Del Cotton, managing director of Hireaband, gives his advice to couples booking their wedding music and entertainment.
IMAGE | Emma Gray Photography
A wedding, for most couples, is a series of firsts. You’ll find yourself considering things you’ve likely never had to before: wedding venues, professional photographers, flowers on an industrial scale and the icing on the cake, wedding entertainment.
In fact, most people, if they ever book entertainers at all, only do so for their wedding. It’s literally a once in a lifetime task. The enormous choice of options available and your probable lack of experience in booking them can make it seem daunting.
Get it right and your wedding day will culminate in wonderful shared memories of an intoxicatingly happy atmosphere and huge amounts of fun all adding to the specialness of your big day. Get it wrong, and even if everything else on your wedding day is perfect, the finale could be a damp squib.
Here are five great wedding entertainment hacks to ensure the entertainment on your big day is memorable for all the right reasons…
Make sure there’s a contract in place between you and your chosen entertainers. The vast majority of wedding entertainers are semi-professional. They’ll have day jobs, performing in bands only at weekends. Make sure the entertainers you book treat your booking professionally. Your contract should agree the basics – the date and venue for your wedding (you’d be amazed how often bands double book themselves due to poor record keeping), the performance schedule and the agreed fee. Contact your entertainers a month in advance of your wedding date to go over the details one last time.
Try to use entertainers based as near to your venue as possible. This has three main benefits; it’s likely they will have performed in your venue before and know their way around it, you’ll save money on transportation costs and finally you’ll reduce the risk of any unforeseen breakdowns or lateness if the band has less distance to travel.
Don’t micromanage your entertainers. An experienced band or DJ will know what songs to play and when to play them. Giving them a rigid playlist will restrict their ability to ‘read the room’ and respond to the audience. Before choosing a band in particular, make sure you see a sample playlist in advance. If your wedding has a specific theme then it’s at the booking stage that you should ensure the band is appropriate. Once you’re satisfied with that, leave the rest to them. They know what they’re doing.
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With only one more sleep to go until #ScotlandsVIPWeddingBandShowcase here’s a wee snippet of some of the great bands that will be performing on the night. For more information and to register for a place at the showcase head over to www.hireaband.co.uk/Scotlands-VIP-wedding-band-showcase #hireabandshowcase #weddingbandscotland #liveshowcase #sneakytreacle #cassien #thetrueloves #thescoundrels #s.h.e.b #thestereobeats #weddingband #entertainment
Don’t book a band you see performing in a local pub or club. Performing at someone’s wedding is a massive responsibility. There are no second chances. The skills and discipline required, not to mention the level of musicality, is of a far higher standard than an average pub band. Wedding bookings are lucrative and the best bands will be fully booked for months if not years in advance. If they have to fill out their diary with pub gigs, chances are they’re not as in demand as you’d want them to be. This does raise an issue with how to see a band before you make a booking. It’s not possible to crash some other poor couples wedding just to audition their band and because the best bands rarely play gigs open to the public you will have to rely on recommendations and online video demos to make your choice.
Consider using an entertainment agent. An established agency will take most if not all the risks out of the process. A good agency will have knowledge of the best bands, DJ’s and entertainers. They’ll be able to recommend local artists that know your chosen venue. They’ll take into account your musical preferences and your budget to help narrow down your search. The final decision will be up to you, but your agent’s reputation will depend on making sure everything, including your choice of entertainer goes smoothly, including the issuing of contracts and all the pre-event checks that are essential to a successful wedding reception. This may be the first and last time you ever book a band or DJ, but an established agent will be doing it thousands of times every year.
Del Cotton is the founder and Managing Director of Hireaband, one of the UK’s largest entertainment agencies.
He spent years performing in bands specialising in weddings and now represents many of the countries busiest wedding bands, DJs and entertainers.