It’s finally happening; the day you have dreamed about your whole life- your wedding day. The date is set, you have chosen your venue, the invitations are being printed, the menu and cake have been chosen and you are now down to the final details- the entertainment. The age old question is, do you hire a DJ or a live band? And you came to the decision a live band is more fun for your guests, and your taste, but now- How Do I Choose?
Here are 5 easy steps to selecting just the right local band for your special day!
- Do they have a professional website and good marketing?: As you start to look around, you will find there are bands a plenty. You’ll hear things from friends like “Hey you should check out my cousins band?”
But really good, professional bands aren’t as easy to come by. The first line of screening is their online brand presence. Do they have a website? If so, when you visit their site, are there high quality photos? Are their professional music demo’s or video’s? Do they mention weddings? Are their testimonials? Is the set list visible and disclosed? Do they have a blog with helpful expert information? These are things to help you pass the first vetting process. If they only have a Facebook or Twitter page and no real web presence, I would dismiss. This usually means they are not considering their band as a real product. If they are not investing in themselves how can you expect them to invest in your special wedding day?
- Are they working regularly?: I know this sounds like a no brainer, but some band leaders can really talk a good game once you get them on the phone. If they are a professional working band, their calendar should be easy to find . If they have a pretty full calendar and are booked in advance they are in demand. Club owners can be the most discriminate fans of a band, so if they are booking a band regularly, they must be something special. Are you familiar with any of the venues the band is booked in? Are they good clubs in the area? Remember if a band isn’t working there is something wrong, and you don’t want to be their experiment on the most special day of your life.
- Go out and see the band and set a meeting with the band manager during their break: The best way to get the vibe of your entertainment is to go see them live in their natural habitat. Understand that the set list they play at that club, may be geared specifically for that clientele, just like it will be for your wedding. However, this will give you a really good idea on what type of entertainers they really are. Are they an actual show? Or just a background jukebox? Remember what people ask, “Do you want to go see a band tonight?” They never ask, “Do you want to go listen to a band tonight?” Really good entertainers have energy that is contagious with the crowd. Are the patrons dancing and involved? And last but not least, did you have fun personally? If you had fun just attending a club gig, imagine how much fun you will have when the entertainment is planned for you!
- Does the band have professional gear? I realize that you are most likely not in the music business, so how could you possibly know good gear from bad. However there are some very simple questions you can ask yourself. When you saw the band what was their light show like (or did they even have one)? Was the sound exceptional (or muffled and lifeless)? Did they have their own sound man (You would see this important addition to the band out in front actively turning knobs etc)? When you meet with the band manager, ask them if this is their gear etc. You can always tell a band that is proud of their equipment because they will give you more information than you care to hear. A “gearhead” is a good thing when it comes to your big day!
- Discuss budget and ask for a written contract: Once you have made your selection based on the other 4 metrics listed above, it is now time to book the band. Discuss your budget and ask for everything to be in writing. Does the contract include, all sound and lights? Emceeing the event? Will the band learn a special song or two for your premier dances and is that included? Will the band manager attend special planning dates with you and the venue? Expect that the band will ask for a deposit for the upcoming show as this is standard practice. Also make sure the contract includes start and end times, number of breaks and for how long, Etc. If a band does not operate with a contract, they are not a professional band. remember this contract commits them as well as you to the event. So this should be written to protect everyone.Be sure that all of this planning starts at least 5-6 months in advance. but understand that really popular professional bands are booked many times a year in advance. So start your planning now for you big event! Not only will hiring the right band make your event memorable, but the planning will be a lot of fun! Congratulations!
Keith Sauro is the band manager and bass player for The Suburbans Kansas City’s #1 dance party band. They are available for booking allover Kansas City and regionally. To find out more about The Suburbans for your Wedding or private event go to www.suburbanskc.com . Or click hear to see their promo video.