So, you’ve decided to have live music at your wedding - you want to be on the dancefloor with all your friends and family, rocking out to your favourite songs and singing along with at the top of your lungs.
But where are you going to fit your wedding band in? Some venues have a dedicated space like a stage or area for bands to go, but others might not have such a dedicated space. There's also other things to consider - where is your band going to get power from? Does the band need a stage?
This blog will outline what you need to think about when booking your live entertainment, and what space you might need to leave or plan for them!
The first thing you need to consider is where the band is going to be able to park. Some bands may have a van and you’ll need to vaguely plan for when and where they can unload. Other bands may have multiple cars and need space to park - and this will depend on the size of your band’s lineup. Obviously, bigger bands will have more members (and more equipment to load in!)
Have a chat to your band so you can plan this into your day or evening so there’s not a traffic pile up with all your vendors trying to get into the same space, at the same time! You don't want your evening caterers (such as food vans) clashing with your band!
The next thing to consider is when and where you band is going to load in from. This again, largely depends on your venue, so have a chat to them about what usually happens, or ask your band (if they’ve played the venue before.)
It might seem obvious, but the closer the band can get to where they’re playing - the quicker they can get in and get their equipment setup. Most 4 piece bands (such as ourselves) will take around 45 minutes to an hour to setup their equipment and perform a quick soundcheck to make sure the levels are okay!
At some venues, there may be a dedicated room or space for your evening, meaning that your evening suppliers can get in and start setting up as soon as they arrive.
Other venues may not have separate rooms and will require a room turnaround at some point in the evening. This will require some careful co-ordination - put your evening vendors in touch with your venue early on so they can plan when they can get into the space and get setup!
If you're after more of an idea of how your evening timeline will work, check out this blog for more information!
In real terms, the best workable space for a band is an area around 3 meters by 3 meters for a 4 piece band or folk band and 2.5 meters by 2.5 meters for a smaller 3 piece band. This allows plenty of space between band members and lighting equipment on stage. However, bands can squeeze into much smaller spaces if needed (we’ve literally played in a living room as well as a kitchen!) but this may require some prior planning.
Have a chat with your venue about where bands usually setup - there may be an obvious space where it works and lets the band have the space they require without taking up too much of the dancefloor!
Do Wedding Bands need a stage?
Most experienced wedding bands will not need a stage - they will be more than happy performing just in front of the dancefloor on the floor. Although if your venue does have a stage - your band probably won't say no to using it!
It might be worth considering hiring a stage if you're planning on having music outside - more on that here!
Sound and volume
Another thing you need to consider is the actual volume of the band. Larger bands by nature are a lot louder than smaller bands, and if you’re looking to book a small, intimate venue - a larger band may completely over power the space - even if your venue doesn’t have any noise restrictions.
When booking your band, talk to them about the space at the venue, as they’ll be able to advise you on what sized band might work best for the space - or how they can adapt their setup to the accommodation.
For example, one of the options we can offer is swapping out the acoustic drum kit for an electric drum kit if the space we’re playing in is on the smaller side. This allows us to control the levels coming from stage a lot more, providing a more comfortable volume for the space. This is particularly useful in rooms with low ceilings as traditional acoustic drums can get very loud in these spaces!
Power and plugs
Most bands will require some type of power supply or sockets from your venue. A minimum of 2 x 13 amp sockets is usually required, but 4 x 13 amp sockets is often required for bigger sized bands - as the amount of equipments scales with the band size.
Put your venue in touch with the band before your wedding so they can have a chat about power. Some bands such as us will have a larger number of extension cables to hand to make sure they’re covered for all eventualities.
Generators and marquees
If you’re having a marquee wedding, you may need to hire a generator to provide power for your suppliers. This is something you will need to plan out, as if you’re planning on having a band, they will need access to the power from the generator too.
Have a chat with your band in advance to see what kind of wattage they will draw when their system is plugged in and working. For our 4 piece band for example, our system draws around 2500w and would need some at least a medium sized generator if the caterers are also running off the same system! Chat with your generator hire company as they should be able to point you in the right direction with this, too.
Some band’s contracts may require a lockable room for them to store equipment in safely whilst they’re playing. Most venues will be able to provide this, but smaller venues or marquees might not have this option. Talk to your band if this is the case - if secure parking is available, they may be happy putting empty boxes and equipment back in their cars or van
So, you’re wanting a proper outdoor festival vibe for your day - and you want your band to play outside!
This is usually totally fine but will require some more planning. In Britian, even during the summer months the weather can be incredibly unpredictable! Most bands will require a fully sheltered or covered area before saying yes playing outside in case of sudden rainclouds - or cold weather! They will also need shelter from the sun (if it decides to come out!)
You’ll also need to let the band know so they can plan their setup accordingly. Most professional wedding bands will carry enough PA equipment to comfortably fill indoor wedding venues of up to 150-200 guests, but may need some more amplification if they’re playing outside. They may require you to hire additional PA speakers to make sure it’s loud enough, as sound soon dissipates outdoors - or depending on the size of the event they might also need a fully dedicated sound engineer depending on where they’re playing so they can be heard properly. Check out this article for more information.
Depending on the time of year, you will need to think about heat, too. Even during the summer months, it can get cold very quickly after the sun goes down and you might need to get some portable heaters for the band - no musician can give a great performance if they’re cold! There's also the licencing to consider - have a read through this article for more information on the topic.
If you’re considering booking acoustic music (such as an acoustic duo for the daytime, you’ll also have to think about the factors mentioned above, although playing outdoors during the day is a lot more common than during the evening.
Make sure your musicians have access to power - even if playing more stripped back sets, they’ll still need access to a good power source to be heard properly. We carry a 50 metre extension with us for these sorts of situations, but this still requires some sockets relatively nearby to work!
You’ll still need to think about shelter during the day, too. Make sure your musicians have adequate shelter from wind, rain and sun (umbrellas or small gazebos are usually fine for this!) and make sure you can keep your musicians warm or cool if needed!
We hope this guide has been useful and given you some points to think about when planning the space for your wedding band. Please don’t be disheartened if you’d like a band for your wedding or event and you’re limited on space - most bands will be able to be flexible and accommodate your venue with some planning beforehand. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or queries on the subject!