A live band can be a great addition to a wedding party, and really contributes to the atmosphere. If you want one at your wedding though, there are a few things you must consider.
Never book a band without seeing them perform. Some bands will advertise as a ‘live’ band when it’s not a full set but instead just a singer with a backing track. Make sure you know exactly what you are getting and that you get to hear a set so you know how they sound. Don’t just listen to a recording. If they have no upcoming shows, ask to view some of a rehearsal on Skype.
It can be tempting to book a tribute to your favorite band, but make sure they’re appropriate for a wedding party. A tribute band that does covers of one band’s songs and then also has a wide repertoire of other party-appropriate tunes is a good idea. Booking a heavy metal or classical band for your evening party is not such a good idea, as you’re not likely to get many guests dancing to their music. Make sure it’s something everyone can enjoy.
When booking your band, it’s important to check that your venue will allow it first. Some places have in-house entertainment which comes with the wedding package, and may not want you to book alternative entertainment. Check the venues conditions and negotiate if necessary before you pay a deposit to book any evening entertainment.
Make sure your band has insurance, in case any instruments get damaged or someone gets injured by their kit. A responsible venue is likely to only allow insured acts to play, so ask about this before you hand over any money. Also make sure all of their electrical equipment has been tested to make sure it’s safe. It’s a good idea to suggest that the band, or at least one member, goes to the venue beforehand to make sure they’ve got enough room to set up and that everything they’re bringing is approved by the venue, to save having any upset on the big day.
If the band visits the venue beforehand they can also arrange a time to set up and do a sound check. This should not be done when your guests are present, so make sure they have arranged to do this whilst your ceremony is still underway. You don’t want your speeches to be interrupted by ‘testing, one, two, testing!’ and someone tuning a drum kit.
Finally, keep a paper trail of everything that has been discussed and agreed on. By negotiating over email and writing everything down, you have a solid record of what was promised. Get them to sign an agreement if you’re particularly worried, so should anything go wrong, you have recourse. It’s a good idea to take this approach with everything you book for your wedding, not just a band.