In What to think about When Choosing Your Wedding Band I gave pointers on how to start looking. This BLOG article is about what to do after you have found a few bands you like.
“I want Anouk and her band at my wedding.” After a long search, you’ve both agreed: you want Anouk to play at your reception. Your budget is 1000 euro. OK. This is not going to happen. Get a local band that is smaller and that plays some of her songs. Maybe their lead singer has long blond hair and an attitude…
What influences the price of the band?
Travel costs. If they have to get to the venue extra early to set up before the room is used for something else. If they are famous. If it is high season for their genre (Christmas and Easter for classical groups, the summer for Latin and Salsa bands). The size of the band. Are they a trio or a 12 piece cover band?
If they have to rent sound.
Most bands come with their own P.A. which is included in their price, but if it is a difficult hall (high ceilings create difficult acoustics for some bands) they might need to rent and a car to transport more equipment.
If you find a 12 piece band for the price of a quartet, beware! Make sure you listen to them play at least 45 minutes live before booking them.
An exception to this is a big band. A big band is a bunch of horns that love to play together and who drag a rhythm section along so that they don’t look like a marching band (little joke). The quality vs. price ratio for these bands is very good.
One band for two purposes. If your ceremony is close in distance and time to the party room you can try to get a few members of the party band to give you a deal on playing in the ceremony as well. It will give you the cachet of live music but costs less than hiring two different groups.
Music can really set the tone of an evening.
Make your priorities: do you really need 5 different salads and 15 flower arrangements or do you need a better band?
What to do after you’ve found your ideal wedding band.
Don’t position the band too far from the dance floor. If it isn’t directly in front of the guests, there’s a disconnect and the energy in the room dissapates.
Give the band your timeline.
After you have booked the band and agreed on a block of time (usually 4 hours including the time to set up), send them your timeline for the reception.
Breaks for the band? Keep in mind that bands need breaks and break rooms. A good balance is 40 minutes on, 20 minutes off. The contact between a band and your guests is more direct than with a DJ. Most people are not used to dancing 9 numbers back to back….they might want to change partners or get a drink.
Musicians also eat. They start playing for you at 20:00 but left the house at 16:30 to beat traffic and set up on time. Have a meal ready for them either after their sound check or in their dressing room. If you are informal, they can grab some of the buffet in the break. Let them cut to the front of the line if necessary. This ensures that the next set starts on time.
Specific attention to your Openings Dance:
The bride could be found in a Salsa club 5 nights a week But the groom’s favorite song is the one heard on the football stand. Decide well in advance if you are going to do the openings dance. If you are, get professional help. Having a professional coach you two through some dance moves can save time and nerves.
Remember that dancing together leaves one less exposed. “Doing your own thing” can leave you feeling pretty naked if you are the only one on the floor. A simple dance like the merengue with one cool turn is fun and easy to learn and you’ll both look great doing it. See my BLOG on Why you should have a dance lesson before your wedding day for more on this subject. A wedding is always an eclectic mix of ritual, tradition, individualism and originality.
Let the music at your wedding reflect the uniqueness of your union as well.
The author of this BLOG:
About PrisciLa Musica
PrisciLa Musica was born in Argentina and grew up in New Jersey with Salsa music pumping on the car radio and Jazz in the elevator, at the supermarket and on cartoons. A professional singer with over 20 years of experience, PrisciLa Musica presently sings and promotes Latin and Jazz trios Guitar Latino and Piano Pasión. She also sings with Latin Adventure and Salsabor. “As a Latina, it is natural to me that live music is primarily a shared experience with the audience. As a dance teacher, I know how to get my public involved.”