How much space do they take up? You may be surprised how little space a big band needs. And a small band may have a surprisingly large footprint. Take measurements of your stage area and communicate with the band to see if they will fit. Any bandleader should be happy to come check out your venue if they are unsure. Furthermore, many bands have multiple configurations. If their biggest option is too big, see if there is a smaller option that will work better.
9. Choose the right band
Compare all your choices using this list of criteria:
1. Will engage your crowd and be fun
2. Will play the music that best fits your vision for dance floor awesomeness
3. Has answered all your questions in a timely manner with concise and straightforward replies
4. Will fit on your stage
5. Will fit your budget
10. Book the band and fill out the paperwork
Any professional band will use a contract. This will clearly lay out in writing the expectations that each party has. Read over it carefully make sure you agree with everything. Here are some normal items you can expect on your contract:
1. A meal, usually dinner, for the musicians (the are human after all)
2. Exact times, date and location of the engagement
3. A required non-refundable deposit (usually 25-50%)
4. Breakdown of all costs
5. Tax and a tax number (unless they aren’t operating as a legitimate business, in which case, beware)
Just remember that booking your wedding band should be fun and easy. If any particular band makes things difficult for you, write them off. There are plenty of professional bands in town that will make your experience enjoyable.
In the event that your desired band is already booked, ask them if they can recommend another band. This could save you some google search time and since they are working professionals, they’ll likely have some connections they can pass along who you can be sure are equally professional and just as capable.