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Wedding Band Booking Guide: 2020 Prices, Hiring Advice and FAQs

Wedding Band Dance

Hiring an incredible musicians for your wedding reception is the perfect way to guarantee your guests will be dancing all night long. From Michael Jackson to Bruno Mars to Rock n Roll, there are so many different types of bands for your big day. For most couples, it’s the first time booking live musicians, so knowing where to start can feel like quite the task.

Browse all Wedding Bands → 

In this guide we’ll cover everything you need to know to make the process of finding and booking the perfect band for your live wedding music a quick and easy experience.

If you’ve already decided to hire a Wedding Band and you’re looking for available options, you can either:

“We love playing at weddings because it’s always a happy atmosphere – everyone is there to celebrate the love of the couple and to have a great time.” – Encore band, The Nanna Radleys

Contents

  1. The Basics
    – How many people are in a wedding band?

    – What are PAT and PLI and should my band have them?
  2. Equipment & Setup
    – How much space does a wedding band need?
    – What do I need to provide when booking a wedding band?
    – What does the band provide?
    – Can a wedding band play outside?
    – How long will the band play for?
    – Can they provide a DJ service?
  3. Music
    – What are the five most popular songs?
    – Can the band play my favourite song?
  4. Booking
    – How far in advance should I book?
    – How much does a wedding music band cost?
    – Do I have to play travel fees/porterage?
    – How do I handle contracts and payment when booking a wedding band?

This article is part of our Wedding Advice series. For more advice, take a look at our comprehensive guide: Ultimate Guide to Hiring Wedding Musicians: Everything You Need to Know and FAQs


 

The Basics of Booking a Wedding Band

How many people are in a wedding band?

Typically a wedding band will comprise 4-5 musicians. The line up will feature lead vocals, bass, guitar, drums and keys. For bigger spaces, larger line up bands can be found featuring additional instruments such as trumpet, saxophone and additional vocalists. If space is at a premium, then looking at a 3 piece / Trio option could be a great way to go.

What are PAT and PLI and should my band have them?

PAT stands for portable appliance testing, making sure that all electrical equipment is safe to use. PAT certificates need to comply with your venue’s insurance policy, and they generally need to be no more than 12 months old. You can find out more about PAT on this article: Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) explained.

PLI stands for Public Liability Insurance, or third party insurance. PLI covers damage to another person or their property during your event – for example, if one of your guests tripped over the band’s amp, PLI would insure this.

All professional bands should have PLI, and your venue is likely to require it. Encore bands with PLI will have a badge on their profile so you can verify this easily.

Encore band, Alleycatz

Equipment & Setup

How much space does a wedding band need?

A six-piece band would need at least 5 x 3 meters. Remember that it’s not just the people – the band will also have to fit the PA, monitors, lighting, guitar amps, drums, and keyboards.

Encore Party Band, MK & The Misters
Watch the band to see how much space they need – and to hear some great tunes!

What do I need to provide when booking a wedding band?

  • A power supply to hook up all the amplification equipment. They may also need chairs without arms.
  • The band will appreciate a meal as there is generally no time for them to leave the venue to eat.
  • Parking, as the band will have a lot of kit to transport. If there is no parking near the door, they must be able to unload near the door and then move the car.

What does the band provide?

  • Keyboard: most bands will prefer to use their own keyboard which they will bring with them.
  • PA system: most wedding bands will bring their own amps, although sometimes they use the venue’s PA system.

Can a wedding band play outside?

If it is warm enough and there is a marquee/gazebo that completely covers the group and provides safety for the electrical equipment, this is perfectly possible. Don’t forget they would need access to a nearby power source!

How long will the band play for?

Bands usually play either two x 1-hour or three x 40-minute sets with a 15 – 30 minute break between sets. Make sure not to schedule your band during the dinner!

Your band will also need roughly an hour and a half for setup and soundcheck.

“We love energising audiences – a packed dance floor is guaranteed!”
-Encore band, Halfway to New York

Can they provide a DJ Service?

Most bands will provide play-listed music through their PA system before and in-between their live sets so gets can get in the mood and the party atmosphere keeps going.  This is complimentary for most bands though some may charge slightly extra.  If you’d like a DJ service after the final live set until the end of the evening then most bands provide this for between £150-£250 on average.

Music

When you are wondering how to pick wedding band music, we think the best people to ask are the bands themselves. Whether you are looking for good wedding music to dance to or background music for your general wedding entertainment, the bands set lists are a great place to start for inspiration.

What are the five most popular wedding band songs?

Our top bands say these five songs are amongst the best wedding bands music:

  • Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
  • Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
  • All Of Me – John Legend
  • You’re All I Need To Get By – Marvin Gaye
  • I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing – Aerosmith

Can the band play my favourite song?

Absolutely! Bands are experts in live music and usually have a wide range of chart hits and party songs in their set lists. If they don’t know your song, they can learn it especially for you which may add an additional fee to your booking, but is well worth the extra expense to hear your favourite song played just for you.

It’s worth remembering that a band will know which songs keep the dance floor packed and which songs will change the vibe, so give them your favourite tunes and let them keep the party buzzing.

Encore band, The Supreme Collective
Booking

How far in advance should I book?

We advise booking as soon as possible as the best wedding bands are often booked up a year (or more) in advance. However, we handle last-minute bookings at Encore and can easily find a wedding band at short notice.

How much does a wedding music band cost?

Each band will set their own rates, but a fee of around £200-£500/person for two hours of playing is a typical amount. So for a 4-person band, expect to pay £800 – £2000 and for an 8-person band, between £1600 – £4000.

Here’s a full guide to our typical pricing for wedding bands:

3-person band:

  • 1 hour: £450-£800
  • 2 hours: £600-£1500
  • 3+ hours: £900-£2000

4-person band:

  • 1 hour: £600-£1000
  • 2 hours: £800-£1800
  • 3+ hours: £1200-£2500

8-person band:

  • 1 hour: £1200-£2000
  • 2 hours: £1600-£3600
  • 3+ hours: £2400-£5000

We allow you to ask for tailored quotes for your event so you can specify your budget as you request a band.

Encore band, The Party Manifesto

Do I have to pay travel fees / porterage?

You may have to factor in travel costs if the band is not local. Most musicians have a set radius from their home (generally 15-20 miles) and charge extra for any travel outside that area. Encore have wedding bands all over the country, so we can usually find someone close to your location (and when you search our site, you can filter by location to find bands near you).

The standard rate is £0.47 per mile, per person, so if the band needs to travel 50 miles each way, that’s an additional £47/person for 100 miles of travel. This amount is included as a rough guide – each band will set their own fees.

Encore function band, Echoes

How do I handle contracts and payment when booking a wedding band?

The easiest way to handle contracts and payment is to book through Encore. Once you have confirmed a booking with your chosen band, contracts and payments will be handled automatically by Encore Pay, our secure payments system and you’ll have peace of mind with our robust cancellation policy.

Wedding Dance

What’s next?

Hopefully this guide answers all of your questions! If you have more questions about wedding bands, email us at [email protected] and we’d be more than happy to help.

If you’re ready to hire a Wedding Band:

 

James McAulay

Encore Co-Founder & CEO. Cellist, pianist, singer and aspiring guitarist.

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