One of the most important decisions you’ll make when planning your wedding is choosing the band you want to play your ceremony and reception. There are likely dozens of bands in your area to choose from, and narrowing the options down to the perfect one can be a pretty big undertaking. With so many bands out there, how do you choose the right band for your wedding?
We’ve been playing weddings together for over 10 years. In that time, we’ve identified a few things that you should be sure to ask before hiring a wedding cover band. Ask these questions below and you’ll be sure to choose the right one:
1. What’s included in the price?
This is the first question on our list because it’s possibly the most important question to ask. Often, couples need to stay within a fairly strict budget when planning a wedding, so it’s good to know from the very beginning what other services your wedding cover band provides — like MC duties, lighting and PA systems, and more. To learn everything that should be included, read our previous blog, 8 Things Your Wedding Cover Band Should Include in the Price.
2. How much space does the band need?
This is another important question to ask potential wedding bands. It’s good to know how much space your venue allows for musicians before looking for a wedding band. A typical 4-person band like The Cover Band needs a space that’s at least 15 feet wide and 12 feet deep, but the more musicians and instruments the band has, the more space they’ll need.
3. How much time do they need to set up and break down?
Timing is everything when it comes to the day of your wedding. Look for a band that doesn’t just show up on time, but gets there early to test sound equipment and instruments before playing. Most wedding bands will need an hour or two (we prefer 2-3 hours) to set up and run a sound check before playing, so make sure that this time frame works with your venue’s requirements.
4. Can the band play both the ceremony and the reception?
More and more couples now are opting to hire a wedding cover band for both the ceremony and the reception. This gives you less to coordinate on an already busy day, and it’s often a big more cost effective than hiring separate musicians. Most wedding bands will be happy to work with you to play both parts of your wedding … and they may even give you a discounted rate for the ceremony. Just make sure they know your ceremony music or can learn it before signing an agreement.
5. Can the band add extra members?
Just because a band doesn’t automatically include everything you want doesn’t mean they can’t. Most wedding cover bands have a core group of 2-5 people that play the majority of their events, but can add extra musicians upon request. For example, The Cover Band’s core group consists of keyboard, guitar, bass, drums, and male vocals. But we can also add female vocals, backup singers, a horns section, and more. So if your heart is set on walking down the aisle to cello music, or if you’ve always pictured your first dance set to a certain song, ask the band if that’s a request they can accommodate.
6. Can I request songs?
When shopping for a wedding cover band, it’s important to remember that the band members are skilled musicians, but they don’t have the entire world’s music library at their fingertips the way a DJ does. While most bands will be happy to play song requests, they’ll often need several days to learn and practice a song that’s not already on their song list (we ask for a 45-day heads up to learn a song). So if you plan to request a song, check with a band before hiring them to make sure they’ll have enough time to learn it. In the meantime, read our recent blog, Band vs. DJ: Why You Should Hire Live Music for Your Wedding.
When in doubt, ask more questions.
These are some of the most important questions to ask when looking for a wedding cover band, but when in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask more. Most wedding bands want to help your big day go off as smoothly as possible, and will work with you to make sure that you feel comfortable and have all of your questions are answered.
If you’re looking for a wedding cover band in the Jacksonville area, check out our frequently asked questions and what’s included in our price. Or if you would like to learn more about how we can help make your wedding day even more special, contact us.