With so many things to take care of when preparing for a wedding, it can become difficult to give each detail enough attention, so it’s natural most couples end up prioritizing their wedding requirements in order to make sure that at least the important stuff is done properly.
But in the midst of choosing wedding cakes and looking for the perfect venue, an aspect that is often not given the proper attention is the entertainment, namely the band that will play in the wedding.
But why is the band so important?
After all, any band will play music, so you can just find one for the right price, give them a list of preferred songs and go take care of other wedding preparation business.
Well, actually there’s a lot more to choosing a wedding band than it might seem at first, and many couples find themselves regretting their decision not to spare more time for finding the right band. Entertainment is one of the most important parts of a wedding, and if a band can’t make the guests dance, create an atmosphere, be professional and manage to set the mood for each part of the wedding, they are not a good fit.
But why not choose a DJ?
It’s a fair question, and for some, a DJ might be the better option.
With a DJ, you usually know what you’re going to get – even an average DJ will be able to put together a nice playlist, change the mood of the wedding as necessary and even bring his own selection of songs to get people dancing and in a good mood. Also, a DJ is almost always the cheaper option, and can act as a budget entertainment solution if you can’t spare much for it.
But the fact is that in the end, a good, quality band always beat a DJ on a wedding day – there’s simply no comparison to the way a top-notch wedding band can interact with the audience and create a spectacle that will not only get people dancing, but can actually become one of the highlights of the entire event.
After all, even though the wedding is, first and foremost, about the soon-to-be-wed couple, you have to make it a priority to ensure your guests are having a good time, too, and a band is an integral part of making sure that happens.
Also, it must be said that no matter how good a DJ’s playlist, the extra energy and showmanship that come with a live performance simply can’t be matched, so if you have the budget, always stick to a band over a DJ.
Of course, just as a great wedding band can elevate your wedding to the next level, a poor one can make you wish you had simply hired a DJ in the first place.
So how do you find a quality wedding band?
Well, there are a few things that need to be carefully considered, so here are some of the most common mistakes you should avoid when choosing a wedding band:
Looking for Cheap Bargains
You’re not doing yourself or your wedding guests any favors by bargain shopping for the best possible price for a band – sure, it may seem that the money you save on entertainment can be spent on other parts of the wedding, but when the band you choose turns out to be incapable of meeting your requirements, there will be no one else to blame but yourself.
Think about it – a professional wedding band that regularly plays gigs has to maintain their equipment in top shape both musically and aesthetically, because you don’t want their instruments and gear breaking down in the middle of a performance, or looking like they’ve been found near a dumpster somewhere.
Also, consider that for a band to perform on a high level regularly requires constant practice, retooling of the repertoire, as well as learning new songs to accommodate individual requests from clients.
If you’ve ever dealt with a music band, you probably know that most bands usually request a deposit up-front and often have a contact that ensures they get paid in full after the agreed event. That is obviously fair – the musicians have to protect themselves from last-minute cancellations so it’s completely natural they want the booking to be in paper so that they can be protected.
But, at the same time, you, as the client, should also have the opportunity to protect yourself from fraud – a contract can’t be there just to protect the band, it has to provide guarantees for you as the client as well.
What this means is that before you sign anything, you should carefully read the contract and request that additional points regarding the responsibilities of the band be put in. Things like showing up on time, playing up to the quality requirements, performing specific songs that were requested and playing the agreed-upon number of hours are just some of the potential inclusions to the contract.
Having everything in paper will ensure that you will not be swindled and end up throwing away your money – when the band knows that it has to live up to specific requirements to get the payment, you can feel much safer about your decision.
Of course, even if you have the most thorough contract in the world, nothing is going to fully protect you from something going wrong – anything could happen on your wedding day, including your band not being able to show up and perform on time.
Now there could plenty of objective reasons for this to happen, and it definitely doesn’t mean that it will, but even if you know you’ll be getting your money back, it won’t make you feel much better when there’s no band to play at your wedding at all.
So, even though you might fully expect the band to show up, you should think of a contingency plan in case something would go wrong.
You could even discuss this with the band themselves – they should have a lot of connections in the industry and should be able to help you set up a backup plan if they, for some reason, would not be able to show up. Having other options that you could call at the last minute is something that might turn out to save your wedding day.
Not Asking the Right Questions
Just as with any hire, you simply can’t do it without knowing a bit more about the band you’re considering for one of the most important days of your life.
Some of the essential questions you should ask include asking about a bands’ experience in playing weddings, as well as their approach to transitioning between different parts of a wedding. You should also find out their usual song list and if they can play the songs that you prefer.
Also, don’t forget the technical details as well – figuring out what kind of stage requirements do they have for their equipment, when do they need to get to the venue on the wedding day, when will they do a sound check are also essential.
Not Checking the References
Finally, even if a band looks perfect on paper, you can’t be sure that it’s what you’re looking for unless you can find others that can vouch for it.
Luckily, if a band has experience working in weddings, they should be more than happy to provide references that will give you a detailed description of the kind of service you should expect. It’s obvious a band might not want to disclose some of the aspects of their services, so hearing some unbiased testimonials can go a long way towards helping you make an informed and objective hiring decision.
Jeremy is a DJ/MC and has been playing the violin since 3 years of age! He is Musical Functions’ wedding music specialist and the Director of Music for the “Something Borrowed Band”. Being so involved with music and weddings every weekend means that he is across all the latest trends and is full of amazing musical ideas for weddings.