Wedding Bands- 3 Questions You Have to Ask Before Planning Music for Your Wedding

Wedding Bands- 3 Questions You Have to Ask Before Planning Music for Your Wedding

To hire, or not to hire?

Are you thinking of hiring a band for your wedding?
Fantastic choice!

Music is a HUGE part of a wedding. Don't just take our word for it. Check out what this recent bride had to say about hiring the Phonix Band for her wedding:

Our guests all had a great time and I definitely credit it one very small part to our "I Do's" and a very large part to THE PHONIX.

Since you are here reading this post, you are obviously somebody who places high value on music. Here are 3 questions you have to ask before planning music for your wedding:

  1. why music is such an integral part of your wedding and
  2. how to go about finding a good band, working out cost, hiring them and
  3. choosing the right songs for them to play?

Don't worry, keep reading and you'll get all the info you need!

Why Is Music Critical to Your Wedding?

wedding band musicYou and your partner just like music. Plain and simple.

But have you considered these great impact that Music will have on your wedding guests?

  1. Music increases food and fluid intake. In other words, your guests will enjoy more of that food you paid so much for!
  2. Slow tempo music with dinner will result in guests staying longer and consuming more beverages. You don't want anyone leaving early, do you?
  3. Loud music is associated with increased soft drink and alcohol consumption. Make sure your guests enjoy themselves!

We didn't just make that up. You can read about it yourself in this short read about the findings from a study on the Psychology of Music.

Just think about the last restaurant you visited that didn't have music. How did that make you feel? Did you want to leave pretty quickly? Most would feel that way too. And that's why most fast food restaurants or restaurants that want a high table turnover don't bother putting on any music. 

Your wedding is not a fast food restaurant! You don't want your guests leaving in the middle of dinner.

Live music or canned music (played from an iPod or DJ) are both great options during dinner. Although, if you plan to have many speeches spread out during dinner, we would advise canned music because it's much easier to turn the music on and off quickly between speeches that to start and stop an entire band.

What Can A Live Wedding Band Provide?

wedding dinner music

Most people don't realize just how much a typical professional wedding band (like The Phonix) can actually provide.

Using the word "band" to describe the services we offer doesn't do us justice!

Did you know that most pro wedding bands can provide you with all of these services for your wedding:

  1. Wedding ceremony music: a soloist, duo or trio of musicians to perform you prelude music, processional songs, book signing music, recessional songs and postlude music too!
  2. Microphones and speakers for wedding ceremony: Most bands have large PA systems and plenty of microphones. If you have already hired them to play for your dance later on, they should be able to get you a great discount on this service since all their gear is already on-site. 
  3. Cocktail hour music: just like for the ceremony, most bands can scale down and provide some easy background music during your cocktail hour. This can be totally different repertoire than what they'll play for your dance later on. So don't worry about them spoiling the big fun surprise for your guests. 
  4. Dinner background music: just like for cocktail hour, your dinner time needs some love. The band should be able to put together a small jazz trio or something similar. This will class up your dinner and make everything think your food is extra tasty! (Good music makes food taste better!). If your budget can't handle live dinner music, there's nothing wrong with using an iPod. Your band should have no problem plugging in your iPod playlist and playing it through their PA.
  5. Microphone for MC and Speeches: You don't really want to hire a separate AV company and pay them $2000 just to setup a microphone do you? Well, good news! You don't have to. Any pro wedding band will setup their stage and PA early in the afternoon. By the time you want to have dinner and speeches, their microphones will be ready to go. They should have no problem lending you one for speeches at a very reasonable cost. Don't forget, you'll still need someone to adjust the volume of your canned background music during speeches.
  6. Grand entrance song: Make a splash - get your band to perform your grand entrance song live! Give your guests a little taste of what they can expect later.
  7. Hora: Planning a Jewish wedding? No problem. Most bands these days (including the Phonix) are versatile enough to play the hora for you.
  8. Money Dance: This fun Filipino tradition includes the bride and groom dancing around while guests pin money to them. It is soooo much more fun when the band is making some great music to back this up!
    wedding money dance
  9. Cake cutting song: No surprise here. The band can do this or cue up your favourite pre-recorded song on their PA also.
  10. First dance songs: the mother/son and father/daughter dances can be included here too. Most bands will happily learn one special request song for your wedding. Most couples make it their first dance song. Nothing says "I'm in love" like have a live band perform a song JUST FOR YOU, with no one else on the dance floor. This is a truly special moment that should be cherished. It's almost worth hiring a live band just for this!
  11. The Wedding Dance Party!: The moment all your guests have been waiting for! Most people have about 3-4 hours of party in them. Most bands can accommodate that! Find a band that has a song list that you like, but that also has songs that you think your guests are going to like too! As much as it's your party, you want everyone to feel equally welcome so they all stick around for the most memory-making moments possible.
  12. Referrals to fabulous wedding vendors: looking for a wedding planner? A photographer? A photo booth or caterer? Pro wedding bands like us have been around for a long time (over 10 years!). We've met a lot of planners, seen a lot of photos and eaten a lot of food. We can definitely recommend some incredible wedding vendors that you should definitely consider. Just ask!
  13. Other Special Services: most bands and musicians also have side hustles. In the Phonix' case, we also offer a sweet magic mirror Photo Booth. We like to give crazy discounts to our clients when they package it with a band booking!

Wow! That's a lot of stuff. Did that get your brain thinking?

How Much Does A Wedding Band Cost?

wedding band cost

We've got a fantastic post on the Cost of Hiring A Wedding Band, so we're not going to go into too much detail here. 

As with any service-based industry, prices are always flexible and changing. What we can tell you is that most of our clients pay roughly these amounts for various services we offer:


9-Piece Dance Band for around 150 minutes of performance, including sound system, lighting and technician Between $4,000-$7,000
Ceremony solo musician and cocktail hour trio (when added on to the band booking) Between $1000-2000
Photo Booth service - including 3 hours of operation and unlimited prints Between $500-$800


Most people have no idea what really goes in to making a wedding band work, so we often encounter brides and grooms experiencing sticker shock.

Let us explain...

A band is a business, just like anything else. There are plenty of operating costs, like marketing, management, band fees and website fees.

Yup, we're paying good money for the website YOU ARE READING RIGHT NOW!

Most people think that bands are just a "bunch of guys doing what they love." So pricing seems pretty easy. You just decide how much each person is worth for the night, times that by the number of people in the band, and voila!

But it's not that simple.

Here are just a few of the costs that go into making a great wedding band:

  1. Photo shoot
  2. Website construction 
  3. Band uniforms
  4. Sound equipment and lighting
  5. Rehearsals (space rental, musician costs)
  6. Sheet music purchased
  7. Subscription fees (dropbox, spotify and other band resources)
  8. Accounting and bank fees
  9. Credit card processing fees
  10. Musician fees

..and the list goest on!

So to conclude, please don't try to undercut your band too much when they send you a quote. Think about what YOU would like to earn for an entire day of your time, plus all these extra costs and time commitments! 

How To Find A Good Wedding Band

If you happen to be living in British Columbia, we've got a great post you should read on Vancouver's Top 6 Wedding Dance Bands. And obviously, we think you should consider us!

(Just think of how detail oriented we are and how great this post is! haha)

And why not watch this video of us performing too:

If you're outside of the Phonix band territory, we've got some great tips for you when choosing a wedding band:

  1. Decide which services you want: use our list above to come up with your own list of services that your wedding band should provide. At the very least, get them for your dance!
  2. Search Google and Weddingwire: In google, try searching for "wedding music band" or something similar. If you're in a huge city, you may want to narrow it down by adding your genres of preference (like Funk, Soul, R&B, Pop etc).
  3. Read reviews: this goes without saying. But knowing how to asses reviews helps. Anyone can get their friends to write reviews for them on Google, but Weddingwire has a tighter process. Only verified wedding clients can post reviews on weddingwire. So you can count on those reviews being trustworthy.
  4. Watch videos: Duh. See what your shortlist of bands looks like on a stage. Note how they work the crowd and what their general vibe is.
  5. Get Quotes: we suggest doing this before making the effort to get out of your house and trek across town to see a band perform. If you can't afford them in the first place, may as well not waste your time!
  6. Go see some bands live: don't just rely on videos and reviews. Every band puts on their best face when they know they're on camera. Show up to one of their shows unannounced and see how they really are. 
  7. Seal the deal (in advance!): Good bands are like popular wedding venues. They're large and empty. Err, just kidding. They book up early! So start communicating soon and get them to hold your date. The Phonix often books weddings 6-12 months in advance. Bear in mind that most people want their weddings on Saturdays - and there really aren't that many Saturdays in a year!

Are you reading this and thinking "Oh crap, I'm running out of time! I should contact the Phonix right now!"

Just click this button and we'll be connected right away!

Contact The Phonix

wedding band

What Are The Best Wedding Songs?

We're a band, and we know music! From your ceremony music and cocktail hour right up to your first dances and late night party, we've got you covered.

If you hire the Phonix for your wedding, we will work with you to currate the perfect mix of music that will make your day magical, from start to finish.

But how do you know these aren't just empty promises? (And what if you can't hire us for your wedding because you're too far away?)

We don't believe in secrets. We got where we are by sharing and caring. So that's what we're going to do with you.

Here are some lists that we put together to help you suss out the best musical selections for your big day.

Subscribe to all these playlists on Spotify and listen to them while you're going about your daily lives. Note how they make you feel and ask your friends what they think.

If you like our suggestions, feel free to steel them for your wedding. It's our gift to you!

Oh, and if you do like these songs.. just imagine how much MORE you would like them if you witnessed them LIVE!

Wedding cocktail hour music:


Wedding Dinner Music: 

Wedding First Dance Songs 

Bouquet Toss and Garter Toss Songs


Wedding Dance Songs 



There you have it! The secret sauce for a perfect wedding, musically speaking.

Now, go forth and plan yourself an awesome wedding! If you'd like to make the Phonix a part of it, please get in touch with us!

Let's create the perfect event!

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