Everything to Know About Hiring Wedding Musicians

A trumpet player in a Mariachi band at a wedding.

Music is a key element to your wedding day. It’s literally the soundtrack of your relationship that you get to share with friends and family, as well as each other. While hiring a DJ or hooking up a playlist from Spotify is perfectly fine, there’s something about live music that can really make your wedding feel extra special. But before you go ahead and book the first maestro you hear, here’s a few things to know about hiring wedding musicians.

Budget Accordingly

A string quartet playing at a wedding.

It would be amazing if you can afford to hire Adele for your wedding, but most people have a strict budget to adhere to. Decide how much you want to spend on wedding musicians before conducting your search. There’s no sense in getting super excited over a band only to learn that they charge way more than your budget allows.

Another thing to consider is if you want various wedding musicians on your big day. For example, maybe you’d love to have a classical harpist for your ceremony and cocktail hour, but you’d prefer a jazzy swing band for the reception. Maybe you want the same musicians playing during multiple parts of the day, such as the ceremony and cocktail hour. There are no wrong answers, but know that if you’re going for two different sets of musicians, it’ll probably cost you more.

Book Early

You might not consider booking musicians to be at the top of your wedding to-do list; after all, isn’t reserving the florist and baker more of a priority? However, quickly locking in your favorite musician is something you want to consider. Many of the best wedding musicians out there are booked at least a year in advance, particularly in busier wedding months like June and September. (Make sure your wedding venue can accommodate a live band.)

Take Your Time to Research

A guitar player and drummer playing in a band at a wedding.

While you definitely want to book early, you also want to do your due diligence when it comes to selecting the perfect wedding musicians for your big day. Research them. Watch YouTube videos. Read reviews on various websites. It helps if you can get a personal recommendation from someone who’s either hired them or attended an event where they performed. Word-of-mouth recommendations from those you trust is typically the best way to go. If you’ve hired a wedding planner, ask them for suggestions. Maybe they’ve regularly worked with a band that they think you’ll love. You could also ask a wedding band to “audition” for you—but be prepared to pay them for their time.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

You need to know if a wedding musician will be the right fit for you no matter how many awesome personal recommendations you might’ve received about them. Besides asking the obvious like their availability and pricing, ask them about the size of their band and instruments so you can determine whether they can fit within your chosen venue. Also ask about their flexibility in terms of set lists. Are they open to suggestions and requests? Can they be spontaneous during the big day and play your best friend’s favorite jam or a classic song that your dad likes? Basically, you want music that works with your tastes and needs. You’ll also want to know how often they need to take breaks and what else they might need from you or the venue, such as additional equipment or lighting.

By taking your time with the process of hiring wedding musicians and knowing exactly what you want and asking the right questions, you’ll be able to set the right romantic tone to your big day.

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