9 Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding Band

July 31, 2014


With all the prices stocking up like the venue hire, the catering, the dress, the flowers, and even the cake – it’s not hard to see why people baulk at many wedding function bands for their prices as it can tend to be one of the aspects to consider later in the planning checklist.

But to those who do wince upon being quoted a price, you have to ask yourself: What could I have done to save money on my wedding entertainment?

Now hindsight is all well and good, but if you’re in the pre-emptive stages of planning your wedding – or maybe you’ve just gotten engaged and that's why you're reading this – it pays to keep these simple tips in mind.

Read on for 9 ways to save money on your wedding music entertainment, but be warned, it's a little lengthy!

 Book early

OK yeah, it’s a fairly obvious one, but in the midst of sorting out your catering, measuring your guest list (and chopping it down a few notches!), and choosing a theme it can be a little hard to think to yourself: "Hey I need to get on booking that band right away before it's too late".

Just like most other businesses, many function bands are prepared to slightly lower their rates to ensure a steadier stream of income over a longer period. This means that by booking further in advance than most (over a year) you’re in a much better position to negotiate the wholly unpleasant aspect of the fee.

Book off peak

So there’s 52 weekends and only a some of them are actually considered ‘peak’ time for weddings.  Factor in corporate functions over the Christmas period as well as numerbous other events and a lot of function bands are going to be pretty heavily booked during peak time.

Now, by heavily booked that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get a spot, what it does mean is that they’re a lot less likely to be in a position to offer deals, discounts, extras or whatnot as they have more clients ready to book them. Simple supply and demand really.

Taking your wedding date 'off the beaten track' to early sping or late autumn months might just help you squeeze that much more out of your budget.

 Explore their versatility

Music to play at the aisle and during the ceremony? Check. Band for the reception? Check. DJ to play afterwards? Check.

Notice anything that could be done about this? Many members of wedding bands are versatile across a few musical disciplines so it may well be cheaper to ask one member to act as your DJ for the evening - or perhaps one or two members could play the aisle music? It always helps to ask.

Also, a lot of bands vary from 3 piece to 4 piece, 6 piece and maybe even 9 piece – dependent on what kind of band you’re going for – so it helps to maximise the return on your entertainment by booking the band on a ‘needs’ basis. Do you need that extra horn section? Maybe, or maybe not. Let your budget do the talking.

Streamline the process

Whilst you’re usually paying for a couple 45 minute sets with a wedding function band, that’s not really all that you’re paying them for. You’re also paying for their travel time, their set up time and their sound checking excetera.

To help cut down on the time the band are working at your ceremony, comb through your itinerary and liaise with the venue to make sure that your schedule is as efficient as possible in regard to getting the in, set up, soundchecked, and out as quickly as possible.

 Check out your venue

Where is your venue in relation to the band? Does your venue have a PA on site? Does it have any equipment that would help the band lower their travelling costs? Maybe microphones, amps, whatever helps.

If so, make that known when you go to book your band as they very well might be able to drop their rates for the convenience of not having to travel as far.

Or if your venue has all of the necessary equipment, you could negotiate cutting the costs of hiring the extra equipment from the band and use whatever is on-site (your wedding venue will likely be happy to help with explaning what they have).

Be flexible

Being flexible gives you the advantage of choosing exactly what is best for your wedding theme, your venue and most importantly, your budget. Luckily, there are many acts out there with a massive variety of styles and quality to fit the bill.

Of course, a premier UK function band is going to charge more than an up-and-coming band simply due to more praise and recommendations, but looking toward less popular acts does mean you'll end up paying less.

Whilst the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ does hold some weight, it’s not necessarily the decisive factor in who is going to be the best band to hire for your wedding.

  Go acoustic

Maybe you haven’t quite decided on what you’d like your wedding entertainment to be yet and are a little torn between the worlds of a full blown out live sound or a slightly more reserved and ambient acoustic set.

As they don’t (usually) need to haul heavy or expensive equipment, acoustic acts can sometimes be a little cheaper.

However if your guestlist is particularly large, any music will need to be amplified – but having a wandering acoustic set can be a cost-efficient way to provide that entertainment you’re searching for.

Ask around

It’s true that a lot of the bigger bands get their bookings by word of mouth, sure. But asking around you shouldn’t just limit yourself to family and friends.

Post on forums, read some blogs (well you’re probably doing that otherwise you wouldn’t be here) and well, ask us. We’ve been booking bands for weddings for over 20 years and that gives us a certain level of knowledge when it comes to picking the right band for your style.

Don’t be afraid, pop us an email and you’ll be directed to our dedicated weddings team (who you can even follow on twitter) that’ll help you make the best wedding possible.

 Take your time

Huh? but you said I should do it as early as possible!

I did, but why limit yourself to a certain time frame that you must book your band in. The more time you leave yourself to pick the right entertainment means that you’ll end up more content as a result.

Don’t deliberate for too long, but do make sure you give yourself an ample time period to pick and choose the right act for your budget and your desired style.

DO keep in this in mind

As a caveat, scrimping too hard on the entertainment for your wedding day is a disaster waiting to happen, it's always possible that you’ve paid too little or too late and as such, there's a slight chance that it might fail to live up to expectations.

With your wedding day – for most people – being the most special day of their lives, why risk something so important in helping break the ice and get everyone feeling as great as you do?

Get in touch with us

If you’d rather leave your wedding entertainment in the hands of experienced professionals, Sternberg Clarke have over 20 years of experience in booking entertainment and we’re a recommended supplier at around 100 venues across the country.

Get in touch with us if you’d like to find out how we can suggest and book the perfect live music for your wedding ceremony and reception.

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By Stephen Warr