Hi, my name’s Dave and I am a groom-to-be who is stressed about the planning of his wedding. There…I admitted it. And I’m quick to add (mainly because she’ll read this) that it’s not because I’m engaged to Bridezilla.
It’s said that as a groom, all you need to do is take your credit card to every wedding fair and show up on the day and I would agree to a point. What they don’t mention is that, even if you believe you are the most level-headed individual you could ever want to meet, there will be times when you are debating the shade of purple of the ribbon on the invite to the degree where you would happily jump through the nearest window to escape the reality of your existence.
I am one of the lucky ones. My fiancée picked her dress in the first shop she went to, picked the second venue we went to, chose the invites from the first shop we went in. So far, so good right?
Then she dropped the bomb on me – you’re sorting the entertainment. Sorry what now? ‘You know what I like so I’ll leave it with you’. Never has a wave of fear washed over me so quickly. As an Entertainment Coordinator for one of the leading agencies in the North-West, you’d think I’d be in the best place to find entertainment for my wedding and you’d be right but looking at the sheer range of what was available and *whispers quietly* not really knowing what my fiancée would want, I started to panic.
After a drawn out period of negotiation with my dad to get him to pay for it, I started to look at wedding entertainment from a new angle. As a buyer, not a seller and, my word, it’s a biiiiig job to take on. I found myself asking all the questions that I’d dismissed as basic to every bride who called or emailed about booking a band for their wedding; what should I book, how do I book, , how big a band do I need, will everyone like them, what if they cancel and most importantly, how do I pay for it?!?!
Suddenly, I turned into Groomzilla. I wasn’t that guy……was I?? Turns out I was. As a result, I thought it might be useful to put together a few answers to the 6 common questions that always arise when people book wedding entertainment because, as I found out, it can be quite stressful!!
- Don’t be worried if you aren’t certain what you want!
The whole point of using an agency is that you have access to hundreds of bands, trios, duos, solo singers and other entertainment you wouldn’t even know existed! If you’re not sure what you want, any agency worth their salt will act as an advisor rather than a salesperson to make sure you have as much information as you need to make the right choice for you. Entertainment can be absolutely anything; magic, caricaturists, stilt walkers and everything in-between. There’s no right or wrong, just what makes your day special and unique to you. Trust me, whatever you want, we’ve probably had stranger requests!!
- Don’t be afraid to tell us your budget
A lot of people thin that by giving a budget to an agent they are revealing a target to be hit. For any reputable agent, this is definitely not the case. A good agent will try and find you the type of artiste you and get the best they can within the budget you specify without trying to overcharge. A lot of artistes also offer DJ package so you can save money on a separate DJ. Most of us won’t go out of our way to squeeze every penny we can out of you…..Honest! It’s all about making sure you have the best day possible, not making the most profit.
- Book Early! (Especially if you have a wedding in June, July or August!!)
As much as we’d love to be able to clone every band we represent, the technology doesn’t exist yet so if you’re getting married in ‘peak wedding season’ (June, July or August) and you want live entertainment, make sure you get in early so you have the best chance of getting what you want. As much as we like to think that every band/singer we represent is amazing, entertainment is subjective so enquire early to make sure you get your favourite.
- How can I pay?
Every agent I’ve ever worked with will ask for a deposit at the time of booking, usually between 15% – 20% + VAT. Some agents can be flexible with the deposit payment (I know we are) if you just ask; waiting for payday is a popular one!! The final balance is usually requested 1 month in advance for both the band and the client’s benefit. It means you don’t have to worry about dealing with cash on your wedding day and you can concentrate on having a good time. It also means that the band won’t be pestering you for cash after they’ve finished! The balance can also generally be paid in installments if you need to – as you’re booking through an agent, they generally try to make the process as smooth as possible. Makes sense, right?
- Will I be able to speak with the person I’ve booked?
Yeah, of course! The artiste will contact you in the month before your wedding to go through every detail and make sure you’re fully comfortable with what you’ve booked. That being said, if you do have a particular song you want, i.e. your first dance, or any specific requests, then let us know as soon as possible and we can pass on any messages to the artiste. It’s as easy as that!
- What happens if the band can’t make it on the day?
This is unlikely, but as your live entertainment is a human being, this cannot be ruled out. As much as we’d love entertainers to be robots who don’t get ill, breakdown or have lives outside of singing, we found that people prefer humans. Before you confirm your booking and pay any deposit, check that your agency of choice operates a full emergency standby service where an entertainment advisor will do everything possible to provide the best solution to any situation. If they don’t, put your credit card away and back away slowly. To be honest, every agent I know does. Trust me, as someone who’s had to do it, no stone is left unturned and no avenue explored when it comes to sorting an issue with a booking, especially at a wedding!!
So there you go, an attempt at answering the 6 most common questions that we get from people, like me, who are booking entertainment for their wedding. I know there are hundreds of questions but if I tried to answer them all, I’d miss my own wedding next year and, as much as they’d have a great band entertaining them, I’d like to think I’d be missed. If you still have questions, just give us a call or go to www.garston-entertainment.co.uk/weddings and we can help you out, no strings attached. If we can help your wedding journey be less stressful then, from personal experience, it can only be a good thing, right?