Playing live music at a wedding is both background music and the main attraction, depending on what’s happening. While people arrive with gifts and stop to chitchat, you probably want lively music that doesn’t take center stage. During the reception, it’s a dance party!
You’re not going to hire two bands, so the band you hire needs to be able to read the crowd and switch appropriately. Here are more tips for choosing the right band for your wedding:
First, hire a professional videographer
What does a videographer have to do with a live band? Nothing, except if you hire an amateur videographer, their inexperience with audio can make an excellent band sound like they were playing in a tin can.
If you plan on watching your wedding video, handing it out on flash drives, or sharing it with others on YouTube, hire a professional videographer. A professional will capture the quality of sound you’ll be proud to share.
Choose a band with experience in your wedding venue
Each venue is different and presents a unique set of challenges for bands. Sometimes the stage is too small or awkwardly placed, or the sound system is shot. Often, specific equipment is listed as available, but when the band arrives, it’s nowhere to be found.
Local bands that play at your wedding venue frequently will know how to deal with potential problems because they will have handled them before. They’ll be prepared. For instance, The Grooves are a talented band out of Austin, Texas that specializes in weddings and play venues across the greater Houston area. When someone hires them for a wedding, chances are they’ve played the venue multiple times and know the ropes well.
Talk to the person in charge of your venue and ask for a list of bands that regularly perform. Knowing which bands frequently play at local weddings is another indication of a band’s potential. Reach out to as many venues as you can find and ask for a list of bands that play weddings. See if you can find them on YouTube to get a sense for their style. If you like what you see, check them out in person.
Go to some shows
Unless they come highly recommended, the only way to be sure about a band is to attend a live performance. Hopefully, you’re planning the wedding far enough in advance to be able to scope out your options.
Don’t limit yourself to large, paid-ticket venues. Talented bands can be found playing gigs at small bars, clubs, and even for free at park festivals.
Choose a band that can read and lead a crowd
It’s vital for your band to play the right music at the right time. The music played while cutting the cake should be different than what plays during the toasts. During the reception, when everyone’s dancing, the band needs to read a crowd’s energy level easily. Throughout the wedding, the band should know when to mellow the guests out, and when to pick them back up.
Also, a band should have a significant number of songs in their repertoire to tailor the music to the tastes of the crowd.
Don’t give the gig to a friend of a friend
“Hey, I know a band looking for a wedding gig.” If you hear this, you might want to run the other way. They’re probably trying to be helpful, but it’s not likely to turn out well. You might end up with something like this.
If you don’t want to be rude, ask your friend to email you a link to some live performances so you can evaluate their style. If they don’t have any live performances to show, tell them you can’t consider any band until you’ve seen them perform live.