This is a question that is frequently asked on wedding forums – how much does it cost to hire a live wedding band for your reception?
At FixTheMusic, a free platform for booking a carefully curated selection of the UK’s finest wedding bands (you can browse them all here), we have been able to keep track of the average cost of hiring wedding bands, so we’d like to share our thoughts with you in this blog post.
First of all, it’s important to state that wedding bands are considered to be a cut above pub cover bands, although perhaps this does amateur pub bands a disservice – many of the most famous bands started on the pub and club scene playing a mixture of covers and original tracks.
But a wedding band will generally have invested more in top-of-the-range equipment, which usually means a high-quality PA system, musical instruments and lighting. They also invest in public liability insurance (a requirement of all UK wedding venues), equipment maintenance and Portable Appliance Testing of equipment.
Another reason that wedding bands charge more relates to the pressure involved in performing on such a special day for all included, not least the bride and groom – lots of time goes into rehearsals to make sure each player is in tune and in time with each other.
And finally, it’s worth saying that wedding bands usually consist of professional musicians who make a living from their gigs, often supplemented by teaching music lessons at schools or privately.
So we’ve established why a professional wedding band might charge a bit more than a pub cover band. Let’s get to the figures.
Of course, the main factor that influences the cost of a wedding band is the number of performers in the band.
A good rule of thumb is that the cost per musician in a wedding band for 2019 is roughly £285 to £335, so an acoustic duo would charge in the region of £570 to £670, a three-piece band charges approximately £855 to £1,005 and a four-piece band would cost about £1140 to £1,340 to hire for the evening’s entertainment.
But there are several other factors that influence the cost of hiring a wedding band:
Saturdays in the summer months are peak times when wedding bands will charge their full rate and will generally not be willing to negotiate on price. At FixTheMusic, we’ve seen an increasing demand for bands to perform on weekdays, as weekday weddings become more popular in the UK. Bands can often offer a reduced rate for performance on any other day than Saturday in the summer wedding season (May to September) and the rate might be further reduced for winter weddings, which are also increasing in popularity.
The distance the band will need to travel to your wedding venue is also a factor that affects cost, especially considering that larger bands will need to travel in more than one car. Petrol costs can be significant if the band is travelling from afar. At FixTheMusic, enquiries are sent to local bands from our hand-picked selection who will then provide quotes – you can then compare the bands and their quotes, message them if you like, and when you’re ready to book, you can pay securely on our platform by debit or credit card.
Most bands prefer to perform a maximum of 2 x 45-minute or 2 x 60-minute sets with a small break in between sets. Their quotes will usually be based on this length of performance, but if you require them to play for longer, or for them to set up early, they will charge a bit more. Wedding bands will often include a free DJ set with their package so it’s worth enquiring about this. If they do charge for a DJ service, it will, in general, work out much cheaper than hiring a separate DJ.
Another factor relates simply to supply and demand. The more popular bands will generally charge a bit more as they are able to do this and still achieve bookings. The popularity of bands often relates to the genre of music they perform. We see a greater demand for male lead vocalists than female lead vocalists, but this could in part be due to the popularity of all-male bands like Mumford & Sons. Mumford & Sons style folk-rock wedding bands (often featuring upright bass, acoustic guitars and occasionally banjo) have become very popular in recent years and remain popular in 2019, particularly at festival-themed and vintage-themed weddings.
So where the demand is high and supply is limited, such is the case for Mumford style weddings bands, they will generally charge a bit more for their services than a more standard pop/rock cover band, even if they are both of equally high standard.
A few examples...
The rock and pop bands below generally charge between £900 - £1,200 for weddings (depending on travel and other factors discussed in this post)...
View more videos and read verified reviews of The Vitals ➡️
View more videos and read verified reviews of The Score ➡️
View more videos and read verified reviews of The Wildcards ➡️
View more videos and read verified reviews of The Sidekicks ➡️
The soul and funk bands below usually start at around £1,800 - £2,200, simply because they include more musicians such as the trumpet, sax and multiple vocalists too...
View more videos and read verified reviews of Scintillate ➡️
View more videos and read verified reviews of Supersoul ➡️
View more videos and read verified reviews of Soul Flight ➡️
View more videos and read verified reviews of The Starlights ➡️
Our largest and most luxury showbands tend to cost anywhere between £2,000 and £6,000, depending on the size of band...
View more videos and read verified reviews of Groove Addiction ➡️
View more videos and read verified reviews of The Power ➡️
View more videos and read verified reviews of Aptitude ➡️
View more videos and read verified reviews of Dynasty Showband ➡️
Prospective brides and grooms are always looking to book the best wedding band they can afford...but how much do musicians typically charge and what will UK wedding entertainment cost you?
The old adage ‘you gets what you pay for’ remains relevant as ever when booking live music. Whether you need musicians for a church ceremony, drinks gathering, or post-dinner wedding reception, those with more experience and higher demand will generally charge more than semi-professional or younger bands with less experience.
Prices vary wildly from sub-£1000 ‘pub bands’ to showbands that charge in excess of £10,000.
So how do you navigate such an unwieldy price range, and how much should you spend on live music for your big day?
Since launching in 2015, FixTheMusic has received thousands of enquiries for wedding bands across the UK.
We’ve built up a trusted roster of hand-picked bands, everywhere from Cornwall to Glasgow, which enables our platform to cater to a huge range of budgetary requirements. In other words, we’re in a unique position to help you plan your wedding budget!
How does the size of the lineup affect the cost of a wedding band?
This has the biggest bearing on quotes you receive. You can estimate the price of an amplified band by assuming each member will cost £300-£400. A four-piece band with vocals, guitar/keyboard, bass, drums and their own PA system will generally charge £1200-£1600 for 2 x 45min sets. Acoustic or semi-acoustic lineups like ceilidh bands may charge £250/member because they don’t carry as much equipment, whilst premier showbands can charge anything from £500/member.
How does the date affect the cost of hiring a wedding band?
The UK wedding season traditionally stretches from May to September, with peak dates falling on summer Saturdays when bands charge their standard rates. However, a trend we are seeing continue is the increase in weekday, off-peak and winter weddings. Bands will often offer a discount when demand is lower, sometimes as much as 15%. Email them to ask whether this is possible and try offering hot catering and free drinks in return!
How much do travel costs affect the price of a wedding band?
Most bands who respond to your enquiry on FixTheMusic will be local. Being based in the same county as your wedding means they’re likely to have experience at the venue you’ve chosen for your reception. They can advise on timings, repertoire and what works well for the number of guests. In terms of price, bands will quote inclusive of travel even when coming from further afield.
How much will extras cost for a wedding band?
Every wedding is unique, and all of our bands will be happy to accommodate specific requests. You’ll want to agree these in advance so the musicians can quote for them, but it should be said that these additional services represent extraordinary value for money.
Does performance length affect the cost of a wedding band?
2 x 45min with a short break is industry standard. It keeps your guests dancing for the optimum amount of time (c. 10-12 songs per set) and gives everyone a chance to rest, cut the cake and refill their drinks. Most bands will begin at around 9pm and expect to finish before midnight. If you request an extra set then this will generally cost £50/member, so an extra £200 for a four-piece band.
Does a DJ service cost extra when hiring a wedding band?
If the venue allows you to play music late, then one of the musicians will usually stay late so you can use their PA to play an iPod playlist. Bands often include this extra for free, but otherwise £50-£100 should cover it, which is a fraction of what it would cost to hire a PA separately. Most bands will be happy to let you use their PA beforehand for speeches too.
Do wedding bands charge extra for song requests?
If you’ve chosen your favourite band then it’s likely they’ll know many of your favourite songs already. Many couples request a specific first dance, and if the band has to arrange and learn the song especially then this may cost extra (say £150). However, all our clients have attested to this being the most important part of the evening, which more than justifies the price. If you’re working to a particular budget then playing the first dance through an MP3 player using the band’s PA is also an option that works well for many of our clients.
Do wedding bands charge extra for an early set-up?
Bands usually require an hour to rig and can do this relatively quietly in the background. That said, if you’re holding drinks, a dinner and/or speeches in the same room beforehand you can request early set-up which generally costs between £100-£200. This will cover the cost of one or two members arriving early and taking time out of their teaching or gigging schedules to set the stage and soundcheck.
Which wedding bands are recommended in the UK?
We would proudly recommend any of the acts on FixTheMusic. All of them were hand-selected by our three co-founders, and collectively they represent the best pool of talent currently available in the UK. Submit an enquiry and local bands will reply to you with a bespoke quote.
How early should I book a wedding band?
It’s always best to book as soon as possible so you can focus on planning other aspects of the day without worrying about missing out on your favourite act. Although we help brides-to-be and other clients book last-minute entertainment every week, our most experienced bands are often booked two years in advance.
Should I book a professional wedding band or an amateur cover band?
Experienced musicians charge more than amateurs, but then they bring charisma and stagecraft to your event, and furthermore this experience enables them to guide you through the planning process. Booking wedding bands needn’t be daunting; the important thing is that you make your big day unforgettable and live music is a sure way to do this.
Whilst supply and demand can relate to the music genre of the band, of course it can also simply relate to the sheer musicianship and charisma of the band – wedding bands with the wow factor may be able to charge more for their services and still have a full calendar of weddings and function bookings.
Also bear in mind that the most in-demand wedding bands will often be booked up for up to 2 years in advance (particularly with regard to Saturdays in the summer months), so it’s best to start your search as early as possible. Band hire prices also increase with inflation too.
That’s about it really. So to summarise – the cost of hiring a wedding band in 2019 mainly depends on the number of musicians in the lineup. There are of course other important factors to bear in mind such as date, location and performance length. Like most of us, you'll want to keep costs to a minimum!
Good luck in your search for a wedding band and we’d be delighted to help you – submit an enquiry to receive quotes directly from our hand-picked selection of the finest wedding bands in the UK.
FixTheMusic is free to use – you are always in direct contact with musicians and can book easily on our safe and secure platform.
If you're planning your own wedding, how much have you budgeted for the wedding band or DJ? Tell us in the comments section below!
— Adam is a co-founder of FixTheMusic and works on everything from copywriting and marketing to design and user experience. He studied Music at Cambridge University. Adam is a keen pianist and also learned cello and trumpet from an early age.