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Hiring A Professional Band

Deciding on a band: Every band should have a music list available for you to review. This will be helpful in deciding on a band. You may want to ask if the band is currently playing somewhere, then you can listen to their music style live and see their stage presence before you make a final decision.

Reserving a band: Reserve a band or orchestra for your reception immediately. There are only a limited number of Saturdays available, especially in peak wedding seasons. Popular bands and orchestras are often reserved up to a year in advance.

Setup requirements: The formality, facility, and size of your event will determine the type of music that is appropriate. Inquire about whether the site can accommodate dancing and has the area necessary for the musicians to set up and perform. Be very specific about getting the space and electrical requirements from the band so that you can accurately relay the information to your contact person at the facility.

Cut-off hours: When you make all the final arrangements with your facility, be sure to ask if they have any specified time cut-offs for music. Some facilities require that music be stopped as early as 10 p.m. for the comfort of neighboring homes, businesses, or other guests.

Background music and dancing music: Remember when reserving your music that the first hour of your reception or event is a time for introductions and mingling with guests. If your band begins playing immediately, you'll want to make sure that the music is background-type music that doesn't overwhelm and interfere with mingling. The band can be instructed at a certain time or by signal to pick up the pace of the music for dancing.

Keeping the flow going at the reception: It is a good idea to have a liaison between the bride and groom and the band. This person can instruct the band when it's time to play the "first dance" song. Many times the band leader will act as master of ceremonies, announce the cake cutting, throwing of the bouquet, and the garter toss. The best man can act as your designated liaison since he will be close at hand to coordinate the order of events with the bride, groom, and parents. This will help the day to flow smoothly for the bride and groom.

Be sure to ask about breaks: How many breaks will the band be taking and for how long? Will there be music provided during this downtime? Will the musicians require food and/or beverages? This could affect the total count given to the caterer.

What kind of band is appropriate: For a wedding with 50-75 guests, a three-piece band is appropriate; for 75-200, a four- to six-piece band works well.

NOTE: Make sure your contract is sound, and that your event won't be bumped for a larger engagement. A deposit is usually required.

10 Questions to ask your Band or Musicians:

  1. How many wedding have you performed at? Do you have references?
  2. How much time do you need to set up?
  3. How many people are in your group?
  4. Do you handle requests?
  5. Do you take breaks?
  6. Have you played at my venue?
  7. Do you bring your own equipment? If so, what?
  8. Do you have insurance?
  9. Can I hear a demo and will the players on the demo be performing at my wedding?
  10. What do you wear?

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