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What to look for in a wedding band, by Seventh Second Entertainment

Hello!

We got into music for the love of the art itself and once we could play a bit, we loved it for the performing too. We love to play live because we love music and we love to watch other people like you love it with us. Music is powerful and we want to make sure you enjoy us or any wedding band you book to the fullest. That’s why in our series of free guides designed to help and inform you, we picked “what to look for in a wedding band” as the first one.

Even though this article speaks from years of experience, some of our advice may put you off booking with us but we don’t mind, we are happier knowing you have the information and knowledge to make the right decision for you when it comes to booking a live band for your wedding.

We hold our hands up, we do use the way we advertise and run live acts as examples in some of the topics below so you could class that as a bit of shameless plugging. Sorry!

Stunning images of a no rules wedding at Grays Court by York Place Studios (29)

BUDGET

So this is pretty fundamental to decision making! It probably goes without saying for today’s modern wedding couples but if you are planning a wedding, you should have a rough budget in mind before you start looking at any live acts or entertainment.

Most weddings go way over budget and it’s mainly due to hidden costs and poor planning. With Seventh Second, the prices you get quoted for our acts are 100% exact and always include vat and all the rest. There are no hidden fees or extra payments after the act has performed either and you should check this also rings true for any other live band or agency out there.

In the competitive wedding world, make sure you get full, honest quotes from the off. Very competitive quotes may not be always be honest ones. They may just serve to hook you into a contract.

Boring words, but organisation and planning will also help keep costs down and keep you on target with your overall budget. You may even find you have some extra cash to splash on the all important wedding dress or to add some extras to the live act you booked like the popular full DJ service or an extra live set.

As you will have already cottoned on, the above advice applies to any purchasing aspect of your wedding. Be smart, organised and demand honesty and your event will be so much more fun for it!

Stunning images of a no rules wedding at Grays Court by York Place Studios (34)

AVAILABILITY

Many live acts including ours get booked 6 months or even years in advance so if you want to secure your chosen act which you know will bring your wedding to life check their availability as soon as you have your event date booked in.

If you have picked a live act that’s free for your event and you are happy with the quote they give, that’s when you can safely put a deposit down to reserve their services. Always make sure there’s a fair, legally binding contract involved and that you never pay more than 50% of the full quote as deposit.

Again, organisation wins the race here and you can hopefully secure the live act you want. If you can’t get hold of your chosen live act, any website worth their salt can recommend sensible, relevant alternatives. Always check their suggestions as sometimes, due to sales demands and performance targets, agencies offer any old act to you in the hope of a quick buck.

STYLE

The musical style/genre of the live act you want is an important aspect when choosing a wedding band but it can get side lined when your budget gets in the way. It’s a tough balancing act.

The problem often lies with clients finding their perfect act but when they see the final price it smashes their budget to bits. Naturally, the sales person will suggest other bands and a fantastic “one size fits all” act is usually picked which hits most of the required stylistic buttons but more importantly fits into the budget. This can be fine and if the live band is willing to adjust their live sets to fit your original genre desires, that’s a bonus but more often than not, you don’t quite get what you wanted and you’ve still shelled out plenty of money.

One solution is to up your budget or more realistically, do some research before you even have your event date booked in and get a good understanding of how much all the different styles/genres of live acts generally cost. Hopefully you won’t end up disappointed.

Now, shameless plug alert! We’ve dealt with and thought about this problem a lot and one way we solved it is by being in the acts we promote. This means we can make truly bespoke bands or advertise acts that are willing to try and cater their music to your needs.

Being able to make bespoke bands also means that 9 times out of 10, we design bands that fit the exact stylistic sound and look the client wants but also fits into their budget. We are pretty unique in this aspect compared to other websites so ask us more about it, I’m sure we can get the right live act for your wedding.

DO I BOOK A BAND OR DJ?

In an ideal world, both! If you don’t have the budget for both, we’d say live band as they just look and sound so much better. However, some live bands can offer a full, professional DJ service in between their sets and late into the night to save you money. Ours do and many of them will offer it for free if you book them.

If you are thinking about booking one or the other be honest with yourself.

Will the act you choose really play the songs you love convincingly?

If you want a hardcore Garage or Ibiza club night vibe, don’t book a live band but if you want some amazing, live music covering all the latest hits and romantic classics book a live band.

Be honest with yourself, try and be flexible with your budget and you will reap the rewards on the night. We firmly believe in both mediums so we will be adding some amazing DJs to our roster in the future, however for now, we have many talented DJs in our live bands!

WHAT EXTRA OPTIONS CAN A BAND PROVIDE AND WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?

The world of music can be complicated. That’s why it’s good to know what a live band can realistically offer you. A lot of agencies will tell you a band can do anything you desire and I guess if you are willing to pay through the roof, you may get whatever you want. More often than not agencies will promise that their live acts will do whatever you desire, to secure a booking with you. When you come to chatting with the band about these requests, you may find they can’t do half or even any of them at all! That’s pretty devastating especially considering all the money you’ve paid for said act.

The best advice here is to talk to the agencies and find out exactly what bands can offer and what the true cost will be. On each of our live acts pages, you will see a booking options page where we detail the standard options bands offer. This is a good starting point for you to understand what any decent wedding act should be offering. We can’t speak for other agencies but because we can offer unique, bespoke live acts, it’s best to contact us and we should be able to accommodate most of your ideas when it comes to live bands and their options.

Stunning images of a no rules wedding at Grays Court by York Place Studios (30)

WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT BANDS TO BRING TO YOUR WEDDING?

Apart from the obvious things like fun, great live entertainment and themselves and their instruments (this last one doesn’t always go to plan amazingly!) bands should really bring a completely self contained live concert.

This includes PA sound system, full lighting rig, back-ups for any equipment that breaks, the capacity to play background music or full DJ’ing equipment and of course, PLI and PAT certificates. Professionalism and politeness should be a standard too.

Any bands that can’t or won’t offer these basic and essential items are to be avoided unless you or the venue has equipment the band either has to use or can use. This is becoming more common as venues struggle to deal with noise complaints so if a venue has its own PA and lighting system this is probably for the best and any live act should be encouraged to use them. All our acts follow this self-contained philosophy so no worries for you or us there!

FIRST DANCE AND SETLIST CHOICES

Ahh, the dance that many a groom dreads. Obviously a bit of planning and preparation will increase the chances that a live band can play your special song at your wedding but be realistic about the song or atmosphere you want to create. Asking a 4 piece, all male, guitar-based band to perform Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is just not going to happen unless you’ve rented an 80-piece orchestra for the occasion as well. Talk with the band or agency contact about your ideas and keep an open mind so you don’t run the risk of being left disappointed.

Sometimes, its better to dance along to the original track because it’s at a tempo you are used to and if you’re not the most confident of dancers or you’ve worked out a specific dance routine its probably going to work for the better. We would say that 9 times out of 10, our acts perform the exact song bride and grooms ask for and it always works really well but we can’t guarantee that’s the industry standard. Whatever you decide, just make sure you have fun with your first dance and enjoy the special moment it is.

When discussing what songs bands will perform at your live event, they don’t technically have to play any songs you ask for. However, that’s not the greatest customer service so we always make sure our acts try and accommodate as much as possible. We would imagine most live acts out there do the same unless otherwise stated.

Some acts will have very specific set lists designed for function and corporate clients so bare that in mind. Again, be realistic with your requests and give the act plenty of time to prepare songs for you.

Despite what anyone may say, musicians don’t know and haven’t heard every song ever. They need time to prepare songs and see how they can work them into their live set so they create the right vibe at your event.

Ours acts are honest and upfront and won’t play any songs unless they think they can perform them to the highest standard, work them seamlessly into their set and have the belief that they will keep you and your guests dancing all night. Again, 9 times out of 10, our acts play any song a client requests but we can’t say that’s an industry standard. All our acts have a repertoire section on the website where you can see a large selection of songs they can play to a high standard and any other act you are looking at should have the same.

BAND RIDER

What should the band expect from you? A happy client, who’s revelling in their event we hope, but a few extra essentials can really make a difference. If you have a happy, well looked after band we guarantee you will get a much better performance from them. It’s well worth putting in that little bit of extra effort.

Again, we would assume this is common for most live wedding bands but our acts ask for the below at any gig.

  • Space to park and leave their cars
  • Food and drink during the duration of their time with you
  • Ample space and power points to setup equipment and store their bags and gear
  • A place to relax, get changed and rest in between live sets

It’s not much. Our bands are like house plants, keep them warm, fed and watered and they will perform to their max! We can’t honestly comment on other acts out there but these are fair and realistic requests. Anything more and you may be dealing with a very fussy band who think they are U2 or something. Worth keeping an eye out for.

Another regular question we get from clients is whether the bands would like a stage. We always say yes if it’s available to you free. You can pay for one if you want but it’s not essential.

One last thing to mention is check the bands’ past feedback/reviews. If they have a lot or a few which are glowing with praise you’re onto a winner. We have years of reviews from years of playing so we include reviews all over our acts’ pages plus a page dedicated to all the reviews in full. Make sure any band you are looking at has some proof of experience, skill, professionalism and creating happy fun times!

We hope you’ve found some of this useful and don’t feel like you’ve just read a load of babble! Stay tuned for our next article coming soon! Big thanks to The English Wedding Blog for their help on this article.

Thanks,

The guys and girls at Seventh Second. http://www.seventhsecond.co.uk

All images by our lovely friends at York Place Studios, from Rox & Scott’s stunning wedding at Gray’s Court, which we featured back in November.

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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