Booking Wedding Musicians: Honest Advice from 35 couples who have done it already

Booking live music can be daunting if you’ve never done it before, and even more so when you’re booking music for your wedding – one of the biggest events of your life! There are lots of wedding musicians out there – how can you make sure you find the best performer for your wedding?

We recently surveyed 100+ couples about their experiences searching and booking wedding musicians. People who have been there, done that, and got the t-shirt. At the end of the survey, we asked them the following question:

If a friend told you they were about to start looking for wedding musicians online, what advice would you give them?

We’ve compiled 30 of the most helpful responses for you. We hope you find this useful when searching for musicians for your own wedding!

The most common pieces of advice we saw were:

  1. Book early!
  2. Use Encore
  3. Try to see as many musicians as you can before making a decision
  4. Meet the musician in person if you can
  5. Decide on the style of your wedding and the style of music you want BEFORE beginning to contact musicians
  6. Try to book local musicians if you can

Book Early

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the best wedding musicians get booked up quickly. We’ve seen some particularly organised couples booking music 3 years in advance of their big day!

If your wedding is on a Saturday in the peak wedding season, you should really be aiming to have your musicians booked at least 9-12 months in advance. If you’re looking for a wedding band, we’d recommend trying to book at least a year in advance. Here’s what our couples said:

“Take time but make sure you look well in advance to get the best prices and availability. Make sure you look carefully at the set lists and repertoire and ask for specific requests.”
Charlotte M

“Search & book early”
Anna S

“Start looking as soon as possible because acts get booked up really quickly.”
Aimee M

“Book early”
Sarah-Jane T

“To start early as there are a lot of good musicians out there. Also, see if they can provide a DJ service afterward as we were able to get this which means our entertainment for the whole party is covered.”
Holly

“To start ASAP!”
Krishma K

“Just book it!”
Alissa W

Keen to get started? Head to encoremusicians.com to begin your search! You’ll receive tailored quotes from incredible wedding musicians within a matter of minutes.

Use Encore

We were delighted to receive so much positive feedback from couples who used the Encore platform to find and compare musicians for their wedding. A common theme was that couples enjoyed receiving a range of fast quotes from musicians who were definitely available for their date and who could easily travel to their venue.

Here’s what they had to say about us:

“Try encore its so nice that the bands apply to be at your wedding rather then vica versa”
Jeni S

“I’d recommend encore, and the internet but suggest they found something that gave them numerous options and quotes (like encore).”
Ellen M

“Definitely book through you as looking at reviews and sound bytes was amazing. Quick response from potential musicians is brilliant too.”
Fiona J

“Try encore! Very helpful customer service if there are any issues”
Rachel M

“Have a look at the sites that collate all the artists together as it’s a big help and saves time rather than contacting them all individually, unless there’s a particular band they know they want”
Rosie M

“to have a look at encore as it has a wide range of bands/types of music and an easy booking system.”
Natasha J

“I would direct them to Encore as I found it much easier than looking through dozens of websites”
Katrina J

“Go to encoure as they have a wide range of variety”
Louise

“I often recommend Encore as I feel it is a valuable tool and also allows bands with less online presence equal recognition unlike using a search engine or social media”
Alison M

“Use the websites who give you plenty of options and can filter it with distance cost etc like encore!”
Anna E

Try to see as many options as possible

A lot of our couples suggested trying to compare as many wedding musicians as possible before deciding on your favourite. This can be easy if you’re looking for something popular, like a harpist, but much harder if you’re going niche! (there are only so many Irish bagpipers available in England you can compare)

With Encore, you can clearly state what you’re looking for using our simple enquiry form, and you’ll receive tailored quotes from incredible wedding musicians within minutes. Our customers tend to receive 10-15 quotes, which gives you a good range of suitable and qualified musicians to compare.

“Get lots of quotes, as price varies a lot”
Megan T

“Go on encore, get as many quotes as possible and trust your instincts”
Andy T

“Shop around. Go for the band that has videos of their performances”
Dan C

“Not to settle until they have exactly what they want. And to look around!”
Jess H

“So as much research as possible to see as many bands as possible before you commit.
Mary B

“Google as much as possible, speak to as many as possible to understand what is good value and those out there who are taking the mic when it comes to prices”
Natalie W

Bride with ukulele performing as a wedding musician at her own wedding!

Bride with ukulele performing as a wedding musician at her own wedding!

Meet the Musician and see them live if you can

This is good advice, but it may not always be possible for a couple of reasons:

  1. Most function bands specialise in private events, which means getting entry to their gigs isn’t easy!
  2. You may not live near your wedding venue, so travelling across the country to meet your musicians could be difficult.

If you can’t meet them in person, you should definitely watch as many unedited live videos as you can, and once you’ve booked, arrange a Skype call so that you can chat face-to-face about the finer details of your day.

“Meet the band”
Helene D

“Try and see them live”
Linda M

“try and see them live or get a meeting with them”
Robyn K

“Try and see the band/performers in person before booking if they can”
Julie V

Start by deciding on the style of your wedding and wedding music

It’s a lot easier to decide on the musician or band that you’d like to perform at your wedding when you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. Before you begin searching, have a think about the style or theme of your wedding, and consider which genre of music would go well with your unique day.

You don’t need to have planned every single detail of your wedding music before you begin talking to musicians, but knowing what sort of aesthetic and vibe you would like the performer to create will make your search a lot easier.

“Find the style you like and go from here”
Danielle E

“Decide what type of music you want before searching”
Anon.

“Consider…what style defines you as a couple rather than what just says ‘wedding’ and allow plenty of time for research as music provides the majority of the entertainment at most weddings so is important to get right.”
Emily S

“Not to settle until they have exactly what they want. And to look around!”
Hayley K

Looking for some inspiration?
Get started with our handy guide: Wedding Planning: Music At Your Wedding – Where to Start

Try to book local musicians

Booking local musicians has loads of advantages:

  • You’ll save money on travel costs. Paying a band to drive a 300-mile round trip to your wedding isn’t cheap!
  • There’s a high chance that the musician(s) will have performed at your venue before, so they’ll know how to work the space and get the most out of the acoustics
  • The musician(s) will be fresh and energised after travelling a short distance to your wedding.
  • As the musician(s) are only travelling a short space of time, the chances of them being delayed by traffic or late trains is drastically reduced

“Look for local musicians that don’t have to travel – this saves money and means they may know the venue/area well”
Lorna H

“Consider factors such as distance to venue from where the band is based (for increased performance quality/morale)…”
Emily S

“It costs a bomb for bands. Find local to save additional travel costs”
Ash F

“Start by looking at local bands or people that have played at weddings near you”
Charlotte

The Encore platform is designed to match you with incredible acts near your venue. When you make an enquiry, we instantly notify musicians in your area asking if they’re available on your date, and when they respond to you with a quote, you can easily see how far from your venue they are based. Their quote also includes an accurate travel cost, so you’ll have no hidden fees or surprise costs when you decide to book them.

 


We really hope you’ve found this advice helpful. If you have advice of your own, please do leave a comment below and we’ll add update the blog with some of the best tips and tricks.

The best piece of advice we can give?

Start your enquiry on Encore today to be matched with incredible, available and local wedding musicians within minutes.

About Author

Encore Co-Founder & CEO. Cellist, pianist, singer and aspiring guitarist.

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