How much should you pay for your wedding entertainment?

13 Sep 2017

Clarifying the cost of your wedding band, Russ Parsons of The Deloreons sheds some light on the entertainment industry

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Image gallery

How important is your wedding entertainment? 

For many people, the evening ceremony, particularly the entertainment and music, is one of the most important things on your big day. It’s a highlight and one of the most memorable parts of any wedding including dad dancing, ties around heads, dance-offs, even the bridesmaids singing with the band. Yes, maybe I’m a bit biased, but we’ve helped couples celebrate for 10 years and the evening is, in my opinion, the most important part of your day.

My name is Russ Parsons and for the last 10 years my band, The Deloreons, have worked with hundreds of wedding couples throughout Europe and ensured their evening ceremony is as memorable and individual as they have always dreamed. We have built our reputation on word of mouth and recommendations, which means you know exactly what you’re getting and so far, it seems to be working well.   

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Image: Russ, Jen and Nick - The Deloreons

So how much should you be putting aside from your budget for your evening entertainment? 

That firstly depends on your budget, but in my experience your evening entertainment should be as important as your venue, photographer, caterer and florist. All receive special consideration and rightly so; in most cases, you would meet the supplier, see the venue, try the food etc, so why should this be any different for your entertainment? If you have been recommended a band or had great reviews about a performer, why wouldn't you go and suss them out in-person before you book? The danger lies in just hopping on to a website and trying to pick a band, DJ or singer out of thousands just because you have to book some form of entertainment....

1. Firstly, you don’t have too. Many people nowadays are just setting up a Spotify playlist and letting guests add songs and that’s it. But if you do want a live band or a singer, it deserves the same level of importance as your food. For example, if you're paying £5 per head for food, why not break your entertainment down in the same way? If you have 250 guests in attendance, £5 per head is £1,250. Do your guests deserve £5’s worth of entertainment? Of course they do. The last time I went to the cinema I paid £27 for my girlfriend and I to watch La La Land… just to put the outlay into perspective. 

2. Secondly, once you know how much you have to spend, be realistic. £600 isn’t going to get you an experienced six-piece band. The good bands out there make a living from this and £100 for a Saturday night's work doesn’t pay the bills or put fuel in the tank, unfortunately. 

3. Finally, be careful. Picking an act from a website that you have never seen and none of your friends or any other suppliers can recommend to you personally, should take some extra research. If you do pick a band from an agency website, find out when the band will be performing before your wedding so that you can meet them in person and assess their musical prowess. 

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Just like the wine you serve at your meal, and the dress that you walk down the aisle in, you try so many things before your big day, so don’t let the entertainment be the exception. Ask yourself how much you want to spend on entertainment per head, how much you think your guests deserve, and then find an act suitable for your budget. If you can, actually go and watch and meet the band in person. It’s very easy for a band to put a professional show-reel together and look great online.

I have detailed a rough idea on costings, based on what I believe you should expect to be paying and what you will get for your money. There are acts out there charging £4,500 for a six- or eight-piece band; if you’re fortunate enough to be able to spend that much, make sure you know what and who you're getting. 

  • £500 - DJ or singer/guitarist or two singers
  • £1,000 - three- to four-piece band
  • £1,500 - four- to five-piece band
  • £2,000 - six- to eight-piece band
  • £2,500 - Eight-piece band +