Steal this list of questions to ask when hiring a wedding band

You and your wedding guests might not remember the table settings years from now. They might not even remember the cake. And they probably won’t remember what songs the band played—but they will remember how the band made them feel.

That’s why choosing the right wedding band for your ceremony and reception is critical to the ambiance, emotion, and energy of the day and night.

Before hiring a wedding band, ask them these questions:

Is my wedding date available?

This is probably the first thing you should ask because if the date’s not available there’s not much anyone can do short of picking a different date.

Remember too, Fridays and Saturdays are always the busiest days, and the band may have to appear at more than one event.

What’s your preferred style or choice of music?

You can ask a band if they have a setlist or music library they play. For instance, the band etc. has a song listing that is a sample of some of the most popular songs requested.

These lists can give you an idea of how they can adapt to your choice of wedding songs and style. It’s also a helpful way to get ideas for your music collection.

How much or what is your experience with weddings and wedding venues?

You can ask how many weddings they’ve worked with or whether they’ve worked at a variety of ceremony and reception locations. This can give you an idea about their experience working with event planners, wedding vendors, and around the various electrical and equipment needs they might have.

Can you follow a dress code?

You might want the band members to dress to match your wedding party, guests, or wedding theme. As part of your wedding planning, you can ask the band if they’ll work with your dress code. Most will say yes, but they may prefer not to perform in a tux or tie.

Can I ask about pricing?

The more band members are scheduled to play, the more the live band will cost. That’s a reasonable tradeoff in people’s time and talent, so it’s okay to ask up front how much it’ll cost. Most bands will tell you an estimate based on a handful of questions, like the distance they have to travel to the wedding venue, any equipment or backup equipment they might have to bring, and how many members need to perform.

Is the wedding venue okay with a live wedding band?

Not so much a question for the band, but one worth asking. A wedding venue may not be okay with a full band if they don’t have the space, electrical, or safeguards in place to meet fire codes. They may also need to work with or around a sound system or special electrical outlets.

Let your band know or ask your venue directly so they can advise.

What’s your setup time?

Most bands need a couple of hours to unload their gear, set up, soundcheck, and get a feel for the wedding site if they’ve not been there before. Ask them how long they need to set up for live music so they’re not rushed for time. Many venues will let bands in early before your confirmed arrival time or work directly with them on power and amplification requirements.

Do you take breaks?

Most bands take a break a couple or three hours into a set to drink some water, cool off, and run to the restroom. Ask them when they need to schedule a break so you or your wedding planner can clear the dance floor or emcee another part of the evening.

You should also ask them how many breaks they plan to take.

Can you emcee my event?

Most bands are happy to emcee an event. Usually the band leader will fill that role, but any band member can join in. Ask your wedding band contact if they emcee and if they’ll be comfortable announcing the first dance song, father-daughter dance, making announcements, and working with guests.

Can people make special musical requests and songs?

Most wedding bands will take requests, but some may be out of their wheelhouse. It’s not likely every band will be keen to play the Macarena or the Chicken Dance. Be wary of any wedding band that does not want to handle song requests.

Can you play during my cocktail hour or drinks reception, too?

A good wedding band can play your cocktail hour and meet you on the dance floor at the reception later. 

Encore Entertainment has several options for cocktail hours, including Candlewood Strings and Cocktail Sax that pair nicely with the band etc… or a wedding DJ for the evening.

What other services do you offer?

Your wedding day might be a little nicer with some extra lights, staging, a dance floor, or other equipment like wireless mics that your venue might not have. Ask your band if they have any connections or add-ons they might have. Some items may be limited by how much space you have available.

If you’re ready to get started on your wedding music, let Encore Entertainment help. Keep this list of questions handy as you interview your DJ or band.

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