Finding the right musicians for your wedding can be a long process so it’s best to begin your search as soon as you’ve nailed down the date and the venue. In our previous post How to Hire a Musician for Your Wedding, we talked about the things you should consider in your search. However, once you have narrowed down your choices and are already in the process of interviewing and auditioning prospective bands, there are questions that you absolutely must ask! Their answers will help you decide which one is the best fit for your special day.

1.Can you play this song for us?
During the interview, the musician or band will show you a list of up to a hundred songs to play. Review the list and see if the songs suit your taste. Even if it does, chances are there could be a song missing — that one song you’ve always imagined playing on your wedding. Now ask the band if this song (or songs) is something they can learn in time for the big day. Most bands will say yes especially if you book them very early on.

2.Do you have your own instruments? Do we have to rent?
You have to ask this because it affects the cost. Most established musicians and bands have their own gear so this won’t be a problem if you go with someone reputable and has been playing for years. However, if the band has to rent instruments, amplifiers, and such, make sure that it is included in the quoted price because hey, you don’t want any surprises. Also, you must make sure that they will handle all the details of renting these necessities because you don’t need that on your long list of things to do.

3.Where can we see you play?
If your time permits it, it’s best to see the band in action. This will allow you to assess not only their ability to play but how they affect the audience as well.

4.Can the bandleader be the emcee as well?
If you don’t have a master of ceremony yet, you can ask the band if their leader can step into the role. Some bandleaders are quite charming and are pretty used to doing this so ask away! If not, you can ask them to find an emcee for you and just add the fee to their overall quote.

5.How many breaks do you need?
Normally, a band would need two 15-minute breaks, one after each set of a 45-minute run. While you’re discussing this, also ask if they will be taking care of the recorded music to be played during the break or if you have to appoint someone else to cover that.

6.Will you play overtime?
The night might play out longer than expected so ask your prospective band if they are willing to play overtime and for how much.

7.What will you wear?
If you want the band to stick to a dress code, now is the best time to ask them if they are cool with this. You don’t want to walk into a reception with a band wearing outfits that clashes with everything else.

8.What is your policy on cancellations?
Whatever you agree upon on the meeting, make sure it on the contract – not only the cancellation policy but the schedule of payments as well. Most bands will allow you to cancel for up to a month before the set date. Also know that most require a non-refundable down payment plus up 50 percent of the total fee.

9.Who will set up and at what time?
Usually, the band members themselves do the setting up. The exact time they plan to set up is also important to know so you can inform the people preparing the venue.

10.Will you check out the venue?
The only acceptable answer to this is yes. A good band will go to the venue before the big day to see what they will need to ensure a good sound quality.