Booking entertainment for your wedding day is a huge decision. It’s going to be one of the most memorable things about your big day! There are all kinds of things to look out for to make sure you make the best possible choice – here are my top tips for booking your wedding entertainment:
1. Ask for a reference/testimonial
Even if it’s on their official website, make sure you get it from the horse’s mouth – it’s no surprise that some people make their own reviews up! Better still, if they have a Facebook page, look for some positive comments posted by their clients so that you can approach them directly.
2. Are they insured?
A professional musician or band should have a valid public liability insurance certificate (this is also sometimes referred to as professional indemnity insurance). Your venue may even ask you to provide a copy of this certificate- if they cannot then you run the risk of the venue not allowing them to perform.
3. Don’t automatically pick the cheapest option
Booking a musician, singer or band is the same as any other professional service – you always get what you pay for. At best a very cheap band could be comical, at worst it could turn into a disaster! On the flip-side, be wary of bands that inflate their prices for weddings – this is totally unacceptable.
4. Give clear guidelines about what you want from them
Most professional musicians will have a list of songs that you can pick from, to give an idea as to what atmosphere they need to create on the day. I often ask brides to think about what they definitely don’t want as well as their favourites. Remember, it’s your day, so if a band try and dictate what they want to play – walk away! You should be able to pick their entire setlist if you want to.
5. Ask if they’ll take requests
In my opinion the answer to this question makes the difference between an average performer and a great performer. If a band want to simply work through a static list of songs, that’s great, but if your guests can request songs on the fly, it’ll make them feel involved in the day and may even lead to a few more memorable moments!
6. Make sure you have a contract
This contract should state what their fee includes, as well as arrival/start times, finish times, and any extras that you might be required to include. For example, some performers will supply all of their own equipment, but others may wish to use your DJ’s speakers to save on cabling. Some other points that you should look out for in a contract are cancellation fees, and what they have in place should they fall ill?
7. Go and watch them perform
Some party bands charge upwards of £3,000 for a wedding booking – would you ever spend that kind of money on anything else without seeing it for yourself? Even if you don’t get to see your act perform live – arrange a face-to-face meeting so that you can talk through your ideas for your big day.
8. Use their network to book any other services you need
I’ve performed alongside many other wedding suppliers (florists, photographers, DJs, etc) and have a good list of people that I would always be happy to recommend having seen their services in action. If you’re struggling to find suppliers, why not ask your entertainment booking for some options? I’m a member of a network offering a fantastic selection of services, all with exclusive deals (click here for more
9. Look after your act
If an act is performing from 8-midnight, they will need to set-up mid-afternoon and won’t be heading home until after 1am – that’s more than a full working day at your venue (not including the time it took to travel there and back). Check with your venue to see about offering a simple meal (sandwiches is fine) and somewhere to get changed before they perform. Trust me, it’ll make the world of difference.
10. Let them know what you thought
Most professional musicians receive the vast majority of their work through word of mouth and direct recommendations. Drop them a line to let them know how they did – if you use Facebook or Twitter, give them a mention after your day. Who knows, they might even return the favour by giving you or your guests a nice discount the next time you book them!