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FAQ – How to Book Entertainment?

Entertainment – Everyone talks about the Band or the DJ when they hear entertainment, but think beyond the scope of music. Entertainment can be anything from special performances, aerial artists, or a strolling champagne dress entertainer. However, in this case we’re going to talk about how to book your music entertainment. There are 3 different areas where you will have them: Ceremony, Cocktail Hour and Reception.

Choosing the best band or DJ for your wedding

Once you have decided on a wedding date, it’s time to find entertainment and to properly prepare and research your options. Music sets the tone for your entire event, so It’s important to choose carefully! Some popular bands will get booked at least a year or more out, and particularly even more true for popular months for weddings.

Set Your Vibe:

The first thing to consider is your musical vibe. Think about what music reflects you and your fiance’s personality, and the ambience you want to create. Do you want your dance floor full all night, or would you prefer an intimate evening with great sounds in the background? The way your music is delivered affects the atmosphere, so decide what genre you like most and how it will be delivered. Are you looking for Motown, Classics, Top 40, Electronic, Country, or Bluegrass? Think of the music that you love, then think about if the sound will come from a live band, a DJ, or small ensemble. Regardless of what type of entertainer you choose, you’ll want to know that they can play a variety of music to keep your guests on the dance floor.

Set Your Budget:

After you set your vibe, now it’s time to set your budget. It’s important to note that a good band typically starts around $15K, which we know isn’t within everyone’s budget. DJs typically cost less than bands. Band prices will vary depending on the number of musicians, duration of the performance, and time of year. If you don’t have a budget for a band, we encourage you to look into a great DJ that charges ¼ of what getting a bad band would cost.

Select Your Music Moments:

After you have your budget confirmed, consider whether you want the same group for your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception or if you’d rather hire different people for different portions of the day. In Colorado, we often see party bands have the highest energy if they are only contracted for the reception (dancing) portion of the night. You can either have your ceremony musicians move to cocktail hour, and have your 2nd performer for the reception, or have your reception musician begin at cocktail hour and through the end of the night. Of course, you can also decide to contract different performers for each part of the day – there are no rules when it comes to providing the best entertainment!

Be sure to check with your venue on any restrictions regarding the number of musicians and pieces of equipment they bring in, and whether there are any electrical power supply or noise limitations.

Band Pros and Cons:

Bands have pros and cons! A good bandleader will pay attention to the feel of the room and select music accordingly.

  • Pros: Live music is live! Your guests will experience a performance which can raise the excitement level.
  • Cons: Bands are more expensive and don’t have the repertoire of a DJ, who can keep a huge variety of music on hand. If you want to hear a song the exact way the original artist performed it, you might not get what you want.

DJ Pros and Cons:

DJs also have pros and cons. Talented DJs can offer a great balance of music for all styles and ages. The songs will sound exactly as you want them to sound. DJs can also take up less space if there are space limitations.

  • Pros: If you want to hear a huge variety of music at your wedding, a DJ will be able to find all the tracks. DJs are less expensive and a DJ with great emcee skills can keep the party going.
  • Cons: A DJ with a lame personality can be a quick party killer. Live music is also very entertaining to watch as a guest and a DJ might not have that performance element.

How to Inquire:

To receive a proposal from a band, first, you’ll want to send an initial introduction email that includes the following information:

  • Date of Event
  • Hours of Event (duration) + specific entertainment hours requested

*SB Tip: Most party/dance bands are contracted for a 4-hour block with 2- 20 minute breaks

  • Location of Event (ceremony, cocktail, and reception)
  • Style of band requested
  • Desired Budget

After you outline your requests, and begin receiving information, compare your proposals side by and place it in this spreadsheet: Entertainment Vendor Comparison

Questions to Ask on your Introductory Call:

Once the booking agent has confirmed options and availability, we also encourage you to set up a call with the booking agent or bandleader to ask additional questions to compare their offerings. Remember to be very open and candid during your conversation about what you like and don’t like. It’s important that your personal requests are heard. Here are some questions to help guide your conversation:

  • Ask for their setlist
  • What size band and how much space do they require for performance?
  • Do they have any stage requirements?
  • What do they require for set-up and breakdown?
  • Do they always work the same way or can they adjust their performance to suit the flow of your celebration?
  • How many performers does the band include and what do each of them play?
  • What type of music/vibe do they specialize in?
  • Can they send their most updated song list?
  • How do they handle special requests?
    • Will you learn new songs? If so, how many?
  • How long does the band play?
  • Does the band take breaks?
  • Do they provide their own equipment (for both sound and lighting?)

***SB Tip: This is often called backline!

  • What is the musician breakout (how many pieces/what instruments?)
  • Do they have any videos/demos on social media/websites that show their performances?
  • Ask for the cost of their service/performance fee?
    • Is this inclusive of travel?
  • What sound amplification do they need?
  • What lighting amplification do they need?
  • Do they provide their own instruments, or is that something that needs to come in?

Comparing Proposals:

After viewing the proposal and discussing with the vendor, does one stick out to you more than the others? If so, we suggest you book that vendor right away. Always be sure to add a request for additional time, and ask what that cost is in the contract.

Things to look out for in the contract include:

  • How early do they require access at the venue
  • How clear is their extension policy
  • What is their vendor meal policy
  • How many breaks do they require

Selecting Your Songs:

There are many key moments during the reception that you’ll want to select specific songs for. This includes your Grand Entrance, First Dance, Father/Daughter Dance, and Mother/Son Dance, and for your ceremony, you can check out our Ceremony Music.

There are so many cheerful and fun wedding songs to play for your guest, but you will want to select songs that have a special meaning that pertains to you as a couple and matches the theme of your wedding. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Grand Entrance

Can’t Stop The Feeling (Justin Timberlake)
Marry You (Bruno Mars)
You Make My Dreams (Hall & Oates)
This Will Be (Natalie Cole)
Levels (Avicii)
Celebration (Kool & The Gant)
Signed, Sealed, Delivered (Stevie Wonder)
Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe (Barry White)
Viva La Vida (Coldplay)
Young Folks (Peter Bjorn and John)
Crazy in Love (Beyonce)

First Dance

Crazy Love (Van Morrison)
Marry Me (Train)
All of Me (John Legend)
Everything (Michael Buble)
You and Me (Dave Matthews)
You Are The Best Thing (Ray LaMontagne)
How Sweet It Is (James Taylor)
Slow Dance (John Legend)
Let’s Stay Together (Al Greene)
It Had To Be You (Dooley Wilson)
Just Too Good To Be True (Lauren Hill)
The Way You Look Tonight (Frank Sinatra)
Can’t Help Falling In Love (Elvis Presley)
Wonderful Tonight (Eric Clapton)
Love (Nat King Cole)
Wanted (Hunter Hayes)

Father / Daughter & Mother / Son Dance

My Wish (Rascal Flatts)
Isn’t She Lovely (Stevie Wonder)
You are the Sunshine of My Life (Stevie Wonder)
Forever and Ever (Randy Travis)
Daughters (John Mayer)
Father and Daughter (Paul Simon)
How Sweet It Is (James Taylor)
As Time Goes (Bing Crosby)
In My Life (The Beatles)
Have I Told You Lately (Rod Stewart)
Because You Loved Me (Celine Dion)
Through The Years (Kenny Rogers)
My Little Girl (Tim McGraw)
Daughter (Loudon Wainwright III)
Cinderella (Steven Curtis Chapman)
You’ll Be In My Heart (Phil Collins

If you need entertainment referrals or recommendations, turn to trusted sources (like us!) or friends. You can also refer to our Something Blue Preferred Vendors. If you have the opportunity to see your band play in a showcase or see them at another wedding you attend, that’s a great way to know if they are up to your standards!


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