When you are planning your wedding, the process may seem hectic if you are not organized, and then in what seems to be a New York minute, it's the big day! As long as you've been thorough and have been punctual in booking the necessary vendors in time, the only thing you should have on your Honeydew list is to tie the knot with your beau! But long before you are taking your first dance as a married couple, you need to be certain you have booked the right music entertainment for the night. Some couples would rather hire a disc-jockey to provide that entertainment in addition to the master of ceremony duties as it is generally cheaper and much simpler to coordinate entertainment when it is just one person to consider. But perhaps a disc-jockey is not the right fit for you, and instead you would like to produce a different, perhaps more traditional, atmosphere for the special occasion. The sort of atmosphere you may be looking for is one produced by a live band, whether it is a jazz combo, a classical ensemble, or a more casual contemporary cover band. A live band may cost more than a disc-jockey, but a bandleader can do everything a DJ does and more! If you are set on booking live entertainment for your wedding, the possibilities are near endless in the great city of New York. We have some tips that will help you make your selection that much easier.
At this point, you may have already a style in mind for your wedding. If you're going with a more traditional wedding and are working on a budget, then a normal wedding band would suffice. There are plenty of professional wedding bands out there to choose from, but some might not be right for you. The first step is to gather any referrals from friends, colleagues, and family members. Take note to see if their referrals are bands that focus primarily on weddings. There is no rule against using a band which primarily books its gigs in concert venues, pubs, or clubs for your wedding, but keep in mind that those bands are more experienced with producing an entirely different atmosphere, and might not be able to provide the sensitivity required for the occasion. When booking live music, keep in consideration what music your guests may like and would attract them to the dance floor. It is your day, of course, but the best hosts consider their guests as a high priority. After all, those people are there to support you and your soul mate. Search Google and/or online directories, narrowing your field to just wedding oriented bands might be useful in your research. Check their websites, and watch any videos of the bands that are available online.
Now that you have a handful of bands that strike a chord with you, go ahead and reach out to them. You may have to go through a booking agent to set up an interview with them, but most bands will have a bandleader that you can deal directly with. If in the case that you do have to correspond with a booking agent, make sure you get a copy of the bandleader's direct contact information as it will make personalizing the wedding playlist and any other issues regarding the actual execution of the entertainment so much simpler. A booking agent is not going to be present the day of your wedding, and are not experienced in dealing with any issues that may arise during the festivities. If the band refuses to deal with you personally, it is strongly advisable to cease considering the candidate at this point. There is absolutely no way a band could give you the personal touch you are envisioning if they are not personally acquainted with you!
Once you have set up an interview, come armed with plenty of questions for the band on any and every nuanced detail regarding their performance. Some questions you will want to ask the bands are:
How long do they play for? Some bands will only play your reception, but it's worth inquiring to see if they will play the entire ceremony. Some people elect to have a separate act for the wedding ceremony itself such as a classical pianist or orchestra.
How many breaks does the band usually take during their performances? Usually this depends on the length of the ceremony and reception. If your reception is planned to last six to eight hours, expect the band to break at least three times.
Does the band have prerecorded music to play during the breaks? This is important if you wish to keep the ambiance of live music continuing while your band breaks. Also factor into this if the band requires to be fed during their performance. It is courteous to feed the band, and it might just help work in your favor in regards to price negotiations.
What sort of equipment do they use, and what sort of condition is the equipment in? What is their depth of knowledge and experience with the equipment? The best professional bands have equipment that is not only in good condition, but is also compatible with equipment that may be present at the venue.
Has the band ever performed at the venue you have selected for your wedding? If the band is familiar with the location, they should have an idea of the technical requirements of the venue. They will also have an establish contact within the venue, and will know all the logistics in relation to preparing for the entertainment.
How does the band control the crowd? This is perhaps the most crucial question you will have to ask the band, as it's imperative to understand how a band interacts with your guests before hiring them. Some bands might not provide the right energy for your guests. Ask them if they handle song requests from guests, too.
How much control will you have over the band's set list? It's important to become personally acquainted with the bandleaders as they will be the ones you discuss such a matter with. Most couples want to hear music that is special to them and the occasion. Some bands will learn songs they do not know for you as well, but it may cost you more depending on how many songs you request.
Does the band have a member on standby, or a backup band in case of emergency? Professional wedding bands will most assuredly have a plan for an emergency, or will at least inform you to keep a second band on retainer if they do not have a backup. This is another reason why you ought to book your entertainment well in advance in order to avoid any last minute hiccups.
And lastly, you will want to ask them about cost. You will want to work out a contract with every single detail, listing every single thing they will charge you for. Generally, you will place a deposit the day of the contract signing, and pay out the remainder of the balance due the day or week of the wedding. The best way to handle the remainder of the balance is to pay them the night of the wedding, usually during their middle to last break, as this will give them the peace of mind that they will not have a hassle with obtaining the rest of their due money at the conclusion of the ceremony. They will return from their break refreshed knowing that you appreciate their work, which will result in a great performance and one heck of a memorable night for you! Now, go out there and dance, but don't forget to stretch before you show off your slick moves to the family.