It’s tempting to just confirm your wedding musicians over the phone and may be follow up with an email. We strongly advise against this. When booking music for a wedding reception you need to make sure you have a contract between you and the wedding musicians. First step is to make sure you are dealing with the bandleader. Some bands for hire have more than one bandleader so make sure you are dealing with the same one all the way through the contracting and organisation process. Agree verbally that you want to book the band and ask that they confirm the date in the band diary and get an assurance that they won’t make themselves available to another enquirer during the contracting process. Ask the bandleader to send you a contract based on your verbal agreement. You must now take the time to carefully read the contract and pay special care and attention to the following critical clauses.
1. Set By Time & Finish Time – In essence the time that the band will have completed and soundchecked the set up of their PA system and lighting. The Set By Time could be before your guests sit down to eat or possibly by the time your evening guests arrive. The Finish Time should be the time that you envisage the bands last note of the evening.
2. Travel/accommodation and parking extras – You don’t want to be landed with a bill of extras after the event so make sure it is clearly stated what extras, if any, the band will expect to be covered. We would advise putting a cap on any expenses. You don’t want to be paying for 5 cars parked in an NCP car park all afternoon and evening so make sure you cap the cost or agree a way of keeping the cost to minimum.
3. Payment Terms – There will likely be two payment points – a deposit to confirm the booking and the balance on the day. Deposits can range from a £100 flat fee to 50% of the total fee. It’s reasonable to expect to pay the balance of the fee in cash or by cheque on the night of the event. Some bands will require payment before the date. You need to be very clear you feel comfortable with this arrangement so don’t rush into signing anything to that effect.
4. Production includes...? – Most function bands will quote for their services to include ‘production’. You must be clear on what ‘production’ is. It will most likely mean that they will supply the PA system along with stage and dance floor lighting. You’re not expected to understand the technicalities and specifications of the PA and lighting but you must ask questions. For example make sure the band knows how many guests you’re having, how big the room they will be playing in is, what your expectations of lighting are and are they met with what is being supplied etc etc
5. Cancellation terms – Often the most overlooked of clauses but also the one that can cause the biggest problems. Cancellation of your big day, for whatever reasons, is not something you really want to be thinking about but you must make sure you have provision in your contract for it. Moreover it may not be your wedding that is cancelled, the band may, for whatever reason, not be able to play. You must therefore be sure you are happy with the financial consequences laid out in the cancellation clause of either eventuality.
We’ve covered the 5 most critical clauses for any function band contract but you must use your judgement and common sense throughout the whole process of sourcing, liaising and booking your band. As emotional a decision as it can be you must try and take a step back and evaluate how you feel about your dealings with the bandleader. Has he or she been efficient, communicative and honest to deal with? Most of all do you get a good feel from them? If you answer yes to all of these and make sure you cover the critical contract clauses your day will be the best of your life.
If you’re still looking for your ideal party band have a browse around EventsJam.co.uk. All our bands can be contacted direct so you pay no fees or commissions to EventsJam if you decide to make a booking. EventsJam lets you view and compare each bands profile, read their biog, listen to their music and even watch video of them before deciding if you want to make contact directly from the website. Create a shortlist of bands you want to get quotes from, fill in one enquiry form and your request will be instantly sent to each of your chosen performers. If you prefer you can click through to the acts own website and make contact from there.