How much should I pay for a Wedding Function Band?
How much should I be paying for a band for my Wedding?
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!
In this post we’re going to discuss the costs involved in booking a band for your wedding, along with examples of prices, and what can be done to get a better deal.
If you search the Internet or online forums around this topic, you’ll find a verity of responses from brides and grooms to be, around their opinions and desires for their big day. The first thing to remember here is that this is your day – so if you have your heart set on a live band, but budget might be a restricting factor, it should become the case of how to get the best out of your budget, rather than just settling for a DJ instead.
The DJ Effect
When looking for a band for a wedding, the bride and/or groom often come to realise that the price to hire a wedding band is more than they originally estimated or assumed. But let’s be honest, why would a bride and groom be expected to correctly estimate all costs? So when you start getting estimates, and realise perhaps you hadn’t known the ballpark price, it’s often easier to go with just a DJ instead.
Now, there are benefits to having a DJ, namely that they will play music all night – from guests arriving until the last dance of the night. But did you know that most bands now will provide a “DJ setup” for you – removing the need for a DJ when you book their band?
Don’t talk me out of it
If you’re thinking that a band is more than you expected, we’ve said above, most bands now will offer a free DJ service. So, don’t let someone talk you out of your dream to have a band play at your wedding with comments such as “a DJ is cheaper”. Yes, a DJ is, but when you’re paying £300-350 for a DJ, you could be putting this towards an amazing band who will also play music for the dance floor, as any DJ would do.
The price to book a band
So how much should it cost to book a band for a wedding, and what should you expect when booking a band?
Prices do vary, depending on location, size of band and sometimes date – with busier times of year demanding a higher cost, like many other services.
People generally report to be quoted somewhere in the region of £1200 upwards for a 5 or 6 piece band, and as much as £3000 if you’re getting married in London or surrounding areas.
The prices vary as there are often management fees included – it goes without saying that if you book through an agency or manager, that you’ll be paying more than if you had found a band for your wedding and booked them direct. So you can expect to be paying around 20%, sometimes more, on top of the bands standard price when booking through and agency, manager or middleman.
With the price you’re quoted, you should expect to receive:
- The band to arrive around 6pm
- Performances to complete by 11:30pm (11pm in some cases)
- Two sets of 45 to 60 minutes each. Sometimes flexibility of 3 sets for the same playing time quoted
- A booking contract, including any expected clauses or specific band requirement
- Public liability insurance, covering the band for at least £2m
- Travel, equipment, lighting etc to be included within the price, unless the band is travelleing a large distance, in which case expenses may be quoted separately
Prices for each musician
There are published guide prices set by the Musicians Union, providing guidance as to the amount which they expect musicians should be paid for performing.
As at April 2017, the guide for a function was set at £156, though it can often be the case that musicians are paid various prices below or above this. This is set out as a guide for professional musicians, and therefore although not a price that must be followed, this helps to give an indication as to how the price for a band can be made up.
Therefore, as an example, a 5 piece band charging £1200 through an agent could have their costs broken down as follows:
- 5 musicians at £120 each (£600)
- 1 sound & lighting engineer, including equipment (£300)
- 20% booking fee (£240)
Total, £1140, leaving a £60 buffer, for example to be put towards marketing & advertising the band.
So here in this example, each musician would be receiving £120 each, including travel to play for your wedding.
So realistically, we expect you should be paying somewhere in the region of £900-£1200 for a 5-6 piece band, outside of London, and add on 20% if you don’t book direct.
If your band doesn’t ask for a deposit, our advice would be to move on and book someone who does.
Each year, the For Funk Sake Band (Leeds) receive a number of phone calls where bands have pulled out of playing for weddings, events and parties. Unfortunate as this is, it can be avoided up front by booking a professional band who issues a contract and takes a deposit.
Deposit amounts can vary, with some bands requesting up to 50% of their fee in advance as a non refundable deposit. The For Funk Sake wedding function band request a deposit of £200 or 20% – whichever is the greater.
Some bands even offer “flexible payment options” as a selling point, but anyone can pay flexibly without it being offered the option, right? Let’s be honest – nobody will refuse to accept part payments towards your booking – as long as this means paying the fee before your wedding day.
What should I do next?
You should look for bands in your area and compare quotes. If you google bands, don’t just go for first page results – often these are littered with agencies, and as we know, an agency means a higher price.
You can start by requesting a quotation and availability at For Funk Sake’s website. They cover Yorkshire and the North of a England, but also travel UK wide.
When asking for quotations, ask:
- Will the band lineup be as per your website?
- Do you have a song list or sample set lists?
- Are you flexible with times on the day?
- Does the band get booked and play more than once on the same date, and the same times? (This is common, as many bands don’t say “no” to a booking and will create another band to go out on the same date)
- What do you need for me to confirm a booking?
- Can I request songs for the band to play?
- Can you play my first dance? (Most will, and free of charge)
There are of course many more questions you can, and will need to ask, but a band really should have even the basic of FAQs on their site for you to read.
Be smart, and if you have your heart set on booking a band for your wedding, you can do it!
Get quotes, and questions, check out band videos or audio tracks, and make sure you’re happy they can provide what you need.
So, congratulations again on your upcoming wedding, and thanks for reading. We hope this was of use and helps you in your journey to book a band for your wedding.