12 Essential Tips for Booking your Wedding Band
09 Dec 2015
Upbeat, romantic tunes are all part and parcel of the wedding party, but don’t book the band until you’ve seen these essential tips from professional live wedding act, Mansfield Avenue
1. Know what to look for and think of the genre, audience and setting
Looking for a band who do a variety of music is the way forward. Audiences at weddings love a mix for all ages. Include songs that people will know. For example, the father of the bride might love modern songs, but equally he might love a Lionel Richie tune too.
2. Consider the venue and the space available
Most venues cater for live entertainment, but always check that lots of room is available for the band. If you’ve hired a seven-piece band, make sure they have plenty of space, whereas smaller acts will require less. Our contract states that we require 3 x 4 metres, and occasionally some couples will say, ‘we have 6 x 2 metres to accommodate the band,’ and think that’s OK. Unfortunately we have a drum kit so it does mean we require a certain amount of space.
3. Book advance to avoid disappointment
Booking in advance is very important. If a live band is something you really want, people tend to book a year in advance, especially over the period from April to October, which can get very busy. Saturdays are peak wedding time in the summer.
4. Consider what time you want them to start
Normally we tend to tailor timings to the wedding couple. For example if they’d like their first dance to start at 7.30pm, we’d normally go into the first set after that.
5. Find out how long it takes for the band to set up
Some venues have a partition wall set up before the wedding breakfast; others don’t take into consideration that the room will need clearing. We take 90 minutes to set up. Leave enough time for your band to unload and sound-check too. If a band don’t have a good enough sound-check, it won’t bode well for the rest of the night.
6. Check for sound restrictions
This is very important. If you’re having live music, check with the venue that they don’t have a sound limiter. A sound limiter is a microphone set up in the room which is connected to the main power supply. If the sound goes over a certain level for six seconds, it will cut the power. If this is present, check what decibel it is set to and discuss with the band before booking.
For one couple we’re playing for, we’re taking an electric drum kit because of the sound restrictions and the location of the venue which is in a residential area. The electric drums will reduce the sound massively.
7. Check the band will bring their own PA
Most bands will have their own PA system and lighting, but it’s worth checking.
8. Go and see the band live before booking
Occasionally, but not often as we’re busy with weddings, we perform at local gigs. It’s a great chance for couples to see us in action, hear the set and say hello to ensure they’re comfortable with us. If booking through an agency the couple might not know what they’re going to get, and for some that’s quite important.
9. Trust the band with the set list
We have a standard set list that flows well, runs smoothly and is upbeat with a good mix of music. If a couple prefer a certain genre, say they’re really into rock ’n’ roll, we’ll add in a few news ones in there. Trust the band and let them know if there is a song that you really hate.
10. Consider day packages that can be better value
If you’re looking for entertainment throughout the day, it might be better value to find bands that do everything. For example, we offer a full package that could include an acoustic duo during the wedding breakfast or pre-drinks, a live band in the evening, followed by a DJ. It’s sometimes nice to have chilled music while the photos are happening or while people are enjoying a glass of Champagne. It could be better value to book a full day package like this and the added advantage is that you only have to deal with one supplier.