An average wedding today runs between $20,000 and $25,000. Unless your name is Hilton, Rockefeller or Gates, the price tag for the invitations, reception, gown and flowers is almost enough to give any couple cold feet.
Music can take an especially large bite out of the budget. From the accompanist during the ceremony to the string quartet during dinner to the DJ at the reception, the music for your big day can add up to one big expense – and one big headache. The good news is there are easy ways to cut down on the costs.
A live band can keep a wedding dance hopping. But who says you have to hire the most popular — and most expensive — group available? Look into seeking out a talented amateur band instead of paying top dollar for the pros. Universities are often a good resource. But don’t just settle for any eager collection of musicians. Keep in mind that the quality of the band can make or break a wedding dance, so make sure to audition them thoroughly before you book.
If you can schedule your ceremony and reception for an off-peak season, or on a Friday or Sunday, you can save a big chunk of cash. Many bands offer discounts for less popular dates.
Instead of hiring your musicians to play for the entire reception, download popular playlists of classic standards or contemporary favorites to play during cocktail hour or dinner, either on CD or on an MP3 player. Or, download classical preludes to play as your guests are waiting before or after the ceremony. Prerecorded music creates a nice ambiance, gives your musicians a break, and helps keep your music budget in line. We’ve put together some popular mixes available for downloading here.
When the reception is rockin’, many couples ask the band to keep playing past their agreed-upon end time. Instead of getting socked with a pricey overtime charge, consider negotiating an extra hour or two of playing time when you book the band, just to be safe.