We’re spoiled in Scotland with a huge selection of talented wedding entertainers to choose from. DJ’s, ceilidh bands, solo performers, funk and soul bands complete with horn sections, even big swing bands of up to 21 members are regularly booked to enhance the enjoyment of wedding guests in every kind of venue across the country.
What’s a wedding without a good old knees-up? Del Cotton at entertainment experts, Hireaband, knows a thing or two about making your reception one to remember (for all the right reasons), so we grabbed five minutes with him to ask what you should be thinking about before you race off and book Kings of Leon….
With so much choice and talent at your disposal, it’s tempting to go for the band or DJ you think looks and sounds best, but there are a few things you should consider before you hand over responsibility for a massive part of your wedding day to complete strangers. With nearly 30 years’ experience in performing at – and booking bands for – weddings, I’ve rounded up some of the things you need to consider before you hire your entertainers…
Does My Band Look Big In This?
First of all, will the band you’re thinking about physically fit in your venue with enough room left for your guests? You’d be surprised at how little space even a big band needs, but if the area setaside for them is simply too small, you’ll end up with some musicians (and their equipment) spilling on to the dancefloor. Check with the venue and ask what size of band they can accommodate,then use that information when looking for your band.
The Long and Winding Road
The further away your venue is from the Central Belt, the smaller the selection of bands there’ll be. Not only that, if your venue happens to be one of the beautiful Scottish country houses make sure the quote includes travel and accommodation (if necessary). Make sure you provide directions to the venue if it’s off the beaten track. Get a signed contract detailing everything you’ve agreed with the band or DJ – no one wants unexpected costs making a mess of your budget.
How Much Should I Spend?
One of the most frequently asked questions we hear at Hireaband is how much do bands cost? There is no definitive answer I’m afraid. Even two bands who look the same on paper, with the same number of musicians playing the same kind of music can have wildly differing prices. There isn’t a fixed rate per musician to help you work out costs. What it really boils down to is popularity. The busier the band, the more expensive you can expect them to be. One of Scotland’s biggest earning bands is made up of just three musicians, but they are worth every penny!
If your budget is tight you may want to consider bands that are new to the scene. They’ll be keen to fill their diary with bookings and will certainly be less expensive than established, popular bands. Remember in music as well as almost everything else, you get what you pay for.
Some bands offer discounts for mid-week bookings or for weddings in the winter months. If you’re dealing with an agency, they’ll be able to tell you if any of the bands they represent have current offers – you can save hundreds of pounds if your wedding date is not on a summer weekend.
One last thought on budget – according to a range of sources, the average cost of a Scottish wedding is £15,000. Your wedding day from the ceremony through to the last dance will last around 12hours. The band at your wedding reception will be performing for at least 33% of that time. If the average cost of a wedding band is £1200 then their share of your budget is 8% – that’s what I call value for money! Nothing will have a greater impact on your guest’s enjoyment of your wedding, so don’t risk booking cheap entertainment. Value for money is the important thing. Anyway, who will remember your chair covers?
Where Do I Find The Best Bands?
This is an article on its own (watch thisspace for more), but for now, here three tips to set you off in the right direction:-
1. Ask your friends if they’ve seen any good bands or even booked them for their own weddings (wedding forums are also a good idea but be careful, a lot of the comments bigging up bands that appear to be from brides are actually from the bands themselves or their friends, so treat with caution).
2. Your venue will have a list of bands or entertainment agencies that they recommend. They’ll be happy to pass on the details
3. Entertainment Agencies. The best ones will give you free, unbiased advice and will quote direct prices so you don’t pay more to hire through them than you do direct. There are lots of agencies out there (and anyone can set themselves up as an agent) so make sure they’re members of The Agents Association of Great Britain, and then you’ll be in safe hands.
Del Cotton, director of Hireaband (www.hireaband.co.uk, pictured above with wife Lisa), will be writing a new article every month on a different aspect of wedding entertainment. If you have any questions or would like free advice on wedding entertainment, just email email@example.com and he’ll be happy to help.