7 Questions to Ask Before Booking a Band

What you must know before you hire a wedding singer, band, or orchestra.

7 Questions to Ask Before Booking a Band

Photo: Riccis Valladares Photography

Bride in Short Reception Dress with Band

There are many elements to consider when selecting the entertainment that will make your wedding day an unforgettable success. Just as important as knowing the type of band you want is knowing what to look for and the key questions to ask. Also, you should make sure that the agency you employ is reputable. Here are some guidelines to help you make the best choice. 

What to Keep in Mind When Choosing Your Band

How long has the band been together? Your band should be self-contained. It is a good rule of thumb to know who hires the musicians that play with your band. Is it the agency or the bandleader? Make sure that it is the bandleader who does this to ensure there is cohesiveness. A bandleader worth his salt is not going to let someone else pick his musicians. Only he should be choosing his principal players and they should always be the same. 

Are they well versed in the running of a wedding reception? Wedding receptions are very detail specific and not all bands know the nuances that are vital to the success of the evening. They should be familiar with different types of weddings and the etiquette that is necessary for each. Make sure your band leader is genuinely concerned enough to alert your photographer and videographer of key segments of your reception, such as the first dance and father-daughter dance, special toasts, and key announcements. In addition, band members must be flexible, have warm personalities, and a passion to make your event superbly memorable. Lastly, your band should also know when it is appropriate to take their breaks if your music is not continuous. 

Do they play together on a consistent basis? Bands that constantly change members will not have a smooth flow as they are always asking for the keys and tempos of the songs they perform. This results in too many silent pauses between songs and as we say in the business, “silence is deafening!” So, a seamless transition from song to song is imperative. Beware of agencies that do the old “mix and match” with their band members! They should also play a wide variety of music that will be pleasing to all age groups. Finally, it is key for the band to know the importance of volume control, when to take it up a notch, and when to bring it down. 

What to Keep in Mind When Choosing an Agency

Does the company appear on referral lists of top hotels and best vendors? Ask your agency whose referral lists they are on. Also, inquire from the area’s top vendors who they refer for music, and why. You can be sure that if a top-rated hotel’s catering manager refers your selected agency, it’s because they trust them and have had great success with their bands. They should enjoy working with your agency. 

Do they give you numerous options to review? They need to be able to present you a wide variety of choices so that you can find the band that best suits you and your event. Expect to review video as well as audio on the bands you consider, and be wary of an agency that don't have video on any band you are interested in. Confirm that you will be getting the members shown on the video. It is a good idea to have all of the principal members names listed on your contract. When possible you should also be able to see the band live. 

Do they make you feel at ease? Their professionals must be friendly, courteous and easily accessible to you. They should always be ready to offer guidance on how to choose your music and how to coordinate your evening of entertainment appropriately. They should work very closely with you to develop a full timeline for the evening and make sure that all of your vendors, hotel or venue coordinators receive this timeline. This is the most important day of your life and you have the right to be taken care of and treated like a member of their family. 

Are they adequately insured? Your agency should be fully insured for a minimum of 2 million dollars and must provide proof of this insurance. Again, there are many factors to consider when choosing the band that will set the soundtrack to the most important day of your life. Using these guidelines and taking advantage of the many resources at your disposal can help you to make the choice that will be a perfect fit and will result in a most memorable musical experience for your wedding day. 

Opening photograph by Ira Lippke Studios