booking wedding entertainment

contributed by Bunbury Entertainment Agency

Personalise your wedding with live music

There is nothing quite like live music to set the scene and create a personal message to you and your guests. It is a forever memory, long after the bouquet has been thrown. Consider entertainers offering a variety of services – from a soloist at the ceremony and pre-drinks, to a trio during the reception and DJ or live band playing all your favourite songs as you party into the night! If you have always dreamed of a particular genre of music or style of entertainment for your big day, don’t hesitate to seek them out. People share a common language on the dance floor and that creates the atmosphere that makes your wedding stand out. This mood is communicated via the entertainment choices you make. Guests may not remember all details in years to come but they will always remember the party on the dance floor and the live music by the band! Memories of your day are made stronger by the personal touches you include in your planning.

Acoustic music

BEA receives many enquiries for “Acoustic Musicians” – acoustic music solely or primarily uses instruments that produce sound through acoustic means, as opposed to electric or electronic means. The retronym “acoustic music” appeared after the advent of electric instruments, such as the electric guitar, electric violin, electric organ and synthesiser. Often a microphone is placed in front of an acoustic instrument which is then wired up to an amplifier. The amplifier remains separate from the instrument and reproduces its natural sound accurately. Acoustic instruments most suited without amplification are violin, banjo, cello, and possibly flute.

BEA’s acoustic artists generally use amplification to maximise the projection of their voice and music. Please be aware that amplification is advised in the majority of circumstances, especially for outdoor settings. Without amplification, your musician will hardly be heard beyond a very short radius of the performance – so your guests seated or standing more than a few metres from the musician are unlikely to hear anything. All vocal performances require amplification. Remember if you’re getting married outdoors you will be competing with a lot of external sounds, like birds, traffic noise and the wind. So you may also require microphones for your guests to hear you say your vows, a good point to check with your celebrant. Don’t forget the speeches too! Does the venue have a PA system and microphone or will you have to hire one or will the band or DJ have a microphone that can be used?

Consider engaging an agency when booking entertainment for your event

Special events like weddings require many hours of meticulous planning – but sometimes even the best-made plans can go awry. Especially when events are planned across many months, circumstances can change. People move on, get sick, unforeseen events can alter plans at a minute’s notice. Some performers may be booked 12 or more months in advance. Have you ever considered what you would do if, at a time close to your event (or even on the day), you find they are no longer available?

Q: What would you do if the entertainers you had booked changed their mind, deciding that the original price quoted was now not enough and they wanted to charge you extra?

Q: What happens if your entertainers don’t write down the details properly – so they forget to turn up, arrive at the wrong time or go to the wrong place?

Q: How about if the band’s equipment breaks down, they break up, a member is sick, in an accident or gets a better offer?

These scenarios are real – they can and do happen!

Booking through an agency can alleviate that worry – as the agency will have a backup plan so that your event can go ahead, albeit with a replacement DJ, band, singer, or entertainer. Booking through an agency can make your wedding planning run more smoothly. If something goes wrong, there is a backup plan!

When paying for artists or paying a deposit, you should always be mindful of paying into a private account (ie John Smith), as opposed to a business account (ie John Smith Entertainment). The business account (especially with an ABN) can offer more security in times of trouble (for example, the business closing, the entertainer leaving town etc).

The best entertainers spend a lot of time and money ensuring their skills, equipment and play lists are in first-class order. They are happy to oblige in learning new songs, playing particular genres if requested. Value artists for the professionals they are, for the talents they have developed. If you engaged a tradesman to work on a weekend, out of hours, for six to eight hours, including travel and costs, you would expect to pay $1000 or more for their time and expertise. So why assume you should only pay a musician a couple of hundred dollars or less for the same?

Remember – you get what you pay for!

Timing is everything

Take the hassle out of the planning experience by being well prepared.

Know your venue. Does it have accessible power, is there shade, shelter, a stage area or structure that can act as a stage? Will your entertainers be required to traverse difficult ground to set up ie; farm paddock, beach or forest? Remember, they may have a lot of equipment.

Know your times. How long do you wish them to play? Do they need to travel between venues? Provide your entertainers with a schedule so everyone is clear on what happens and when.

It is never just a four-hour gig – 7 to 11 pm – as musicians and entertainers need to factor in travel, arrival times, set -up and sound checks in preparation for their performance. They also require time for pack-up and travel home. If your event is away from their home base or out of town, consider offering accommodation as part of the fee.

Popular entertainment (including DJs) is often booked well in advance, especially for weekends during the popular wedding months.

Don’t be disappointed and don’t make things stressful for yourself by leaving a booking till the last minute. We have had many disappointed clients unable to get their preferred entertainment because they have left it until just a few weeks out from their wedding date. Remember to always book early.

Musicians are people too so value your entertainers

Remember events such as weddings can mean a 12-14 hour day for entertainers. Take into consideration time to travel, set up, sound check and pack up.

Consider their comfort by including them in your catering numbers and instruct your venue or caterer to serve them food and refreshments. If you have an outside wedding ensure that they have shade and shelter.

Whilst they enjoy bringing great entertainment to your event, please be mindful that they have often arranged their own family lives around their bookings – so changing a date or cancelling just weeks out can impact on a lot of lives. Be aware of cancellation fees and understand that entertainers have a right to be compensated if you change your mind.

Think long and hard about what you really want and what you expect of your entertainment. Be aware of your guests and what type of entertainment they will enjoy the most. There is no point in engaging an opera singer if they are into punk, just because you once saw a lovely opera singer perform and thought it would be a great addition to your wedding! Your guests probably won’t feel the same.

Talk to your booking agency or entertainer and ask them for advice if you are unsure. Remember they have had plenty of experience and are often quite knowledgeable in the world of all things weddings!