Tips For Hiring A Live Wedding Band – The Only Guide You Need

April 2020 | Matt Oats

  • Band Setup
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  • Booking Contracts
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  • Booking Options
  • -
  • First Dance Song
  • -
  • Marquee Wedding
  • -
  • Wedding Agencies
  • -
  • Wedding DJ
  • -
  • Wedding Food and Drink
  • -
  • Wedding Setlists

Top tips for hiring a wedding band near you

 

So your special day is booked in and you are pretty much set on a venue and live wedding band near you. Congratulations! Now just before you go hire a band there are some key items you need to check first. To help, we’ve compiled every single top tip imaginable for booking a wedding band right here. This is the only guide you need read. 

 

Good-Fellas-Live-Wedding-Band-Keys-Smile

Our top tips for booking a live wedding band

 

Most booking guides out there have 5-10 tips right? Well, we have 27. That’s right, 27. We are thorough in everything we do at Seventh Second because we want you to have the best wedding imageable. We want to make sure you have no nasty surprises come wedding day by booking safe and booking smart, regardless of whether that’s with us or not.

 

Hiring the best wedding band near you

 

We’ve taken our 15 years experience performing at thousands of weddings in the UK and aboard to compile this essential list so you can hire the perfect wedding band near you. We say near you because unless you want to spend a lot of extra money on a bands fuel costs and expenses, we advise you always try and book a wedding band near to you or your wedding venue.

 

The three easy steps in our essential guide

Three-Easy-Steps-Tick-List

Even though all our tips revolve around the hiring of a live wedding band, we’ve broken them into three distinct categories so you don’t get horrendously confused. We’ve packed an awful lot of information into one guide after all. The categories are as follows:

Booking tips for your wedding band

Booking tips for your wedding venue

Tips about the booking process

If you don’t need to or don’t feel like scrolling through every section, click on any of the above links to head straight to that specific section or simply look at every tip headline below. Easy!

 

  • Budget for your wedding band
  • Pick a band that matches your theme
  • Do you want a wedding DJ as well as a band?
  • Should you hire multiple wedding acts?
  • Check any wedding bands promotional material
  • If you can, watch any wedding bands before booking
  • Think about your first dance
  • What will the band perform for you?
  • What band would you guests like?
  • Book your wedding band in advance
  • Listen to your live band’s advice
  • Is your wedding venue suitable for live music?
  • Does your venue have a sound limiter?
  • Who supplies all the musical equipment?
  • What are the set up and pack down times?
  • What does the wedding band provide?
  • Let your band know if you are having a marquee wedding
  • Prepare for extra musical logistics if you are having a wedding aboard
  • Book with a reputable wedding entertainment provider
  • Speak to the wedding band before booking
  • Are you getting the full-time band members?
  • Check any booking contracts before booking
  • What’s included in the price?
  • What are the booking terms and conditions?
  • Make sure PLI and PAT certs are available
  • What’s the wedding bands rider requests?
  • How are the band paid?

Hiring a wedding band near me – infographics!

 

Alternatively, if you’d prefer all the tips complied into handy infographics, click here to head straight to that part of the guide. Our aim is to make you so prepared when you hire a band that you simply relax and enjoy the whole process. It’s your wedding after all! It’s about enjoyment, committing to the love of your life and stunning memories to last a lifetime.


Booking tips for your live wedding band

 

Live-Wedding-Band-Wall-Outside

 

So let’s get cracking and start with booking tips for your chosen wedding band. As mentioned, it is best to try and book a wedding band near you and if you are still at the stage of trying to pick a band why not check out our massively amazing guides:

The big little guide to wedding bands 

How to choose a wedding band in 2020

 

1. Wedding band budget

 

Seen as though you’ve probably picked your wedding band, we’re pretty sure you will have a rough idea how much you want to spend! If you haven’t, this is tip No. 1! Make sure you have a budget in mind before booking any band. 60% of weddings go over budget with many bride and grooms admitting with hindsight that they wasted 30% of their budget. That’s a lot of money potentially down the drain and it can be easily wasted on wedding bands that just aren’t suitable for your wedding. Below are the average prices for wedding bands in 2020 so you get a fair idea of what your budget could get you.

 

3 piece wedding band £1125.70

3 piece wedding band £910

 

4 piece wedding band £1510.50

4 piece wedding band £1117.60

 

5 piece wedding band £1509.80

5 piece wedding band £1389.20

 

6 piece wedding band £1849.10

6 piece wedding band £1597.50

 

The prices in red represent our average prices. Why are we always more affordable? Well, read more on that and see detailed pricing for all sorts of wedding bands in our groundbreaking study here.

If you’ve picked your perfect band but they are a little over budget or extra costs have come into play why not read our guide on booking a wedding band on a budget? It’s bound to save you some pennies so you can still book your first choice wedding band. Again, it’s a good idea to book a wedding band near you as it keeps costs down. Less travel for the band means less money you have to provide for their expenses and petrol.

Finally, like all pricing on our site, make sure you get the full cost (including any extra booking, VAT or add-on fees) for any band you are thinking of booking upfront so there are no surprises and you don’t go over budget! We go into a bit more detail about this in our tips about the booking process later.

 

2. Wedding theme

 

 

We cover this topic in great detail in our recent guide, how to choose a live wedding band but even if you do have your heart set on a particular band, make sure they are going to complement your wedding theme. Musically and visually you want them to emphasize your carefully thought out theme so your wedding is simply awesome!  Even if you’ve already booked a wedding band, speaking to them about adapting their outfits, setlists or even their stage lighting can make a big difference in how they look live. Look at how amazing themed ’80s act, Knight Riders look above! for example

 

3. Wedding DJ and a live band?

 

Your venue may offer a wedding DJ as part of their package and it’s worth taking a look at it. Personally, and as we explain in more detail in our wedding DJ vs. live band guide here, if you can afford to book a wedding DJ to complement your live wedding band go for it! They can work really well together. 

However, if you can’t afford both but feel your wedding will suffer without some DJ’ing skills, ask your band if they can DJ. Most of our wedding bands offer this service so you get the full wedding entertainment experience at a price that’s manageable. Don’t book that band until you’ve thought about whether you want a DJ to be part of your day. DJ Republic (below) could be another option to consider, one part DJ, one part live wedding band, perfect!

 

4. Multiple wedding acts

 

Just like when considering if you need a wedding DJ, maybe the wedding band you’ve picked doesn’t quite tick all your boxes and you feel you still need some live music at the wedding ceremony, drinks reception or wedding breakfast. Many bands (ours included) can offer this service at a discount if you book them for the evenings partying too but there’s also acts like Rae and Encore who specialize in music for these important parts of your wedding. Sometimes more is more so look at options like this before you book.

 

5. Check that wedding band promo!

 

In most cases, you will have already done this but make sure you give any wedding band you are thinking of booking a good look at. Around 40% of our wedding bookings come from referrals and recommendation and we still suggest that these future bride and grooms take a good look at the bands promotional material. It means you really get to know a band before you book them. 

An even better way to get to know them is by chatting with them and because my colleagues and I are in the bands you see on our site you can do just that. We are unique in that way. You can see my band below so come say hi!

 

6. Why not watch that wedding band first?

 

Assuming you haven’t seen them grace a stage and if given the opportunity, we’d always recommend you watch your chosen wedding band before you book them. Almost all wedding bands exclusively perform at private functions so it’s unlikely you will get to see them beforehand but if you can, go for it. 

It’s another reason why everyone here at Seventh Second performs in our wedding bands. You can’t usually meet or speak to a wedding band before booking them which isn’t great but with us, you can speak to us before booking and we always encourage you do. Funnily enough, we have another great guide all about watching wedding bands before booking so check it out here.

 

7. Your first dance

 

The most important song at a wedding??? It’s very important to speak about first dance ideas you have with any wedding band or their representative before booking them. Not all bands can or will perform a first dance so make sure you check. Giving a wedding band a few first dance song options will really increase your chances of having a song performed for you live too. 

We would say that 9 times out of 10, our acts perform the exact song bride and grooms ask for and it always works really well but we can’t guarantee that’s the industry standard. Good Fellas made a list of popular wedding songs below if you need some inspiration.

 

Good-Fellas-First-Dance-Song-Ideas

 

8. The wedding band setlist

 

Just like your first dance ideas, go over any setlist ideas you have with your chosen wedding band before you book them. Like all our acts, any wedding band should have a sample setlist ready to show you so you get an idea of what they plan to perform for you and just like our acts, they should be willing to chop and change it to a degree to suit you and your guest’s tastes and your wedding theme. Don’t always expect to be able to dictate exactly what a wedding band plays as they usually have carefully designed setlists and they are the experts after all. Our top 10 wedding songs for 2020 below might be of interest to you right now.

 

Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran

All Of Me – John Legend

A Thousand Years – Christina Perri

Marry You – Bruno Mars

At Last – Etta James

Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis

You Are The Best Thing – Ray Lamontagne

Grow Old With Me – Tom Odell

The One – Kodaline

Iris – Goo Goo Dolls

 

9. What would your guests like to see?

 

We understand it may not be your biggest concern or consideration but before you book that fabulous wedding band have a quick think about whether all your friends and family will enjoy them too. Without a doubt, a successful, fun and memorable wedding party needs guests enjoying themselves just as much as you are. 

Some of the best weddings we have ever performed at were ones where every single guest and family member was dancing, filming, taking pictures and laughing away with a glowing bride and groom. Book a wedding band that will get everyone involved and you will reap the rewards.

 

10. Book your wedding band in advance

 

Top-quality live wedding bands are in high demand. High demand means there’s a high chance they won’t be available for your wedding if you leave booking them to the last minute. Most live wedding bands, including ours, get booked at least 7 to 12 months in advance. Many are booked years in advance so if you have your wedding band picked, check their availability as soon as you have your wedding date and venue booked in. You also have to consider that the more last-minute you hire a band, the more they could cost as popular wedding bands only go up in price, never down. Again, we have a great guide on all this so give it a once over here.

 

11. Let your wedding band help you

 

You have an awful lot to organise for your wedding (I know, I’ve been there!) and it’s pretty stressful and time-consuming. So, let the experts help you. Just as we explain in our complete guide here, experienced live wedding bands know what they are doing. It’s very important you explain what you want from them on your wedding day but make sure you take their advice and recommendations on board before you book too. 

It’s another big reason we’re in the bands you see on our website. We want to speak to you directly before you book anything (most wedding entertainment websites can’t offer this) so we understand and deliver the exact wedding entertainment you want and need. We think this is pretty important!


Booking tips for your wedding venue

 

Wedding-Venue

 

Let’s have a look at questions you should ask your wedding venue before you book that special band of yours. Some of these questions will be easy to get answers to and you may already have them. Some may require your venue and band to liaise on so we’d always recommend introducing them to each other. Many of the answers to these questions are very important for any wedding band you book too. Your wedding will run like clockwork with the more of them you can all tick off the to-do list.

 

1. Wedding venue suitability

 

We’d hope this question will have already been ticked off your wedding to-do list but always make sure your wedding venue can accommodate the live band you are thinking of booking. Many venues have sound and size limitations so not all live wedding bands can be accommodated. Check with your venue about any possible limitations they have before you book that band! Don’t forget to also check to see if your venue can accommodate the wedding bands vehicles, offer them food, drink and somewhere to change and relax between live sets. These are usually contractual obligations with any live wedding band you book. Our guide on feeding wedding bands offers some extra advice.

 

2. Sound limiters

 

We will be going through sound limiters thoroughly in a future guide but suffice it to say, sound limiters or decibel limiters are the bane of any wedding musicians existence!  Any professional wedding band should be well versed in dealing with these systems that essentially force any sounds in a venue (yes, that can include shouting and singing guests) to not exceed certain volume levels. If they do, these systems either force a bands volume down (as they can be connected to a bands PA system) or they more commonly cut off all power and lights in a venue for up to 1 minute to teach everyone a lesson for being so loud! Some live music wedding venues (and we question whether they should even advertise as live music venues) have sound limiters so restrictive that a loud shout would trigger them.

As these systems are becoming more and more prevalent, check if your venue has one, what its decibel limit is and then see if your chosen band can play within that range. Larger wedding bands can really struggle with some sound limiters and more part-time, or hobby wedding bands have no idea how to cope with them. Our wedding bands are very experienced with sound limiters and usually find a great balance between not setting them off and keeping a vibrant, packed dancefloor all night.

 

3. Whos supplying all the sound equipment?

 

Marshall-Speaker-Sound-Amp

 

This is usually a simple one as any wedding band worth booking should be self-contained (like ours) meaning they supply everything they need to perform. PA, stage lights, amps, microphones and cabling etc. However, because of sound limitations (as mentioned above), some venues now have their own PA sound systems that every live act has to use. Both should be checked before booking any band so you don’t end up with any crossed wires and arguments between musicians and venue managers!

 

4. Wedding band set up and pack down times

 

It’s important to check with your wedding venue what time a band has to arrive, set up and soundcheck and then pack down and leave by. The timings for 90% of the weddings and venues out there are as follows:

 

5/6 pm arrival

6/7 pm setup finished

2×1 hour or 3×40 min sets between 8 pm and 11:30 pm

All music stopped by 12 am

Band pack down and exit by 1 am

 

Maybe you have specific timings for your wedding and some wedding bands can charge extra for early arrivals, late finishes, extended performance or extended wedding days so ask your venue about any timing restrictions and also liaise with your wedding band before you book so there aren’t any nasty surprises!

When looking at any of our bands, you will see a booking options section (example below) where you can enquire about any potential extra fees associated with timings changes etc. We’re always happy to talk to you about these options in more detail.

 

Wedding-Booking-Options

 

5. What does your wedding band provide?

 

We have touched on this already but before you book any wedding band, ask them or their representative what they supply as part of the package you are looking at booking. Sometimes wedding bands charge extra for things we think should be free so ask them and make sure they bring everything needed to perform at your wedding. This may be a moot point if as mentioned, your wedding venue supplies PA equipment or lighting but always make sure the venue and wedding band have a chin wag about all that.

Apart from the obvious things like fun, great live entertainment, themselves and their instruments (this last one doesn’t always go to plan amazingly!) wedding bands should really bring a completely self-contained live concert with them. This includes PA sound system, full lighting rig, outfits, transport, back-ups for any equipment, the capacity to play background music or full DJ’ing equipment and of course, PLI and PAT certificates. We go into more detail on those later. 

We believe you shouldn’t pay any extra for any of this so all our bands offer their self contained show at no extra cost.

 

6. Having a marquee wedding?

 

Awesome news! Marquee weddings are brilliant fun. Read our popular guide on whether live wedding bands can perform in marquees for all the info but in a nutshell, make sure your band is aware of your venue choice before you book them and make certain your marquee supplier can provide these keys things for them.

 

  • Reliable and sufficient power – at least 4, 13amp feed plug sockets
  • Spacious, dry and covered stage or performance area
  • Space to park vehicles, get changed, eat and rest between live sets
  • Explain any sound limits, sound limiters or timing restrictions in place

 

7. Planning a wedding abroad?

 

Wedding-Abroad-Throwing-Flowers

 

Wow, this is pretty amazing too! We’ve been lucky enough to perform at weddings in stunning Italian villas and beachfront venues in Los Angeles and they are fantastic fun. They do bring with them their own logistical challenges so make any band you are thinking of booking aware of your plans. It’s very likely you will need to:

 

  • Hire in all equipment for them
  • Put them up for at least one night
  • Cover flights and transport
  • Potentially pay them for two days work rather than one

 

Don’t let that put you off though, flying in a wedding band is very cool and guarantees you an excellent wedding abroad. We love performing at these kinds of weddings!


Tips about the booking process

 

Live-Wedding-Band-Singers

 

So now that you have all the wedding band and venue booking items ticked off, you can go ahead and book that band! Wehey! Mad shapes being pulled on the dancefloor and singing at the top of your voice with friends and family await!

Just before you book, make sure you consider these points though…

 

1. Book with a reputable wedding entertainment provider

 

Book with us! Joking aside, we strongly recommend you book your wedding band through a reputable, reliable, established wedding entertainment provider. They offer monetary and contractual guarantees that lone wedding bands usually can’t. They also act as a seal of approval with most agencies never promoting wedding bands that are terrible! We say sometimes because most agencies don’t usually personally know the acts they promote and can unwittingly promote sub-par wedding bands. 

It’s why we’re in the bands we promote and run our own website. We are experienced wedding musicians making sure we are the best bands around. If we weren’t we wouldn’t get any work! Either way, book with an agency or site like ours to stay safe, secure and happy in the knowledge you booked a fantastic live wedding band.

 

2. Try and speak to your band before booking

 

With us, this part is easy as we are in the bands you see on the website and I myself am in the League of Gentlemen (below). Chat to us anytime you wish.

However, with other wedding entertainment websites, you are usually talking to a salesperson or a band representative throughout the whole booking process which can be a bit unsettling. There’s no harm in asking to speak to the wedding band before booking. You are paying a lot of money for this band so why not have a chat with them and check they really are the band for you.

 

3. Are you booking the full-time band members?

 

Sometimes, busy live wedding bands need to utilise deputising band members when a full-time member becomes ill or has another unavoidable obligation on your wedding day. This is a fairly common occurrence and any professional wedding band will have excellent musicians ready to step into the fold at a moments notice. We do as we are one big family of musicians who’ve performed together for years and created this website together.

However, if after chatting to the band it seems like you may not be getting almost any of the original members we advise not to book that band or at least bring it up with them. They may be great musicians but they aren’t what you paid for.

 

4. Riveting booking contracts

 

Yep contracts make for fun reading but make sure that before booking any live wedding band you get one signed by you and the band that you are happy with. We’ve heard too many horror stories regarding bride and grooms with no contract in place. You can look at the core terms and conditions of our wedding contracts here (which are the industry-standard) and why not check out our guide here in case your wedding band is insisting a contract isn’t important.

 

5. What’s included in the booking price?

 

Live-Wedding-Band-Playback

 

We’ve touched on this before too but before booking, make sure you know exactly what’s included in the price you’re about to pay. We believe you should only have to pay a small deposit to secure a band and later, the final fee owed to the wedding band. It’s how we work to keep things simple. No extra costs, no add-ons or sneaky fees for equipment hire etc. Again having a contract with your live wedding band should avoid any problems but don’t settle for anything less than 100% transparency.

 

6. Wedding band terms and conditions

 

These should be included in your contract with a band but if not, why not?! Make sure you read them either within your contract or on the band or their representative’s website. No Ts&Cs? That’s a worrying sign just like the lack of a contract can be. Proceed with caution.

 

7. PLI’s and PAT’s

 

Yey! More interesting documents. Don’t worry though, you don’t really need to read these ones. Most wedding venues stipulate that a wedding band cannot perform in their venue without these two documents so make sure your band has them before you book. All our bands do and so should every other band out there. 

PLIs are basically insurance documents covering the band in case they cause any damage at the wedding venue and PAT certificates guarantee the safety of their electrical equipment. Important documents im sure you would agree. Just make sure they are up to date and thorough.

 

8. Wedding band rider

 

Wedding band riders describe what the band expects you to provide during their time with you. Rider details should be covered in your contract with them or on their or their representative’s website. If they aren’t, ask for details before booking as some bands may have some weird and wonderful requests waiting for you. We once heard of a wedding band refusing to turn up and perform unless 9 full-length mirrors were provided at the venue! Sensible and standard requests on a live wedding bands rider include:

 

A place to safely park their vehicles for free at your venue

A place to change and leave personal items

A place to relax and warm up before or in between live sets

Food and drink for the duration of their stay with you

Ample access to plug sockets on a stage or performance area that’s suitably big enough for them to perform on

Access to toilets

 

For the most part, these are things you’re already providing for your guests so it should be easy for you to accommodate. Keeping your wedding band happy will make for a better band performance so be nice! Our guide on live wedding bands can help you even further if you want.

 

9. How are the wedding band paid?

 

Again, this should be covered in your contract or on the band’s website but make sure you fully agree and understand how deposits and final payments are to be made. Typical payment methods include bank transfer, cash on the night or cheque. Deposits are always taken before the wedding band graces the stage for you but if you feel you want to pay the full balance including the deposit to the band’s representatives you usually can and they simply hold onto the band’s portion until they have performed at your wedding. 

However, most couples like to pay the bands on the night or day before their big day. It’s up to you usually so do what works for you. We are always happy to offer all these options and make sure you receive invoices, receipts or at the very least written confirmation of any payments received that you send. Stay safe!

 

Completed your checklist? Well done!

 

Live-Wedding-Band-Packed-Dancefloor

 

If you’ve ticked all those off your list go and book that wedding band. It’s time to celebrate and party safe in the knowledge that you have booked a great wedding band that will rock the house.

 

A bit of insurance

 

If you are still feeling a bit unsure about booking that live wedding band, check out our guide on wedding bands to avoid. It will help put your mind at rest and help you avoid a wedding band worth avoiding!

That’s it from me today. Its been quite the task compiling this list but I know how useful it will be and our mission is to provide fantastic live wedding bands and make sure you feel safe, knowledgeable and secure with the band you book. Wherever you book them.

Below I leave you with some handy checklists for each section we’ve covered. If you’d like copies of any of them, just let us know.


Booking checklist for your live wedding band

 

Hiring-A-Live-Wedding-Band-Infographic-1

Hiring-A-Live-Wedding-Band-Infographic-2

Booking checklist for your wedding venue

 

Hiring-A-Live-Wedding-Band-Venue-Infographic

Checklist for the booking process

 

Hiring-A-Live-Wedding-Band-Infographic-3

Hiring-A-Live-Wedding-Band-Infographic-4

 

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Thanks and have a wonderful wedding!

Matt and the boys and girls at Seventh Second



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