Five ways to save money when booking a band - a financial plan - part 2
2. Booking one or more bands to cover your wedding day
Booking one band for a long time is always lower cost than booking two different bands to cover the same time. So think about whether you really want to do this.
If you are booking a string quartet to play during the wedding ceremony and drinks reception and a covers band to play during the evening party, then of course there is no choice. The music style is so different that the same musicians wouldn't do both. But if for example, you are wanting a large jazz band for dancing in the evening, but some gentler music for the reception or during the meal, a smaller subset of the same band would probably be able to play for you during the earlier sessions. There is only one vehicle coming with the PA equipment and other savings for the band, so the price can be lower.
Some string quartets have members who also play in a Ceilidh or barn dance band, or possibly a jazz band. Some Ceilidh bands offer a disco option and many pop or covers bands will do disco between their sets. So look out for the options.
Also, the longer you have a band, the less it normally costs per hour. This is because there is a fixed cost for booking the band, sorting out contracts, band leader spending time organising band members, travel costs, travel time, set up time, even if the band only play for 1 hour. For every additional hour they are with you, gives another hour to amortise the fixed cost. So the lower the price per hour.
But this isn't always the case. Some bands will only do one fixed time. Perhaps a pop band has two sets that are a fixed set of songs, so they will only do a fixed time. Some bands, like many barn dance bands will give a fixed maximum time or perhaps 3 hours, i.e. one set of 1 hour fifteen minutes, a half hour break and another set of 1 hour fifteen minutes. Why do they do this? Because going on for longer usually is too exhausting for the average audience, who get over tired, grumpy and fed up, so spoiling what would have been a fun shorter dance. And why won't they give a lower price for a shorter barn dance?
As explained above, much of the work involved in doing a performance is a fixed amount, no matter what length of performance it is. So, it doesn't make sensed to them to charge less for what is in effect about the same amount of work. Another consideration is that a Saturday evening is a performance slot. For musicians who are earning their living from live performances, that is an earning slot and they need to charge a certain amount for doing something in that evening slot, whether it is one hour of performing or 3 hours.
Some groups, e.g. string quartets might play up to 4 hours at an hourly rate that reduces the longer you have them, but charge a lot more to the a fifth hour. This can be because they really don't want to do that extra hour. Playing can be very hard physical work, not only from the physical activity of pushing a bow up and down at a great rate of knots, but can be mentally draining, making sure the right music is on the stand for the entrance of the bride, trying to keep an eye on the registrar to judge when they have finished the signing and given the photographer all the time they are going to allow, and continue with the ceremony. Often the string quartet is positioned such that they can't see properly what is happening at the front of the ceremony room, through the mass of big hats and people jumping up an down to take their own photographs. The quartet don't want to get in the situation of the registrar starting to talk through their playing. And to think of it, all this is going on while they are trying to read and play a very difficult piece of music, as often as not cramped into half the space they really need, and sometime in the middle of winter in a freezing cold and draughty church. The life of a musician is not an easy one!
But having said all this, depending on what music you are looking for, it may be possible for the one music group to do several separate performances during your day and end up saving you money.
3. Free DJ between live sets