wedding couple having their first dance

Wedding and Party Blog

25 Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Live Wedding Band

Wedding Band

At CTO Artists, we understand that wedding planning can be extremely stressful. From the Save the Date invitations to the icing on the cake, we don’t blame you for wanting every last detail to be perfect. This includes reviewing all the details regarding your live wedding entertainment. To help, we’ve created a checklist of the 25 crucial questions you should ask before hiring a wedding band.

In addition to this list, our FAQ Section highlights additional questions and includes CTO specific answers.

Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Live Wedding Band

1. How much does the band cost?

Checking to see if the band fits your budget should be one of your first questions.

2. How can I see the band live?

We highly suggest seeing a band live before you book them. A showcase is a great way to meet the band and get a feel for their performance style and stage presence. CTO, along with many other wedding band companies, often hold local live showcases. Our upcoming events are posted here. If you can’t see the band live, watch a video of a recent performance.

3. How much is the deposit?

Keep track of how much you’ll initially need to put down, like many of the other deposits you’ll have to make before the wedding (photographer, florist, catering, venue, etc.).

4. Do you have insurance?

Make sure you and the band are covered in the case of an accident.

5. Are you available on my wedding date?

It’s best to ask at least 12 months in advance.

6. Does the price include a sound system/speakers/microphones/lighting?

If the band does not provide all the equipment, it will be an extra expense you’ll need to include in the budget. CTO Artists includes a full sound system and lighting for our bands.

7. What does the venue/outside vendors need to provide?

As a follow up to the previous question, confirm the arrangements you’ll have to make with the venue and/or outside vendors to provide for the band. 

8. How long will you play?

Make sure the band’s play time will coordinate with your wedding schedule.

9. Can we choose the set list?

See how much input you’ll have on hand selecting specific songs from the band’s repertoire.

10. Can you play ____?

The band will most likely already know all the popular hits, but if you mention a song that they haven’t performed, ask if they will learn it. (This may cost extra – CTO Artists will learn up to two specific songs!)

11. Can you play my first dance song live?

Asking this question will depend if you want the first dance to be true to the original artist or if you want a live band to cover it. Check and see if the song will match their style and if they can coordinate playing it live.

12. How many people are in the band?

This will help you understand what type of sound you should expect on stage. 

13. How many years of experience does the band have?

Get a little background on their musical education and experience to make sure you’re hiring a top quality band.

14. How long has the band been together?

They may have been performing together at thousands of weddings but if not, don’t worry! Professional wedding band players who have been in the industry for several years should be able to quickly adapt to newer band members.

15. What genres do you play?

Professional wedding bands should be able to cover a wide variety of genres.

16. Does the band need to be fed?

The answer to this question will help you coordinate with the caterer ahead of time for extra plates. Most bands are on stage for several hours, so even if they do not require food it’s always greatly appreciated to offer something for them to snack on. 

17. What will you wear during your performance?

Check to see if they’ll be wearing black suits and dresses or bold colors that will clash with your wedding theme.

18. How much space do you need?

Different sized bands will need different sized spaces. For CTO, a 20×8 space at a minimum is preferred.

19. Do you play continuously or do you need a break?

If they do need a break, (CTO Artists will play continuously!) you’ll want to have a plan in place to fill the gap of silence.

20. Do you make announcements/MC?

Assuming you don’t want a family member or friend to be the announcer for the evening, a band leader is typically experienced in helping the night run smoothly and on schedule. Check if they’ll make the announcements for all your planned activities such as the first dance, bouquet toss, and cake cutting.

21. What do you do to get people dancing?

The band leader should know how to read the crowd’s mood. You want them to have experience getting the party going if there is a lull!

22. How much time do you need for setup/breakdown?

This question will help you determine arrival time to set up equipment and perform sound checks. Depending on how much time they need to breakdown, you’ll want to make sure you don’t go over your allotted hours at the venue. 

23. What happens if a band member can’t perform the day of?

Make sure there is a backup plan in place.

24. Do you have any references or testimonials?

Review other people’s experiences with the band to get an idea of how your night will go. 

25. What are your favorite songs to perform?

It could be one of your favorites!

After making sure all your questions and concerns are addressed, confirm the contract details and get ready to sign!

If you have a question for CTO, or you’re ready to book your band, contact us here.