1. What kind of genres/styles do you want your wedding band to play?
In general, wedding parties consist of a large demographic so do bear this in mind when selecting your wedding band! When a wedding band get the set list right you’re sure to have a dance floor full of guests partying the night away.
An experienced wedding band will create a set list to cater for both the younger and older generations. This will most likely include a mix of classic funk, soul & motown, disco, 80’s pop/electro + indie with a couple of early year songs like the classic 1958 Chuck Berry song ‘Jonny B Goode’!
Couples do request specific styles of band, i.e hiring an indie band or even a mumford and sons tribute band (folk rock). This can work extremely well but you must consider whether you’re happy to have a full evening of indie songs or whether you’d prefer a compromise with a wedding band who can perform a handful of indie songs followed by a mix of other popular genres to cater for all your wedding guests.
2. Are your wedding band covered with their own insurance?
Like all professional outfits a wedding band should have suitable insurance and PAT testing to cover them in the unlikely event of an accident. Most venues stipulate that wedding entertainment suppliers need to provide suitable public liability insurance certificates along with PAT testing certificates.
Each venue will have it’s own conditions. With this in mind, some may state that wedding entertainment suppliers need to provide proof of public liability insurance for in the region of £2-5 million.
PAT testing certificates are essential. The certificate informs the wedding venue that your wedding band’s equipment has been tested under the correct conditions and is safe to use on their premises.
3. Can your wedding band perform your first dance request?
So many couples (or brides in particular!) dream of the day when they finally can live out their dream – feeling a million dollars in their dress swaying to their first dance song.
Stereotypically, first dances are slow romantic ballads but they don’t have to be!
Be true to yourselves and pick a song which really suits your personality. You may feel like the first dance is the start of the evening party and you want to set it off with a bang so an upbeat song will certainly create a party atmosphere from the word GO!
A good wedding band should be able to recommend/advise you on whether your choice of first dance lends itself well to the instrumentation of the band. i.e There are many classic saxophone, piano or string introductory solos which can be replicated on other instruments but it is the wedding band’s responsibility to make the couple aware that their arrangement of the song will sound completely different to the original song. This moves us on nicely to the next thought provoking question…!
4. What size wedding band should you book?
When you picture an image of a band it normally has 4 – 5 members in the group. Our wedding band ranges from a 3 – 12 piece band. This allows couples to decide what instruments/singers they would like to form the line up of their wedding entertainment. For example, whether you’d like a male or a female singer to lead the band? Or in the case of the Bloomsbury Function Band, the 6 piece onwards have both! We also offer backing vocalists to harmonise with the lead singers – this really does add another dimension to the performance.
Another popular reason couples book a larger size wedding band is to include the horn section (saxophone, trumpet & trombone). You really can’t beat a full bodied saxophone solo during a James Brown number or the combination of trumpets and trombones blasting out a memorable Stevie Wonder riff.
Please don’t feel overwhelmed with the range of wedding band sizes available! The Bloomsbury team are music specialists and will advise you on what band works with 1) your budget & 2) your music requests.
5. Does your venue have a sound limiter? If so, is your band sensitive to work within these parameters?
Wedding venues have to comply with the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to keep within the sound limit parameters to avoid being a statutory nuisance. With this in mind, it is a requirement for the majority of regions in the UK to have sound limiters installed at their wedding venues. This protects the control of noise on the premises should the venue be in a residential area or for members of the public who are staying at the venue and are not part of the wedding party.
It is important for the musicians in the wedding band to be sensitive to these limits (especially the bass and kit player!). We are lucky that all our musicians we manage are professionals and sensitive to these sound levels. If you pick the wrong wedding band who ignore these requirements then you could be looking at an evening of intermittent electrical back outs from the sound limiter tripping the fuse box!
6. What PA & lighting equipment is normally provided with a wedding band?
Be sure to ask your wedding band what equipment is included in the price. Some wedding bands will expect you to provide suitable PA & lighting by a separate AV company whilst the majority of bands should provide sufficient PA.
Not all bands provide lighting so do ask! Lighting really does transform the evening so make sure this in included in the quote. The Bloomsbury Function Band quotes always include a comprehensive state of the art PA system + sound engineer for larger size bands.
Again, make sure they are able to provide PAT testing to confirm their equipment is in good working order and will not fuse the wedding venue!
7. How long does a wedding band normally perform for?
It is common for a wedding band to perform for x2 45 minute sets. Our wedding band go the extra mile and provide you with your first dance + x2 50 minute sets + encore!
You may be thinking this isn’t long enough as typically an evening party will last around 5 hours. Bear in mind, these two sets will be high energy + it’s virtually impossible for the lead singers to maintain the stamina for longer than these periods hence why these are industry standard timings. There are exceptions to this and our band do regularly perform at jewish weddings where music is a huge part of the day resulting in the band performing 3-4 30mins sets throughout the afternoon and evening.
8. Do you need to book a DJ to fill in the gaps in-between the bands sets and after their final set?
When booking a wedding band it is very important to know whether they offer any additional services like the DJ service. This is commonly more cost effective than hiring a DJ. To briefly explain, the band leader will manage the playlist with DJ software to read the dance floor and play suitable songs.
Our advice is to ask your wedding band whether the DJ service will be manned at all times, reading the dance floor and taking requests. This is very important, as some wedding bands will just put on a playlist and leave the stage and have some time out. This is not what you want!
9. How much space should I allow for a band?
The absolutely minimum space required for a 3-4 piece size wedding band is 3 metres x 3 metres. Should you wish to add staging to boost the impact then we would recommend allowing 4 metres x 3 metres.
One of Bloomsbury Function Band’s most popular sizes is the 9 piece. We would allow at least 6 metres x 3 metres for this size of band.
10. What additional band requests should I be expecting on the contract?
Read your wedding band contract carefully and make sure you’ve read all the small print. The majority of wedding suppliers who stay on to provide a service for the evening will expect to be fed and watered! Caterers will be aware of this and should be able to provide crew food but remember to inform them with the wedding band’s numbers and dietary requirements.
We always stipulate crew food (this could be as simple as sandwiches and a bowl of chips) as we appreciate the cost of guest meals can soon add up. Celebrity bands are well known for providing a rider. A rider is a set of requests or demands that a performer sets as the criteria for their performance. If your wedding band sends one of these through make sure you read it as there have been some famous artists who really do ask for everything!!! Cases of Bollinger Champagne, fresh flowers flown in from Tuscany – you name it!
If you have any questions on wedding bands please do get in contact with us, we’d love to hear from you!