Wedding band questions

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by ggvicviper, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Fender, EBMM, Rickenbacker, BSX. I'm Marc! Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    So my fiancée and I are trying to get hold of a band in the NYC area. We got a quote tonight from a contractor/singer who hires musicians to some custom needs to form a band. His asking price was $750 a musician and $400 to use their PA, which was a separate fee.

    I've not hired a band before for a wedding. What do you guys think? Is this a fair, or unfair?
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    The price seems about right. 6 piece band and PA for about $5000. We used to get that here in the Mid-Atlantinc states and things are usually more expensive up there (from what I hear anyway). So the price it fair. The whole "per man" thing is just weird though. If I pay $5000 for a band, I would prefer that they were a BAND, not just a bunch of cats who happened to get the call this week.
  3. Wow. I wish I could get that here in Colorado, but I'd have to have an inside track with the Governor first. I've been a professional wedding entertainer for the past ten years, most recently booked my band to a wedding for $1600 total and thought I was doing pretty good.

    Most wedding clients in my neck of the woods will go in the 1.5K to 2K range and no higher.

    I agree the "per man" thing is a weird detail to broadcast to a client. My band won't do an upscale event for less than $200 per man, but we don't let the client in on that detail.
  4. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Fender, EBMM, Rickenbacker, BSX. I'm Marc! Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    Would like to add the reception time is 4 hours.
  5. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Charging separate for the P.A. might seem bogus from a client POV but from the band side, it makes all the sense in the world and I wish my band did it. Especially if the P.A. Is going to be used for toasts, PowerPoint or videos off the client's device... Any outside factors that introduce risk to the P.A. beyond the band performance itself.

    And yeah the per man quote is kinda wonky. If someone shot me that I'd assume they're letting me specify how many will be in the band... In which case I'd say, "OK give me a power trio then." :D Just tell me the price for the whole band and I'll trust you to bring however many players it takes to do the job right.
  6. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    Have your reception here and you can book a top notch wedding band with sound for $750 to $1,200
  7. jchrisk1


    Nov 15, 2009
    Northern MI
    Hell yeah!!! 750 p / man! Oh by the way, I have a 12 piece band. That will be 9000.00. Unless you want to talk into my mic. That is an extra 400.00.
  8. That's about the average here.
  9. dave_bass5


    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    Id personally look for a band rather than a singer and a bunch of deps.
    Nothing wrong with deps, im sure they are all good (for that price they should be better than good) but a working band with sometimes get a better vibe, as they will all be used to working with each other.
    With a band you know exactly what you should be getting, and what you will pay, no extras at the last min, and they dont need to break the cost down, one gross figure should be all you need to know, and you can check their website and they should have video of them preforming etc.
  10. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    $5000? For a cover band at a wedding? Absolutely outrageous. Keep looking around. For that money, you could hire a legit touring band that is fairly well-known.
  11. ShoeManiac


    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey
    This is close to the going rate in the NYC area. It's not cheap, but it's not super-expensive either. I've seen some quotes from wedding bands that were easily double that ammount for a 6 or 7 piece band.

    I've been witness to many wedding bands since I used to work in the wedding/event business doing photo/video work. Weddings are big business in the greater New York area. And there are definitely some other questions you're going to want to ask the bandleader. Such as?

    -How many pieces in the band? 6 or 7 is close to standard.
    -Do they have a demo you can check out? And if not that, how about a showcase you can attend?
    -Will they also provide music for the ceremony and/or cocktail hour?
  12. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Fender, EBMM, Rickenbacker, BSX. I'm Marc! Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    We actually have asked all these questions and more. I appreciate all the input, and there's a reason why I mentioned my location. Many here who are saying $1200 will get you a decent band... Unfortunately this is NYC. I'm trying to get a sense of what is feasible for my wedding. Trying to keep the total wedding budget smaller, and the band price doesn't seem to help that.
  13. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Boston bands use to average $1500-$2500 for a 7 piece band.
    There was no fee per musician involved.
  14. ShoeManiac


    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey
    Totally understandable. And budget is a big reason why so many more weddings are going the DJ route these days. It can be a much more economical approach.

    That being said, you might be able to negotiate down the charge per musician. See if the band leader is prepared to go down to about $600 per man. All they can do is say no.
  15. britainblues


    Jun 18, 2010
    Boston, MA
    I'm in a 6 piece wedding/corporate band out of Boston and we charge between 4-5K for weddings that includes a sound guy.
  16. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Also keep in mind it is almost certain those players aren't actually being paid $750 each.

    After the BL deducts taxes, overhead and however much profit he wants to make off the top, they're probably putting more like $400-500 into their pockets at the end of the night. Which is still a tidy chunk of change but if that's what your local market will bear you're pretty much stuck with it unless you happen to catch them in a slow time and/or are a hell of a negotiator.

    And whatever you do, do NOT extend open bar to the band! Feed them, yes, maybe even one comp drink ticket per member but giving musicians unliimited access to free alcohol is a bad idea more often than not. Most pro wedding bands won't abuse that perk even if it's offered but why offer the tempation? ;)
  17. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
  18. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    For $5000 you could fly my band from the UK, cheap hotel for a couple of nights, rent backline and still have change for a pie and a pint.
  19. Tituscrow

    Tituscrow Banned

    Feb 14, 2011
    NW England
    If a wedding band can turn the dancefloor into Milf-Central within 30 seconds, they will have been worth every penny.
  20. I'd say that is the top end. Around here, central VA, a good wedding band usually runs $2k to $3k. We hired a jazz quartet for our wedding for $1200, but it was only a 2 hour reception, 4 hour total time invested, and it was during the day so they could still gig that night.

    Then there is a big band, a full swing band, in town with 4 vocals (a "Frank Sinatra", a "Sarah Vaughn/Ella", a "Smokey Robinson", and an "Aretha Franklin", if you will) that charges $20K. But they also have the rhythm section and key horn players do a dinner jazz set before 3 hours of music. Still- $20K is a good haul. And they're always working.