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Live Entertainment Will Give Your Wedding The Edge.
Here’s How To Choose the Best!

This article is written by Diane Hirlian - www.diane.com.au

‘It was such a fabulous wedding. The bride looked beautiful, the location was wonderful and the entertainment was sensational! We haven’t had such a great time with family and friends since I can remember. Definitely the best wedding I have ever attended!’

Wouldn’t you love to hear those comments made about your own wedding? Research shows that up to 80% of the success of a wedding reception can be determined by the quality of the chosen live entertainment.

Select wisely and watch your wedding unfold into a fabulous and memorable occasion.

Choosing the Right Live Entertainment
Selecting the right entertainment for your wedding day need not be a big drama. Here are some key questions you may be asking yourself and corresponding tips to help you select the best live entertainment for your wedding reception.

1. What kind of live entertainment do I want for my wedding day?
2. How do I locate a live band or musician?
3. How do I choose a suitable musical group?
4. Will the musical performance match my expectations?
5. What details need to be organised?
6. How much should I spend to engage professional musicians?
7. When do I need to book the entertainment?

1 - Have a Vision for Your Wedding
Imagine the ambience you would like to create for your wedding reception. The mood will need to suit the style of your wedding. For example, your wedding reception may be a daytime cocktail party, an elegant lunch or an evening party with cocktails, dinner and dancing.

Here are some examples of the types of moods you may want to create;

  • romantic background music during cocktails,
  • beautiful vocals during meal times to inspire and entertain your guests,
  • a party atmosphere in the evening to have your guests dance and join in the fun.

If you would like to achieve all of the above, look for a musical group which is flexible enough to deliver cocktails, dinner and dance music. This will be more cost effective than hiring more than one live musical group. Decide whether you would like an instrumental band or male and/or female vocals.

2 – Know Who to Contact to Organise Live Entertainment
There are a few different options for booking live entertainment. Understanding these options will give you a head start in your search.
You can:

  • Book directly with the musical group. Make sure you speak with the Band Leader and ask to have a single point of contact throughout the entire planning and implementation stages of the entertainment.

    Ask your friends and family if they can make recommendations. It is best that they have seen the band perform at a wedding. Not all great musical groups have a suitable repertoire or experience performing at weddings.
  • Book indirectly through a Wedding Entertainment Consultant. These organisations can be helpful in putting together a complete wedding entertainment package for you, including wedding ceremony music. They do charge a fee for their services.

  • Book indirectly through a Wedding Planner. If you are planning on utilising a wedding planner, he/she should be able to recommend entertainment for you. They also charge a fee for their services.

  • Book directly or indirectly via your chosen venue. If you have decided on a venue, ask your venue contact which great entertainers have performed there in the past. They will either give you the band’s contact details or suggest you book the entertainment as part of the venue’s own wedding package.

3 – Flexibility is Important When Selecting a Musical Group
When you locate a musical group that interests you, flexibility is important to ensure they cater for your needs, your budget and the location you have chosen for your reception. A flexible musical group will;

  • offer a variety of musical styles to create a different mood for each part of your celebrations,
  • offer musical styles to suit all age groups,
  • offer you a choice of the numbers in the band if you have budget or space limitations,
  • let you personalise the music by selecting specific songs from their repertoire,
  • allow you to select music for your Bridal Waltz even if it is not included
    in their repertoire,
  • have the ability to perform indoors and outdoors based upon your requirements,
  • play suitable CDs during their breaks to ensure a consistent flow of music,
  • organise their own quality sound system and supply microphones for your speeches.

4 – Ask for Proof Of Musical Quality
Your peace of mind is important. Be confident with the decision you have made by asking for proof of quality. If they are a professional and reputable group they should be able to offer you most of the following:

  • testimonials or a letter of recommendation from previous clients,
  • an invitation to see them perform live. This is the best option as it allows you to judge their professionalism first hand, their musical talents, their stage presence and their appearance as a team,
  • a biography with details on the band members and their credentials,
  • a song list to enable you to judge whether you will enjoy their repertoire,
  • a written price schedule with all costs detailed accurately,
  • an Australian Business Number (ABN). If the group doesn’t have an ABN, they may be performing as hobbyists which may reflect their level of quality,
  • a demonstration CD,
  • a web site with audio samples and photographs of the band,
  • a list of venues at which they have performed. The types of venues will give you an idea whether they fit the image you are looking for,
  • details of when the band was created and the number of weddings at which they have performed. Many musical groups may not be experienced wedding entertainers.

5 – Be Prepared For a Successful Entertainment Experience
Preparation and organisation is the key to any successful event – including your wedding. This applies to both parties; yourself and the entertainers.

If you are booking directly with the musicians, ask to speak to the Band Leader.
He/she plays a major role in ensuring the entertainment for your wedding day will be successful. The Band Leader should be prepared to;

  • spend some time discussing your objectives, the style of music you would like, your preferred selection of songs, suggestions on the band line-up and any special songs you would like,

  • work through a run sheet with you to ensure they maximise performance times during the reception by organising band breaks during formalities,

  • contact your chosen venue to organise access to the function room, power requirements, sound system requirements, equipment set-up, sound check times and availability of parking.

Details you will need to provide to the Band Leader;

  • appropriate Dress Code,
  • meals for the band members and beverage privileges,
  • contact details of your MC, Venue Consultant, a friend or family member attending your wedding,
  • clear directions on when and how to get to the venue.

6 – Pay Professional Musicians What They Are Worth
Have an idea of approximately how much you want to spend. Remember as much as 80% of the success of your wedding will depend upon the quality of the entertainment you have chosen.

As a general guide, a popular professional five-piece band is likely to charge up to $2000 or more for a four-five hour wedding reception.

Instead of rejecting a band outright based on their fees, try and negotiate if they seem worth it. Be reasonable and be prepared to pay professionals what they are worth. After all, if you want the best, you need to make the investment. Find a price that is comfortable for the both of you.

If you have a limited budget or space restrictions, find a musical group which can perform with smaller numbers and still produce a rich sound. This is a great compromise as long as the musicians are first class entertainers.

It is also important to understand how costs are compiled. Costs vary based upon;

  • the quality and experience of the band
  • the number of musicians in the line-up
  • the duration of their engagement
  • whether they will need to hire equipment
  • the location of the venue
  • expensive hotel parking fees
  • whether the band charges GST
  • unusual travel fees such as water taxi’s

Ask for a written confirmation including the details of what they will be offering you on the day; for example, the number of performers, engagement time, GST charge (if applicable), and their payment terms.

7 – First In Best Dressed – Great Musical Groups Are in Demand
Book early if you can. Approximately 8-12 months ahead ensures you have a better chance of securing the group for your wedding. The sooner you book the entertainment the better.

Even if you have not chosen a venue, you can still book the entertainment as long as you have a date and you can ensure it will be based within a certain geographical area.

You can also ask the band to make a tentative booking for a short period of time if you still want to organise further details. Most bands will be happy to do this for a limited time.

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Hirlian Jazz

For further information please contact Diane Hirlian

Diane Hirlian
Phone (02) 9488 9890
Mobile: 0409 810 913
Website: www.diane.com.au
ABN: 36 437 515 039

This article has been reproduced on Wedding Central Australia with permission.
© Diane Hirlian 2002. All Rights Reserved.

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