There are many factors that could rip your wedding asunder if you are not careful in your planning and cover all the details thoroughly. One pivotal aspect is finding the wedding entertainment that is right for you. Fortunately for us, the Philadelphia area is abundant with wedding entertainment in all sorts of forms. Traditionally, wedding receptions will feature either a live band or a disc-jockey providing the music for the occasion. Some couples will choose hiring a disc-jockey as they are generally cheaper and are less of a hassle in regards to coordinating setup, after all, a disc-jockey is one person with occasionally an equipment assistant. But perhaps a disc-jockey is not the right fit for the style of wedding you have envisioned, this is where a live band comes into the picture. A live band produces an atmosphere that a DJ cannot replicate, whether it is a classical orchestra ensemble or a contemporary cover band (think Adam Sandler in the Wedding Singer). Live bands certainly cost more than a DJ, but a bandleader will be able to do all the duties a DJ does and perhaps more! A DJ might be able to teach your wedding guests rudimentary dance numbers, but a bandleader will have your weddings guests shucking and jiving like none other! If you have decided on a live band, Philly has your back, you'll find the perfect match for your dream. We have some tips that will assist you in your selection.
It is advisable to have a venue reserved and a style chosen for your big day. If your budget calls for a traditional wedding, a professional wedding band would be more than sufficient. There are plenty of professional bands out there, but some might not be right for you, or more specifically, the special occasion. We suggest looking for a band that orients itself on weddings as they come with experience on how weddings traditionally flow and common issues that arise, they would know how to handle any delays without much deliberation, and your guests may never know an issue was present to begin with depending on how capable and experienced the bandleader is. There is no rule against using an inexperienced band, at least in relation to weddings, but it certainly is advisable to make sure the band carries themselves with plenty of professionalism and has a good amount of experience in other types of events. It depends on the type of atmosphere you wish to produce for your wedding. If a professional bar band is going to deliver the ambiance you desire, then book them, but make sure you trust the band leader with emcee duties. Booking live music isn't as simple as what you want to hear, you also need to consider the guests you are inviting. The best hosts prioritize their guests' overall happiness and comfort over many things, after all the guests are there to support you.
Gather some recommendations from friends, colleagues, and family members, especially those who have been recently married. You can also ask the coordinator of the venue you have reserved for their recommendations, most venues have built a rapport with many different vendors and entertainers, it is worth asking for their suggestion. Search Google and online wedding directories, read through reviews, testimonials, and general information they provide online. It is wise to go to their websites and watch any videos they have available online, take down their contact information, and any other relevant information. The band should be highly acclaimed and have a very visible online presence, they should tout their experience and customer satisfaction.
You should have a handful of bands that strike you a chord with you as good candidates, once you do, go ahead and start calling them for interviews. When you call, you may have to do your initial correspondence with a booking agent, but a bandleader should be available to deal with you directly after that point. Do not hire a band without becoming personally acquainted with at least the bandleader, a booking agent is woefully insufficient in every other regard besides selling the band! A booking agent will not be present the day of your wedding, and are not experienced with any issues that may arise of any sort besides scheduling a date and handling payment. If the band or booking agent is uncooperative, do not consider them as a candidate any longer. It's impossible for a band to give you the exact personalized atmosphere that you want if they do not wish to become acquainted with you!
Some questions you will want to ask the bandleader are as follows:
What kind of equipment does the band use, and what condition is it in? The band should come experienced and should possess plenty of knowledge of the equipment they are using.
Has the band ever played the venue you have booked for the wedding? It is advantageous to hire a band that is familiar with the location as they are already familiar with the technical strengths and flaws of the site, they may have an establish relationship with the staff which will translate to you having no headaches the day of your wedding in regards to setup.
How does the band handle the crowd? This is the most crucial aspect of the actual entertainment itself. Most professional bands are more than capable of covering and learning contemporary music, so what ultimately defines them is their stage presence and crowd control. Asking the band for a video demonstrating these qualities can be resourceful in determining if they are right for you. The bandleader should not be irritating, and should be able to manipulate the crowd with ease.
Does the band have a backup plan in case of emergency? Perhaps the band has a handful of reserve members, or they may have a separate band on standby in a worst case scenario. It is important to ask this question, because you do not want to be left in the lurch the day of your wedding, scrambling to find a replacement while the festivities attempt to roll on.
Once you get past the interview stage, inquire about their cost and demands. Some bands require to be fed, as a general rule, it is polite to just assume you should feed them, but some bands may refuse for various reasons. Some bands require a separate space for breaks and preparation. Get all these small details worked out in the contract, and have both parties sign before you place a deposit on their services. The rest of the balance due should be paid the night of your wedding, ideally during one of the breaks around the halfway point of the reception. This will ensure the band puts on a great and memorable performance for you as they will have the peace of mind that they are already paid, and will not have to struggle with the rest of the payment at the end of the night, not to mention they will have assurance that you are enjoying the entertainment! So with that handled, you can get down with the rhythm, and boogie to the music with your soul mate on the night of your wedding!