If you are like every other bride and groom, this may be the only time in your life that you hire a band. And though it seems ease: watch videos and hire who you like… it’s not! In fact it’s harder than ever to determine the true value of a band by just looking at their website. As video gets easier to do, and bands become more marketing savvy, any band can put together a good video and make themselves look exciting.
HOW TO HIRE A BAND
A THREE STEP SYSTEM TO INSURE YOU GET THE BEST BAND FOR YOU!
In a nut shell, here’s the three steps:
- Rapid Fire Elimination
- Referral Ratings & Reviews
- The 3 Big Questions For the Finalist!
1 RAPID FIRE ELIMINATION
This consist of internet research. Doing this first will weed out the undesirables and shorten your list for steps 2 and 3!
Start on their website.
Take your time and read through it. Read the pages making sure you like their tone and temperament. Are they fun??! Then click through to youtube videos, then search youtube. If they don’t have videos and you haven’t seen them, don’t hire them. You’ll see them at their best (promo videos) and at their worst (bar gigs or bad gigs). A good band looks consistently sharp and sounds consistently good. Like the band? Continue…
Google the band’s name and pull up Google Images. You’ll see what they want you to see, but also what other people may have posted. Sometimes this reveals their true nature or setting. If they play mostly bars, for instance. Because let’s face it, not all good bar bands are good wedding bands and may have a set list that is more designed for bars than the all ages setting of a wedding.
Explore the social media.
Does the band have an Instagram account? What are the images, videos and stories like? Research the key players briefly on Facebook. Are they people who you want at your biggest day!? If not, scroll on. It may sound picky, but you’ll be happy you did this:)
BEFORE YOU GO TO STEP TWO – Checks the bands availability.
There is no sense in going forward with further research if they aren’t available. Also, if you included your location and ask for a ballpark quote, they probably oblige.
P. S. Hire a band that knows their worth ~ if they ask your budget before telling you their price, don’t tell them!! They will almost always charge your budgets max. Insist on them telling you their value first.
Now you know which bands you might want, if their available and if you can afford them.
2 REFERRAL RATINGS & REVIEWS
Calling and email… a little more of an outreach than step 1, but you have less bands to research now! In step one you emailed the band for availability. What was their tone like? Friendly? Business? Needy? Pushy? Note that…
Okay ~ This step takes the longest but it gives you your finalist. Hopefully you’ll be down to 1 or 2 bands after this. So take the time!!! Or as my high school shop teacher said, “Measure twice, cut once!”. Plus… It pays to make a personal connection with all of your vendors.
- Tell your planner you want to hire a band, and then ask for an honest opinion of the bands you are considering. If she doesn’t have experience with any of them, it’s likely that she has heard about them through the wedding industry grapevine!
- Call or Email other planners. This actually works. “Hi, I know I’m not hiring you for my wedding but I’ve heard great things about you and have a quick question. Have you ever worked with Mannequin (or whoever)? What are they like? Thank you so much for any help or guidance :)” They love to help artist they like, and will be honest or at the very least avoid talking about band they do not like.
- Read reviews… not the ones on the band’s website. The ones on Google, or TheKnot, or Wedding Wire, social media, etc…
- On social media, do you have any friends in common with the band? Reach out to them and ask away! What are they like? Do you like them? Would you recommend them?
Now you know their real reputation and value of the bands and can narrow it down to your finalist.
3 THE 3 BIG QUESTIONS FOR THE FINALIST
BEFORE YOU HIRE A BAND, MEET IN PERSON OR CALL THE BAND, DON’T EMAIL OR TEXT… get them on the phone. See if you click with them! Also, you’ll notice things in person that you won’t get from a prepared response in an email.
“Are the people on your site and in the video the actual band I’ll get?”
- Some bands have given live music a rough reputation by over promising their abilities and overcharging for their services. Some bands provide musicians who aren’t in the video or photos at the events. This is sometimes so that they can be in two places at once. And sometimes it’s because there’s been so much turnover that it’s not the same band. In that latter case, it becomes an issue of how good they really are with the current line up. Are they tight? Are they fun, and is there chemistry with the musicians both musically and in personality.
“Can I see you perform?”
- Before you hire a band, see them. This can be tricky because some of the best bands don’t play many public shows. Mannequin is one of those bands. We hold showcases in the winter months so that brides can see us! During the wedding season, we have brides come to see us at other weddings. This is never an issue with the bride of that day, in fact they are always happy to do it. Then the inquiring bride just comes in during the dance party and stands along the back wall for a bit. Other times, we invite brides to a rehearsal! And when all else fails, we Skype the bride and groom into a rehearsal or show! If a band doesn’t make it easy for you to see them, that might be telling you something.
“What would you need to know about me?”
- What a great question, and it catches so many off guard because, if their focus is on making the sale, they won’t know. They’ll stumble around and come up with something generic like, “what’s your favorite kind of music?”. A real wedding band will have questions!! Lots of ’em. About the venue, your timeline, your ceremony, cocktail and dinner… There’s a lot.
Now you know if you want to hire them.
That wraps up my three step system of How To Hire A Band!! I hope you find this helpful and please feel free to email me directly with any follow up questions I did not address! [email protected]
Before you go, a quick note about hiring an agent.
Want to use an agent?
It’s not a bad idea to research agents much the same way you would a band:) Looking up reviews is an excellent thing to do with booking agencies!
HELPFUL FOLLOW UP INFO
I hope this article helps you hire a band as easy as possible! In the spirit of being thorough, here are some other great follow up questions that you might be interested in asking if the answers aren’t already obvious 🙂
- Do you have experience with weddings?
- Will you contract the date and guarantee not to double book or take something bigger?
- Where can we see a video of you playing?
- Can you provide references?
- Can you provide a song list?
- Are we able to request songs be learned if they aren’t on your song list?
- What is your wedding attire?
- What is your cost?
- Are there pricing options? Larger band? Smaller band?
- How long will you play?
- Are there travel expenses.
- What if we want more time, encores, etc?
- Can you play CDs on breaks?
- Do you bring lights and sound?
- Can you emcee the reception?
- What is your cancellation Policy?
I hope this helps, and of course Mannequin the Band is a Denver wedding band ourselves and are happy to talk to you about playing your wedding or helping you in any way we can:)
All the best ~ Alan Currens