You've got the groom. You've got the dress. You've got lots of other details resolved. But have you resolved the music for your wedding reception? The process is simple but there are a few specifics you should consider.
NARROW BY GENRE: If you like a certain style of music (rock band, jazz band, blues band), then it's a good idea to search for that style of entertainment. Trust that your family and friends will like the type of music that you like - while keeping in mind age range and different backgrounds of your guests. Most good bands are experts in a certain type of style, but can occasionally throw in a special request to make grandma happy or switch to an iPod on a break to keep the kids dancing.
FINDING THE RIGHT BAND: You have an idea of what type of music you want to hear - but how do you find THE band? When it comes to booking a band, check out websites designed for live entertainment. One of the most popular sites is Gigmasters. A similar site is Gigsalad. Both of the websites have put the relevant information of groups on their sites so that you can determine the crucial details for your booking. Other wedding websites list vendors, but they don't focus exclusively on live entertainment. Regardless of where you find them, you should be able to view video clips and hear audio of any band's performance either through the band's website or YouTube.
ABOUT THE PLAYLIST: Once you've selected the genre and the band, there can still be a great amount of variation in what these guys will actually play on the gig. It's up to you how much control you want to have over the playlist at your wedding. Many bands come in with a fixed idea of what to play - their specialized set that is exactly what you hired them for! Other bands specialize in reading the mood of the crowd and are experts at driving the party. Both have strengths, but it's good to know in advance so you can adjust your expectations. If you have special requests, make sure to tell the band ahead of time so they have a chance to prepare.
NAME YOUR PRICE: Most bands have a certain range of prices they typically hire out for, but often respond to your budget as well! It's ok to name the price that you feel comfortable paying, and then be open to negotiation. Think about additional hidden costs (sound system, stage, dressing room or green room) and be clear on what the band needs and who is providing what. Once you agree on a price, you can expect to sign a detailed contract and may be asked to put down a deposit to reserve the date. (Tip: Contracts are serious! If you change your mind after signing a contract, you may lose your deposit. If you or the band changes the details or availability before the contract is signed, there is no further obligation and you can keep your deposit.)
FINAL DETAILS: You want to be sure the band has all the contact information for your wedding planner on the day of the event. It is often necessary to have someone coordinating the music between ceremony and reception, so if you have two different sets of musicians make sure they're communicating with each other and the wedding planner so everything goes smoothly. If you don't have a wedding planner, our advice is to appoint one. It could be someone in the bridal party or a relative, but it should be someone with a level head who can keep a perspective while you enjoy the day. There is nothing like the magic in the air when the right act and a well produced event come together.
The biggest job you have is to enjoy your wedding, and hopefully some of these tips will make sure that you can find a band that enables you to really celebrate your big day. Congratulations, and best of luck!
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