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How Much Does A Live Wedding Band Cost?

The cost of a live wedding band varies greatly from place to place, but the average cost in the United States is $4,000. Some of the best bands in high demand will charge upwards of $10,000 though, especially if the size of the band is rather large.

Some bands charge based on the number of hours while others charge a bundled rate for all aspects of their wedding service. There are other extra costs and additional services that should also be understood before booking a live wedding band.

Here we provide information about all the live wedding band costs, the questions you should a wedding band, and ways you can keep the cost down.  

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Entertainment at a wedding. A female singer is interacting with the crowd while a man plays an acoustic guitar..

Average cost

The average wedding band cost will vary depending on where you are. In general, though, expect to pay between $3,000 – $5,000 in the United States for a basic wedding band package.

When considering the cost of hiring a wedding band you should also be thinking about your own wedding budget. Typically hiring wedding entertainment like a wedding DJ service or band is about 5% of the wedding budget.

Working backward from your budget to find out how much you can spend first, is usually a better first step than searching for prices.

By having a draft budgeted amount set aside for a wedding band, you can use this value when calling potential wedding bands. It is highly advised to use this value and ask the wedding band if they can provide a service package that is within your budget.

If you find that the cost of a wedding band is too much for your budget, then consider a wedding DJ which may be half the cost.

Entertainment at a wedding. A female singer is interacting with the crowd while a man plays an acoustic guitar..

Additional costs

While most bands have a base fee, some also have additional fees that they may also charge and are important to be aware of for your wedding budget.

Wedding ceremony

Some live wedding bands are also able to provide the wedding ceremony background music, as well as play during cocktail hour. Some bands may actually specialize in these special occasions, like a string quartet.

If booking a live band they may charge an extra fee or hourly charge for them to provide this.

Having a great band for the wedding ceremony and a wedding DJ for the wedding reception will definitely increase the cost. However, if you have the budget to do so and that is the kind of aesthetic you want for your ceremony and reception, then it is something you should consider.

Emcee services

Many of the best live bands also offer wedding MC services as an additional service performed by the band leader.

This can increase the price range but is something to consider if you do not have someone within your wedding party who is planning to be the MC on the big day.

Band size

While it may seem obvious that a larger band will cost more than a smaller band, it is often forgotten when looking at the average costs of a wedding band.

The number of musicians not only increases the base cost of booking the best wedding bands but it impacts your budget in other ways that are not so obvious.

If you book a big band, then the food costs may increase if you are providing meals to them on the wedding day.

The other additional cost that most wedding couples do not consider is that with a full band and their larger base fees, they then have larger postponement and cancellation fees. This is because they are usually a percentage of the total fee.

While it might sound great to hire a 7 piece band of professional musicians, the costs can stack up in other areas of your wedding budget rather quickly without realizing it.

Travel

Travel costs are a consideration when hiring a wedding band. If your wedding venue is out of town, then it is likely that you will have to pay for the band’s travel expenses.

Some local bands will include their travel expenses as part of their service fee but for others, it will be an additional fee.

These types of questions to ask wedding bands are important to ask so that you don’t get any surprises on your bill after booking them. 

Food

An extra cost that can be forgotten is if the wedding band will be needing food on the big day. It is important to know as you will need to factor that cost into your budget and advise the wedding caterer.

Some wedding bands may bring their own food especially if you advise that your wedding has a plated meal service and not a wedding buffet. But providing food for a party band with a number of performers will increase your catering cost and you need to be aware of that.

Having a wedding buffet can normally keep the catering cost down and help provide an easy option to supply vendor meals.

Postponement

If your wedding is postponed, a lot of bands charge a fee as part of their contract. The fee can be the initial deposit that is non-refundable for cases such as postponement.

Others may charge a postponement fee as a percentage of their base fee, and this usually falls around 20-30%.

Covid-19 has been a large cause for a lot of postponement fees having to be paid to wedding vendors and so finding a professional wedding band with lower postponement fees should be considered in your decision to book one.

Cancellation

Like postponement fees, wedding band cancellation fees usually follow similar policies.

However, a cancellation fee is usually set as a higher percentage of the base fee than a postponement fee and can usually be around 50%.

When looking for a wedding band, knowing their cancellation and postponement policy is important as it can add a lot of extra cost to your budget without realizing it.

Wedding couple dancing together with family and friends dancing as well.

Questions to ask

There are a lot of questions to ask the wedding band before booking them but here is a list of questions to ask specifically about their costs:

  • How far in advance do I need to book your services?
  • What are your fees?
  • What do these fees include?
  • Do you have any packages?
  • Do you charge overtime?
  • Are travel expenses included in your fee or is that an extra charge?
  • Do you require a deposit?
  • Are there any other additional fees I should be aware of?
  • Do you require meals for the band members?
  • When is a deposit due?
  • When will we receive a written contract?
  • What does your contract contain?
  • Do you have a set payment plan?
  • When is the final payment due?
  • What is your cancellation policy?
  • What is your refund policy?
  • What is your postponement policy?
  • Do you have liability insurance?

Check out this full list of questions to ask a wedding band that covers questions around logistics, the live wedding music, and other important questions to ask before booking one.

2 violinists reading sheet music with wedding ceremony in background.

Final thoughts

Professional wedding bands are a great wedding vendor to book as part of your wedding planning process.

While their base fees usually are around $4,000, there are other important fees to ask about that may increase this base cost.

It is important to know about all these potential costs before booking a wedding band so that you pick the best one for your big day and your wedding budget.

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