CHOOSING YOUR WEDDING ENTERTAINMENT
Nothing brings a wedding alive more than great entertainment. Think back to weddings you’ve attended before. Weren’t the most fun celebrations the ones with great music, plenty of food and drink and a touch of the unexpected? As an entertainer or band will likely set the tone for your perfect night, finding the right entertainment is key, so choose them carefully. This article will prepare you for this task.
Key tips for choosing your entertainers:
- Select musicians or singers that regularly entertain at weddings. They should be willing to entertain for four hours and be completely reliable.
- Always try to hear your prospective bands live and ask to attend a future wedding where they will perform. If you are unable to attend a performance in person ask for a video. Never accept photos, CDs or MP3's as proof of an entertainer's ability.
- Get recommendations from friends, relatives and/or reputable online reviews if possible.
- Decide which type of entertainment is appropriate for your event. Are you hosting an event where the entertainment should be the center of attention or is the performance there to provide a background for other activities?
- Consider your guest's preferences. You’ll never please everyone, but try to please as many guests as possible to ensure a successful event.
- Get everything in writing! See more about contracts below.
- Have a backup plan in place. Read below to find out more.
TYPES OF PERFORMERS & ENTERTAINMENT
When interviewing prospective Band or DJ, get a sense for their style and approach to weddings. Ask what type of genres they perform and does that line up with your favorite genres. Perhaps most importantly, get a sense for your entertainer's personality and pride in their work.
Types of wedding entertainers/entertainment to consider:
- Disc jockeys
- Professional dancers
- Circus performers
- Photo booths
- Chocolate fountain hire
- Garden games
- Casino tables
- Celebrity lookalikes
- Mechanical bulls
- Fire performers
- Ice sculptures
- Food trucks/carts
- Arcade game hire
If live performers are out of your wedding budget, consider playing your own favorite music mixed in with tied-and-true party favorites. Be sure to include music that will appeal to several generations.
SIGN A CONTRACT
Most bands and performers already have a written contract ready to go but if not create a detailed one yourself. At a minimum, be sure to include the following items in your contract:
- Date, time and event location
- Deposit, final payment amount, and when each will be delivered
- The number of performers, their names, and replacement members if needed
- Equipment (sound, lighting, etc.) and who is responsible for each portion
- A list of “must play” songs
- A list of “don’t play” songs
Remember to sign a contract that protects your interests and spells out all charges and validate that the company you are hiring has all proper permits and insurance. This is an important peace of mind to allow you to fully enjoy your wedding entertainers.
HAVE A BACKUP PLAN
Issues can and do arise, unfortunately, such as technical issues, illnesses, traffic delays and musician cancellations, etc. Always have a backup entertainer or band in mind. Weddings without music are a disaster so be sure to plan ahead and interview several entertainers during the wedding planning process. The show must go on!
QUESTIONS TO ASK POTENTIAL ENTERTAINERS
- Are you available on my wedding date?
- Are you experienced with entertaining at weddings?
- Do you have any videos of your performances and may I attend an upcoming performance?
- What equipment do you use and what is it's condition? Is backup equipment provided and immediately available?
- What happens if the entertainer is ill or otherwise cannot attend my event?
- What do you charge? Are there any hidden or extra charges for expected services or travel expenses, etc?
- What are your deposit and cancellation policies?
- Who will actually be the entertainer(s) at the wedding?
- Are you insured?
- Do you take song requests?
- What services are included other than just playing music? (For example, do you require an emcee, a coordinator, or someone to interact with your crowd?
- What breaks do you require during your performance?
- How much time do you need to set up?
- What types of music do you play? What types of songs do you sing? May I see a song list?
- How long will you perform and what is your overtime policy?