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Thursday, August 25, 2011

7 Things You Need to Know about your Wedding Band (Pt.1)

Hello! This week's blog is something a bit different - a wedding planner I work with has asked me to put together some advice on bands, so here goes:

'I’d love live music at my wedding but don’t know how to


Music is such an important factor in setting the tone and mood of your wedding reception. But musicians are a strange breed aren’t they? How on earth to go about booking a band? Well, after years of singing at weddings of all shapes and sizes (remember the movie ‘The Wedding Singer’? – that was my nickname for quite a while), I’ve put all you need to know in the answers to these following important questions:

1.What kind of a band should I book?

Ideally you want a band that can get Uncle Felix on the dance floor doing the twist but who is also able to play something a bit cooler for the younger things. And of course, you want to love the music too! A professional wedding band will have a huge repertoire of tunes and the experience to change styles and tempos when they need to. You might want some mood music to set the scene – perhaps some jazz or soul – while your guests are sipping cocktails and waiting for you to arrive. When it’s time to get the party started, you need the band to keep all the generations happy with a good mix of danceable songs

Another alternative, if you have the space and budget, is to book multiple entertainers for the event. Some people will hire a string quartet for drinks on the terrace; a pop band for ambience during dinner and to warm up the dancefloor; and then finish the night with a DJ for the more enthusiastic party animals. This arrangement can work well if you are happy to cope with the extra administration and significant additional costs involved, but a band that can do all of these things will not only be easier for you but will add a lovely seamless character to the event.

2. Where do I find a band?

Apart from recommendations from friends (and if you get some, make sure you still check out the band yourself!) the internet will be your most useful tool. Professional bands all have a web presence and you should be able to see live video footage, information on the types of gigs and venues they usually play as well as song lists -  all online so that you know exactly what you get! If you prefer, you can usually ask a band to send you a promotional package in the mail. Make sure it includes a DVD of a live performance. Wedding websites often have a directory of specialist wedding bands or you could simply use Google ie ‘wedding band Sydney’. Find some bands that look promising and ask for a quote. It’s best then to have a chat to them on the phone to see if they sound professional and friendly, and are willing to guide you through all the requirements.

Another option of course is contacting a music agent (yellow pages or Google will help here) – many of whom are event specialists. For a fee on top of the cost of the band, they should be able to show you a selection of bands as well as look after the administration of the booking for you. Of course, venues, photographers and wedding coordinators all have bands they like to work with too – so you could also ask for recommendations from them.  

3. I love the band at my local, can I just go up and book 


Of course if you love a band you’ve seen somewhere , there’s no reason that you can’t ask them to play for you. Keep in mind, however, that if the band is not experienced at playing at weddings, they may need a lot more managing on your part.  Also, the atmosphere at your wedding reception and your local pub may be quite different! You are no doubt putting a lot of effort into creating a certain kind of ambience for your event. Some bands won’t have the repertoire - or the look - that suits. Khe Sanh and mullets work great at 1am on a Saturday morning, but your Great Aunt Maude might not get it!

Next week's Blog: 
4.How much do wedding bands cost? 5.When do I need to book them? 6.Can I choose the songs they play on the night? 7.What else do I need to know about booking a band?

Amanda Easton fronts Function and Wedding band ‘Dance Little Sister’. She has performed at least 150 weddings, great and small, all over Australia and overseas.

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