Choosing your wedding band is one of the most important next steps after picking your wedding venue, and for good reason. Wedding bands play an instrumental (pun intended) part in your reception. They’re responsible for leading the show, and making sure guests are always on the dance floor. So if you’ve decided on a wedding band vs. a wedding DJ, here are a few trusty tips to help you make sure you’re saying yes to the right group.
1. Does the wedding band have a set playlist, or are you able to include requests?
Of course you want your wedding band to have a selection of sure-fire hits that they play at all weddings. This includes the Top 50, as well as mainstays like Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and The Isley Brothers’ “Shout.” But an important question to ask when meeting with prospective bands is if they’ll take requests for your set list. They’ll prefer if you don’t dictate every song of your wedding, but it’d be nice if you can include some favorites as suggestions.
2. Will they learn songs for you? If so, how many?
Another key question is, will they learn a song for you? While a band may not learn a song just to include in the middle of the set list, they’ll likely be happy to accommodate this for special dances, like your wedding song. Keep in mind, they may only allow you to ask them to learn a certain amount of songs, so get this information upfront. Our band learned both our wedding song and our cake-cutting song – and we felt fortunate they were willing to do so without giving us an issue. The take away? Look for flexibility.
Trying to find the perfect wedding song? Check out our list of 20 Unique Wedding Songs for Your First Dance.
3. Are the band members the same at every wedding?
While most reputable bands have a set group of members who only play with each other, there are cases where what you buy isn’t exactly what you get. So if you meet with a company and they only let you hear soundbites from the group without actually seeing the members, make sure to ask if the band members are the same at each wedding. This ensures a cohesiveness at your event and that you’re getting the group you wanted.
4. Does the price include ceremony music?
Many bands charge an ad-hoc fee for ceremony music. You can get the keyboard player early, but you may have to pay an hourly fee for an additional 1-2 hours for the ceremony and cocktail hour. And those strings? They’ll cost extra. At your initial meeting, make sure to get an outline of what’s included in the base price, and to find out about any additional costs.
5. How much are the overtime fees?
At the end of your wedding (dare we say it), they’ll likely be the inevitable “one more song, one more song!” chant. And while we admit it’s easy to succumb to the peer pressure, just remember it may cost you. So if the party is still going strong and you don’t want to call it quits just yet, make sure you get those hard costs in writing when signing your wedding band agreement. They’ll likely have overtime fees that are charged by the hour, however each band varies.