DO check out your wedding band’s sound before you book them.
These days, what with camera phones and YouTube, it’s easier than ever for a band to produce their own recordings and videos, so even if you can’t find any links when shopping online, you can always ask the band to send you something. Also, ask your friends and family if they can recommend a function band they’ve either seen or hired themselves recently.
DON’T go by recommendation alone.
It’s great when good reviews are passed on via word of mouth, but this is far too personal a matter to leave to chance. The band who played at your friends’ wedding may have a completely different sound and set list to what you have in mind. Hear them with you own ears, as it’s your wedding soundtrack they’ll be providing.
DO confer with your wedding band regarding space.
Different styles of band and different line ups will require different amounts, so make sure your venue can accommodate both the space you require for your dance floor area and the space your wedding band requires to set up and perform in. It’s also worth scoping out how many power points your venue has, and where they can be found. If there’s no power, it’s possible there’ll be no sound.
DON’T assume that space is the only restriction your elected venue may impose.
Depending on its location (i.e. if it’s situated in or near a residential area), you might encounter both time and noise constraints. It’s important to identify these early on, and pass this information on to your wedding band – you don’t want your celebrations to be shut down by the council.
DO agree all terms and conditions with your wedding band in good time.
Be sure to clarify well in advance how long you’re expecting them to play for. In most cases, bands will have prepared a specific list of songs (often split into two 45 or 60 minute sets), and with this information, you can plan whereabouts in the proceedings would be best to schedule the band to play.
DON’T assume your wedding band will just play the evening out.
They may have a limited amount of material (which, if they were asked to play beyond their means, would result in dreaded radio silence), or even have another engagement to attend to. Once the agreed slot time has been fulfilled, the responsibility is handed back over to the wedding organisers to keep the guests entertained.
DO make sure both you and your wedding band are clear on the matter of payment.
It’s always safest to do this contractually – you want to be able to budget as carefully as possible with an event this expensive. If you have the agreed fee in writing, you know for certain what you’ll be expecting to spend, and you wedding band will know for certain what they’ll be earning.
DON’T just forget about your wedding band’s needs once you’ve booked them.
Remember they’re people too! They will need to be shown where to go – so make sure you’ve agreed with them what time they’re arriving so it doesn’t clash with anything else you’ve got coming in (i.e. caterers and guests). Moreover, your wedding band will possibly need feeding and watering, and a place to wait until their moment comes. Make sure they’ll well tended to, and if feeding them is going to impact on your catering budget, make sure you clear this up with the band beforehand.
DO take measures to avoid having the same songs played twice.
Whatever you do, you don’t want to bore your guests – even casual music fans will notice carbon copies. If you’re planning on booking a DJ to keep the party going during your wedding band’s break, ask both of your acts for copies of their set lists so you can cross reference them.
DON’T suddenly spring an off-the-cuff song choice on them when they’re midway through the second half!
Most wedding bands and DJs will be happy to take requests, but it’s good manners to check this with them beforehand. And please be aware that the requests wedding bands would be happy to take would most likely be related to their given genre – it’d take a rare breed of jazz band to be able to hammer out Motorhead.