What is the true cost of booking a live band for your wedding?
How long is a piece of string? Yes, yes, that’s the sarcastic answer but it does ring true. Roughly though you are looking at £600 to £1000 for a 3 piece, £800 to £1500 for a 4 piece, £1000 to £1600 for a 5 piece and £1200 to £1800 for a 6 piece. Hiring a live band for a wedding in 2020 can cost you pretty much anything but keep reading and get the definitive answers you need because let’s be honest, sticking to your wedding budget is pretty dam important. In this post, we’re going to give you every piece of advice we can so you know exactly how much it costs to hire a live band for your wedding. There are quite a few important elements you need to know about when hiring a wedding band that really affect the overall cost and we want to make sure you get your monies worth!
Number crunching that live band
No matter how you plan to celebrate your special day, budgeting is key. For better or for worse (get it!?), your budget will pretty much determine every aspect of your wedding so for this reason, budgeting has to be at the forefront of all your decision making. Weddings are a pricey affair and you can quickly have contractor costs spiralling out of control. More than 50% of weddings go over budget but keep a cool head and you’ll be fine.
Later on, we have a real-life example of how a bride and groom kept their wedding way under budget. Amazing I know but resist the urge to scroll down to that section for now!
It probably goes without saying that for today’s modern wedding planner you should have a rough budget in mind before you start looking at hiring any live wedding bands or wedding entertainment. As mentioned, most weddings go way over budget and it’s mainly due to hidden costs, unrealistic ideas and poor planning.
For example, with us, the prices you get quoted for all our live acts are 100% exact and always include vat and the rest. There are no hidden fees or extra payments before or after the act has performed and you should check this also rings true for any other live wedding band or website out there. Always check for sneaky hidden costs or extras that websites or bands insist you need to pay for even though you thought you had already confirmed and paid for everything.
So how much does it actually cost to hire a live wedding band?
Every live band has its own unique price of course but let’s go through some price brackets to give you an idea of what you can get for your money. Broadly speaking, our price bracket suggestions assume that all the below is included. It’s what we include in our pricing as standard and you should expect nothing less from any live wedding band or agency website.
- Band hire including all incurred expenses (equipment hire, fuel/travel costs and rider etc)
- Any and all hidden extra costs
- Agreed added extras
- Any final payments
It’s worth mentioning that after reading this, you should peruse our big little guide on live wedding bands to gain more essential insight into bands at different price points. It’s a cracking read and will leave you in no doubt about all things wedding band.
Anyway onto live wedding band costs!
The below pricing brackets don’t necessarily take into account boutique, unique or celebrity-based wedding bands. These acts can vary wildly in pricing.
We’re not going to talk about anything lower than £500 in this post as we are concentrating on three-piece bands and upwards. We wouldn’t recommend hiring any wedding band for under £400 that’s more than a three-piece unless you know them or you are getting some amazing mates rate. Check out our post on whether it’s safe to book a wedding band online for more info on that! With a budget of £500-£600 however, you could just about afford a great three-piece wedding band. They may be small but they usually pack a mighty punch! The Avengers are a fantastic example of a three-piece wedding band in this price bracket.
With a healthy budget of £600-£900, you can hire some of the best three-piece wedding bands and even start to get hold of some great four and even five-piece acts. We always advise that quality is better than quantity. Pick a great four-piece over a decent five-piece and you will reap the rewards come party time! The Usual Suspects are a prime example of a quality three-piece and you can’t go wrong with the League of Gentlemen when it comes to a competitively priced, highly experienced four-piece.
Within these prices ranges, you are looking at top draw three-piece wedding bands and some really good four and five-piece bands. This is a really good place to be budget-wise as it will open you up to a huge range of live bands for any wedding. Night and Day are a great example of a four/five-piece band that are just that little bit special.
If your budget can stretch to here, you are pretty much guaranteed a great wedding band. You can probably start to afford a six-piece outfit within this price range and they will do you proud come wedding day. Again, once you have reached these kinds of numbers, the choice of live bands is pretty much endless. An outstanding example of a larger band are From the Top. You can’t get much better for the money.
Now we’re talking! You are getting into the upper echelons of wedding band pricing here with acts right up to 10 piece monster bands. Make sure you have the room to house these epic live bands at your wedding! With this budget, you could always get a truly outstanding four, five or six-piece wedding band if space is an issue. The highly sought after Captain Obvious are a premium band who fit nicely into this bracket. Top musicians playing only the finest venues and weddings.
If you are looking at spending £2500 and above, then you can pretty much pick any live wedding band. You can even look at designing a truly bespoke band especially for your wedding. If you really want to go wild you can look at 20+ piece bands that are truly a spectacle. Seventh Second is run by the musicians in the bands you see here so if you have this kind of budget in mind, come and speak to us and we will design a band just for you. Many of our acts can expand their bands into larger more expensive and impressive acts and one such band is Southside Sparkle.
Multiple live wedding acts
If you are thinking of hiring a few live acts, for example, an acoustic band for the drinks reception and the usual full-blown wedding band for the evenings partying but you are struggling to fit it all into budget or are finding you may have to compromise on the acts you want, why not ask the act you like the most or their representatives if they can perform both of these shows for you? Good wedding bands can usually accommodate and will usually offer a discount if you book them for both shows. Many of our acts do anyway!
Be realistic about your wedding band
We all want the perfect wedding and for our guests to have a memorable time and because of that, try and be realistic. Overpaying for a band that’s too big, too loud or just doesn’t match the overall look and feel of your wedding could be a waste of your precious wedding budget. As mentioned, compact three-piece weddings bands can get a whole wedding crowd bouncing no problem. A bigger more expensive band doesn’t always guarantee you more. If you find a nice balance between what you need and what you want, you will keep that budget in check – even if your budget is pretty big.
It never hurts to ask!
We have a few money-saving gems to pass on so you can squeeze some more out of any live band for any wedding.
Wedding venue money savers
Talk to your venue and see if they have lighting, PA or even musical instrument backline. If they do, this can save bands a lot of time and effort when it comes to performing for you and you may be able to haggle a discount on their fee because of it. When visiting or talking to the venue get a good idea of what they can accommodate musically too. Time and again we’ve seen people hire wedding bands that are way too big or way too small for their wedding venues and it’s sadly resulted in money wasted. If you speak to the venue and then either get them to liaise with the band or agency or chat to them yourself, you can hire exactly what’s suitable and exactly what you want without wasting any money. Brides.com have a great article all about wedding venues so we recommend you go check it out here.
Wedding band freebies/extras?
Why not ask live bands if they offer any discounts or freebies/extras for a wedding? You never know?! Be wary of bands that offer too many but on the whole, musicians are a lovely bunch of people and they will try their best to cater to your budget. We certainly try to do that here. Maybe they can downsize from a four-piece to a three-piece? Maybe you can offer them some free accommodation for the evening or photos of their performance from your wedding photographer? Get creative as all these little potential savings could really add up and keep your budget in check or even mean you have bonus money to spend elsewhere. Who knows, its worth an ask.
Seasonal wedding band discounts
I’m sure you will have noticed as savvy wedding planners that wedding costs are highly seasonable. Glorious summer months cost more and those autumn and winter months with their potentially nasty weather cost far less. The difference between picking a Saturday or a weekday can make a big difference to your budget too. Picking an off-peak time of year or just a day that isn’t a Saturday for your wedding could save you so much and live bands for a wedding usually reflect this with most offering discounts where appropriate. All our acts generally offer discounts so it’s worth asking. Personally, when considering the randomness of English weather, I gambled on a Friday in September for my wedding and because of that, saved enough money to upgrade to a much nicer venue. The weather ended up being perfect too!
DIY your wedding!
This brings me neatly onto our real wedding story. We had some friends who had a tiny budget for their wedding and they really couldn’t afford to go over budget. What did they do? They went DIY!
They organised as much of their wedding as they could, making the food and designing the wedding invitations amongst other things. We managed to shrink a four-piece into a three-piece for them, organise slightly shorter live sets and get some free accommodation for the band to really bring the cost of the band down for them. Having a guest who could DJ helped too! They also picked a Sunday in October for their wedding and the resulting effort actually meant they went under budget! If you want some amazing inspiration for your DIY wedding, check out the knots great resource here.
Now, we get it, not everyone wants to toil in a kitchen cooking their own wedding food but the point is that if you can find little ways of saving money all over the place maybe you can afford the live wedding band of your dreams. Maybe it simply means you stay in budget which would be a major achievement in itself!
Wedding planning and organisation
In the competitive wedding entertainment world, make sure you get full, honest quotes from the off. Many people may give you very tantalising or competitive quotes but they may not be honest ones. They may just serve to hook you into a contract as mentioned at the beginning and your wedding band may cost way more than you budgeted for in the end! Always get the full story and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Dull words, but planning and organisation will help keep costs down and keep you on target with your overall budget. You may even find you have some extra cash to splash on your wedding dress, decorations or food and drink. You could even add some extras to the live band you hire like acoustic sets, extra musicians or extra live sets. We have loads of extras you can add to our wedding bands and they can really make a difference. Go see them on any of our live wedding band’s pages.
Hiring a live wedding band summary
To summerise, in our experience, the above advice rings true for every aspect of your wedding budgeting so keep referring to these core messages. Be smart, organised, savvy and demand honesty and transparency from your live wedding band and all other suppliers. Try not to hire a wedding band too late as you could be forced into paying for a more expensive act you don’t really want. Check back for our post all about wedding band availability tips in the coming months. It’s easier said than done but try and follow all these steps and your wedding will be so much more fun for it! We would also suggest you pop over to you and your wedding. Their forum has some great stories from real brides and the cost of their wedding bands.
Until next time…
We hope you found this post useful and don’t forget to keep checking back for more. You will soon find a plethora of information to help guide you through what can be the daunting and uncertain world of hiring a live band for a wedding! If you need more help and assistance, or have comments or feel we missed something, contact us anytime. Oh and now that you are a wedding band budgeting pro, why not check all our lovely wedding bands out for some inspiration.
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Jon and the Seventh Second Team