We have such a fantastic article to share with you today from wedding band agency, Bands For Hire who have recently joined the entertainment section of our festival wedding directory. They are sharing their top 10 wedding band FAQ’s collated from years of experience working in the wedding and entertainment industry. Music is so important on your wedding day, even more so at a festival wedding, so the advice given here really is invaluable. They cover important questions, some of which you may not have even thought of yet, so this is definitely worth a read.

Bands For Hire Top 10 Wedding Band FAQ’s….

Having played in a wedding band for the best part of 10 years, and subsequently setting up live music agency, Bands For Hire, I’ve answered my fair share of queries about wedding music, logistics, schedules and more. Every wedding is unique and so there’s rarely a one-size-fits-all answer. However, there are certain queries that come up time and time again and below are some of the most common.

What time does the evening band arrive?

In general, bands will quote to arrive at 5:30pm onwards. If performing in the same room as the wedding breakfast, as is often the case, the band will wait for the meal and speeches to finish before loading in their gear. Most bands take 60 – 90 minutes to set up which gives plenty of time for guests to stretch the legs and mingle after the formalities are over.

If you have the space and you’d prefer that the band were all set before guests arrive, there is often the option for the musicians to arrive earlier at an additional hourly rate.

How long does the band play for?

Most bands offer either 2 x 60, 3 x 40 or 2 x 45 minute sets as standard, this should be outlined in their quote. With the evening reception lasting up to five hours or more, some couples are concerned that this isn’t enough performance time, but, from experience I can promise that this is the perfect length of time if scheduled properly. For the best experience, I usually suggest starting the band midway through the evening and ending as close to midnight as possible. With the first dance, evening food, cutting of the cake and playlists throughout the evening, you should find your guests are kept thoroughly entertained until midnight.

Will the band learn our first dance and can they record it for us in advance?

Almost all wedding bands will be happy to learn a first dance within their fee. There is a minority that will charge for this so it’s best not to assume.

Another frequent query that comes up is whether the band can record the first dance in advance, whether that be to check the tempo and structure, or just to make sure the band isn’t going to ruin it! Whilst I understand that couples may feel cautious about the prospect of dancing to a rendition of a song they’ve never heard, it’s rarely feasible for a band to spend time and money recording a first dance song for that purpose. From the band’s perspective, it wouldn’t be professional or bode well if sending out a low quality recording done on a phone either. My advice would be to pick a band that you have absolute confidence in, they will most certainly learn the song as close to the original recording as is possible with their line-up.

Can I pick the set list?

With a huge list of songs in the band’s repertoire, you’re bound to have your favourites (and probably a few you’d rather they didn’t play). Whilst band’s love to have free reign on the night, they will likely welcome a short list of do’s and don’ts a few weeks in advance.

Can I use the band’s PA for speeches?

As mentioned, bands will usually set up after the speeches, and so paying extra for an earlier set up may not be the most cost-effective option. My advice would be to find a local PA hire company and compare costs, you may well find it’s cheaper than expected. What’s more, most bands don’t use wireless mics, usually the preferred choice when making speeches from the head table.

What happens between sets? What’s the difference between DJ sets and DJ playlists?

As a rule of thumb, evening party bands include some form of music to cover the whole evening. This is true for function bands, but solo acts, duos and jazz bands often quote for their performance time only, so always check to see exactly what’s being offered.

If a band is offering free DJ playlists, this will usually refer to an automated playlist from an iPod or phone. Many bands offer the option of DJ sets throughout the evening, the main difference being that a member of the band will be actively DJ-ing, taking requests and saying a few words through the mic.

How much will a band cost, why is the quote higher than the price on the website?

Wedding band fees range from around £850 for a trio, right through to £5000 and beyond, your best bet is to decide on your budget and go from there. Quotes may well be higher than the advertised ‘from’ price on the website and this is due to travel costs and the extra time travelling. Other factors include the day of the week and peak season price variations.

What if a band member falls ill on the day?

Any professional band will have a trusted group of musicians that they can call upon in an emergency, these are referred to as ‘Dep musicians’ and are an essential part of the industry. Rest assured that a good Dep can drop into a band seamlessly.

Do bands bring their own equipment, what do we need to hire?

Bands generally come fully self-contained, this means all PA system, backline and lighting is included as part of the deal. If it isn’t made clear, it’s always worth asking, as some bands may not include lighting.

Our venue requires a copy of the band’s PLI and PAT, what is this and do the band have it?

PLI stands for Public Liability Insurance, every band will need to be insured protecting them from possible injury claims that are made against them.

PAT standards for Portable Appliance Testing; it’s not required by law but many venues will request a copy. Your band should have a copy so just ask them to send it through.

Hopefully you’ll find this a useful guide when booking your band, but remember, if you’re unsure, always clarify with the band or agency before making a booking.

Massive thank you to the team behind Bands For Hire for writing this article for us today. If you are still on the hunt for your wedding band or DJ then definitely look these guys up – they have some fantastic bands on their books.

Big Love

Laura xx

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