For a quartet to play during your cocktail hour, “hire talented students from a respected music school,” suggests Barness.
Or use musicians from your wedding band instead of hiring a separate group. Some wedding bands include a cocktail-hour performance by members of the band in their package.
Save hundreds of dollars by booking a DJ for dancing instead of a live band.
When it comes to bands, says Hank Lane Music’s Harris Lane, you’re better off choosing a top quality five- to seven-piece band with a great bandleader than a larger group with an inexperienced bandleader.
Stick to the must-haves.“You don’t really need three saxophones. And while a bongo player is fun, it’s not a crucial element in a band,” says Lane.
Use simple staging tricks to give a smaller band more presence. A bandstand with up lighting can make a big difference.
A fun, unexpected way to get a luxe look: Have band members change clothes after dinner to perform some great rock music for dancing.
Stay local. “If a band has to travel more than an hour, that will increase your costs,” says Lane. If you have your heart set on a band that isn’t local, book them just for the reception and find a local quartet for your cocktail hour.
A singer who also plays an instrument will save you money.
Serve musicians a budget meal and save 50% on their dinners.