Wedding bands typically perform for six hours which is usually split into 2×1 hour sets and 1×4 hour sets. However, there are quite a few variations and some of them may suit your wedding more than others. The choices and options are endless enabling you to fit a live band around your wedding schedule perfectly.
Because most bands are used to playing for two hours over three or four hours, you are unlikely to get a discount if you want them for less time. Factor in their setting up and travel times and you can see why they may refuse to play for less. Most bands and musicians will book an entire day for one wedding.
Day of the Wedding
Factor in a few hours before the music needs to start for the production crew and band to arrive. For us, even though setup takes an hour, the sound crew will arrive around two hours before to ensure everything is running smoothly. The band will arrive about one hour before showtime to prepare and perform a sound check. Digital consoles save the band’s settings so only slight adjustments need to be made, saving a significant amount of setup time. Please note, if the ceremony and reception are in the same location, plan for the production crew and band to arrive earlier to ensure everything is in order before the festivities begin.
We have been part of the wedding entertainment world for over 20 years now so we are a well-oiled machine when it comes to performing at weddings. Below is the typical schedule for our (and most other) wedding bands come wedding day. When we say typical, we mean roughly 90% of weddings follow these timings year after year. With our bands, the background music always follows the end of any live set and continues until the beginning of the next live set so the music never has to stop and that party keeps rockin’!
3 pm: The band arrives at your wedding venue and unloads their equipment.
4 pm: All the equipment is set up and sound checked. Pre-ceremony music begins at the beginning of the ceremony.
5 pm: The jazz trio performs at the cocktail hour, 1-hour live set.
6 pm: The reception begins and the full band performs for the final 4-hour live set.
10 pm: The band finishes their live set and begins to pack up equipment.
Popular booking options with most wedding bands are early arrivals, late finishes, and extra live sets. In the past, we’ve arrived at weddings as early as 10 a.m. and finished performing at 1 a.m. or 3 a.m. These options often cost extra but they could be just what your wedding needs! We’ve had couples knowing they have dance-hungry guests and so the 6×1 hour live sets we performed for them went down an absolute treat! Just ask us for more information on all these great options!
In our experience, at least 90% of weddings run late and it usually becomes impossible to fit sets into revised or packed schedules. We never like to see the venue managers or wedding planners frantically running around trying to cram everything in! Also surprisingly, if your wedding band starts early, you want them to finish around 11:30 pm/12 am the gaps between the sets can end up being huge – sometimes well over an hour which can kill the party vibe a bit.
Of course, it doesn’t necessarily matter how long wedding bands play for because you can usually ask for a unique live set timing and many wedding bands will accommodate. Our bands will always try their best to fit around your ideas and wedding timings. You can see an example of some of the booking options we offer here and because of the unique way we work, we can design 100% custom live wedding bands just for you.
When everyone knows that the wedding band is only going to perform once, they get up on that dance floor and as soon as you are up there, your guests will be so supersets can be some of the most fun had at a wedding! Some couples ask for them as standard and many, many wide-eyed, smiling couples have come up to us after a hectic, delayed wedding day so happy with a superset that got everyone dancing and having boundless fun. Supersets can be the perfect stress reliever and sometimes the ideal way to end a beautiful wedding.
Remember to factor in food for the band. While they don’t have to join you for your three-course banquet, they will need sustenance if they’re going to be rocking the night away. If you hire them for longer, they’ll need more food. This is important to factor in when you are looking at how much a wedding band will cost.
What time should they finish?
Work out if your chosen venue has any noise restrictions. These could be all day, or only start at a certain time. Some places even have a sound limiter, which means power is cut if the noise goes over a certain volume. It would be awful to book a big rock band, only to discover that you can’t play loud music.
90% of wedding venues only allow live music up until midnight latest so despite what many a drunk and excited guest has said to us over the years, no, we can’t just keep performing and ignoring the rules of the venue! The venue could lose its music license and we could be banned from the venue or given an awful review! Don’t miss out on the wedding band and get up on that dancefloor early!
Work out what time you have your venue and work backward. You can’t arrange for the band to play their last song at five minutes to midnight if you are expected to all be gone by the hour; the band will need time to pack up and leave. However, the band announcing the last dance is a great way to subtly tell your guests it’s time to go.
If you have a strict finishing time by your venue, pass this information on to the band. They will be able to tell you how long they will need to pack up so that you can be safely out in time.