Booking a wedding band. How hard can it be? You just need find someone who will rock up, play then go away, right? You’ve done a bit of research. Worked out the questions you need to ask. Now all you need to do is make the booking, pay your money and sit back and let them do their thing. Phew! At least that’s one part of wedding planning that’s relatively stress-free.
Well, yes. But also no…
Organising a live band for your wedding can be a breeze. You can find the perfect performers who deliver the ultimate entertainment for your big day, leaving you and your guests on a high. But there are also many mistakes and pitfalls just waiting to be discovered. These are some of the biggest. And knowing what they are can help you to avoid them.
5 Mistakes to Avoid When Booking a Live Wedding Band
1. Booking the first band you find
You have soooo much to do right now. A seemingly endless list of things to organise. So, you’d be forgiven for not looking a gift horse in the mouth if the first band you look at seems to fit the bill. But while there’s nothing to say that you won’t go back to that first band, it’s never a good idea to do so without checking out the competition. You might find another group with an improved setlist. Or maybe someone who does the same thing, but charges less, has better equipment, more experience, or can be more flexible. The easy option isn’t always the best, and shopping around can pay off.
2. Booking a live wedding band before viewing a performance
Have you ever been to a pub where live bands are playing and there’s one act that makes you want to try to force your head inside your pint just to drown out the noise? Well, that’s exactly what you don’t want for your wedding. Even if a band has multiple five-star ratings online, if you’ve not seen them perform – either live or in a recording – then you don’t know what you’re getting. Their mates may have been helping them out online. They may have a playlist that incorporates all your favourite songs. But Ed Sheeran, Corinne Bailey Rae and Maroon Five may not live up to expectations when reinterpreted as thrash metal.
3. Not reading the contract
Most wedding bands will require you to sign a contract when you make your booking and pay your deposit. This is a good thing for both parties. It gives the band security and lets you know exactly what to expect. And that’s important because it means that you’re protected from any nasty surprises. If you don’t read the contract and the band walks off before you’re ready because the speeches run over, you have very little recourse if you’ve signed a contract saying that this is OK. The same goes if they cancel without refunding your deposit, or they turn up but without any PA equipment. If it’s in the contract and you’ve just not read it, there’s nothing you can do about it.
4. Not asking questions
It’s slightly surprising, but people are often afraid to ask questions when looking for entertainment for their wedding. But if you don’t ask questions – if you have a special song, do they play it? How long is their set? Do they have back-up plans in case of emergencies? Can they be flexible? – how will you know if you’re making the right choice?
5. Not considering your venue
You might have your heart set on a 10-piece live Motown band, or a seven-piece swing jazz combo, but if you’ve chosen an intimate venue, or somewhere with noise restrictions in place, you may have to think again. Equally, a single harpist probably won’t cut it if you’ve booked the Albert Hall. And it’s important that you are on top of this before you exchange money and sign contracts. While any band will appreciate that mistakes can be made, few will be willing to provide a refund if the mistake is not theirs. Especially if they’ve had to turn down other potential bookings because you got in first.
A live wedding band can be the icing on the cake of your wedding celebrations. Finding a way to build ambience – whether or not that means getting everyone dancing – can make your reception come to life. You want everyone to be happy. You want everyone to have fun. A live wedding band can help to make that happen. You just need to take care to choose the right one!