Your wedding is a milestone for two main reasons: it will be, in all probability, the happiest and the most expensive occasion of your life. And while we wouldn’t suggest doing anything to curb the happiness, here are a few tips to keep the expensive part to a bare minimum:
The wedding band world is a vastly populated one – practically every city in the UK has a bustling scene of talented musicians vying for your custom. So there’s no need to look too far beyond your immediate environs for the perfect function band for your wedding. Sure, if you’re looking for something a little more specialist, you may have to look a little further afield – but cut down on travel costs wherever you can. Wedding bands will charge you more if they have to travel unusually far, and not just because of the fuel costs: in the music business, just like in all the other businesses, time is money. And time spent driving up the motorway is time not spent performing. If the band thinks they can fit two nearby gigs into a day, they’re more likely to opt for that than one far away gig. Unless, of course, you pay them twice as much. But we wouldn’t recommend that – we’d recommend scouting your immediate surroundings and hiring a friendly neighbourhood wedding band.
Don’t Budge on your Budget
This may sound like something that goes without saying, but here goes anyway. Yes, it’s only natural to dream of your perfect wedding, and a dream wedding band has most likely featured a few times – but to avoid any nasty financial surprises, it’s best to prepare for a compromise. Instead of starting with a solid idea of what kind of wedding band you want, agree first on a budget, then see what falls within your price range. By way of an example, say you have £500 to spend on wedding entertainment. This probably won’t afford you a high-end jazz band or string quartet – but it could easily afford you a highly accomplished solo pianist, or acoustic duo, and these smaller groups will likely have many of the same songs in their repertoires. Many larger bands also offer alternative line ups for weddings with smaller budgets so it’s worth making the inquiry when you’re searching for your wedding band. You could well end up with something you never knew you wanted if you’re willing to give a little leeway – and you won’t be breaking the bank in the process.
Book at the Right Time
There are certain times of year at which people are more likely to choose to get married. This is usually summer time – peak wedding season – and during those hot, desirable months, wedding bands will likely charge a little more. If you, unlike many others, can brave the cold and have yourself a winter wonderland wedding you’ll benefit from the off-season discounts – as wedding bands tend to generate less business as the nights draw in, they’ll be more likely to offer a discount. And that whatever could well be your beautiful wedding!
Also consider how far in advance you’ll be making your booking. If you book early enough, you could wangle a nice deal. Book too early, and you may struggle to get your function band to commit. On the flip side, book late enough and you might score a last minute bargain. If a function band has to deal with a last minute cancellation, you can swoop in a reap the rewards. Book too late, of course, and your options will be severely limited – at worst, non existent.
Set Your Itinerary in Stone
We don’t doubt that your wedding plans are in safe hands and are very much underway. We just want to point out how valuable strong organisational skills are to a wedding. Costs can easily rack up due to the smallest of mismanagements, such as your wedding band showing up earlier than they’re needed, and hanging around with nothing to do for extended periods of time. If you can plan for them to be there for as short a time as possible, you won’t be charged for their unnecessary presence – they could be off doing something else if you don’t need them to play any more. Trim away all the unwanted fat, and you’ll have yourself a lean mean money saving machine.
Prize Experience Highly
The more established and experienced a band is, the more they are able to charge. With this in mind, it may seem tempting to hire a less established and experienced band to play at your wedding. However, this may not be the smartest decision, because there may be a good reason for their lack of exposure and experience. You don’t want a wedding band who doesn’t know what they’re doing, because then, instead of saving a few quid, you’ve wasted your entire wedding band budget. Aim from somewhere in the middle upwards, and you’ll get the performance your wedding deserves – and the quality you’ve paid for.
Be on Perk Alert
In such a competitive market, wedding bands have to think up USPs to stand out from the crowd. See if they advertise any additional services (and, if still not satisfied, make an inquiry), and you may find you can get a lot more for your money. Additional services range from the wedding band providing extra lights to a complimentary DJ service for between their sets, which saves the need to hire a separate entertainer. And while we’re on the subject of things doubling up as other things, it’s worth checking with your wedding band if they’ll be providing their own PA, and whether you’d be able to borrow it for announcements and speeches. If it’s already there, it makes sense to share, and you won’t have to hire your own PA, because you sort of already have.
Read the Reviews
Last, but not least, check the comments section to see what other people make of this wedding band you’re thinking of hiring – comments like ‘worth every penny’ are always reassuring. You can get a real sense of someone’s personal experience with a wedding band which will be not unlike your own by giving the testimonials a peruse. And if there’s nothing there, you can the first to spread on the (hopefully) good word.
Are you looking for the perfect wedding band? Bands for Hire are a live music agency offering a wide range of live wedding bands – acoustic acts, string quartets, jazz bands and more – across the UK.