The dress, the date, the venue — there are so many things that go into planning a wedding. One thing’s for sure; most people want to have a beautiful ceremony and a memorable day without having to break the bank. Most of your hired vendors have baseline prices and offer add-ons where needed, but after performing at hundreds of weddings over the years, our company can attest to the importance of covering and disclosing some aspects of our pricing. There are specific aspects of your special day that may require you to pay more money, but some elements should be standard and included in your price quote when doing your wedding research. This list will provide insight into things your wedding cover band should include in the price.
As absurd and evident as it may sound, your cover band should indicate in their pricing that they will provide the instruments needed. Some bands believe that you should be the one to cover an equipment rental fee, but this should not be the case. Covering costs for equipment and instrument rental is a reasonable fee to pay in instances where you ask the band to travel a long distance, across the country, for example. But when the band is local, there is no reason to incur this cost.
Having the band provide their own instruments is not only a fair decision pricing-wise, but it also allows for the band to be efficient in their playing and setup process. Musicians know their preferred brand of instruments. The band should be familiar with their own instruments and equipment and efficiently, comfortably, and successfully set up and play with little to no problems. If you are responsible for providing the band with their instruments, then there is a level of unfamiliarity that may leave room for error and mistakes.
We want to note that in some instances, if you are asking for specialty instruments, you will have to cover the cost (rental or shipping). For example, most wedding band piano players actually play expensive keyboards with more flexibility, features, and sounds. It is also more efficient to travel with a keyboard than a giant piano. Expecting a grandbaby piano is unrealistic in this case, so here is a hack — if you really want the look and feel of a grandbaby piano during your wedding, check with the wedding venue to see if they have one onsite. There may be a rental fee attached to having a musician use it, but it should be much less expensive than having a musician rent one from another company.
Lighting for the Dance Floor
Lighting was not an expectation for wedding band vendors years ago, but in more recent years, professional bands understand the value of including lighting in their packages when booked to perform during a wedding reception. Simple uplights in front of a wedding band or DJ tend to draw people to that space and helps to indicate where guests should gather to dance. Lights also help with safety because they are generally placed near the larger pieces of equipment like the speakers. This helps to keep people from bumping or falling into the expensive band equipment. Keep in mind, most bands and DJs only provide 2-4 uplights within their packages. You should not expect that they will offer a complete lighting package. In the event you do need more lighting, talk to your booking agent about add-on lighting options.
Audio or PA Systems
While we enjoy a great cover band that plays in a downtown cafe, you likely want a little more for your wedding day. There are services that a professional cover band will provide to ensure your day runs smoothly, and providing a PA system as a part of the booking fee is one of them. A professional cover band will want to ensure they are giving you their best, and providing their own mixers or having a sound professional onsite are just a few of the many things a professional band will do to solidify a seamless experience. The wedding band or bandleader also knows what type of equipment they need for their instruments, and they will be familiar with those systems.
In the event that you have chosen a non-traditional venue and the cover band has to make significant adjustments, you may have to coordinate with the venue and the bandleader to make those adjustments. If you are hiring a cover band for the reception, we would recommend using their sound system; however, if you choose to have your wedding reception at a location that cannot accommodate a massive sound system, you may have to coordinate with the venue space to find out if they have speakers and get the dimensions of the area that the band will be playing in can help when corresponding with the cover band. Communicating to the crew what the venue offers and the brand of the venue’s equipment allows the band to decide if they want to use and transport their own equipment or use what the venue provides.
At the end of the day, the cover band knows what is needed to guarantee that they are giving you a memorable performance and accurately executing their job. They know what works best for them and should not be looking to you to provide this equipment.
Appropriate attire for the event
While they are not a decoration like flowers or centerpieces, the band is responsible for adding to the overall ambiance of your ceremony and should blend in tastefully. It is your special day, and you may have attire guidelines to which you want the band to follow. Most bands, especially ones that frequently play at weddings, should own black-tie affair attire. After you have informed them of the attire guidelines, if they do not possess such clothing or are resistant to wearing the specified dress, then that band may not be the right choice for your ceremony or reception. How the band sounds is essential, but their appearance in conjunction with the layout of your wedding is a crucial aspect as well. You are paying them for their service, so they should be willing to come in and work with you on dressing the part.
If you have a unique wedding and the attire you are request is non-traditional, you may need to pay an additional fee to ensure that the band has the proper attire. Be sure to share these details early in the planning process, so the band members have time to prepare and plan.
A long, versatile song list
Choosing a diverse and professional band is very important because if your guest list includes multiple age ranges and music tastes, you will want to ensure that everyone has a good time by creating a varied song list. You should have the opportunity to ask the band for suggestions and view their song list in advance to ensure you are getting the versatility you need. While you are in the early planning stages, you should indicate your “must-haves” as far as song choices go. A professional band is composed of experienced artists, and they tend to take their craft very seriously. Give the band time to learn any new songs they are unfamiliar with to rehearse their performance. In the end, you should be confident and comfortable with your choice of band, and once you agree on the type of music you want, you will be more at ease and allow the band to work their magic.
Doing your own research is very important when finding and choosing a cover band for your wedding day, and the internet is a great place to start your search. You can use Google Reviews and Facebook reviews to see what past clients had to say about their experience with the band. It is wise to take it a step further and ask the band for direct references so you can ask questions and have more of an interaction with someone who has hired that particular vendor. Client references allow for the exchange of information beyond what may be listed online. Receiving multiple references also shows how the band can adapt to diverse wedding settings and clientele. Finally, it is a testament to the professionalism and impact of the band because it is harder to get a reference from a client after rendered services.
Use Eyes and Ears as a Reference
While past client references are insightful and hearing other people’s experiences can be very helpful, you are your own best reference. The Knot.com suggests asking a band if you can come to listen to them perform, which is a great idea. Asking to see videos or attending live performances helps you to use your own eyes and ears as a reference. You will get a chance to see the band’s professionalism, energy, and crowd interaction firsthand, which is excellent when determining whether they are a good fit for your ceremony.
A Note: Many couples are in the process of planning their weddings during the coronavirus pandemic, and live performances may be limited. Many live bands have responded to this challenge by hosting and taping live stream performances. Ask your booking agent if you can view a recent live stream performance or if the band has one coming up in the near future.