Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

don’t stop the music: top tips for picking a wedding band

January 16th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Image by Mark Newton Wedding Photography

Image by Mark Newton Wedding Photography

When it comes to top wedding entertainment, we think it’s hard to beat the atmosphere created by live musicians and singers, and so would always say to consider hiring such acts for your big day. That said, there’s a lot more to consider when booking a band than merely how they sound.

As such we’re getting some expert advice on the subject today, courtesy of our wonderful Sponsor Seventh Second.

Set up and run by talented and knowledgeable musicians, those behind Seventh Second know exactly what is required to secure professional, reliable and talented musical acts that will help to make a wedding day truly unique and memorable.

Here to give us the agency’s top tips on picking a wedding band is one of Seventh Second’s managers and musicians, Jon Stephens.

Image by Rachel Joyce Photography

Image by Rachel Joyce Photography

budget

If you are planning a wedding, you should have a rough budget in mind before you start looking at any bands.

Most weddings go way over budget because of hidden costs. With us, the prices you get quoted are 100% exact and always include vat and all the rest. There are no hidden fees or extra payments after the act has performed either and you should check this also rings true for any other band or agency. Make sure you get full, honest quotes, and with organisation and planning you will keep costs down and stay on target with your budget.

availability

Many live acts, including ours, get booked six months or even years in advance, so check a band’s availability as soon as you have your event date booked in.

We don’t recommend paying special/one-off fees to reserve a date with a band as things can often go wrong and it guarantees nothing. Any band or agency that tries to get you to do this should be avoided.

If you have picked a live act that’s free for your event and you are happy with the quote they give, that’s when you can safely put a deposit down to reserve their services. Always make sure there’s a fair, legally binding contract involved.

If you can’t get hold of your chosen live act, any website worth their salt can recommend sensible alternatives. Check their suggestions as some agencies can offer any old act to you in the hope of a quick buck.

Image by Neil Jackson Photographic

Image by Neil Jackson Photographic

style

The musical style/genre of a band is important but budget can get in the way. You find your perfect act but when you see the final price it smashes you budget to bits. Naturally, the sales person will suggest other bands and a fantastic “one-size-fits-all” act is usually picked. This can be fine but more often than not, you don’t quite get what you wanted.

One solution is to up your budget or more realistically, do some research before you even have your wedding booked and get a good understanding of how much all the different styles/genres of live acts cost.

Shameless plug alert! We’ve dealt with this problem a lot and we solved it by being in the acts we promote. This means we can make truly bespoke bands and advertise acts that are willing to try and cater their music to your needs. Having bespoke bands also means that nine times out of ten, we design bands that fit the exact stylistic sound and look you want but also fits into your budget. We are pretty unique in this aspect compared to other websites so ask us more about it.

band or dj?

Both! However, if you don’t have the budget for both, we’d say live band – plus some live bands can offer a professional DJ service to save you money. Ours do and many of them will offer it for free if you book them.

If you are thinking about booking one or the other be honest with yourself. Will the act you choose really play the songs you love convincingly? If you want a club vibe, book a DJ. If you want live music covering all the hits, book a band.

Image by James Tracey Photography

Image by James Tracey Photography

first dance

Planning and preparation increase the chances that a live band can play your special song but be realistic about the song choice or atmosphere you want to create. Talk with the band or agency contact about your ideas.

Sometimes, it’s better to dance to the original track because it’s at a tempo you are used to however, we would say that nine times out of ten, our acts perform first dances. We can’t guarantee that’s the industry standard.

Our acts try and accommodate other songs as much as possible and we imagine most bands do the same but be realistic with your requests and give the act plenty of time to prepare songs.

Again, nine times out of ten, our acts play any request song but we can’t say that’s the norm. Our acts have a repertoire section on the website where you can see a large selection of songs they play and other acts should have the same.

Image by Pixies in the Cellar

Image by Pixies in the Cellar

what to expect

What can you expect from a wedding band?

Find out exactly what bands can offer and what the true cost will be. We have booking options pages where we detail the standard options. This is a good starting point for you to understand what any top wedding act should be offering.

What should you expect bands to bring to your wedding?

Bands should really bring a completely self-contained live concert. This includes PA sound system, full lighting rig, back-ups, background music/DJ equipment and PLI and PAT certificates. Professionalism and politeness should be a standard too.

Band rider

What should the band expect from you? We assume this is common for most bands but our acts ask for these fair and realistic requests:

Space to park and leave their cars;

Food and drink during the duration of their time with you;

Ample space and power points to setup equipment and store bags and gear; and

A place to relax, get changed and rest.

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about the author

Rachel Parry
Rachel joined the Brides Up North editorial team as Features Editor in February 2015. Rachel draws on her news reporting background, experience in features, bridal & lifestyle editing for previous regional titles and time spent working for Yorkshire’s most successful PR agencies. Yet to tie the knot herself, Rachel's own wedding looks set to be very, very pretty...

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