Save some essential cash with these useful wedding music hacks, and you’ll find there are ways of still having all the live music you want on your big day without blowing your budget…
SOURCE LOCAL TALENT
It’s always smart to consider the logistics involved in getting your wedding band to your wedding venue – and these logistics will be much simpler and less costly if you book locally. You may have found the perfect wedding band for your reception in Surrey, but paying for them to travel from Aberdeen is a trifle unnecessary when there could be a perfectly decent alternative closer to home. A quick internet search will yield hundreds, if not thousands, of results – just remember to tack your hometown onto the end of the search term.
You’ll always get the best rates from your mates, so if you’re lucky enough to have some musically-minded friends whose musical style you appreciate, consider them for your wedding entertainment. Be careful to agree everything in advance, and treat them with the same respect you would any other professional wedding band, lest you tarnish the friendship – although you could knock a few pennies off their fee and say it’s their wedding present to you!
BOOK LAST MINUTE
This may seem like a risk, but it’s a calculated one. Strangely enough, when it comes to booking a live wedding band, there’s such a thing as being too organised – or, at least, you’ll find you won’t get as good a deal if you book too far in advance. This option is probably more suited to couples with a less specific idea of what sort of band they want, as the closer your wedding date gets, the slimmer the pickings become. However, you’ll most likely be quoted some fantastic prices by bands who either have no bookings or have had cancellations. Professional musicians are always eager to work, even at a reduced rate, so don’t be afraid to leave this decision until the last minute and see what falls into your path.
HIRE FEWER MEMBERS
In short, the more members a band has, the more members a band has to pay. There are a few ways around this: forgo the band idea entirely and hire yourself a solo musician, like a pianist, guitarist or harpist – the best of which will be able to play creative interpretations of all the songs you wanted from your band, and will be also still able to provide you with the music you’ve chosen for your procession, recession and first dance. Or you could hire a duo or trio, whether it’s an acoustic folk duo, a jazz trio with a pianist, singers with backing tracks, or half a string quartet. Another option is to ask the band you’ve got your eye on if they ever perform with a stripped-down line-up. You’ll find a lot of wedding bands are prepared to do this – they’ll be well aware that weddings come in all shapes and sizes, and will want to make the most of each opportunity.
USE THE SAME ENTERTAINMENT FOR THE WHOLE DAY
It’s a popular choice among wedding planners to have both a wedding band and a wedding DJ for different points during the day, but this isn’t the most affordable road to go down. Increasingly, you’ll find wedding bands who offer in-house DJing as part of their own package – namely, one of their own members will fulfil the DJ duties for you between band sets. They’ll usually have already set their equipment up, which also minimises set-up time and saves on space. Hiring just one act simplifies your outgoing payments too. And let’s not rule out being your own DJ – if you’ve made a playlist of music you know your guests will love, you’ll find that most bands (when asked) will be more than happy to let you pump it through their PA.
DON’T BOOK WITH AN AGENCY
Agencies are a safer option, in as much as they’ll recommend a band that they’ve quality checked, offer you their services at a competitive rate and will help you find a solution if your band has to cancel – but they can often work out a little more expensive. If you know you can trust a band you’ve found who isn’t signed up to an agency, then by all means cut out that particular middle man.
While tying the not in the glorious sunshine with all your friends and family beaming in their finest summer-wear may seem like a dream come true, it’s also going to burn a much bigger hole in your wallet than a white winter wedding. If you can brave the cold, the November to April period is generally considered off-peak, so you won’t be charged nearly as much. Just remind your guests to bring their coats!
TIGHTEN UP THE SCHEDULE
Your wedding band’s meter will be racking up the pennies from the moment they set off for your venue to the moment they leave – so cut down this period as much as you can. Some couples are averse to the idea of the band arriving and setting themselves up whilst their wedding guests are sitting down for the meal, as it can be disruptive and detracts from the magic a little – the ideal situation seems to be that, once everyone’s finished eating, you can just open a door and the band’s suddenly there, ready to entertain. In reality, while you may hear a few strings being tuned and the phrase ‘one-two, one-two’ uttered a couple of times, it’s far more financially viable to only pay for your wedding band to be there as long as they’re actually needed.
In general, the quote a wedding band will give you will have been calculated with a midnight finish in mind. This may not have been your original plan, but partying into the small hours comes at a cost – and you won’t just be paying in lost sleeping hours. If you wind things down before 12 – or, at least, let your band go home before 12 – then you should still be well within budget.
I hope these tips will help you to save money on the cost of your wedding music so that you’ve got more of the budget to spend elsewhere (or save for the future!) Plus, I’ve been pinning more money-saving wedding ideas so have a look at my Pinterest boards @CassiefairyBlog. Please let me know your advice for getting a great price for your wedding entertainment in the comments below, I’d love to hear your tips or what you did at your own wedding to cut costs!