At the Live Music Agent, we understand that most people don’t book live music every day, in fact for some people, it’s something they only do once in a lifetime.  The fact that you’re reading this means that it’s something important to you and we want you to get it right!  That’s why we’ve put together this handy little guide, packed with information on choosing and organising the entertainment for your special day.

1.  Talk to the venue

Booking a band is really exciting and it’s easy to start imagining yourself dancing the night away, with your friends and family around you, but before you start speaking to bands, it’s worth speaking to your venue.There are a few things that you should check, that may have a huge effect on the kind of music you choose for your reception.

There are a few things that you should check, that may have a huge effect on the kind of music you choose for your reception. If the venue is used to having live music, then they should have all the relevant licences in place, but is there enough space to fit in the musicians, instruments and speakers?  What time will the live music have to finish and can you have a disco afterwards?

If the venue is used to having live music, then they should have all the relevant licences in place, but is there enough space to fit in the musicians, instruments and speakers?  What time will the live music have to finish and can you have a disco afterwards?It’s no good finding the perfect band if the venue

It’s no good finding the perfect band if the venue wont let them perform, or their performance is ruined by the venue’s music policies, so make sure the band are aware of any restrictions as soon as possible.  It’s also worth speaking to a local music agent or band to see if they know of any problems with your venue before you make your decision. One of the biggest restrictions to bands in wedding venues is Volume Limiters.  These electronic devices cut off the band’s power supply which makes all their equipment turn off.  Click here to read our blog explaining everything you need to know about volume limiters, and if you can… avoid asking your band to plug into them.

One of the biggest restrictions to bands in wedding venues is Volume Limiters.  These electronic devices cut off the band’s power supply which makes all their equipment turn off.  Click here to read our blog explaining everything you need to know about volume limiters, and if you can… avoid asking your band to plug into them.

2.  Check what’s included

Every band seems to structure their quotes slightly differently.  Sometimes a band might seem expensive, but when you look at the list of what’s included, you can save money from other suppliers on things like lighting, DJ, microphones for speeches.

Often bands can put together packages which include a smaller acoustic set in the afternoon and full band in the evening.

It’s also a good idea to find out what else the band will need in addition to their fee.  It seems to be the norm that bands ask for food, and soft drinks to be supplied by the bride and groom.  If you’ve got your eye on that 14 piece show band then this can add up.  However it’s worth asking the caterers about “Crew Meals”.  Quite often they will be able to prepare something different for the band instead of the same food as the guests.

3.  Check reviews

Good function bands play at 40, 50, sometimes even 60 events per year.  They should be able to find plenty of happy customers to write them testimonials.  They will be signed up to work with agents who vet bands and weed out anyone unprofessional or unreliable.

You might not always be able to see bands live before you book but if an agency is collecting feedback from genuine customers, that’s a great indication that a bank know what they’re doing. 4.  Think about timings

4.  Think about timings

Talk to someone who has worked at weddings and wants your party to be as good as possible.  Often photographers are booked until after the first dance, so they would like you to have that as soon as possible.  Caterers want your buffet to be served as soon as possible as they don’t want to pay staff to wait to serve it later in the evening, but ask yourself, is it really a good idea to have your first dance at the same time your evening guests arrive?  Do you want to empty the dance floor half way through the band’s first set because food is being served?   In an ideal world you want to maximise the amount of time you can enjoy the band for.

Talk to someone who has worked at weddings and wants your party to be as good as possible.  Often photographers are booked until after the first dance, so they would like you to have that as soon as possible.  Caterers want your buffet to be served as soon as possible as they don’t want to pay staff to wait to serve it later in the evening, but ask yourself, is it really a good idea to have your first dance at the same time your evening guests arrive?  Do you want to empty the dance floor half way through the band’s first set because food is being served?   In an ideal world you want to maximise the amount of time you can enjoy the band for. 5.  Think about logistics

5.  Think about logistics

The most important thing to consider is if you’re asking a band to set up in the same room where you’re eating.  The average band needs an hour and a half to set up, some can rush that through in an hour.  If your speeches run late are you allowing the band enough time to set up, and do the venue know to clear the path for the band to set up before they start work on the rest of the room? The most important thing to consider is if you’re asking a band to set up in the same room where you’re eating.  The average band needs an hour and a half to set up, some can rush that through in an hour.  If your speeches run late are you allowing the band enough time to set up, and do the venue know to clear the path for the band to set up before they start work on the rest of the room?

The most important thing to consider is if you’re asking a band to set up in the same room where you’re eating.  The average band needs an hour and a half to set up, some can rush that through in an hour.  If your speeches run late are you allowing the band enough time to set up, and do the venue know to clear the path for the band to set up before they start work on the rest of the room? Some bands will arrive early to set up but there is normally an extra charge for this.  However you might be better off negotiating an acoustic set during dinner, so that the band will be there and set up most of their equipment for that.  This can drastically reduce the set up time for the evening.  If you have enough space.

Some bands will arrive early to set up but there is normally an extra charge for this.  However you might be better off negotiating an acoustic set during dinner, so that the band will be there and set up most of their equipment for that.  This can drastically reduce the set up time for the evening.  If you have enough space. 6.  Ask the band about song choices

6.  Ask the band about song choices

Some wedding bands specialise in a particular genre of music, others try to have a “something for everyone” set list.  Sometimes it’s worth asking that contemporary band that you love, if they’ll throw in a couple of “classics” to get the dance floor warmed up and keep everyone happy.

Some wedding bands specialise in a particular genre of music, others try to have a “something for everyone” set list.  Sometimes it’s worth asking that contemporary band that you love, if they’ll throw in a couple of “classics” to get the dance floor warmed up and keep everyone happy.

Most bands will let you be involved in the process of choosing their set.  At the very least it’s worth giving them a “Don’t Playlist”.  If your fiancé used to be married to a lady called Mandy then maybe tell your Barry Manilow impersonator to skip that one.