Wedding Band Costs – What Affects the Price of a Wedding Band?

Congratulations to all of the newly engaged couples of 2022! Now that the 2021 holiday season and Valentine’s Day have passed, we know that newly engaged couples are eager to start the wedding planning process. If you have your heart set on hiring a live wedding band for your big day, but you are hesitant or curious about the cost, keep reading to learn more about wedding band costs in 2022. 

How Much Does A Live Wedding Band Cost?

In 2022, the cost to book a professional wedding band is anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. Pricing is affected by a number of factors that we’ve put together below: 

What Affects the Price of a Wedding Band?

For starters, it is important to remember that quality and professionalism don’t come cheap, and most couples want all of their wedding vendors to provide a seamless experience. Music is key to keeping the energy flowing throughout the night and helps the planner and other vendors to make smooth transitions between events within the wedding (think cake cutting music or background music during the first course). 

Because music is vital to maintaining the flow of the entire event, you need to hire the best group of musicians available. Hiring the best musicians means paying a little more for their experience and expertise. Professionalism is the first factor that affects the price of a wedding band. 

Here are a few more factors that come into play when evaluating the cost of a wedding band: 

Hiring out-of-town musicians/travel expenses

If you hire a band based in a city outside of where your reception will take place, you will likely incur a travel fee. Consider either hiring a local band to avoid this fee or padding your budget to cover the cost. Also, consider that if the reception is three or more hours away or starts later in the evening, an agency may require a small hotel room block to host the musicians overnight. You would never want to be responsible for a vendor falling asleep on the road trying to travel back home after a late or far away wedding. 

Your wedding reception lasting longer than four hours

Most venues offer four-hour blocks for wedding receptions, so the average wedding reception runs between 3-4 hours. Most professional wedding bands offer rates for that timeframe. In instances where couples want to have an extended wedding reception, they must pay the venue and any other vendors that have to stay later to accommodate guests. If you decide to extend your wedding reception, be prepared to pay musicians an “overtime” rate. One way that couples avoid paying the additional fee is to book the band at their regular rate, then pay the bandleader and sound engineer a smaller fee to have a DJ playlist run for the final hour. 

Adding or subtracting additional musicians outside of the core group

Most bands have anywhere from 5 pieces (musicians) to 15 pieces. The essential pieces tend to be drums, piano, guitar, bass, and vocalist(s). In addition to having a sound engineer, you will pay for core pieces; however, if you want multiple vocalists to give you a specific sound, you will pay more to add musicians. 

Here’s a great example: if you want your wedding reception to be a party where the band’s female vocalist sings Beyoncé songs, you may just hire a band with only one female singer; however, if you want to mix it up and have Beyoncé songs and Bruno Mars’ songs added to the playlist, you will need the band to bring a male vocalist who can sing those songs. 

You may also want to add a few additional pieces to give you the total look and sound you envisioned for your wedding. For example, you may want to add a horn section if you desire to have a big band sound during your reception. Adding horns means hiring additional musicians, which increases the overall cost. 

Finally, consider the size of your venue. Do you have enough room to hold a 5-10 piece band in the reception venue? If you are unsure, check with the venue to see if they have hosted a band in the past, and the venue manager can give you ideas on where the band was placed during that time. If your venue is not known for hosting bands, collaborate with the band director, venue manager, decorator, and wedding planner to determine the best place to hold the band. When you map out the plan, don’t forget to create space for the band equipment, sound engineers, and the dance floor. 

If you need help figuring out which size band works best for your wedding reception, a professional booking agent will help you navigate this process. 

Using the band or their equipment for other parts of the wedding

Have you considered all elements of your wedding and how the band can support you? For instance, do you need sound support for your reception so guests can hear the officiant lead the wedding vows? Will there be a special music presentation during the reception that will require an amplifier or microphone? Will guests be expected to stay in a designated area during the cocktail hour? If so, do you need speakers to play light music in the background? Or would you like a pianist or guitarist to play during this time? If so, you may engage the bandleader or sound engineer to provide equipment or support during other parts of the wedding, and booking additional support usually increases the cost of the band.

Whether you group your band with other services and vendors

You may need to book other vendors and services outside of booking a band for entertainment. If you need photographers, photo booth vendors, lighting, and audio equipment, you may be able to book those additional services at a discounted rate which brings the overall cost of the band down.

What Services Do Wedding Bands Offer?

Bands offer a plethora of services, and we encourage you to maximize the value of your live band in every way. When you book a band, you are getting an in-house soundtrack for the night, emcee services, sound support for special speeches, and performers that will keep the party going all night long. In addition to these services, you can also make the band bigger to fit a specific sound or find a group that caters to your preferred genre of music. 

How Many Musicians Are In The Wedding Band?

As mentioned, you can hire anywhere from five to over ten musicians for a band. Outside of the core section (drums, piano/keyboard, guitar, bass) and one vocalist, you can add additional vocalists (2-4 vocalists alternating male and female combinations) or horns (trumpet, saxophone, trombones). Your choice of the mix depends on your budget, desired musical choices, and venue size. 

What Types Of Genres Of Music Do Wedding Bands Play?

Hiring the right band will give you the freedom to play any type of music you desire for your special day. Most professional bands play a combination of Top 40 tunes, classic rock pop tunes, and 60s & 70s Motown. You can request a band’s song list to get an idea of the songs they play regularly and ask for testimonials and recommendations from their former clients. 

If you have special songs you want playing throughout the night, communicate with the band leader early on in the process so that the entire band has a chance to learn the new material. We strongly recommend that you do not spring new material and ideas on the band at the last minute as it is in your best interest to allow the band as much time as possible to practice and perfect the new music. 

Outside of these basic genres, bands may have a sound they enjoy playing and will lean into playing more of that sound throughout the night. If the band is a Motown-based band, they may play more Motown than current tunes and vice versa. In other instances, some bands specialize in a specific genre, like classic big band/swing music or 80s rock. If you and your fianceé ‘s “jams” fall under specific genres of music, do your research and find a band specializing in that genre. Always ask for current videos and performance reels to ensure the band has the sound and look you desire to bring to your wedding. 

When Should I Hire My Wedding Band?

After finding a venue and wedding planner, there is a general wedding industry rule that booking entertainment comes next – especially if you plan to hire a wedding band, and here’s why:

Finding a professional wedding band with years of experience is not easy to come by, especially during prime wedding season (April – September). You are already competing with hundreds of other couples in your city for the same venues and dates, and now you’re entering the competition to book the same top-tiered talent. We encourage you to engage an entertainment agency early and at least within 9-12 months of your wedding date. You can also work out a payment plan to hold the band for your wedding date without having to cough up all of the money all at once. 


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