When it comes to wedding planning, anywhere you can save helps out. There are certain areas you probably shouldn’t skimp on (like the catering), but then there are other areas where you can be creative and save a couple hundred dollars or so—such as the reception entertainment!
Yes, the music at the reception is very important. Most couples want everyone to dance and have a good time, and that means making sure that popular and/or traditional songs are played. But before you shell out $1,000 or more for a band or DJ, take a look at these tips we snagged from Olympia Banquet Hall in Los Angeles.
Little known fact: music schools sometimes hire out students in bands. “They are often very talented and appreciate the opportunity to gain some experience,” says Hambik Bedrossian, manager at Olympia. Some schools even count it as grade credit. To see if a local music school around you offers this, simply call and ask. If they say yes, see if you can visit the school to hear what they sound like. You could very well end up with a fantastic string quartet for a significantly less cost than a professional wedding band.
Utilize Off-Peak Months
As with most wedding vendors and venues, wedding bands and DJs often charge much less in the off-peak months (usually November to April). Or at the very least, they run specials. Keep this in mind when selecting your wedding date.
Uncover Hidden Costs
When interviewing your potential wedding singer, band, or DJ, ask them up front about “hidden” costs, including learning new songs, transportation, working overtime, and dinner. If they need transportation or dinner, for example, write out a list with the costs of these things and see if you can negotiate a lower overall cost. “Be sure to have the band or singer sign the finalized list to avoid future problems,” Bedrossian advises.
Be Your Own DJ
Sometimes this can be the absolute best way to go. After all, what better way to make sure you’ll get to hear all your favorite songs at your own wedding than to simply choose them yourself? All you need is an iPod or laptop and some great speakers. There are also plenty of great apps such as WeddingDJ to help guide you, but be sure to include appropriate music for pre-ceremony, the ceremony, post-ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, early dancing, and “party” dancing. “This option might sound iffy, but if done properly, it can really work and save a lot of money,” says Bedrossian.
Select Local Entertainment
When you book a band or DJ that lives out of town, travelling costs will add to your budget. Whether that means plane tickets or gas, it can get expensive. They might even request an overnight place to stay if they live very far out of town, so try to find local musicians if possible.
Friends and Family Members
Almost everyone has a friend or family member who’s in a band. If that band happens to be good, why not recruit them for your wedding? Often, they won’t even charge you since you’re a friend or family member. Just be sure to ask way in advance so that they can learn any new songs you might want them to know. Those who are really lucky can book a free band that is actually talented for their wedding this way—and it’s always more meaningful if they are someone close to you.
Ask Your Wedding Venue
“We often suggest bands and DJs to our couples,” says Bedrossian. “Many of them have no idea where to even begin looking.” Booking a band or DJ through your wedding venue can often save you money, since sometimes the band works exclusively with the venue. Managers like Bedrossian also know the best deals on vendors and can provide inside information, since they host so many weddings a year.
Hopefully these tips will help you save on your wedding entertainment. Just keep in mind to choose a band or musician that you love. Good luck with your planning!