The cost of live wedding music (including wedding bands) in 2016

17 MAY 2016
Blog post by Adam Southall
Estimated read time: 3 minutes

UPDATED blog post can be found here: The Cost of Hiring a Wedding Band in the UK (Updated May 2020)

Perhaps one of the first questions a couple planning their wedding will ask is: how much does a wedding band cost, or how much does live wedding music cost at the ceremony or reception?

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It can be difficult to find accurate answers to these questions on wedding forums for several reasons, the main one being the huge range of prices posted by well-meaning forum members (especially prices at the extremes—e.g. those who have booked a really cheap band, often a pub or hobby band, and those who feel their band is way too expensive). Secondly, forums are a very poor way of ordering this information into clear and concise data.

To construct the list below, we’ve undertaken meticulous research based on all the bookings on our site. Keep in mind the following:

  1. The prices are for professional bands and musicians only, not hobby or amateur musicians.

  2. The prices are based on the most popular playing times requested, so for soloists and other ceremony musicians, such as string duos, string trios and string quartets, this is during the wedding ceremony—roughly 1 hour. But it’s worth noting that, in general, the price for 2 hours is often the same for these musicians—their “minimum fee” is based on 2 hours of playing time. For a wedding band, the standard booking at the evening wedding reception is 2 - 2½ hours (including breaks), meaning 1½ - 2 hours of music.

  3. The prices are based on prices for local bands and musicians only—if your musicians are travelling a long way to your event, they may have to charge extra travel costs.

  4. The prices reflect standard set-up time before the bands or musicians are required to play—if you require early set-up (anything much more than 1 hour), there will most likely be an extra charge for this.

  5. The rates, particularly for the wedding bands, generally apply to Saturdays in the summer months when demand for their services will be higher (in 2013, 58% of UK weddings were held on a Saturday). Some wedding bands offer a discount if you’re getting married on a damp Wednesday in November, for example...

So, if you’ve levelled out all the parameters, why is there still such a range of prices for each musician or band?

Again, this is due to several factors. In general, we’ve found that professional musicians all tend to be of an excellent standard if they are pursuing it as a successful career. But more experienced musicians and those in great demand will, in general, charge more. Those just starting out in their career might charge less to gain experience and build their reputation. Also, some musicians are more willing to negotiate on price than others, who prefer to stick to their standard prices.

We can say with confidence that the price ranges below are correct over 90% of the time, so it is an invaluable resource for those seeking to book musicians for their wedding.

So, without further ado, here is our definitive guide to the cost of hiring wedding musicians and bands:

Harpist £250 - £450

Guitarist £200 - £400

Pianist £175 - £400

Singer £200 - £400

String duo 300 - £450

String trio £450 - £600

String quartet £500 - £800

3-piece wedding band £850 - £1100

4-piece wedding band £1000 - £1450

5-piece wedding band £1250 - £1500

6-piece wedding band £1400 - £1600

7-piece wedding band £1600 - £2000

8-piece wedding band £2000 - £2500

DJ/disco provided by band: Add £100 - £150

Separate DJ: £400 - £750

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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):

The rock and pop bands below generally charge between £900 - £1,200 for weddings (depending on travel and other factors discussed in this post):

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:

Our largest and most luxury showbands tend to cost anywhere between £2,000 and £6,000, depending on the size of band:

It's also worth noting that band hire prices are also likely to increase with inflation too.

Submit an enquiry on FixTheMusic to receive and compare quotes from our curated selection of hand-picked wedding musicians — receive offers, message the musicians directly, choose your perfect act, and pay securely online. You can also browse our wedding bands and musicians. And remember, FixTheMusic is completely free to use!

A few things to note:

• Wedding bands include ceilidh bands and jazz bands, as well as standard wedding bands.

• With regard to DJ/disco, most bands provide this as an extra service for little extra cost (approximately £100 - £150 as per the above), which often works out as better value than hiring a separate DJ.

• Of course, there will be a minority of professional bands that charge rates much higher than the ranges listed above — they tend to be in huge demand and therefore are able to command a higher rate. Such bands also need to charge VAT to clients as it’s likely they are earning more than £83,000 (the VAT threshold as of 1 April 2016) in a rolling 12-month period, so this bumps up the cost further.

— 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.