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 better of a service than previous delighted couples. Established professional bands or DJs should have countless if they are as good as they claim.
  • Ask bands for a video, better still, go and see them perform. Many will refuse saying “all their bookings are private” (which can be a genuine reason but may be an excuse for not having any gigs). In which case, insist on a video. Everyone has a smart-phone nowadays and raw unedited video is actually ideal to see how a crowd reacts to them and how confidently they perform. Many professional videos may be 'overlaid' over the bands studio recording which is all fine, providing it is really them! (yes it happens) but we'd always insist on seeing raw camera footage to be sure. For us that is the acid test (and then we'd go and see them if we're satisfied). We've had bands send us demos where it's just them singing over a karaoke disk and not representative of their live sound whatsoever!  Alternatively, ask to see them rehearse. If they say they don’t need to rehearse as they gig so often (which is a valid reason) then there really is no reason why there isn't tons of footage of them. Yes, bands can be 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 how guests react to them.
  • 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. Fully professional bands and DJ’s have the time and experience to take quality to a much 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.
  • Nothing says ‘part-timer/amateur’ more than a singer reading the words so look at their photos for music stands. No one can perform if they're rooted to the spot reading and if they need to do this they also won't know what they're singing about? This is a huge giveaway - you don't see it on TV!
  • 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. This was also mean a much smaller repertoire!
  • 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 several bookings simultaneously. (We do not condone nor participate in this practise). The demos and photos may belong to an original line-up (the best one) and in many cases  the actual musicians you get at your wedding may never have even met each other. Sure, they would all know the same repertoire but unless the same band plays together regularly they will never gel or develop a good rapport. A band thrown together will always be ‘ropey’ as they ‘wing it’ looking to each other for guidance. 
  • 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 have been known to be 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. 
  • ​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. 


Book your music from Essence Music as we guarantee each musician has gone though extensive and continuous scrutiny to ensure they are always at the top of their game! 

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