Do you have to offer food and drink to your live wedding band?
While organising the food and drink for your wedding it is strongly advised that you take your live wedding band into account as most live bands will be with you and your guests for around 6-8 hours so unless you have agreed otherwise, it is usually your responsibility to offer them food and drink. Any contract you sign with a wedding band you hire should detail whether you have to provide food and drink for them. 9 times out of 10 you will have to.
Below we will cover why this is the case and when it’s not the case. We leave no stone unturned here so the advice we offer here generally relates to any type of wedding supplier you hire. We’re even going to tell you about one of the most difficult weddings we’ve been to so by the end of this, you will be nothing but the perfect host at your wedding!
Why you should feed your wedding band
Let’s chat about when and why you should feed the band at a wedding.
Wedding band contracts
If you booked a live wedding band through a reputable website like ours (a bit of gloating there sorry!) you no doubt had to sign a contract. Below is what we ask of couples when they book a wedding band like Southside Sparkle you see above. These are the minimum requirements you will find with pretty much any wedding entertainment website out there.
“The Client must provide the Artist with a reasonable free supply of soft drinks, hot meal or buffet (for bookings of 3 hours or more).”
Pretty straight forward I’m sure you would agree. However, what do you do if you can’t find this information in your contract with your wedding band?
Wedding band T&C’s and FAQ’s
If you can’t find the information you are looking for in your contract with the band then head over to their website or their representatives’ website. There you should find all the information you need in their T&C’s or FAQ sections. Just like ours, those two pages should cover pretty much every concern or query you may have. Easy peasy! If you’re still left with no clue its time to contact your band or their representatives but it rarely comes to this.
Does the wedding band really need food and drink while with me?
So, I’m a wedding band musician like everyone at Seventh Second. I perform pretty much every single weekend with my wedding band the League of Gentlemen (seen above) so let me give you a rundown of a typical wedding day for us.
Depending on how far away the wedding is and when we have to arrive, the day typically starts at 11 am to 1 pm for us as we pack gear and get ready to head over to your beautiful wedding. We can be on the road (eating that motorway food we all love) for up to 6 hours. Once we arrive at your wedding, we usually start setting up equipment and sound checking which can take an hour to an hour and a half.
Still following me at the back there?!
Once set up and sound checked, we like to have a chat with you and your new husband or wife and get ready for the first dance or live sets. By this point, it’s getting on for 6 pm or 7 pm. Once we’ve performed our hearts out for all you lovely people and the wedding finishes, you are looking at 11:30 pm to 12 am. We then have to pack up and leave your venue which usually takes us up to about 1 am.
Ok, that’s quite a long time spent at a wedding!
As you can see, live wedding bands can easily work 12 hour days or longer. At the very least, they are usually 8 hour days and at least 6 hours of that is likely to be spent with you at your wedding. If you’ve also asked your wedding band to perform at the wedding ceremony, during the afternoon drinks reception or past 12 am then a 12 hour working day can easily turn into a 20-hour working day! You can probably see why most live wedding band contracts stipulate that you provide food and drink for the band whilst they are with you. You’re going to have parched and famished wedding musicians!
Trust us, it’s worth looking after your wedding band!
I’m sure you’d agree that when you’re hungry you can lose concentration, get “hangry” and generally have a bit of bad time. It’s exactly the same for us musicians and after asking all the musicians at Seventh Second, I can categorically say that a well-fed musician is a happy musician!
If like us, you are curious about the science behind hunger and productivity the two articles below are pretty interesting!
HuffPost on increasing productivity
The impact of activity-based working on eating behaviours, productivity and satisfaction
Even if you don’t have to contractually supply your live wedding band with any food or drink we really would advise you do. With their high pace, festival style live show, Stan Darsh below can testify that performing live is pretty physical work and your band will perform to their max with you reaping the rewards if you look after them well. You’ve shelled out a load of money for them so make sure you get your money’s worth! That reminds me, you should check out our post on how much wedding bands cost in 2020 so you know how much you might be shelling out.
Wedding musicians are simple creatures
We are simple people who just love to entertain and perform music. Just like plants, if you feed and water us and you will get the best out of us. We don’t necessarily need to be part of your expensive wedding breakfast, but some hot food and drink will go a long way.
Ask any wedding musician to recount their best wedding gigs and they will mention amongst other things, about how well they were looked after and how tasty the food and drink was. There are even Facebook groups where wedding musicians share their wedding food and drink nightmares as well as highlights! Honest!
Veggie, vegan, gluten-free
Most bride and grooms we speak with ask if we have any dietary requirements which is very considerate of them. We would always suggest asking this question of your wedding band so you don’t over or under book food with your caterers. Quite a few musicians actually bring their own food to gigs if they have complex food allergies so asking about these things will help stop any possible food waste too. Nowadays, people are becoming more and more aware of food allergies, restrictions and healthy eating in general so let’s keep promoting this habit by always asking if any of your wedding suppliers have any diet restrictions or allergies.
When shouldn’t you feed your live wedding band?
There aren’t many cases where you don’t need to feed the band at your wedding but as we mentioned above, usually, you don’t technically have to offer a wedding band any food or drink if they are with you for less than 3 hours. Solo wedding performers like Rae below sometimes fall into that bracket. Again, check your contract or the T&C or FAQ pages so you know for sure. Hopefully though, after reading this far, you can see that it’s well worth looking after your wedding entertainers!
No wedding band contract no problem!
Maybe you’ve booked a live wedding band and there’s no contract or at the very least no mention of whether you need to supply food and drink in the contract, T&C’s or FAQs. Well, we would suggest you talk with the band or their representatives about this just in case. You don’t want a hungry and even angry wedding band on your hands!
Some wedding bands won’t want any food while with you but at the very least they will want some drinks. Humans are made up of up to 68% water so liquid intake is pretty crucial and performing at a wedding is thirsty work! We really recommend you talk to your wedding band about this and notify your wedding venue as often, wedding bands have difficulty with wedding venues when it comes to getting some well needed liquid refreshment. This leads me nicely onto one of the harder weddings I’ve performed at…
One of our hardest wedding experiences
My little tale takes place in Yorkshire about 7 years ago and I’d like to start by saying that once the dust settled, the bride and groom in question were fantastic towards us.
However, on the summer day in question, we arrived at the wedding venue and got to setting up and sound checking. After a nice chat with the bride and groom where we double checked all that we had discussed prior (including the food and drink that was reserved for us) I wandered over to the bar and asked the barman for some soft drinks. As often happens, he asked me to pay and I explained we were in the band and that soft drinks were being covered by the bride and groom. He explained this was completely incorrect and that all drinks were to be paid for. After some heated discussions, I relented and asked if we could simply have a pitcher of tap water and 4 glasses. He refused, explaining he wasn’t convinced were even meant to be at the wedding! I couldn’t find the bride and groom anywhere and because we were due to start soon I had to leave the bar and the helpful barman. We then had to perform for an hour and a half with nothing to drink and because our day had started at 11 am and it was now 8 pm we were all thirsty and a bit jaded!
After finishing our first set, I was again refused drinks and now food too. I couldn’t seem to get the bride and groom or any of their ushers or bridesmaids to help and in desperation, I showed the hotel staff the contract and pleaded with them explaining that if they didn’t serve us we would have to go drink from the bathroom taps! We eventually got a pitcher of water and a bit of buffet food from a reluctant barman. Amongst other calamities that night, it was a tough wedding in general where we couldn’t perform to our best. This is not a wedding example to follow!
So in summary, we would always say offer your live wedding band and any wedding suppliers food and drink. It’s a small investment that’s well worth it! You will have a better wedding for it with full tummied and thirst quenched suppliers performing to their max for you and your guests. Everyone loves to be well looked after and appreciated after all – I’m sure you do too. If you are worried about your wedding band getting drunk while with you, plan ahead and get soft drinks organised for them. All our wedding band musicians here at Seventh Second drive to weddings so there’s no chance of us ruining your wedding with drunken behaviour!
That’s it from me but if you want some more real-life stories from bride and grooms feeding their wedding bands, check out You and Your Weddings forum here and Wedding Wires forum here too.
We hope you enjoyed this little article and if you are ready to book some fantastic live wedding entertainment speak to us or head over here.
We spend a lot of time making our blog posts the best we can for you so if you liked what you read please consider sharing it with others. Thanks!
Matt and the Seventh Second team.