Things to consider when booking your big-day musicians

female singer with a guitar at a wedding

As the UK's largest and most sustainable musician bookings platform, musicians for weddings account for around 50% of Encore's bookings. As such, the company is well-versed in the most cost-effective ways to cut down on one of the more expensive aspects of a wedding. Please see below some best tips to help you save the most money when booking your wedding entertainment.

  1. Timing 

On average, couples book musicians for their wedding seven and a half months in advance, but if your big day falls on a Saturday during peak season, you should book your musicians at least nine months in advance. 

We recommend booking at least a year in advance if you're looking for a wedding band.

Goes without saying that the best way to save money is to get married outside of peak season, and on a Friday if possible! 

  1. Try to book local musicians

Booking local musicians has loads of advantages. You'll save money on travel costs - Paying a band to drive 300 miles round trip to your wedding isn't cheap! Additionally, the musician(s) will likely be familiar with your venue, so they'll know how to work the space and maximize the acoustics.

As an added benefit, the musician(s) will be fresher and more energised after travelling a short distance to your wedding, as well as the possibility of them getting delayed by traffic or a late train is greatly reduced.

  1. Book a string duo or string trio instead of a string quartet

Almost everyone wants a string quartet at their wedding, but few people realise a string trio costs 25% less than a quartet!

What’s the difference between a string trio and a string quartet? A quartet is comprised of four musicians: two violins, a viola and a cello. A trio is comprised of three musicians: one violin, a viola and a cello. A string trio can perform the same repertoire as a quartet, and guests are unlikely to hear any significant variation in the size of the sound.

String Duos typically start at £400, String Trios typically start at £600, and quartets typically cost upwards of £800.

Want to save even more? A violin and cello duo can provide a gorgeous sound and create a sophisticated sound without costing an arm and a leg.

  1. Book a multi-talented band

Try to find a band whose singers also play instruments. A 3-piece band with a singing guitarist, a singing bassist, and a drummer, for example, will sound almost identical to a 5-piece band with two singers, a guitarist, a bassist, and a drummer.

Despite having a similar sound, the 3-piece band will be a whopping 40% less expensive than a 5-piece band.

  1. Book one band that can provide multiple line-up options throughout the day

Many bands can perform as a complete band for the evening celebration as well as acoustic soloists and duos for the ceremony, drinks, and supper.

Booking a single band saves money on travel and generally costs less than hiring different musicians for daytime and evening performances.

  1. Don’t hire amateur or student musicians

Many event managers try to save money by hiring cheap musicians, mainly amateurs or students. We strongly advise this because it jeopardises the overall ambience of your big day. 

Professional musicians spend their entire working lives making music and playing at events, which means they have a lot of experience, are confident performing to crowds of all sizes and don’t get nervous. It also means they understand how to read a crowd and can alter their performance to ensure you and your guests get the most out of the live music.

The same cannot be true for amateurs or students, who tend to be inexperienced and, if in a group, have rarely practised together.

The most and least popular types of music at weddings in 2023

Encore Musicians, the UK's leading platform for musicians bookings, undertook an interesting study examining over 16,000 bookings made in 2023. This analysis reveals the most sought-after musicians. 

Nearly a third of couples (28%) chose a violinist for their ceremony, almost one in four hired a saxophonist for their reception and a further one in five (20%) also had a saxophonist playing during their evening meal. 

Wedding section

Most popular musician

% booked out of all weddings

Average Price for a 2-Hour Performance*

Ceremony 

Violinist

28%

£280

Reception

Saxophonist

23%

£300

Evening meal 

Saxophonist

20%

£300

*These prices will vary based on factors such as location, and experience.

James McAulay, CEO of Encore Musicians comments: 

“My biggest piece of advice if you want to save money is to plan well in advance. You’ll have more time to explore and discover artists within your budget, and last-minute reservations are usually a lot more expensive, as musicians will rightfully charge a premium for the short notice.

“Choosing an off-peak date or scheduling your wedding celebration on a weekday can often lead to more affordable rates for musicians. During peak wedding season, musicians tend to be in higher demand and may charge higher fees for their services.

“Another way to dramatically reduce your costs is to book local talent. Travel costs aren’t cheap for a wedding band, who will often need at least two cars or vans to reach your venue. This also reduces the risk of your band getting stuck in traffic or suffering a breakdown on your big day. By supporting local artists, you can not only save money but also add a community-centric touch to your wedding.

“There are also creative ways to save money when booking wedding music. For example, some bands will provide solo musicians, such as a singer or a pianist, during the ceremony at a cheaper price point than booking a soloist who only performs at the ceremony. Lots of bands offer a “Manned DJ Service” where they’ll DJ after their set and take requests from guests. This is always a lot cheaper than hiring a separate DJ. 

“We’re incredibly sensitive to the financial challenges posed by the cost of living crisis, both for couples and for musicians, and we’re committed to helping couples create memorable musical experiences at a price point that suits their budget while ensuring our musicians get paid a fair fee.

“Our platform offers the largest range of talented, vetted musicians in the UK, making it easier to find the perfect local musician for your big day. We want everyone to experience the magic of live music on their wedding day without breaking the bank”. If you use this information, please link to - https://encoremusicians.com/

sting quartet with a bride and groom at a venue
band and singers in a marquee

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