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How to Find and Hire a Live Wedding Band

Weddings are attended by family and friends of all ages, from infants to the elderly. If you want to enjoy a packed dance floor all reception long, it's important to make sure the band you hire is versatile, meaning they play songs that everyone will enjoy, from jazz standards to classic rock to Disco to current Top 40 hits and everything in between. Just because you love Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, doesn't mean everyone will. That's why it's smart to book a band that can play something for everyone.

So where do you start looking? Wedding venues and planners are two excellent sources for information. They have been involved in the planning of many weddings and receptions and have seen first hand lots of wedding bands. They know which ones consistently get rave reviews and which ones are duds.

Who Should You Ask for Recommendations?

Wedding planners and venues often have their favorite band booking agents, who offer the best entertainment, who they will recommend highly. Asking for advice and opinions of these venues and planners is a great way to begin your search for the perfect live wedding band.

Asking your friends and family is the next logical source. Have they, or do they know of anyone who has hired a sensational wedding reception band? Just about everyone has at some time been invited to a reception or party where a live band has performed. Find out if your family members or close friends have any suggestions from first hand experience.

If you come up empty after talking with planning professionals, wedding venues, friends or family, it's time to take to the internet. The Web is a vast shopping ground for music entertainment, and can be the best place to find an incredible band, but if you don't pay attention to potential red flags you could easily end up with an inferior music group and a dull party.

Should You Deal Directly With the Band?

The ideal way to find a great wedding band is to first find a reputable band booking agency. They know the available talent pool and can help ensure you hire someone that is talented, dependable and puts on a great show. If you decide to deal directly with a band, and forego the booking agent, the risk of hiring a substandard band will be greatly increased.

Dealing directly with a band can sometimes be advantageous, but you also run the risk of being duped. There are many ways a band can take advantage of an unsuspecting client, by not telling you about a better, more experienced, or cheaper band just around the corner, by displaying videos on their website that show a talented band that includes members who will not actually be in the band for the actual performance at your reception, and many other ways.

Going through a seasoned and honest booking agent is the best way to avoid the conflicts of interest that can occur when dealing directly with the band. An agent has many wedding music bands at their disposal and they won't care which one you choose. They just want you to be happy with the choice because they know you will never come back to them in the future if they disappoint you now. The goal of a reputable booking agency is to make sure the band you hire will make you happy.

Red Flags to Watch Out For

That being said, if you are determined to sidestep the agent and book a band directly, there are a few red flags that you need to be aware of. Never hire anyone that doesn't have a website. Chances are, if the band is professional, they'll have a website. And on their website, you'll want to see a video of them, preferably in a live performance. Some dance bands look and sound good in a promotional video, but then disappoint in a live performance setting. If you can go see them perform live before hiring them, all the better. It's best to perform due diligence when trying to determine if they are the perfect fit for your special day.

Whether you use the help of an experienced entertainment agent or talk with the talent directly, don't be afraid to ask questions. Get the answers you need before signing on the dotted line.

Questions that Need to Be Asked

1) Is the band available on your date?

2) Do you have a video showing clips from a live wedding performance?

3) Do you have references from satisfied clients?

4) Are the musicians in your video the ones who will be playing at my reception?

5) What will you wear at my wedding?

6) How much do you charge and what does that fee cover?

7) How many hours will you play for that price?

8) Do you provide the lighting and sound system for that price?

9) How many breaks will you take and how long will they be?

10) Will you learn and play a special song for me?

11) Do you play recorded music during the breaks?

12) What is your cancelation policy?

There are certainly other questions you can ask, but all of them should be answered to your satisfaction. After all, it's your special day and it's important to do whatever you can to ensure an unforgettable event, not just for you, but for all in attendance. You can have the best food and the most dazzling decorations, but if the entertainment is bad the party will be dull. If you do your homework, the chances of planning the perfect reception, one that will last forever in your memories, is very high.

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