Live music makes a wedding celebration from simply beautiful to spectacular. It can capture the emotions of the crowd from the first notes played at the ceremony and fill a reception room with energy. “Music played live is warmer and more personal than a recording,” says musician John Ross. “It’s a great option for couples considering music for their wedding ceremony and reception.”

Meet the expert

John Ross is the owner of John Ross Music and Production, based in Portland, OR. Since 2008, his award-winning company has pioneered a simplified approach to wedding music by offering packages that include a combination of live music and DJ service at an affordable price.

Below is a breakdown of the cost of hiring a live wedding band, the differences between live wedding music and a DJ, and tips on renting a wedding band.

Cost of a wedding ring

The average starting price for a reception tape that performs for three hours after dinner, including sound equipment and light production, is $ 4,000 plus a 10% tip. Prices vary widely and are based on four main factors:

  1. The weekday: Weekdays are cheapest, followed by Friday and Sunday. Saturday is usually the most expensive.
  2. The season: Lower prices or more discounts are offered during the off-season. On the high end, with a skilled band covering the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception on a Saturday in July, you’d start with $ 8,000.
  3. The number of band members: Adding pieces like a brass section or additional roles like an MC will drive your bill up. There can also be extras on the production side, such as additional sound equipment and sound technology for the ceremony, lighting, video screens and effects.
  4. The region: In general, large metropolitan areas see higher rates. For example, the average wedding ring in Seattle costs more than the average wedding ring in Portland.

Before booking, ask for the “rider” of a band to avoid the surprise of hidden costs. The driver usually takes care of things like changing rooms, meals, travel and accommodation expenses, and all other accommodations for the band.

Live band vs. DJ

While there are certainly benefits to both, the differences between hiring a live band and a DJ are clear, the main reason being cost. DJs are generally cheaper than live bands, costing an average of $ 1,000 based on factors similar to those listed above. A live band usually consists of no fewer than six artists, while a DJ performs solo.

A live band is all about energy, with their ability to move around the stage and interact with the crowd. “When we ask our couples what is most important to them about their reception music, the answer is almost always the same,” says Ross. “They want their guests to let off steam, dance, have fun and enjoy the party. Live music, well done, can achieve these goals with energy and emotion in a way that recorded music never will. ”

DJs have flexibility, adaptability, and aren’t tied to a limited list of songs they know. You can always play a song that instinctively is right for the moment. They can span a wide range of musical decades and generations, reproducing the same song every time. You also don’t have to pause between songs and can help create a more seamless dance experience by creatively combining one song with the next.

If you want music that is warm and energetic, but also flexible and adaptable, hire both a live band and a DJ by looking for a specialist company that can deliver both.

Tips on renting a wedding ring

Here are a few practical tips to keep in mind as you find and work with your wedding ring.

Packages can help you save money.

The most popular package that John Ross offers includes a solo musician or a guitar and violin duo for the ceremony, a duo or trio for the cocktail lesson, and then a full band for the first dance lesson. Then it goes to the DJ service for the rest of the night. This costs between $ 3,000 and $ 4,000, which is much cheaper than hiring different actors for each stage of the night.

Hire a musician who is also a DJ.

Many couples want live music, but the cost doesn’t fit their budget. The solution is to find a company that has a solo musician for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and special dances while he acts as the DJ / MC for the rest of the evening.

Book your band early.

The earlier you book, the more options you have. On busy dates such as Saturdays in summer, the best bands / musicians / DJs are booked months (even up to a year) in advance.

Participate in the selection of the music.

Many companies let couples pick every song down to the minute and the second cue point. Some couples like to leave it up to the pros, specifying genres and performers they like and then picking out specific songs for moments like the move or the first dance. Let your personality and style shine through in your song choices, but once you’ve got the dance floor open, it’s not time to showcase rare music or genres that are simply impossible to dance to. Trust your band leader to read your audience and get everyone on the dance floor.


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