The Bride Guide: The Entertainment
On today’s Bride Guide, we have Tiffany from Special Notes stopping by with tons of information a couple should think about when considering wedding entertainment for the ceremony and reception.
When should a bride be booking entertainment for a wedding? How far out from the event?
I recommend musicians 9 months 12 months out because professional musicians have a pretty busy schedule and can become booked quickly.
What should a bride expect when budgeting for entertainment?
Bands can be more expensive, probably 3 times more costly than a DJ. The same band that is a hit at a bar may not be the best for a wedding environment. Look for a band that is familiar with special events and weddings. Of course a solo violinist will be less expensive than a string trio, so a bride could get a little creative with their music budget to try to fit in all the elements they want.
Are there certain things a bride should look for in a contract with entertainment?
Make sure there is a signed contract; don’t book someone on word of mouth or a handshake. Most bands have a rider in a contract that stipulates their needs, which can include food, electricity, dressing rooms, travel arrangements. etc. Make sure to read this completely before signing so you know what you are agreeing to.
Be weary of anyone that wants full payment when signing your contract unless it is a well respected professional that is highly recommended from others in the wedding industry. Don’t write big checks to complete strangers. Look online for reviews and ask for referrals from other wedding professionals. Expect to pay in full before the event date, but not at your first meeting. Usually 2 weeks prior to the event the remaining balance must be paid.
What needs to be provided for the entertainment?
Those providing the entertainment should always speak to the venue before the event to make sure they have everything they need. Specifically electricity can be an important element that needs to be professionally accessed.
If you are having an outdoor wedding, you must provide cover from sunlight as well as rain. Even on nice days, the string groups & musicians must be under some sort of shade or tent as the hot direct sunlight can damage the instruments.
What are mistakes brides should avoid when searching for or hiring a musical guest?
Recommendations from wedding professionals can help you avoid a ton of mistakes. If you have never heard of someone and can’t find anyone that has or any reviews, take time to research them online, ask to meet them in person or talk to them over the phone, and definitely get a signed contract. You get what you pay for, and by hiring someone that is extremely cheap you may lose the knowledge and experience that comes with hiring a working professional in the industry. There is much more preparation involved than the 4 hours they are playing your event. If a DJ is really cheap, ask yourself what does his equipment look like? Are they reliable? Will they be able to set-up music to play at both the ceremony and reception if needed for both? Do they know how to entertain and keep a party dancing or will they just hook up a playlist to a speaker? Does the DJ have adequate liability insurance on all of the equipment?
Do you have any tips a bride should know when deciding on what types of entertainment?
The number one thing is the budget. Live bands are more expensive than DJs. Venue size and restrictions will also have an impact on the decision. Some smaller venues may not allow live bands. A larger wedding may want a larger ensemble.
The kind of the music you want can be a big decider. Those that prefer modern off the radio genres of music would most likely prefer a DJ. Traditional brides often prefer stings when walking down the aisle. When trying to choose between acts, most bands have a specific genre and will have a smaller musical range than a DJ that plays all types of tracks.
How does your booking process work?
Everyone books different, but for Special Notes we use our website to feature different live bands separated into genres as well as strings, DJs & options for up lighting. When a bride decides to book with us, we send a contract, with 20-50% deposit required.
Photos by Perfect Capture Photography