Live Wedding Music Essex

Booking Wedding DJ’s and Bands
Pro Tips

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Points to remember when booking Wedding DJ’s and Bands.
The evening party is the longest single part of your wedding day (often over 6 hours) and many underestimate the huge responsibility in keeping your guests happy. The recession has flooded the market with many new wedding companies (not just DJ’s and bands) with many far better at marketing themselves than doing the job. This makes finding established and experienced companies a lot harder.

Remember, you’ve just one opportunity to get it right so hopefully these pointers will help you find the good ones by making you ask the right questions.

  • Ask to see recent testimonials as nothing speaks higher of a service than previous delighted brides. A professional band or DJ should have countless if they are as good as claimed.
  • Ask bands for a demo CD, better still, go and see them perform. Many will say “all their bookings are private” which can just be an excuse for not having any gigs. In which case ask for a video. Nearly everyone has a smart-phone capable of video so they would have been filmed many times by guests and wedding videographers. Otherwise ask to see them rehearse. If they say they don’t need to rehearse (as they’re so busy) then there really is no reason for them not having a video. Yes, bands are fussy about showing inferior ‘camera’ footage so this can be taken into account but it’s still an extremely good indicator of what they do, presentation and guest’s reaction.
  • It’s tempting to use a ‘mates’ band or disco but as this is such an important part of your evening party, don’t compromise on quality. Only professional bands and DJ’s have the time and experience to take quality to the next (higher) level. Professionals also have back-up musicians, insurances, spare equipment and contingency plans. They can also set-up early and allow plenty of time for traffic. The show must go on and professionals know this.
  • Nothing says ‘part-timer/amateur’ more than a singer reading the words so look at their photos. You cannot perform if you don’t know what you are singing about? Therefore they won’t be able to fully engage with an audience and give a performance if they are glued to the spot reading lyrics?
  • If you have a price quote considerably cheaper than others think how they might achieve such a low price. Cheap (bad sounding) speakers, fewer lights, no insurance, no PAT tested equipment and usually done as a sideline as a ‘bonus’ to their regular job. Hence the importance of testimonials.
     
  • Don’t assume a fully professional DJ’s or band would be more expensive. A semi-pro’s day job may prevent them from getting to your venue as early as you’d like without incurring costs. By the time a semi-pro takes time off work they can actually be more expensive than professionals, especially mid-week.
     
  • Whatever your own musical tastes, to keep everyone dancing you have to consider you’ll have aunts, uncles, grandchildren and grandparents in attendance all with different preferences. The key word here is ‘mixture’. The skill of the band/DJ is also in knowing when to play each song so as to attract people to the dancefloor without losing those already on it. A band or disco that plays 2-3 nights a week will be slick, polished, well rehearsed and adept at reading dance-floors. 
  • A wedding is a family reunion so people like to be able to talk as well as dance. High volumes can spoil the enjoyment especially for the older generations. The aim is to play to the dancefloor, not to fill the entire room with sound. Professional DJ’s and bands realise they are a paid service and will listen to volume requests. 
     
  • This sounds UNBELIEVABLE but ask if the band you are booking is the one that will actually turn up on the day? There is a practise which is becoming more widespread where a band operates in ‘name only’ and is ‘thrown’ together for each wedding from a pool of free-lance musicians based purely on who is available. The ‘same’ band is therefore capable of playing all over the country simultaneously. (We do not condone nor participate in this practise). The demos and photos may belong to an original line-up but be aware in many cases the actual musicians you get at your wedding may never have even met each other. Bands like this never develop a good rapport and always appear ‘ropey’ as they ‘wing it’ looking to each other for their queues. 
     
  • Ensure your band or DJ has Public Liability Insurance and PAT tested equipment. Most venues insist on seeing copies and won’t allow uninsured acts to perform. A DJ using .mp3’s converted from CD’s has to have a ‘Pro-dub’ licence (and prove they own the original CDs they are copied from) otherwise they are illegal. Random spot checks are carried out even at weddings. Having these certificates is the responsibility of the band or DJ. This is why some DJ’s can under cut. If they are cutting corners and taking risks, so are you. They could be turned away or asked to stop by the venue or performing rights society.
  • ​Professional bands should accept they are a paid service and should not expect any special treatment such as hot meals laid on (unless they have been there all day – no-one else gets fed at work). Of course they do have certain requirements (and it’s always appreciated if they are allowed something from the buffet) but they should appreciate you’ve got enough to think about and organise without looking after them.