Music is the life of any party, weddings included. Events planners and wedding coordinators say that wedding bands or DJs should be one of the first things to book. Months or weeks ahead would be best, but that is often not the case. Couples usually focus on the venue for the ceremony, the reception, food, flowers, photographers and other vendors. They think of booking a band afterwards. By that time, it’s too late.
They may not get the band that they like, or they may have to book one at a more expensive price. You don’t have to put up with a band you don’t like if you book early.
Where Do You Find a Band?
Bands don’t normally go around and advertise themselves as “wedding bands”. What usually happens is that a couple goes to a gig or an event where a band is playing. If they happen to like how they sound or how they “jam”, then they inquire if they can play at their wedding
In cases where an events planner is in charge of wedding preparations, they show some tapes or videos of the bands in action. They then ask the couple which one they think is closest to their preference in terms of style and song choice.
This is important because not all couples want a full on dance party during their reception. While some of the guests may be after lively entertainment, there are guests who may want something softer or romantic. It is up to the couple to strike a balance between keeping their guests on their feet or wearing them out.
Questions You Need to Ask
1. Ask them if you can choose songs from the band play list?
While couples would love to create their own play list, it’s impossible for any band to know each and every song. What is more practical, however, is for the couple to select titles from the bands set lists. This way, they won’t have to learn extra songs just for one event. You can customize the play list to match different points in the reception such dancing after dinner, and slow romantic songs towards the end.
2. What About Music Between Set?
Bands normally play 2 to 3 sets during weddings and take 15-minute breaks between sets. It would be more practical to have the band prepare some recorded music and play it during the breaks. Some bands charge extra for this, so it is best to discuss it up front. Alternatively, you can play your own iPod with a special play list. Most often than not, these are songs which mean something to the couple. In other instances, they play their parents’ favorite songs, which is a sweet and sentimental thing to do during a wedding reception.
3. Can We Do a “First Dance” Song?
The first dance is one of the highlights of the wedding reception. The band usually opens their set with this song. This can be the Father-Daughter dance which eventually ends up as the couple’s first dance as well. Most bands accommodate a special song request for the first dance. If this song is not included in their repertoire, it will be good to inform the band of the title weeks in advance. This will give them enough time to learn the song and add their own unique spin to it.
4. Does Your Band Meet the Requirements of the Venue?
Most wedding reception venues have a sound limiter which could seriously cramp the band’s style. However, wedding venues have set this up to prevent noise issues with the neighbors or establishments set up in the area. There’s no problem if the event is being held at a hotel, but other venues have to comply with zoning rules. If the reception is being held at home, make sure that you have plenty of space at the backyard or gazebo for the band to set up. Most bands will also carry a small generator and other equipment so prepare a small room or holding place for them before and in between performances.
5. How Long Do You Play?
On the average, a wedding band plays for 2 x 45 minute sets. However, there are some who can play for three sets – or until midnight. By then the last of the guest are expected to have left. As mentioned earlier, there are 15-minute breaks in between sets. At some point the band members also have to have dinner and refreshments.
These are five of the most important questions that couples should ask a wedding band before hiring them. But remember, the band is just there during the reception. Couples might also consider some elegant and softer music during cocktail hour just to keep the guests entertained.