Horah! You’re getting married!
As plans start to merge together nicely you begin the search for a fantastic wedding band to hire for your big day, but what features should you look for to make sure you book the best professional and musically competent function band?
There are many musicians out there making a part-time living performing gigs and functions, yes, but for those serious wedding and function bands you’d expect to see some serious attention to detail when it comes to promotional materials and websites. For example, if a website looks tired and boring, why should you assume that the band won’t take the same ill-pride in their performance?
Let’s get down to basics – so you’ve found a band with excellent promotional materials, a great website, all the right gear and great with communication……but can they play well live? Having a band at your wedding is an integral component of your evening activity and their responsibility in entertaining your guests can not be taken lightly. Seek out live music vids (even those filmed on phones), listen to their demos, read their testimonials and perhaps even try to catch the band live (if that’s possible). Be reassured when you hear confident, slick and unified playing with strong vocals and a good sign of stage and performance personality.
No matter what ‘type’ of band you decide to book, they should always have a repertoire of at least 50 songs. Some bands perform to a fixed set list whereas some bands perform to the crowd’s reaction. Some bands even claim that they have an extensive repertoire reaching into the hundreds and allow you to pick and choose your own playlist. However, in such circumstances be a little cautious, as having such an extensive collection of songs means that most may be left unrehearsed and won’t be delivered with half the confidence and style that they claim. In this circumstance, choose your set list early and allow the band to practise those specific songs for your big day.
Many bands advertise with the general statement “Good quality P.A. system”, but what does this mean? Once you know all the specific details about your venue, ask the band about their P.A. and lighting specs. You may not understand the answers (there’s always Google!) but it acts as a good base for comparison when shopping around. Entertainment lighting is another important aspect of the night – it sets the mood and atmosphere – and most professional wedding bands will supply this feature. If not, it may be best to continue shopping around.
Wedding bands are extremely hard workers, often working over 12 hours on the day of a show and this is often reflected in the price. However, just because you are paying for their service does not mean that you have no control over the finer details. Firstly, make sure you deal with the bandleader and note how quick and informative their responses are to your questions and requirements. Secondly, a good sign of versatility is communication between you and them about your specific requirements and whether they can accommodate. Set out your timing schedules (i.e. when the band is to arrive, set-up, sound-check, eat, perform) and decide whether you need the band to supply the background disco music in between sets. A good band will generally slip nicely in with your plans.
When you invest so much time and money into planning the perfect wedding day you will want everything to run as smoothly as possible, so it’s always a good idea to keep the security formalities going with your entertainment by means of a contract, or any written agreement. This will act as security for both the band and the wedding couple, where details and requirements are clearly listed in a manner where both parties are happy. Many bands are part of an entertainment agency whereby a contract is a compulsory element of booking the band. However, if you find a privately advertised band, be sure to get a written agreement of some sort that can both confirm booking details and specifics, as well as giving you piece of mind. If a band does not agree to sign a written agreement, do not book them. Simples.