How much does a wedding band cost and what are you getting for your money?
We're told time and time again post weddings we've played, that the best money our couples spent was on the entertainment! Live music has a huge impact on the atmosphere and is paramount in making an occasion and indeed memories - and this is why it's always such a popular choice for weddings and special events.
Some couples have told me though, that they found wedding band prices confusing and difficult to find online when researching fees and a couple of wedding guests we met, told us they even gave up looking for a band for their wedding because they were confused. That made me feel really sad and so, I thought I'd write this post to help clarify things and give an idea of what bands typically charge, and what you’re paying for.
I'll be specifically talking about professional wedding bands who's livelihood is devoted to playing at weddings and other special occasions. I've been in the wedding industry for ten years and so this information is based on the knowledge I'm thankful to have gained as a band member and manager. I’ve also just brought myself up to scratch researching professional live music websites I trust, to ensure the advice I'm offering is up to date and accurate.
So how much does it cost?
You know that saying 'how long is a piece of string?'
Well... this applies to hiring bands! So I hope to be able to help you find yours for a fair price and understand what you're paying for.
First of all, cover bands fall into different categories which are mainly professional, non professional and those who simply like to play together for fun.
Professional wedding and party bands perform at occasions week after week and commit to our clients, often a couple of years in advance. We have a high standard and reputation to maintain within the industry and multiple insurance policies to uphold (to be able to play specifically in wedding venues). We must only use the highest caliber equipment and many bands will have two sets, which we take with us to weddings. This is just in case something packs up on the day and so we double up on everything such as our instruments, speakers, mixing desks, laptops, microphones and so on... even down to extension plugs and leads! So many leads!
As such, it's rather a costly profession for the musician albeit an incredibly rewarding one, to be able to make a couples and their guests day! And this is why we do it - but bands need to cover our moderate wages and professional overheads, to be able to deliver the magic of fantastic live music. And your wedding deserves nothing less!
There's a typical price range that most professional musicians who perform in wedding and party bands appear to charge. These fees can broadly range between £250 to £400 per musician. That's generally for a 2 hour performance - split into 2 sets with interval music in between. There are optional extras offered by some bands too, such as a DJ service, more sets to extend the live performance time, or for us to learn new songs.
An evening wedding reception usually lasts 5 hours and most bands will be asked to cover the entire period, by providing interval music or a DJ set. This means your band will be at the venue for roughly 7/8 hours to also cover their set up and pack up time. It may in fact be longer if an earlier set up is required. Our band and I'm sure many others, have been known to be the first people to arrive at the venue on the day and the last ones to leave, literally turning off the venue's lights as we go home. :-)
Fees include the bands equipment loading time, travel time to the venue and the rehearsal time prior to the performance.
The fees I've stated may not include travel costs, overnight expenses (if the band are travelling a long way) and food, which some bands may ask for. My band doesn't request food or drink and not all bands will, but please make sure when you ask for a quote that the price you're given is all inclusive, and that there are no unexpected extras.
Paying £10, £50 or £500 more for a band doesn't mean that they'll be better and likewise, paying hundreds of pounds less, doesn't mean the band won't be as good. Bands are free to charge whatever they feel their services are worth.
So as the hirer, you need to ask yourself, is this band worth what they are asking me to pay for the music they are providing at my wedding?
Some musicians and bands who are in very high demand, may ask a premium price for their reputation and experience, which is fair enough.
Personally, if I'm booking musicians for events ( I occasionally run events with live music) I always look for experienced bands first and foremost. There are some incredibly talented musicians in the industry but my advice is to make sure they have the experience necessary to hold an audience, especially if they're new at it. This gifted ability rarely comes naturally but instead with time, after playing in lots of different venues, for lots of different couples and lots of different audiences.
In saying that, not all bands charge more for their expertise and reputation. Our band doesn't for instance, even though we have 10 years experience and a good name behind us (which we're extremely thankful for by the way!) That's because we want to remain as affordable as we can in the hope that we're able to play for any couples who love what we do, and want us to be there for them. So we charge what we want, in a good way!
The desired 5 piece professional band can cost between £1500 and £2ooo - sometimes more if there are travel expenses but don't despair if that fee is out of reach! There are smaller professional wedding bands who'll give you just as brilliant a time, without breaking your budget!
If you'd like to see what my band charges to use as a guide to what we believe to be a fair price, we publish detailed pricing and packages on our main website.
Yes, there's a lot to think about! But booking an awesome wedding band to bring out the love, fun and happiness between you and all your favourite people will be something you'll be really chuffed you went to the effort of doing, and then you can both live...
... and be proud you made your once in a lifetime event memorable, personal and incredibly special with the almighty power of live music!
Any thoughts or questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me! I love hearing from you!
And thanks for dropping by! I'll be posting more tips and advice again soon.
Love Georgia x