Hiring a Band: How To Choose and How To Budget
Published Sep 10, 2009
Special to OneWed by Rick Creel of The Great Imponderables
You’re planning your wedding reception. You have most of your vendors (caterer, cake, venue). Now your want to hire a band for your reception, but how much should you expect to pay? The answer: “The world may never know.”
Having a band for your reception is the ideal form of entertainment. Let’s face it, live music is always better. But how much should you expect to pay a band for your wedding reception? Perhaps the better question should be, “What kind of a band do I want for my wedding reception?” The answer to this question will be the determining factor in your cost.
According to a 2008 convention in Phoenix, Arizona by the Wedding Merchants Business Association, the median price for a professional wedding band is between $3,000 and $5,000. While there are bands that do play on either side of that figure, this should give you a baseline.
The truth is, there is no magic number. I’ve seen people hire bands for as little as $300. On the other end, the sky is the limit. Typically, our band gets around $3,600 – $4,200, depending on travel, how late it is, the time needed for performance, and other factors. Still, there is more to hiring a band than simple cost. When budgeting for a band for your wedding reception, there are several factors you need to consider. Here are a few:
How long do you need the band?
A typical reception lasts around four to five hours, including the cocktail hour. However, you don’t want a band to come in and be setting up in the middle of your guests. The set up should be done before anyone arrives. Sound checks should also be performed before they begin playing. I would not even consider a band that offers to set up in 30 minutes. It takes longer than that to do a professional performance setup. We generally take a little over two hours.
Do you want the band to Emcee?
Public speaking is the number-one fear that most people have, even above death. This means that most people would rather die than stand in front of someone at a microphone. You need someone with public speaking experience and has done many weddings. You want someone who knows how to introduce the bridal party, not just someone who says they can introduce them. The emcee will keep the flow of your event moving. Not just anyone can do this. Listen to your band when you speak with them on the phone. Do they sound like they are energetic, motivating, and can keep things moving?
What kind of music do they play?
Remember, your guests will be of all ages and backgrounds. You don’t want a band that plays just one particular style of music. While this may be good for some, others that don’t like that style will get bored quickly. You need a band that has a good variety. You also need a band that plays dance-oriented music. After all, this is not a rock concert. This is your wedding reception. You don’t want some nightclub act. The atmosphere is different.
Are the band members experienced wedding professionals?
Suppose you break your leg. Your neighbor is an electrician. He sets your leg and tells you everything is going to be OK. How much would you expect to pay him? How much more would you expect to pay a doctor for the same service?
Why? Because you know the doctor has the proper training, equipment, and experience. You have the confidence that if there are any complications, he will be able to handle them. You feel safe and secure. Your band should give you the same feeling.
The Great Imponderables is a professional events and wedding band based in North Carolina. In 2008 they achieved national recognition with the prestigious “Crème de la Crème” award from the Wedding Merchants Business association as The Best Wedding Band.
The Great Imponderables