Seeking out a wedding band can be harder than you think. You ask a group on Facebook and next minute you have 100 comments of different names and links, people recommending bands who are probably friends/relatives/band members themselves. Then you go to a music agency where you are inundated with bands that look awesome BUT, there are just so many to choose from!
This post will help you find that perfect wedding band ( The Pedal Tones ) no matter if you're in Cheshire, North West of England or anywhere else in the UK.
Knowing Where to Start
You've probably never booked a band before and probably have no idea what they should offer and what they should charge. So by reading this you'll get a basic idea on what to look for and what bands charge. Obviously this is different for each band because of different variables such as location, band size, experience and popularity. For instance a band based in the North West may charge less than a wedding band based in London. A band with only 3 members will probably charge less than a band with 10+. A band with no experience will charge less than a band with 5-10 years experience etc.
So start with looking at whats on offer in your area. Look for bands with high definition photos/videos as this will show they take their career seriously. Look for a website which doesn't look like the host is a potato. One that looks professionally done and is easy to navigate. All of these factors show that the wedding band is serious about what they do and will, hopefully, be worth the money they charge (sadly this isn't always the case).
What Do You Need?
I think the fact you want a band means you have an idea of what kind of music you like and what kind of band you want. I always tell clients to tell me what music they listened to when they were in high school as it's these kinds of tunes which you want to hear on the dance floor on your big day. Personally i'd want a wedding band that plays/is up for playing heavy metal and rock. That being said, it is a wedding and certain songs are recommended to keep the oldies happy, get Doris jiving in other words! We say to play the stereotypical wedding songs in the first set and then your favourite songs in the second/third set when everyone is a tiny bit, intoxicated shall we say.
I wouldn't book a 10+ piece band that advertise a lot of soul/disco if you are into indie rock as they just won't look right on stage. If you find a traditional wedding band, where the members wear smart attire and play heavy metal tunes, it probably isn't going to look right on stage. With us being 3 piece rock and pop wedding band that dress like an indie rock & pop band will hopefully tell you ... we'll smash that genre out of the park!
How Do I Know the Band is Any Good?
That's a hard one because a lot of bands will look AND sound good on their website. They would have paid a decent amount for studio time and paid a decent videographer to produce something that may not be like them when they play live! We always recommend our potential clients come and watch us play before booking. We advertise the fact we are a high energy wedding band and when you see us live, we prove that fact! We interact with the crowd, get people dancing with us and even let the bass player run around the venue if he's been a good boy.
So I would 1,000% recommend going to see your potential future band before booking them as this will avoid any disappointment on your big day. Sadly I have heard horror stories in the past about bands not learning songs properly, such as the first dance song. Not one to learn on the day!
How Much Do Bands Charge?
As stated this varies dependent on many different factors, BUT, here's what you'll be paying for:
1. How many members are in the band.
This will effect the price because obviously the more members, the more people you have to pay. To give an estimate cost per musician i'd say anywhere from £200-£350 per musician is a very rough estimate.
2. How in-demand the band are.
If a band is booked up for the next 2-3 years, then they will definitely charge a lot more because they have proven their worth in the past resulting in them being very busy and hard to book.
3. Travel Costs.
We get asked to play all across the UK and even some destination weddings. This can add additional costs to the price because travelling from the North West of England to the highest point in Scotland can add up the fuel cost. If it's over a 3 hour drive then some bands will want accommodation costs as well so they don't drive home at 1am, getting home at 4am-5am, annoying their other half and resulting in a shouting match. Not fun.
4. Time of the year.
The busiest times for a wedding band is the summer. This is when most weddings take place and they are more likely to be booked up. December can also be busy as they'll be playing Christmas parties for various companies. Some bands may charge more for these times, however, we have a set fee, but give a discount for off peak times such as January, February, March and November.
5. Agency fees.
If you go to an agency then they'll add their fee usually on top of the band's normal fee resulting in a bigger cost for you. Agencies can be great because they have a lot of experience offering different bands BUT it can be less personal and the agency will push certain bands that are their personal favourite.
5. Quality of the band.
Some bands are just extremely good and justify their cost with just that. They're awesome!
What Do a Band Charge For?
There are certain things you should expect to see in your quote and they'll be highlighted below. These can obviously vary for different bands but you can at least have a rough idea on what to expect.
Arrival time. This is usually between 5-6pm to set up ready for the evening.
Set lengths. Normally this is either 2x45 minute sets or 2x1 hour/3x40 minute sets.
Playlist in between sets to save on DJ costs and stage space.
High quality PA System (speakers), lighting and high quality instruments.
We have additional extras which include:
Acoustic music in the daytime
Manned DJ service
Early set up
Venues come in all shapes and sizes. They also can have certain rules regarding live music! Firstly your band will definitely need PLI and PAT tested equipment. PLI is insurance in case anything goes wrong and someone gets hurt. PAT tested equipment ensures that the electrical equipment the band bring to use is safe.
Sound limiters are another factor to bare in mind. These ensure the band doesn't go over a certain decibel limit (volume). If they do, the power is cut for around 5 seconds and then back on again. Highly annoying when you're playing Mr Brightside, the crowd is in full flow and the power cuts ... unless it's before the chorus and then you guys have got it covered right?! We can work well with sound limiters because all of our equipment can be digital which means we can control the volume of everything that makes noise. Yes, I do take great joy in muting/turning off the drummer.
Space can be an issue if it's a small venue so bare that in mind when searching for a band. A band with 10+ members will find it hard to perform if it's a tiny venue. We on the other hand look amazing on a small or big stage ... just saying.
I have more questions?!
Well if you do, I apologise as this is the most I have written since University comparing a heavy metal band with Taylor Swift and how they are quite similar in their marketing skills, performance and melody. Anyway, If you do have some questions, get in touch and lets see what we can do for you.