The wedding or special event date is set, and you’ve found a venue —now you can get to the music! At this point, you have probably decided that a live band will bring your affair to life in a way that is out of this world! It is crucial to strategically figure out how to maximize the value of your live band. There are several things to consider, and we’ve listed them below. Check it out:
Remember Why You Hired a Live Band
Hiring a live band is a surefire way to make your wedding or special event unforgettable. The event planning process can be tedious and lengthy, so if you get frustrated throughout the process, it is essential to remember why you hired the live band in the first place. You may have always had dreams of you and your spouse dancing the night away, or maybe your company party needs a boost from the routine plated dinner of holiday parties of the past. Whatever your reason, you have now recognized the need to boost the energy of your event and that there are several reasons to hire a live band. Remembering your “why” is an intangible yet vital way to maximize the value of your live band.
Choose the Right Size Band
The next step to maximizing the value of your band is to choose the right size band from the start. Bands come in all shapes and sizes, but there are factors that affect your choice in the size of your band. The first factor to consider is your budget.
Consider Your Budget
In most cases, a 5-piece band will be far less expensive to book than a 10-piece band. You must pay more musicians if you book a larger band, and you may also need more space at the venue to allow them to perform. If you need more venue space, the expense may increase to accommodate a larger band. We always recommend that you work with an entertainment booking agent early on in the wedding planning process to help you navigate through these types of considerations. Local and regional agencies have usually collaborated with local venues. The agents have a pretty good idea of the type of band you will need to fit the budget and venue space.
Consider Your Vision
When choosing the right size band, your vision should still be at the heart of the decision (right behind what you can afford). If you have always wanted to experience a live band with horns and specialty instruments, by all means, you should have what you want. If you want specialty songs and unique music genres for your event, there are opportunities for that. Many “cover bands” provide a diverse song list that includes Top 40, Motown, and the classics; however, if you love country music or big band music, there are bands that specialize in providing these genres of music throughout the night. Trust your instincts, your booking agent, and your wedding planner, and your vision for the big day will surely come to life.
Only Hire Professionals
If you want to get more bang for your buck, you have to hire a professional band. You cannot “maximize” your live band if you’re starting below zero and have to worry about your band’s professionalism or capabilities. Lateness and inexperienced musicians make for a very taxing experience. As a side note, you should know that every musician is not experienced enough to understand the cadences of performing for a wedding. The nuances of knowing when to play, learning the types of songs to play at different times of the night — are all skills that are honed through experience and leadership of other seasoned professionals and booking agencies.
For example, it may be tempting to nitpick at a setlist if you are provided one in advance, but this is an example of why professionalism is a critical quality in the leadership of your live band. Outside of highlighting a few of your favorite songs and deleting songs that make you cringe, a professional band leader should be entrusted with the responsibility to choose the best songs for your crowd and the freedom to perform them at the right time, based on their experience of performing during several events — not just your one event. While this seems like the opposite of freedom in your choice, leaving the bandleader to handle these factors relieves you from having to worry about micromanaging. The band leader will use their experience to set the right tone throughout the changes of the night, keep the party going and possibly bring a few songs out of the archives – songs you may not have even considered. So trust the professionals to do what they do!
And while it may be tempting to hire the cool cover band you heard at your local lounge, make sure you do your homework and check references before committing — and paying a deposit!
Group Your Vendors to Save Time and Money
Grouping your vendors is an unseen gem within the wedding planning process. Most people don’t realize that wedding professionals work with several different vendors regularly and have connections that allow them to provide clients with more options than they may have expected. At Entertainment Exchange, we have been providing music-based entertainment for over 20 years; however, our service offerings do not stop there. We have a full roster of specialty acts, production professionals, and event vendors. Many of our clients have saved time, money and increased efficiency by booking multiple vendors through the agency. Lighting is often an additional service offering we provide when clients book bands, and here’s why:
Expand Your Lighting Options
Lighting was not always a primary focus, but in more recent years, lighting has evolved as a necessity for weddings and special events. Most bands provide simple uplights around the dance floor to help draw people to the space where they can dance. Lighting also enhances safety measures because the same uplights are usually placed near large speakers and expensive equipment to avoid accidents. While most bands (and DJs) only bring about four uplights for this purpose, many clients end up renting additional lighting for the reception hall, and in many cases, they receive a discount.
Our agency can provide bands, DJs, photo booth operators, lighting, and more. If you group those additional services with your live band booking, you can get discounts or free delivery. Ask away! Ask your booking agent about all of their service offerings because there are many cases where clients use multiple vendors and unknowingly incur additional costs.
Consider Add-On Options
Add-on options are slightly different from booking multiple vendors. When you exercise an add-on option, and you are booking a live band, you have the option to get multiple services from this one vendor. For example, when you book the live band for your reception, you can ask your booking agent about using the same musicians to perform during your ceremony or cocktail hour. In most cases, the keys player from the band will play music throughout the ceremony or while guests enjoy cocktails in the lobby of the reception hall. This works well because those musicians would have already been on-site and available to perform during your big day. Share your vision with your booking agent and allow them to come up with different options that can work in your favor and get you everything you want (and need) for your big day.
Enjoy the Night
This is the final (and most important) way to maximize the value of your live band – enjoy the night! All of the hours of planning and pulling things together should amount to something amazing and enjoyable. Without this factor, your efforts will be for nothing. You’ve invested in time and money, so make sure you find the time to enjoy the music and the energy from the live band. And don’t forget to enjoy the presence of your guests and loved ones.
Comment below on other ways to maximize the value of your live band!
PHOTOS COURTESY OF
Entertainment Exchange (@eetalent)
The Supreme Collective (@thesupremecollective)