How to Pick the Perfect Musician for Your Wedding

Wedding Music

Picking your wedding entertainment is a tall order.  Whether you pick a live musician/band or a DJ, you want someone who will keep your guests entertained and make your wedding day one to remember forever. 

If you’ve decided to go with a musician, small group, ensemble or band, there’s plenty of work left to do !  To help, we’ve developed a list of steps to follow when picking out musicians for your wedding. 

How to Pick Live Wedding Entertainment

1. Consider your budget.  As with everything else on your wedding day, music expenses can quickly add up.  If you’re getting married away from the city, you may have to pay a travel fee.  

In general, the bigger the band, the higher the costs.  The reason: In addition to paying for the time, talent, and experience of each individual member, you’re also paying for the transportation of all instruments and any necessary sound equipment. 

Research from The Knot found that the average wedding band costs more than $4,000.  With that in mind, it may be more affordable to search for smaller bands or even a quartet to keep your wedding day under budget. 

2. Consider what sort of music you want to hear for your wedding entertainment.  You have multiple moments to consider when picking music for your big day:

  • Wedding Ceremony
  • Cocktail hour
  • Introductions
  • Dinner
  • Reception

Each moment demands a different sound, and your ideal wedding musician or band should be capable of performing for each part. 

Another factor to consider: Many musicians specialize in a genre.  During your wedding music research, you may find:

  • Big bands
  • Cover bands
  • Traditional musicians and groups, including solo violinists, string duos, string trios, and string quartets

Some musicians specialize in specific styles and may not be comfortable outside of their musical zone, so keep that in mind when picking out a live act for your wedding.

Married couple at their wedding reception

3. Do your wedding entertainment research before making phone calls.  Your wedding band or performer will set the tone for the entire evening, so make sure you have someone you trust.  Internet reviews on WeddingWire, The Knot and Google are a good starting point.

But don’t stop there.  Check with your wedding planner or the venue for your wedding reception to see if they have someone they recommend.  These individuals often have trusted industry connections to help you find the perfect fit. 

4. Get specific with your questions.  Once you’ve narrowed it down to your favorites, ask specifics:

  • What’s on your play list ?  The song list will give you a better idea of what the band already knows—and it could give you new ideas for picking out your wedding playlist. 
  • Will you learn new songs for our wedding ?  This is a great question to ask even if the band or musicians already know all the music you want. 
  • How many singers and instruments are available ?  This question gives you better insight into what your wedding ceremony and wedding reception may sound like. 
  • Can someone in the band be our emcee for the evening ?  Having a great emcee is a must for your wedding, and many bands have a frontman or frontwoman who is charismatic enough to do an excellent job emceeing. 
  • How many breaks does the band need ?  This will give you a better idea of how much down time your evening will have. 
  • Can the band provide extras, like uplighting or photobooths ?  If so, you may be able to use their resources at a lower cost than through another vendor. 
  • Have you played at the venue before ?  If so, they are more likely to understand how the sound will travel in the space, letting them make any necessary adjustments before entertaining. 

Picking the right musician for your wedding doesn’t have to be difficult. By following a few simple steps, you can streamline the process and find someone your guests will love as much as you do.

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Steven Vance has provided high-quality corporate entertainment and wedding music for over 20 years and more than 10,000 special events in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, DC, Virginia, New York, and surrounding areas.

Steven Vance Entertainment
SVENTERTAINMENT LLC