I have seen some really good bands but some really bad ones also. Deciding on whether you want a band or not just a personal preference. Realistically you will make that decision based on multiple factors;
The number of guests attending and their age profile
When planning a wedding reception, most bride and grooms enquire about a few bands to get idea of costs, availability and suitability and my advice is… do! Bands will cost anywhere between €1,500 and €3,000 and from my experience a good band will be roughly around €2,500 for 4 piece band with a 2.5 hour set. The Mrs2Be.ie Irish wedding survey 2015 states that couples are spending on average €1,825 for their band. Remember this includes good and bad bands. (Source: Mrs2Be.ie Wedding Survey 2015 – sample size 2,407 people).
B&G’s constantly ask me if I DJ many weddings without a band and the answer is – yes, absolutely. In fact after reviewing the past 12 months, 75% of the weddings I have played at have had no band at all. In comparison to 5 or 6 years ago, over 90% of the weddings I DJ’ed at had a band.
What would I do? If I had the budget to do it right, I would definitely get a (good wedding) band. Otherwise, I’d get a DJ that has a proven track record with an impressive setup and presence. I would not get any old band just to please my guests.
Will a band create a memorable night? Not always. Some people insist on a band and others genuinely don’t see the point and cannot justify the expense. If you have a smaller budget, a good band will take a huge chunk of that and as a B&G you have to make a decision. Is it worth that?
What do I think works best? From my own experiences and observations, I think a good band (if you can afford one) are worth every cent. For me, playing to a crowd who have been enjoying a good mix of music for over 2 hours is exhilarating. The dance floor is electric and usually guests are dying to dance right up until the end of the night. However, I have seen situations where the band have been a disappointment and the atmosphere can be a bit flat. It is my job to get the crowd going again, and to be honest, that is rarely an issue.
What should I look for in a band? The best bands should be able to cater for all music tastes and age demographics. Any band that is worth their salt will play a wide and varied style of music. Sure, they may have some signature songs and genres (and that’s fantastic) but the last thing you want is for your band to be divisive.
Like I said earlier, a band is often a big investment, and so it should be as it plays a big role in your day. However what I would say to all B&G’s is to go and see your band. Whether they are playing in a pub or club or doing a wedding showcase, go and see them, never ever book a band without hearing them play (YouTube does not count). It can be hard to gauge what a band will be like at your wedding from a showcase or bar. But it is a good place to start.
Undoubtedly, the best bands are the ones you have seen at other weddings or gigs and loved. You know, one of those nights you remember well because you had blisters on your feet for days after from dancing for so long? Many venues will give a list of bands that they have had play in the venue or bands that they personally recommend. This is a good place to start when it comes to looking for the right band for your big day. I always tell B&G’s to do their research, Mrs2be and OneFabDay are great for inspiration also.
Some people just aren’t into the idea of a band and that’s ok – so get a great DJ and a band won’t be missed.
In the right venue and room an experienced band can be amazing. However, make sure you do your research and are sure that the music won’t be a let down on your big day.
Be cautious about booking a DJ attached to the band as usually they’re at a ‘special rate’. They’re sometimes can be a member of the band (drummer / guitarist etc) with average skills and equipment.
Whatever you do, band or not, don’t try and cut corners with the entertainment at your wedding. It’s a major part of your big day. Dancing the night away at your wedding is one of the best memories you and your guests can have!