8 tips for choosing a great live wedding band

Musical director and founder of Simply Swing Band Sandra Lambert shares her 8 tips for choosing a great live wedding band

Here’s everything you need to know about making your live wedding band memorable.

1. Book a professional band

This may sound obvious but what works in a pub probably won’t work at your wedding. Always go for a professional live wedding band who are used to big events.Simply Swing - NYE

2. Which style of live band should you go for?

This really requires some thought. Niche bands such as barn dancing or Ceilidh bands are a great idea for SOME of the night. But after 3 hours, the novelty may begin to wear off. Check to see if the band offers a DJ service after their live performance to add variety. Or, try choosing a genre that’s more cross-generational – for example, a swing band can cross over into classic pop and soul or play swing versions of contemporary chart hits.Wiltons Music Hall Wedding

3. How much should you pay for a wedding band?

This depends of course on the size of band – the more musicians, the more expensive and the more complicated the sound rig, lighting and staging becomes. As a guide, based on a 5-piece band, apply the following:

  • Under £1,000: This will typically be a semi-professional or amateur band made up of a group of friends with a shared interest in music
  • £1,000-£1400: A decent semi-professional or full time professional band
  • £1,400-£2,200: A good professional band
  • £2,200 upwards: You’re being ripped off! Five musicians (even with their own roadie) should not cost this much. There is probably a middle-man such as an agency or management company (or both) that’s involved somewhere along the line taking a hefty cut

Wedding Purse

4. Don’t get hung up on your wedding timeline

You meet with your planner, you meticulously plan out the entire day right down to the speeches and then something entirely beyond your control pushes the timings out slightly. An experienced band will be used to this and will re-arrange their sets on the fly to suit the new timings.
Brixton East Band

5. Most bands don’t need an early set-up

Most wedding venue coordinators will tell you to have the band set up before you sit down for your wedding breakfast. In an ideal world, that’s a great option but it will, inevitably, cost you more. A band that you want set up by 2.30 pm that doesn’t need to play until 8.30 pm is going to charge you for the 6-hour privilege! The perfect time for your wedding band to set up is the ‘comfort break’ between the meal and the dancing, when the catering staff clear the tables, remove them completely or even lay down a dance floor.Pianist

6. Think about your first dance

Do you want to be the centre of attention with a choreographed first dance? Or, do you want your guests to join you on the dancefloor halfway through the song? Whatever you decide, make sure you communicate this to your band.South Farm Wedding First Dance

7. Let the band choose the playlist

Don’t be tempted to choose the playlist for your band; a professional band will know how to run your party. What works at some parties may not work at others so leave it to the band to watch the dance floor and to work with your guests. You can always suggest half a dozen or so songs that you especially want played and the band can work them into their sets at an appropriate time during the evening.Langham Hotel Wedding Singer

8. Be at your own party

This may sound a little strange, but make sure you’re on the dancefloor too and that you actually dance with your new husband or wife! Remember, your guests want to be where you are: it’s your day.Guests Dancing

Find out more about professional live wedding swing bands.

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