book a band

It’s a fact of life that no matter how well you plan your wedding or party event, the formal side of ceremony may overrun. Speeches may go on longer than planned and the food may take longer to get round to everyone than you expect. Yes, however solid your plan, always leave a little room for emergency manoeuvres with schedules.

Professional musicians when you book a band will know all about the vagaries in schedules of the social event scene. They’ve had years of experience in coping with any little dramas or turn of events that can happen. Although you may have a formal contract with them, they’re only human and won’t hold you to ransom if they have to play a little bit longer to fill a gap in the programme or even stand around for a few minutes when they should be playing because the bride’s dad or best man has gone over the top a bit time-wise with his speech.

Time for a band to set up

You should know that when you book a band they will need time to set up. If your meal is being served in a different room to where the band will be playing then you don’t usually need to worry about this. If the band is to set up in the same room as the meal, have you allowed them time to do this without getting in the way of the guests?

Most live music bands will usually need just over an hour to set up and do a sound check. This is best done after the meal if there is sufficient time, or else before the meal begins. However, this will usually carry an additional charge for the extras hours involved. When you book a band check that their equipment has been PAT tested. Invariably venues playing host to outside groups will ask to see the band’s PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) certificate to prove that their equipment has been tested and declared safe before the band is allowed to set up.

Quality equipment and lighting

Does your band use good quality equipment? Even an outstanding band will not sound good if they have skimped on buying decent equipment. This again comes down to you knowing about the band through thorough research before you book a band. They should also provide their own lighting. Quality lighting sets make a huge difference to the atmosphere of any event. Your guests are far more likely to want to dance under some exciting disco-style lighting rather than in the full glare of the venue’s main lights or, indeed, in near total darkness!

When you book a band

When you book a band they should be able to offer recorded music during their breaks. Generally this will mean an iPod or equivalent being played over the band speakers, though the quality of music will vary from band to band. Most professional bands are happy to learn a song of your choosing for your first dance as long as it can be adapted to the band line-up. But don’t throw in such a request at the last minute. Professional bands at peak times of the year when they’re much in demand just won’t have the time to do this, so the more notice you can give them better.

Importantly, check when you book a band that it has public liability insurance. Many venues will not allow a band to perform without it, for obvious reasons, so act early to avoid any disasters on the day.