The Knot NY
All About Bands
Harris Lane, musical director and president of Hank Lane Music and Productions.
How far in advance should a couple book their wedding band?
On average, couples should look to book the band about a year in advance. Sometimes a couple can get lucky and we'll have availability closer to their wedding date, but right now we have couples inquiring almost two years ahead.
Which of the band's expenses should clients expect to cover?
The price depends on the size of the group. An average eight- to 10-piece band can range anywhere from $12,000 to $16,000. when we meet with couples for the first time, we explain any additional fees to ensure couples aren't surprised by prices a week before their wedding. It's standard for customers to cover the band's travel or lodging expenses, while feeding the band is certainly appreciated but not required.
What types of bands make the most sense for couples on a budget?
Luckily, not every band needs to perform with a lot of musicians and singers. The size of the band just depends on the music. You'll need a keyboard, drums, and a guitar or a sax player for dancing. Those three musicians should sing too. A jazz or string trio can work as well.
When it comes to the set list, how should couples request certain songs be played or skipped?
Having a meeting with the bandleader or music expert and going over a must-play and a do-not-play list is always a good idea. I've heard of bands charging to learn new songs, but at Hank Lane, we will learn any songs that a couple has on their must-play list with no-limitations. That said, I advise couples not to overload the band with too many requests for obscure songs that their guests might not enjoy. Alternatively, we ask for the do-not-play list because we certainly don't want to play any song that would be offensive to a couple or their guests.
Which behind-the-scenes requests and logistics do couples need to keep in mind?
We have an entire production department that handles all of the logistics with each venue. Reliable bands should have documents like liability insurance, permits and the necessary certificates on file to work with venues and facilities, but a client might have to secure a permit of the wedding takes place in a public area like a city or state park. Typically, the band should be set and sound checked one hour prior to go-time, and afterward, it typically takes about an hour to break everything down and load eveything out. Usually, the number of hours for a full band is around four but could be up to six.
- It's economical to have the band play both the ceremony and the cocktail hour, provided the music works for their instruments.
- If a band tells you they bring lighting, be careful. Make sure it's high quality and doesn't interfere with your decor.