What does a wedding band offer?

When it comes to wedding reception entertainment, what does a wedding band offer? What’s the difference between a standard and non-standard service? Though it’s always best to ask for more, don’t make the mistake of hiring wedding musicians who promise more than they can deliver. Most wedding bands are likely to offer around two hours of live band music spread throughout the evening, with additional DJ-style music played before, inbetween after their breaks. Though exact timings may vary, that’s a standard service. For entertainment earlier on in the day or after the midnight / 1am, you are likely to need either an acoustic duo for your drinks reception and a DJ for late night sets. Wedding bands do sometimes offer this, but there would be additional fees and considerations – in other words, it’s a non-standard service.

There are of course advantages in getting your wedding band to commit to provide drinks reception and / or wedding reception music – it saves the effort of having to find a separate group of musicians to do the job. It also may mean less on-the-day hassle with only one set of people setting their equipment up, and of course it may well be cheaper. Cheaper is great, right? Well, yes and no. It’s great if the non-standard service provided by the musicians you have hired is the same level of professionalism as their standard service. But as brides and grooms often discover, just because you can convince a band to arrive earlier in the day than they are used to in order to perform acoustic sets, or provide DJ music into the wee small hours, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you should

Wedding ceremony, drinks reception, wedding party, after party

Take Josie, for example. Josie contacted us via email recently to ask us if we were available to perform at her wedding reception next year in a relatively rural part or the West Midlands. We were available on the date she mentioned, and she provided her contact number so we called her to discuss (we find that an initial conversation by phone is a lot more personal than replying by email). During the phone conversation, it transpired that Josie had been let down by the band she had originally hired and was looking for a replacement. She told us that she had asked the band if they could perform sets not just during the evening function but also during the wedding ceremony, drinks reception, wedding breakfast, AND also at a small party the following day. She was very happy to discover that not only did they agree to do all of this, but they would do it for pretty much the same fee as their standard service (2 hours of live band music during the evening reception). What an amazing offer from a very accommodating band!

…which begs the question of course – if she was so happy with the band who appeared to have gone above and beyond the call of duty and provide her with such a comprehensive service at a great fee, why was she contacting FOUR ON THE FLOOR BAND? The answer of course is that the band could not fulfil their commitment to Josie. As you might imagine, the current Covid-19 situation has dictated that a lot of brides and grooms reschedule their weddings from 2020 and 2021 to 2022. It’s a horrible state of affairs, but it has become a litmus test for the professionalism of wedding bands – if they truly do possess the organisational skills they profess to, they will be able to manage their gig diary effectively and book in rescheduled performance dates, blocking out those dates so that they don’t double book themselves.

Too good to be true?

Unfortunately, the band Josie hired apparently did not possess those skills. Some time after they exchanged contracts with her to perform at her wedding reception, they also took mistakenly took another booking for the same date. Given that they could not perform both bookings, someone was inevitably going to lose out, and on this occasion it was Josie. Leaving aside the fact that the wedding band should have honoured the contract they had with her as she was their first booking, this now placed Josie in the awkward position of trying to find another band would agree to perform at her wedding ceremony, drinks reception, evening party AND party the following day. Compounding this was fact that her budget only allowed her to spend what the original band had agreed to perform for, which was roughly similar to the fee that some professional bands perform just evening wedding receptions for.

In other words, Josie is stuck between a rock and a hard place. FOUR ON THE FLOOR are accommodating as it’s possible to be but the fact that we already had a daytime booking meant that we could not assist her. There is an epilogue to this cautionary tale however. Josie later heard that the band she had hired decided that all that extra performance time spread over two days was just too much effort for too little recompense and took another booking instead, preferring to let the unfortunate Josie down  rather than honour their commitments.

Non-standard requests

If there’s a moral to the story, then it’s this – do your research. If a wedding band does offer to provide a non-standard service such as performing at your drinks reception, it’s likely that those services will be chargeable. If most other wedding bands don’t provide the service you’re looking for but one will, there’s a chance that the band is promising more than it can deliver. Trying to reinvent the wheel by exhorting a wedding band to provide something they don’t normally do or cutting corners by hoping they will provide an extra service for no extra fee is only likely to end one way!

The good news is that the service that FOUR ON THE FLOOR can offer – 2 hours of indie, rock, pop and more, as well as DJ-style music, sound system, lights, requests performed by the band and non-stop entertainment from the point at which your evening guests start arriving until the end of the night – is provided as standard. There are no hidden fees such as travel or accommodation costs or charges for learning song requests. We are professional, versatile entertainers, but we’re also very well organised, managing our diary effectively so you can hire us safe in the knowledge that we won’t have to cancel your booking with us.

Some may say that this level of trust is something money can’t buy, but when you contact us for a quote, you’ll discover that we are surprisingly affordable!