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Ask the Expert: What Do I Need to Know About Hiring a Band for My Wedding?

Expert: Deno Taglioli, Emerald City Band

Why do some bands cost more than others?

Quality entertainment can make all the difference at a wedding reception. Choosing the right band can make your reception and take your party over the top, helping to create an experience that will be remembered for years to come. Here are some common areas that influence band pricing:

Dates – Saturdays vs Friday/Sunday.

It’s no secret that Saturdays take the cake when it comes to the most popular day of the week to get married. Saturdays work well for out-of-town guests and give everyone the next day to recover. There are certain Saturdays and holiday weekends that generate increased client interest that may contribute to increased pricing. Examples include December Saturdays, which are popular for corporate holiday parties; New Year’s Eve; and spring and fall weekends when the weather is generally better for events. If you have the flexibility, a Friday or Sunday will get you better pricing across the board, so keep this in mind when setting your wedding date.

Event Location.

Our bands are based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and operate at a certain price point for local performances. When the band travels out of town, there are some additional travel and production costs to consider. We work with every client to customize these expenses at the best price possible.

Band Size.

Generally speaking, the more musicians on stage, the more a band costs.

Additional Services/Add-ons.

Additional services provided can also increase the price of your wedding band. Providing live music for cocktail hour, ceremony sound, a DJ, or added performance time are just a few examples of add-ons.

Entertainment Agencies.

An entertainment agent may add a percentage fee for their work. Dealing directly with the band and its management company allows you access to the best price.

 

What are some variable costs to consider when hiring a band for my wedding? 

Supply and Demand.

If your favorite band is also the favorite band of other couples who are getting married, their availability could be limited. Be prepared to pay more for the services of a high-demand band.

Reputation.

A wedding reception is a once-in-a-lifetime affair. You can’t “re-do” a reception, so the band has to get it right the first time. I always tell clients that finding a band is like finding a doctor. Be sure to get referrals from sources you trust. Every company’s job is to promote its products as the “best in town.” It has been my experience that getting third-party testimonials from people who have no skin in the game and who have used the band before is a great starting place to find the perfect entertainment for your event.

Make the Call.

In the modern age of the internet and social media, it can be difficult to discern what’s real—and what isn’t. The first step is to make the call by evaluating some things. Are customization and flexibility offered, and are you treated with respect? What is the performance and vibe of the band? If you’re not sure, go see them live and find out. Notice if they are interacting well with each other and with the audience. Also, find out about the make-up of the band. By this I mean that it is entirely possible to see one group at a live showcase, only to have an entirely different group of band members show up for your big day. Know upfront if this could be the case to help make your decision.

Protect Yourself.

Be careful of high-pressure sales tactics. Don’t feel rushed. If you feel you’re being pressured to make a quick decision, tell the salesperson you’ll call back. Be prepared to walk away if you hear the price quoted is only good until tomorrow, or something similar. For example, be wary if you hear that the band’s price is usually $10,000 but for today only, it’s $5,000. Another technique companies use to sell bands at a discounted rate is to sell the same band they’ve already sold to other multiple clients. They do this by selling the same band name multiple times and populating each band with freelance musicians. There are problems with this business model that can create numerous reception liabilities.”

 

About the Expert: At Emerald City Presents, our bands perform together as a team night after night. For each of our bands, this adds up to more than 100 performances per year. This continuity allows us to develop unmatched musical chemistry, true flexibility, and customization that make each wedding like no other!  Being chosen to perform at a wedding reception is an incredible honor, privilege, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity we take very seriously. During the past 38 years, we have held ourselves to the highest standard of excellence. No matter who you choose, we hope your wedding reception is everything you want it to be. 

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