The idea of booking wedding reception music may seem simple, but there are a few details to consider. The process is simple enough: You should choose a band based on your musical tastes and what you think will appeal to the widest variety of guests. The following topics will help you narrow your choices to make sure you and your guests have a great time!
NARROW BY GENRE: If you like a certain style of music (rock band, jazz band, blues band), then it’s a good idea to search for that style of entertainment. Trust that your family and friends will like the type of music that you like – while keeping in mind age range and different backgrounds of your guests. Most good bands are experts in a certain type of style, but can occasionally throw in a special request to make grandma happy or switch to an iPod on a break to keep the kids dancing.
NARROW THE POOL: After you get an idea of the genre you are looking for, try narrowing your selection by websites that are designed for live entertainment, such as Gigmasters or Gigsalad. These sites will help you compare and contrast bands from similar genres in your areas and can often deliver more of what you’re looking for than a generic Google search. No matter how you narrow your selection, use other web resources like YouTube to get more information about what the band actually sounds like live.
WHAT WILL THEY ACTUALLY PLAY? Remember that bands range in approach to playlist as much as they vary in style and size. Some bands offer many different styles of music. Others come in with a strict “set list” (the list of which songs they’ll play in which order) because they do it that way every time, and that’s what people love them for. Other bands pride themselves on being able to read the mood of the crowd and are flexible moment to moment. All of these styles have their strengths. You can work with the band depending on how much input you want to have about specific songs, or how much you want to relax and let the party ride. (Tip: If you have a special song you definitely want to hear, it helps to let the band know ahead of time so they can prepare.)
MAKE AN OFFER: Inquire about the price of the band but remember you can make an offer based on your budget. There are no firm and fast prices out there, and a good band will negotiate with you based on your needs. See if there are additional details you may need to provide for the band (staging, electricity, a dressing room also known as a green room). If your offer is accepted, the band should provide a detailed contract and may ask you to put down a deposit. If you and the artist accept the terms of the contract and pay a deposit, then you are contractually obligated to go forward. If the artist declines, then there is no further obligation and your deposit is yours to keep. Be careful. Once the contract is signed and the deposit is received by the band, it’s like saying “I Do!”
ON THE BIG DAY: Make sure your wedding planner’s contact information is available to the band well before hand. There are often last minute questions about set-up, entry to the space, electricity, etc. that are best answered by someone other than you! You’ll have enough to think about on your wedding day, so even if you don’t have a wedding planner, it’s a good idea to assign the task to a member of the wedding party or close family or friend so that you can concentrate on getting married. Coordinating music between ceremony and reception can be a tricky spot, so make sure there is clear communication between the bands, you, and/or wedding coordinator about exactly how that transition should go.
Above all, remember to have fun! It’s your special day, and you should be able to enjoy the reception along with your family and friends while having the wedding you always dreamed of.