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12 Must-ask Questions When Booking Your Wedding Band

Choosing the right wedding band is a big deal. A great high-energy band will keep your guests dancing all night but the wrong band will stick out like a sore thumb — we’ve all seen and heard them. Our roles as entertainers and production experts go beyond just playing our instruments. We have to be able to read the room and roll with the punches, while setting the right vibes from guest arrival until the end of night. To help you choose the right band, here are twelve must-ask questions you can use when vetting prospects.

1. "What's your vibe?"

If you’re planning an epic party, a jazz trio will be too low energy while the buttoned-up 12-piece soul band might be over the top. Find a band that matches the vibe you’re going for.

2. "Can you share your master song list and can we upvote or veto songs?"

Any good band will offer their master song list but the great ones will let you have some say in the musical direction. After all, you’re going to be listening to this band anywhere from 2 to 4 hours … you better like what you hear!

3. "Can we come see you live?"

If it’s possible, catch the band live. Watch how they engage the crowd and pay attention to their song selection. If you’re not able to see them for whatever reason (hello covid-19), most bands will have live videos on YouTube and some even offer private showcases.

4. "Do you substitute musicians?"

Some “bands” are actually booking agencies with a cast of rotating musicians. If you happen to see an agency band and like a particular member (ie: female vocalist, lead guitarist), request that specific member(s) to be hired for your date. Don’t be surprised (thus disappointed) if a different line-up arrives.

5. "Is sound and lighting provided and do you serve multi-locations?"

More likely than not, your ceremony, cocktail and dinner reception all happen in different locations. This question ensures you have all your locations covered with the appropriate A/V needed for each unique area.

6. "Do you charge extra for …? Travel, lodging, song requests, overtime, etc."

Don’t get hit with a hotel bill or any unexpected charges. Ask about charges in advance and thoroughly comb the contract for extra fees.

7. "How much space and electricity does your Band need?"

All bands have different requirements but I always recommend having at least 4 outlets for the band’s equipment. Pro tip: Dedicate outlets for the band and don’t let any other vendor or guest use them — you definitely don’t want to overload a circuit and have the power go out!

8. "What will the band wear?"

This is an often overlooked detail so I recommend putting this revision in the contract especially if you have a theme: black tie, New England fall colors, Cape Cod beach party, etc. Your band should not be over or underdressed.

9. "Have you played this venue before?"

If a band has never played your venue before, introduce them to your planner or the venue manager months in advance so they can double check details like acoustics, volume limits, and power requirements.

10. "Will you MC the event and DJ in between sets?"

Not all bands provide MC or DJ services which could mean awkward silence between band sets and nobody to introduce your first dance, cake cutting or speeches. If your band doesn’t cover this or you don’t have someone already lined up, you could run into extra costs having to hire an additional MC or DJ.

11. "Can you perform songs that are meaningful to us (ie: Jewish hora or your favorite slow song)?"

Not all bands provide MC or DJ services which could mean awkward silence between band sets and nobody to introduce your first dance, cake cutting or speeches. If your band doesn’t cover this or you don’t have someone already lined up, you could run into extra costs having to hire an additional MC or DJ.

12. "Can we map out a timeline?"

This detail really separates the polished, experienced bands from the greener ones. Having your band work with your venue and other vendors keeps your event on time — which means more time at the end to dance and party. Don’t have a draft? Email me (INSERT LINK) and I’ll send you the template I use for all my couples!

I hope you found these helpful. Planning your wedding might be stressful but the big day itself should be enjoyable and memorable. At the end of the day, there’s a band for every couple so hire the one that gives you the most confidence. The more prepared and in sync you are with your band, the better time you’ll have.

If you need advice or want to ask any additional questions, you can reach me at the1999live@gmail.com.

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