Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ask a Planner... "What the Pros Want you to Know - Hiring a Band"

Hello Lovelies!!

This week's Ask a Planner is a little different.  Rather than answer a specific question from a bride to be I have decided to enlighten readers on what you should know when considering hiring a band for your wedding through a series we like to call "What the Pros Want you to Know".  The always lovely and super knowledgeable President of Musical Occasions, Jan Trerise, has generously taken the time to offer some insight on the subject.  Enjoy!!

"Bands are generally broken down into a couple of categories.  A foreground dance band is more of a highly entertaining ‘show’ that goes all out with their performance.  They are the ‘main attraction’, so to speak. There is often some choreography involved (with some bands more than others), and there is always a lot more in the way of production – sound and stage lights.  A foreground dance band usually has a large song list and covers more material than a background band.  Some of the better bands cover 6 decades of hits or more!

Background bands – usually instrumental jazz bands, but also some pop vocal bands – usually provide ambient music in the background.  Sometimes people will dance to these bands, but that is not typically the main objective in hiring a background band.  Production is smaller and often does not include full stage lights.  The performance tends to be more low-key, although there can be some exceptions!  Background bands are often smaller and offer fewer song selections as well. 

Most bands – of any genre – like to keep a booking to 4 hours or less (including breaks), depending on the event.  A foreground dance band often works really hard and it can be exhausting singing, or blowing into a sax, or drumming for 4 hours.  (Of course, the top bands make it look really easy!!!)  On occasion a dance band will consider a 5 hour call, but rarely ever will they consider a 6 hour call unless there are lots of breaks.  

A foreground dance band usually is booked for a 4 hour call, even if the client wants them for less time.  They tend to have a standard rate based on the size of the band.  (Some dance bands can expand the size of band depending on budget and client’s wishes.)  A background band is usually more flexible with the length of the booking and will do shorter bookings.  A background band is usually less expensive than a foreground dance band as well.

Band rates can vary so widely I thought it would be a good idea to try to explain why that is.  Of course, some of the top bands are very expensive, and other bands are more moderately priced!"

And in closing you can expect to pay anywhere from $500.00-$1000.00 per musician per 3-5 hour gig including production and lighting pending the demand for that particular group, their genre of music, as well as their level of experience.  i.e. a 6 person cover dance band would likely range between $3000.00 and $6000.00.  Super helpful Jan!  Thank you for sharing your expertise with us!  

Wedding Planner signing off!  Until next week… keep those questions coming in!  Submit your questions by emailing us at


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Genève McNally, Principal Planner, DreamGroup Productions

Genève first began her wedding career in 1999 as the Catering Manager for one of Vancouver’s most sought after wedding venues, Brock House Restaurant.  In 2004 Genève and college friend Sarah Shore ambitiously started up what is now one of Vancouver's longest running and most trusted wedding planning companies, DreamGroup Productions Inc.

These days, in addition to working with her clients in a full planning capacity, Genève focuses her attention on the sales and marketing aspects of the company and is most often the friendly voice you will chat with when first inquiring with DreamGroup.  Genève is known to inspire and excite both clients and industry associates alike with her exuberant personality and joie de vivre!  Her ability to be refreshingly candid and her in depth knowledge of the wedding industry have earned her the friendly moniker “Two-Cents McNally”.  Genève also teaches the Wedding Planning classes offered through the dg Academy and is the chief correspondent behind DreamGroup's weekly Blog feature Ask a Planner.

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