Check Them Out
Auditioning bands with a video or audio tape may
seem like the best way to make the right choice, but professional event planners know that
the recording only tells you about the musicianship of the group and very little about the
entertainment's other important qualities. Of course, the best thing is to see the
entertainment live and in person, but that is not always practical. If you can't see them
live, the next best way to shop is to look carefully at song lists. If the band plays
forty songs (an evening's worth) of the types you like, then look at pictures and
references, and most importantly, call some references from similar events. Look for a
great variety of music to suit all age groups. Be sure the entertainers have plenty of
experience with weddings. Professional wedding musicians will pace the evening with soft
and easy music during the cocktail reception and dinner part of the event and then
gradually pick up the pace with more energetic music when it's time to dance.
Use a Good Agent
An agent usually represents or knows of many
entertainment options. Agents receive 90% of their business from personal referrals and
want to help you make the best choice so you will tell your friends about your good
experience. Independent entertainers represent only themselves and will always tell you
that they are the best choice. A good agent will make sure you have a complete and
airtight contract. Ask your agent if there is someone on call 24 hours a day to deal with
emergencies. Surprisingly, an agent does not generally add to the cost of the
entertainment. If you deal directly with entertainers they will simply retain the
commission they would have paid the agent and not pass on the saving to you.
Get it on Paper
After you have made a selection, sign a contract
with all the details. The contract should specify how many musicians are included, their
exact technical requirements, how they will be dressed, what time they will arrive,
exactly what hours they will play. Be sure to communicate to the entertainment how many
guests will be present so they can bring the correct equipment, a general idea of the
musical program you want, any announcements you want made, your first dance, and the name
and phone number of your banquet manager at the venue.
About two weeks before
your reception go over all the details with both the entertainment and the venue. Talk
through every detail. It is at this stage that the entertainer is fully focused on your
event and any loose ends can be tied up. At the reception someone should be designated to
communicate with the entertainment. This could be a parent, trustworthy friend, wedding
coordinator, photographer, or banquet manager. They can relay any schedule updates, timing
of announcements, music volume adjustments, requests, etc.
reception to music; you'll be glad you did not miss this opportunity to really entertain
your wedding guests.