Music has an important role to play at any wedding. From the tune that you choose to walk down the aisle and the music playing while you dine to that all-important first dance song and your DJ set list, music can (and should be) heard during every part of your big day.
And for good reason. Music is scientifically proven to promote the release of feel-good chemical dopamine, leaving listeners having the time of their lives. When it comes to wedding music, nothing beats the ambience created by a live musician or band. But with so many live acts to choose from, how can you select the band or musician that adds even more magic to your special day?
In this blog post, we reveal how to hire the perfect live band for you and what to expect from your act on, and in the run up to, your wedding date.
How far in advance should I book a live act?
Whether you’re planning a wedding in six months or years in advance, booking your live band or musician in advance is recommended, particularly if you have a certain act in mind. Many sought-after acts get booked more than a year in advance, so book early to avoid disappointment.
Before booking your live band however, make sure you find your wedding venue first. The live act you book will want to know what kind of space they’ll be performing in. Some venues may also have restrictions when it comes to live music.
Where can I find a live band?
Attending a gig together isn’t just a great excuse for a date night. It’s the best way to scout a live band for your wedding day. As well as listening to the music they play, observe how the band interacts with the crowd.
There are also a number of entertainment agencies that have live bands and musicians on their books. These agencies work with you to source an act that suits your taste, occasion and budget.
Asking for referrals is another great way to find a live band. Use trusted sources like friends, family members or your wedding coordinator to discover a great match for your event.
Can you ask the band to learn a new song?
The vast majority of wedding bands encourage couples to ask them to learn new material. Although they may have a limit to how many new songs they can learn.
Learning new songs may be beneficial for the couple getting married, but it also allows the band to expand their repertoire and showcase a greater set list to future clients.
Finalising your set list and giving those special requests for new songs to the lead singer in plenty of time is the key.
When should they be expected to play?
Your live band or musician can be with you throughout the day if you so wish. Upon request, live acts can provide music for the ceremony then rejoin the party when it’s time for the first dance and reception.
Musicians only booked to play at the reception will generally arrive once the wedding breakfast and speeches are done and dusted to set up their equipment.
How long should sets be?
Wedding bands usually play for two hours in total, but could be with you as long as four hours with setup and intervals. Sets start at times you agree in advance, with your chosen set list split and performed throughout the evening. The Wedding Secret offers their insight into how these sets are typically divided:
“The musicians will split this two hour playing time into sets with breaks in between. Work with them to arrange these however you wish depending on your requirements. Most bands will offer three 40-minute sets of live music, but two 1-hour sets or four sets of 30-minutes are also fairly common. Two hours of live music is usually more than enough to provide a fantastic main event for the evening reception.”