There’s no doubt about it, music entertainment can make or break a wedding. Whether you book a string quartet, a pianist or jazz ensemble with a talented singer, or a full band with a big band feel and horns, the music you choose for your wedding reception is the soundtrack for an entire gorgeous affair and something that you and your friends and family will cherish forever.
If you’re excited by the idea of having some element of live music, choosing the right band can make or break your wedding. Because there are so many pros and cons ranging from your geographic location to how deeply personal and meaningful this decision is, it’s hard to quantify how much more of an expense it is to have a live band.
That being said, customizable music bands in New York City are, on average, anywhere from four to ten times more expensive than in any other area. Keep in mind that there are exceptions if you’re going for major talent that will attract tons of crowd interaction.
Start by asking yourself some basic questions. Specifically, what type of entertainment suits your taste, budget, space allowances and killer dance moves best? Simply put, a band or ensemble is generally more expensive as you’re hiring more talented people. The cost of a NYC wedding band was an average of $5,400 price difference compared to other areas outside. The cost of a live band varies based on the hours booked, the number of members, and the required equipment. Usually, bands are cheaper because they have fewer members, typically one or two.
How much of your overall wedding budget should be allocated to music on your wedding day is ultimately a very personal decision, and that budget often needs to stretch beyond the reception—if you’d like to have live music at various points during the event, you’ll need to factor that in. As a general rule of thumb, we advise our clients to set aside at least 20 percent of the budget for having a band or other live music.
From acoustics to quiet hours and providing sufficient power, there are more than a few factors to keep in mind when considering what type of music to have at your wedding reception. The decision of whether to hire a band should start before you even choose your wedding venue in NYC. If having a live music element is important, then you have to consider the acoustics of the space and the unique atmosphere.
Reception venues with a lot of windows, mirrors, high ceilings, and smooth flooring can be incredibly challenging for acoustics, as sound bounces off hard surfaces, which can cause an echo-chamber effect. On the other hand, venues with a greater depth of materials absorb sound. Venues that have a mix of heavy curtains, wood floors, and carpet will typically have better acoustics.
Then there are always those questions about how loud or late your celebration can go. Unless your wedding reception venue is out there on acres of land, or in a public venue with certain music licenses already in place, it’s likely the space has to abide by local noise ordinances for gatherings, whether that’s a curfew for “amplified sound,” which is often when a venue or hotel place policies and limitations, such as prohibiting the use of subwoofers.
Other venue considerations that are easily overlooked include making sure that your reception venue has sufficient room to accommodate your preferred musical choice and equipment needs, as well as sufficient power requirements to accommodate the band. The larger the band, the more additional space and equipment the musicians may need, as well.
There are also A/V needs such as staging, lighting, or backline equipment that may be required and can come with bills that total thousands of dollars, so it’s important to review the talent agreement in full and even get pricing for the requirements you’re responsible for before you sign on the dotted line. Any outdoor lighting or heating also requires a power source, so It’s an important detail to confirm with your wedding venue and the musical talent you’re looking to book. And it’s not only the physical floor space you need to consider, but it’s also vertical height.
Oftentimes, the choice comes down to budget. If budget is the determining factor, we always urge our clients to consider a live wedding band. We also ask our clients to think through their vision for the music and the songs they’re considering for big moments, like their first dances or the special parent dances. If the vision includes hearing the song exactly as it sounds on the radio, then a wedding band might not be a great fit. If the vision includes a live band performing the song, and they’re open to the band’s version of the song, a band is the perfect choice.
In our experience, many couples already know exactly what they’re looking for when they begin the booking process. Live music makes the wedding and is a perfect fit for a variety of music. They interact with the crowd and keep the party going all night long.
In the end, book the type of live music that aligns with professionalism, and experience, and speaks to the overall style of your reception. Make sure that it’s music you both love and want to have as the soundtrack for such a monumental celebration. This is your wedding, after all!
If you need more guidance, don’t hesitate to contact us today!