Since you’ve already decided to hire a band instead of a DJ, the next logical step would be to find the best of the best, for you. Hiring a band is like entering a pact where both parties need to be clear as to what they want and can offer. So let’s get to business, and understand the process of hiring a wedding band, the right way.
Things to Consider While Hiring a Band
Although you’re free to choose the band and the music/songs they will play, it is important to consider the comfort of your guests. The entire act performed by the band should not just entertain, but engage the guests for an unforgettable evening.
Before Approaching a Band
1. ‘Research’ is your new best friend, and the people you approach will be your wedding planner, friends, family members, coworkers, entertainment agencies, and the reception venue. This will widen your search and help you find a band that you may not know of. Based on their suggestions, find the bands’ social networking pages and websites. You will get a lot of information here, and know what kind of music they play. And if all else fails, rely on the mighty Internet for an abundance of results.
2. Decide what musical requirements (jazz, disco, calypso, blues, etc.) would you like to hear, your budget (more on this later), and then approach a band. Will there be dancing or a quiet, intimate dinner with background music? The wedding theme has to match the music that’s played at the event.
3. What will be the size of the band? The answer to this question can be determined by the number of guests invited to the reception. If you’re having an intimate―just family and close friends―dinner, a big band will be a waste and inconvenience to all.
4. Apart from the guests, ask yourself, “Is the venue spacious enough for the band I have in mind?” If it’s an outdoor event, the stage can’t be too far from where the guests are seated. On the other hand, you don’t want to crowd the area too. Know this, a good band performing in a well-lighted and easy-to-maneuver room will make the night memorable.
Meeting with a Band
1. After you narrow down your choices, contact the band(s) via email, phone, or a message on their website/social page. A professional band will reply to your inquiry in 2—3 days. However, if they haven’t been able to reach you for any valid reasons (they were busy with another gig or couldn’t reach you when they called), do make a decision whether or not you wish to meet them in person.
2. Does the band have any prior experience of performing in front of an audience? Where have they played before? Do they have any written letters of recommendation from people who saw them perform? Can they provide any contact information from former clients for referral? You should have a clear understanding on all these questions (and perhaps a few more from your side) from the band. At the end of the day, it’s all about entertaining and being entertained.
3. If the band obliges, ask for a demo. The band may send you videos (or links) of their previous performances. But, since you are looking to hire a live band, a live performance is what they should be judged on. Plus, find out whether the band only ‘performs’ or ‘entertains and engages’ too. Performing songs is limited to the band playing music in the background while everyone, including the newlyweds, going about their business. On the other hand, entertaining and engaging guests means the band becomes an integral part of the event.
4. What will the total cost be? Does the band have any popular package? Do they take song requests? Are travel fees included or does that cost extra? Depending on the time of the event, how long will the band perform? Will this influence the cost of the band? Keeping your budget in mind, you need to know exactly how much the band is going to cost. Be realistic and know that weddings can be an expensive affair. Apart from the band, you have a lot of other things on the list. So search and find a band that will work within your budget, and not the other way round.
5. Paying good money for a band that’s worth it is never a bad deal. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t negotiate. If the band is exceeding your budget, and you’re determined to hire them, there will be some way you can break in the deal.
6. Get a signed contract with even the minutest details mentioned. This will include safety of the band and guests at the venue, date, time, and location of the performance, mode of payment, breaks during the performance, list of ‘must play’ songs, dress code, food, overtime fees, cancellation policy, etc. When all the details have been worked through, on the day of the event, none of the parties can revert from their promise.