5 Steps To Hiring The Perfect Wedding Band

Reading Time: 8-10 minutes

Hiring live wedding bands is coming back in style. There's something magical about real musicians playing real instruments that can make your wedding dance more intimate and unique. 

However, it can be tricky to find the right fit. Wedding bands aren't like DJ's, they can't play any song that's ever been recorded. Typically they have a style they specialize in, which has to work for you. At my wedding, our band specialized in Motown and soul. Also, wedding bands have technical requirements to make it sound right. 

So let's dive into the steps on hiring the perfect band for your wedding!

1) Finding The Band

There are a few ways to do go about this.

First, ask all of your friends and family who recently got married or have been to a wedding. Ask them if they recall which weddings had a live band and if they enjoyed the band or not. Also ask what the band was like (what style of music, how many members, etc). Collect a list of recommendations and begin investigating!

Second, go to some live music venues that have cover bands play. I can guarantee you that 95% of cover bands playing on the weekend are also wedding bands. The two go hand in hand. Going about it this way can give you a first-hand look as to whether or not the band will work for you. Try going to various styles of venues so you can sample a variety of different bands. 

Third, use our trusty friend, Google. With location based search now being a part of Google's algorithm, you can simply type in wedding cover bands into a search, and it will serve up results that are nearby. This is a good way to get started, however, I think this approach requires a lot more investigation, as you've had no referral or experience with the band. Some bands will have reviews online, but I would still take the time to investigate further

2) Review Promotional Material And Song List

Here's where we start looking into what the band is all about. These days, most bands will have a website, social media, photos, video, reviews, etc. This is where you can really dig in. 

So to start, head over to their website. Pull up the band's schedule, if they have it listed. This will give you two insights. First, are they available on your wedding date? Two, is the band booked heavily? This can be a sign as to how a good of a band there. Think of it this way, the busiest restaurant on the block probably has the best food. Same goes for wedding bands.

Have a look around for promotional material such as photo and video. Video is especially important here, as you want to both see and hear what the band is up to. However, keep in mind that a low-quality video might not quite capture the energy that the performance actually had. It takes quite the production to get a quality live video. Try to keep that in mind. Also, take a look through their social media outlets to get an even deeper insight as to who they are. Instagram and Facebook are the two that will probably provide the most content for you. 

Finally, review their song list, if available online. If not, this task will move to the meeting section below. Ideally, you'll want to have 3 sets of music that you like, which equates to about 30-36 songs. A typical wedding band can usually cover about 200 songs, some more, some less. If you can find 36 that you love, you're in good shape!

3) Meet With the band

Request a meeting with the band well in advance, and before giving a deposit or committing to anything. This part of your due diligence.

Before meeting with the band, think about what your expectations are. Here is a list of questions you may want to ask yourself:

  • What sound equipment are you providing?
  • What times do you want the band to setup?
  • When will they play?
  • How many sets?
  • How long is each set?
  • You will have to feed and seat them while not playing. How many band members can you fit in?
  • What style of music?
  • What's your budget?
  • Do you need a sound technician?
  • Often, the band will have standard protocols that they use for a lot of the questions above, but it's a good idea to be prepared when you walk into it. 

While in the meeting, ask yourself how comfortable you feel with the band, are they likeable to you, and will they work for your wedding requirements? Comfortability is key, as you don't want any tension on your wedding day. 

4) Ensure Proper Sound Equipment

Sound equipment is sometimes taken care of by the band, sometimes not. It depends on the band, on the venue, and a multitude of other factors. But either way, you'll want to ensure that someone is providing a great sound system. A great band is just not the same on a bad sound system. This is a very important detail that I highly suggest you do not overlook.

A few things to consider. How big is the venue? What shape is the room? Is there a lot of echo in the room? Are they playing outside? Usually, the band or a representative from the venue can help you decide on an adequate sound system rental. Sometimes, the venue even has a built-in sound system for this purpose. 

5) Get It In Writing

Getting a contract signed is an absolute must. There is nothing more stressful than having your band cancel on you a few days before your wedding. You want your wedding day to go as smooth as possible, so make sure everything is guaranteed. You'll probably sign a similar agreement for your catering, or your photographer, so make this happen with the band. If they don't have an agreement to sign, this may indicate that they're not as professional as you need. This isn't always the case, but it's something to be wary about. 

And that's it! You've now hired an amazing wedding band, and your night is going to be incredible. Feel free to comment on any other tips you've received from friends or from your own experience below.

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