My covers band has just been booked (well I need to get in touch with the rest of the band to see if they can do it, but it's ages away so I think it'll be a go ahead thing) to play at the wedding of someone who saw us play a gig.

Anyway, I've always been used to (only had a few gigs with this band, but I played bass for a Ska covers band for the past few months and had a load of gigs) the whole "Venue decides an alright payment, you try to play really well and get everyone dancing to see if you can get a bit more cash" format of playing gigs.
But here's a bit of new territory because we'll decide the payment.

I'm not sure what sort of price I should charge. Because some wedding bands charge maybe £500-£1000 for a gig, but they'll have been doing it for a while with a reputation and stuff, where we're not even close to having a reputation!
I'm thinking maybe £250 is a fair cost, but maybe it's still a bit steep?

It'll be a case of us learning their first dance (which he's already told me, and it's a song we can all pretty much do anyway, score! ) and he said he'd only want a couple more of his picks after that. But I think as it's his wedding he should be getting what he wants, obviously we won't play 2 hours of his choices as that'll be a hell of a lot of practice for us!
How many songs of their choice do you think is the best amount?
I initially thought between 5 and 10. Though 10 is quite a large amount for a small pay? So I dunno. Though I definitely would want to let them choose more than just their first dance. (then again...I do dangerously undercharge whenever I sort out the payment for any musical services).

So, as a first wedding gig, and as a band with little reputation (so little reason for anyone to pay too much) how much should we charge?
And how many songs of their choice should we do?

Also, if there are any Iron Maiden fans reading this, he expressed a liking for Iron Maiden and said he might like to hear some of that, does anyone know an Iron Maiden song which would be suitable for a Female singer who's range...is...I don't quite know (but she nails stuff like Feeling Good (Muse) and Sweet Disposition (The Temper Trap) perfectly) and who isn't well versed in hard rock/metal at all.

If your band usually charges 250, I'd charge 400. Do you have to bring your own PA too? If so you have to account for thos costs and time as well.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Iron Maiden (By Iron Maiden, from the album Iron Maiden) Is a good, fairly simple song, assuming you can play it fast enough. The vocals are fairly easy, and it's a fairly upbeat song, for the occasion. If he likes Iron Maiden, I'm sure he'd settle for that.

And, if he wants you to learn 10 songs for his wedding, if you've got the time to, then it might be worth the effort. You'd just have to factor that time spent learning and rehearsing the songs into your price for him. Remember, Time = Money! Suddenly, with the money you're spending on rehearsal rooms, transport, gear, etc, £500 doesn't seem so unreasonable
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It seems you have a great attitude,not wanting to rip the guy off and wanting to give him what he wants.

He has heard you and liked what you did, so don't feel apologetic.

Don't offer too many songs if you have to learn them though you could send him a list of songs you know and ask him to choose any he likes. It is better to play your songs well than a hurriedly learned song badly.

You'll have a very mixed age group at a wedding and many of them won't be big music fans in all probability so be prepared to mix up the songs and include a load of well known stuff. Find out if you are leading the dancing or if there is also a disco. If there isn't then you could offer him the use of your PA to put an iPod through, though this means your PA stays to the end.

We have a female singer and it means that a lot of standard cover band songs aren't suitable, Go on Lemonrock.com where a number of bands have their song lists up and see what they do. Sounds of the suburbs have a female vocalist but there are 20,000 bands on there to choose from. Our band is Wet Playtime if you were curious but we aren't really a functions band .

£400 is cheap for a wedding if you are happy with that.
AlanHB, the band usually charges what we can get! Which has been a minimum of £180, max of £200 so far. We were meant to have one for £250 booked by an agent, but he pulled out.
My main worry is overcharging and have him feel he can't talk us down. But at the same time I wouldn't want to say "What do you want to pay us?" because it could end up not worth our time.
I assume we will be using our own PA, I'd actually prefer that we use our own PA as it'll be better quality than any "Disco rental" style PA and we know how to work it (to a degree! )

HeretiK, there's pretty much no problem with the band playing Iron Maiden (I taught the song to one of my students recently so I know it, the drummer's a prog-metal guy so he's got the ability to handle some speeds, and the bassist should have no problem) it's all about the singer =/ I think if I say "He wants some Iron Maiden" and she listens to some, she'll naturally be deterred by the grit that Bruce has on his vocal style (her favourite musician is Lady Gaga and she regularly goes clubbing, I worry that she's too "conventional" to acknowledge Iron Maiden as a possible choice). But yeah that is a good choice, I'll put it on my list of potential Maiden songs for this wedding!

And he said "We'll only want maybe 2 songs for you to do" but I think having their first dance and one other song under their control at their own wedding is so few! I think 10 might be a bit much (partially cos it means we have to learn them all! Plus then it would mean charging more, and I feel the band's reputation isn't at a place where we can charge higher fees yet) but I'm half thinking like, asking hiim to list maybe 10 songs he'd want us to do, then we'll look at what we could reasonably do and whittle the list down to a more manageable number. But I dunno, I assume I'll be taking point on this as it is effectively my booking, but I'll have to speak to the band. About all this =/
I'm beginning to think I'm over complicating this!

Phil Starr, I naturally think this way, mainly because I have no money as it is, so if I continue having no money it's no skin off my back! I'm just happy to be making a little bit of cash for playing some tunes!

Yeah, I think it'll be a case of us sending him our set-list, getting the songs he wants us to do from him and we'll consult with him to form a full set for the night (I assume it'll be a 2 45 minute/3 30 minute sets kinda deal like at our usual cover gigs, but I dunno). And there's no doubt that we'll learn the songs and get them tight, we have a fair few months til this wedding so we have time to work for our cash!

Our current covers set-list does it's best to cater to a wide audience (we learnt that Muse doesn't go down well at a small local filled with 70 year olds! ) and we'll get a few more songs down to put to our set before this wedding so we'll definitely be playing all crowd pleasers (still trying to get Johnny B. Goode and some Thin Lizzy in there though! ).
And that's a good point about the "disco" thing. I assume we'll be leading it all, I can't imagine they have loads of money to spent on various services for the wedding, but yeah I'll keep that in mind.

Just checked out Lemonrock.com, I'll take a proper look around to get an insight into what other bands do. Checked your band out too, quite liking the spin you put on "Valerie", my band do that similarly to the original, but it always feels so dull! I can never help but funk it up a bit.

Would you say that it'd be beneficial to sign my band up onto Lemon Rock? Do you get many gigs/bookings or anything through there? Or is it just a place to show your bands stuff?

Regarding price I'll properly speak with the band and client. It seems £400 is a good number going by your replies. Though I'm still tentative even to charge that high! Oh well I'll speak with everyone and see what's best.

Otherwise your comments have been really helpful, thanks all!
On the record, Iron Maiden by Iron Maiden from Iron Maiden, is sung by Paul Di'anno In my mind, the song seems fairly malleable, so you could probably get away with singing it cleanly, as long as your singer can get some strength behind her voice. In terms of convincing her, that's really probably your best bet when it comes to Maiden - I can't imagine her liking much of the rest

Edit: Iron Maiden sung by girls
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Last edited by HeretiK538 at Jul 13, 2011,
Ah! I haven't heard the album version in a while, when I re-jigged my memory on the track I listened to the live version (w/Bruce).
I'll see what she thinks, not sure if she can get that kind of power behind her voice. But we'll see.

I was thinking Dance Of Death might be suitable for her voice, it gets a bit high but she can handle high pitches well. The only problem is, it's not exactly one of their popular tunes and with the time changes it's not exactly one to dance to!
If it's any help, my covers band charges £400-£535 for a bar gig, £670-£1330 for a wedding. That's 3-4 hours, including a PA (which one of the singers own, his wife mixes).

In some cases you do have to definately factor in transport and accomodation. Whilst we stay in modest accomodation, we still need places safe enough to leave cars with $40-$50 grand of gear in.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Ah, well in this case I'm fairly certain it's within a 30 minute drive of all of us so no accommodation or anything needs to be sorted out.

Though I wish we could get £400 for a bar gig! Could do with £100 every gig!

I think before I seriously think about what to charge I need to get an idea of this guy's financial background. If he can afford £400 there should be no qualm charging it, I'm just worried about him not booking us because we charge £50 too much or something.
We've had a few bookings off Lemonrock and we also get pubs to listen to us on there as they inevitably lose CD's. I think we've had three bookings in the last 3 months direct from Lemonrock so it has paid for itself several times over. Its run by a musician for musicians and it's growing pretty quickly as more people find out about it. I also go to a lot of the other bands gigs to sus out their sets. I'm a fan of the site as you can see.

Thanks for the comments about Valerie. We mix it up a bit depending upon who is drumming and who is playing rhythm. That was only the second time we'd played it that slow.

If he knows anything about what bands charge for weddings he'll be very happy with that price.
I've only played one wedding gig, and did not like it. They requested "Sweet Child of Mine" and Aerosmith's "Deuces are Wild", which we did among our other songs.

It was kind of a lame scene. It might've been better if everyone had gotten liquored up. I swore I would never do another wedding, although I plan on playing one song at my daughter's wedding reception in October. She is not aware of this yet.

Good luck. I just hate the idea of a wedding, 'cause you totally feel on the hook that if you F up the set, then you have now written a shitty chapter in someone else's life that will be remembered for a long time.

I prefer to play in bars and play songs about promiscuous sex and booze.