What makes a great wedding band? Talented musicians? Responsive and accommodating customer service? High performance energy? We believe it is all of the above and more, which is why we are sharing the areas many of customers rate us on before booking. Philadelphia wedding bands come in all shapes, sizes, and sounds, which is an excellent problem for engaged couples. I only say “problem” because, let’s face it… with so many amazing vendors at your disposal, sometimes deciding on the right ones can put you in a predicament. So how do you know if your band is on point when this is your first time booking one? Consider these tips for your search.
1. They understand your needs BEFORE asking for your money.
Any good vendor will look to be your partner, not your sales agent. They should assess your needs to ensure they are servicing you correctly and only present you with options that have your best interests in mind. The last thing you want is to pay for one package only to realize you are not going to need a lot of it’s contents. The solution here is to ask your vendor to lay out exactly what comes with a particular service. Even ask if there are options to customize services to your specific needs.
2. They are on top of their customer service game.
Beyond the initial meetings, it’s important to trust that your band leader will be there to answer questions, accommodate needs, and advise on important decisions when you need them. First impressions are lasting impressions. All the reviews online can be helpful but you might as well evaluate your band through your own lens and pay attention to the impression you are left with following your first conversation. How quickly did they respond after your initial inquiry? Was the initial information helpful or confusion? These are the signs that will help you decide whether or not someone has the basic communication abilities to be an asset to your planning endeavors.
3. They aren’t just servicing, they are assisting.
Every service provider is a problem solver. We understand many people are unfamiliar with the entertainment booking process. For that reason, we are in the habit of assisting our customers so they are informed about areas that might not be front of mind. We have these types of conversations everyday. It’s important for your band to learn about your needs in order to accommodate them. We always encourage our couples to ask questions and feel a similar responsibility to ask questions in return. At JAE, we obsess over every minor detail, and we want to make sure we are setting you up for success. This is why our first meeting is collaborative and conversational. It’s like that college counselor that always told you to ask questions at a job interview. Well these meetings are interviews for your vendors so you better believe we have a list of questions for you. Even more, we have learning experiences to share and strategies to keep us all on schedule.
4. They can accommodate your budget
I too am engaged (at the time this was written) so I GET IT! The costs add up quickly. I’ve come to realize there are certain areas vendors are able to be flexible with and others that I was just straight up budgeting incorrectly for. When you communicate a budget, that will give your vendors a starting point to make recommendations. There are a few things to consider with budgets: 1) Every vendor approaches their services, packages, and offerings differently. So it’s not always an apples to apples comparison with other vendors. 2) Some vendors might be flexible with their pricing. See if the ones you are talking to are set on their rates or if they can custom quote something based on specific criteria. 3) Expect the possibility that a vendor might offer something just over budget. That doesn’t mean you should immediately dispel it as being over-budget. Consider the fact that your vendors are experts in their crafts and might have something to offer you weren’t initially considering.
5. The Best Philadelphia Wedding Bands will make your musical tastes a top priority
Some couples want the band to just do their thing while others have specific styles, artists, and songs they would like to hear. Music plays a very important role in establishing the vibe at a wedding so band leaders should take your direction very seriously. However it is also important to trust your band leader’s feedback, as they should ideally have tons of experience reading crowds and know which songs tend to get a good reaction on the dance floor. Get a good feel for their experience in this area. It is also important to approach song selection with your guests in mind. Your band leader should get a good understanding of the guest list so they can suggest a blend of songs that will appeal to everyone. During this dialogue with your band leader, make sure you know if the band has particular styles they excel in. This will probably be an important part in your decision to hire the band. Also make sure they are willing to leave out the songs you don’t want to hear. Many bands can share their song lists with you in advance so you can make sure the songs you want to hear are part of their repertoire. You might also want to see if they will play songs that aren’t on that list. Presumably, you are booking a band of professional musicians, which means it should not be difficult for them to add a few songs to the list. It will be at the discretion of your band leader to decide how much customization they are able to accommodate but accommodation is the name of the game so most will happily learn new material for your wedding.
6. They have a plan for breaks
Make sure the band is able to keep the party while they are refueling for the next set. Whether they have a DJ contracted to perform during breaks, a playlist, or play straight through, you want to make sure music is non-stop all night. Silence tends to take the vibe down and let’s be real, this is a CELEBRATION. From my experience, most bands tend to take a 10-15 minute break and will have a playlist going during that time. Be sure to ask to be certain.
7. Philadelphia Wedding Bands NEED top-quality musicians
This is a big one, and often times assumed when it shouldn’t be. Our musicians have all received some degree of formal training, which is a requirement of ours. That’s not always the case though. In actuality, plenty of great musicians have not received formal training but your ears and eyes should help you decide if a band is right for you. Ask the band leader to see a video of the band performing live or see if they host public performances you can attend. If it meets your standards, add them to the list.
8. They offer opportunities to see the band live before you book them
Couples getting married in Philadelphia are very lucky that the bar has been set so high by wedding entertainers. Plenty of cities around the country do not do public showcases but wedding bands in Philadelphia are used to these types of performances. It’s one thing to watch a band play at a bar, but wedding showcases are catered towards couples seeking wedding entertainment. So not only will you get to watch the band play a “sample wedding set” but you should also have opportunities to talk to them, ask questions, and really get a feel for their approach to weddings.
9. They are not set in their ways
Whether it’s a religious component, a theme, or specific requests, you should make sure the band understands and is able to accommodate the elements that are unique to your wedding. Explain the requirements you need a band to deliver on up front. You don’t want to find out 2 weeks before the wedding that you hired a band to play your jewish wedding and they don’t know how to play Hava Nagila. One of our favorite things about entertaining at weddings is experiencing the eclectic mix of cultures, themes, and preferences. But it usually takes some preparation to make sure the nuances are execute to standards.
10. They can also emcee the wedding
A caterer recently told me that she once had to emcee a wedding because the DJ “doesn’t do that”. Whether or not an entertainer emcees, doesn’t or charges extra for it, it’s pretty important to know who will be making important announcements and directing your guests throughout the night. To this point, understand how much of the night they spend on the microphone. Do you prefer an emcee to simply make important announcements throughout the night or be an all out hype-man? Maybe it’s a more intimate wedding and you don’t require much emceeing. Whatever the case may be, make sure to communicate your needs and that the vendor manages expectations.
When it comes to wedding bands, Philadelphia has some great options. Let’s your instincts guide you. This list should be helpful in providing things to consider before you book a band. Also keep in mind you are selecting a band to play music, not a doctor to perform surgery. As long as you have a good understanding of their competence, services, and pricing, that should be enough to help you make an informed decision.