#1
I'm considering joining/starting a wedding band as a means to earn a bit of extra cash. Surely there are people on this site who have experience in this?

How much can one expect to make per 'gig'? Is it possible to earn any reasonable money from this?
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#2
You can, but it is only a job - it's not playing music - by which I mean you are meant to be in the background, which is a tough form of performance if you're not used to it.

Rates depend on what kind of music you play, set length, etc.
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#3
just fyi playing weddings sucks and the bride/groom will try their best to get out of paying you
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#5
Quote by StewieSwan
just fyi playing weddings sucks and the bride/groom will try their best to get out of paying you


Not only that but wedding gigs (whether playing, singing, DJing, etc) generally involves drunk people screaming at you because they don't like the music (despite the fact that it's not their wedding) and requesting absurd songs that shouldn't be played, ready to pour their drinks on your shit if you don't play them.

Keep in mind also that unlike a regular cover band playing rock, jazz, country, pop, etc where you hopefully would like the genre and most of the songs you are playing, a wedding band is expected to play any song that the bride and groom (but many the bride) asks you to play (in advance if you're lucky and the day of if you're not). And they expect it to sound just like the original... despite the fact that you may not have half the instruments from the original song.

Basically as a regular cover band you choose songs that, based on your genre, will go over well. In a wedding band you play whatever the bride wants you to play and you have no say.
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#7
Quote by tobysaurus
I'm considering joining/starting a wedding band as a means to earn a bit of extra cash. Surely there are people on this site who have experience in this?

How much can one expect to make per 'gig'? Is it possible to earn any reasonable money from this?

It depends.

It's easier to get work through an agency than trying to drum up business for yourself, and they do sometimes charge by the band member. A couple of friends hired the same 3 piece band for their weddings, and the agency essentially charged by the band member at £200 a pop.

This is the list of songs they play from. If you ask nicely, they'll add a new track or two(they added the Volbeat version of I Only Wanna Be With You for my mate Adam's wedding).

They're generally booked up Friday/Saturday every week for 6 months or so in advance.
#8
Quote by tobysaurus
I'm considering joining/starting a wedding band as a means to earn a bit of extra cash. Surely there are people on this site who have experience in this?

How much can one expect to make per 'gig'? Is it possible to earn any reasonable money from this?


I'm not sure, how much are souls worth these days?
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#10
Ran one for years. I would do guitar at wedding ceremonies a) same money b) sat nights are yours c) you don't have to rely in unreliable musos c) you don't have to keep up with chart stuff mostly d) less gear hauling which at 2am after 4hr set is important.
#11
I've got a friend who was in a wedding band and made very good money, basically staying booked constantly. He hated it, but he made bank.

He said the key is to get the bride and groom (so....the bride..) to pick a setlist in advance and let them know that you won't be deviating from it.

Also, have a signed contract and be willing to walk if it starts getting ugly.
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#12
Quote by Arby911
I've got a friend who was in a wedding band and made very good money, basically staying booked constantly. He hated it, but he made bank.

He said the key is to get the bride and groom (so....the bride..) to pick a setlist in advance and let them know that you won't be deviating from it.

Also, have a signed contract and be willing to walk if it starts getting ugly.


I bet there are some good stories....
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#13
wedding bands can make good money once they get a name in your area. popular wedding bands can command fairly big money. the trick of course i getting to that point.

you definitely will need to learn a pretty big list of songs. research is your friend and knowing the most requested songs at weddings will help a great deal. you also need to be able to learn songs quickly as more often than not you will get asked to play "their song" which can be damn near anything. songs that can be danced to are a must and keep in mind that often older people will want to dance to so nothing crazy.

you will need to have a male and a female lead singer and enough band members to cover songs. the most popular bands in my area have keyboards and at least a couple of horn players.
#14
+1 on everything monwobobo said above.

I have done it on and off over the past 40 years. If you really want to do it, do it because you honestly want to do it. It takes a lot of hard work to get it going and you'll need to find very good musicians who can all play in a large variety of styles but if you are serious it can be very rewarding financially. I have never been the band leader in the wedding bands I have worked with but most of the time I get $300-400 per gig. Most of the bands I have played with on weddings and private affairs (anniversaries and other celebrations) have 5 to 10 musicians and always two very good singers. The band leader usually takes home at least double the rest of the band for booking the job, meeting with the bride and groom, assembling set lists and getting together music charts (often simple chord charts will do as these are experienced musicians). The band leader also usually owns or rents the PA. He also guarentees the musicians get paid in cash the night of the gig. He gets a non-refundable deposit from the parties involved and the contract signed. Anyone who tells you that the bride and groom will stiff you don't know much about the business. The ones who know what they are doing don't accept any job without a rock solid contract and hefty deposit.

The important thing is you need to do it because you want to do it and not just because the money is good. You need to have very good chops and like playing the music or it will suck. I suggest you try to hook up with an established band already doing it even if you can just tag along on a gig and help out a few times to make contacts and see what's it's really all about.

One last thing; buy a tuxedo, yes you will need it. Good luck.
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Last edited by Rickholly74 at Apr 12, 2016,
#16
"Wedding Band" was never our target but we have booked a lot of em over the years. Always a fun time and always got paid well. Typically $1000-$1500 for 2 hours of music. Nowhere near enough to live on but keeps the beer fridge full at least.

-You need a good business head in the band or a good agent to get regular bookings.

-You must play at least a handful of bride requests and a set full of top 200 hits that appeal to all ages.

-You need a tight band with very good vocals, usually with at least 1 female singer.


If you are not having fun with this or not getting paid well, you don't understand the "wedding band" gig yet. I personally think it is way more fun than playing to rowdy drunks in biker bars for $50/man.
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#17
I agree with Cajundaddy that playing in a wedding band was never a goal for me either, it just happened many years ago when I got asked to fill in by a musician I knew from another band. I borrowed a tux and did it and found it extremely challenging and a real ego deflator. I thought I played fairly well but playing that gig made me see that I had tunnel vision and only played certain types of music well. Outside of my own comfort zone, I sucked. While it was a real slap in face it was also a challenge that I accepted to become a better guitar player who could play in a lot of styles and not just a "rock" guitarist. It's not for everyone but I've enjoyed the journey and I enjoy gigs where I am the weak link. The only way to get better is to play with people who are better than you. While it appeals to my personal ego to be the top dog and considered the best player in the band, you learn more by playing with great players who can smoke your ass every once in awhile.
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#18
since it really hasn't been mentioned wedding band guitarists rarely get to show off their "awesome" lead licks. if you want to show off then this isn't the type of band for you. being a solid rhythm player that can keep the dance groove going is way more important. sure there may be song here and there that has leads but don't expect any extended solos. most likely you'll be vamping chords playing FUNKY TOWN than playing ripping leads.
#19
Quote by monwobobbo
since it really hasn't been mentioned wedding band guitarists rarely get to show off their "awesome" lead licks. if you want to show off then this isn't the type of band for you. being a solid rhythm player that can keep the dance groove going is way more important. sure there may be song here and there that has leads but don't expect any extended solos. most likely you'll be vamping chords playing FUNKY TOWN than playing ripping leads.


You mean turning up and acting like Yngwie isn't acceptable at a wedding?

I still don't really see the point of a wedding band. Like, if all you want is covers and people dancing... well what about a DJ? I would imagine the DJ costs less than a full band, and I mean, will the band even have a smoke machine and cool lights like they do?

From having been to a few weddings with bands playing, they tend to suck and I don't get why they command that level of money; I guess it's just because it's part of the wedding package where everything mystically triples in fucking price.
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#20
Quote by tobysaurus
I'm considering joining/starting a wedding band as a means to earn a bit of extra cash.

Are you doing this to earn a living or to earn a bit of extra cash?
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#21
Quote by Anthony1991
You mean turning up and acting like Yngwie isn't acceptable at a wedding?

I still don't really see the point of a wedding band. Like, if all you want is covers and people dancing... well what about a DJ? I would imagine the DJ costs less than a full band, and I mean, will the band even have a smoke machine and cool lights like they do?

From having been to a few weddings with bands playing, they tend to suck and I don't get why they command that level of money; I guess it's just because it's part of the wedding package where everything mystically triples in fucking price.


having a real band is considered classy. as mentioned wedding bands tend to play hit songs that work for dancing and having a good time. the ability to play a wide range of songs and do them well is why the best wedding bands command good money. not every or even most wedding bands get to that level. DJs at weddings tend to leave teh "cool" lights and smoke machines at home. you are thinking rave not wedding.
#22
Quote by monwobobbo
having a real band is considered classy. as mentioned wedding bands tend to play hit songs that work for dancing and having a good time. the ability to play a wide range of songs and do them well is why the best wedding bands command good money. not every or even most wedding bands get to that level. DJs at weddings tend to leave teh "cool" lights and smoke machines at home. you are thinking rave not wedding.


A DJ tends to play nothing but hit songs for dancing, it's not like a DJ is gonna turn up thinking he's Skrillex and do originals? Weddings in England tend to turn into more like disco's anyway, so a band is just weird.

Also, I'd say you have to pay a large amount for a 'classy' wedding band; every single one i've seen (and they cost 1000$ at a minimum) at least one member of the band was wearing jeans. And they're equipment sucks, for $1000 a gig I expect a good fucking PA system, not something Behringer made.
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#23
Bit of extra cash? A great way to earn a bit more while having fun at the same time, I played in a couple of wedding bands for a while and it was great fun.

As a living? Good luck. No chance in my opinion. Unless you want a very shit living.
#24
Quote by Anthony1991


Also, I'd say you have to pay a large amount for a 'classy' wedding band; every single one i've seen (and they cost 1000$ at a minimum) at least one member of the band was wearing jeans. And they're equipment sucks, for $1000 a gig I expect a good fucking PA system, not something Behringer made.


The wedding bands that I'm familiar with charge about 3x that...

But they do not have shit equipment.
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#26
I agree that doing a wedding band is not a comfortable way to make a living because you can't guarantee a steady income. Think of it as a nice 2nd or part time job that pays well. In a month like May or June (popular months to get married) you may work 4-5 or more times on average but in months like November and December you'll be lucky to pick up any wedding work at all.

If you are a musician who has versatility and can play a lot of different styles, you can either get a part time job at Wal-Mart to pay some bills or learn to say "Do you want fries with that?". Another way would be to use your hard earned talent and get out and play and make some decent money. It's a job where you generally work for 4 hours, get a 15-20 minute break every hour and you can drink on the job (providing you do it in moderation) while playing your guitar. You also get to hang out with like minded musicians who you can learn a great deal from. That sounds better to me than working 8 hours or more at the local Home Depot or Lowes and saying things like "Lumber is in isle 8" for $10 an hour.
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Last edited by Rickholly74 at Apr 14, 2016,
#28
Quote by Arby911
The wedding bands that I'm familiar with charge about 3x that...

But they do not have shit equipment.


I should hope not for $3000 a night

To be honest if you develop a reputation - and you're willing to work for it - I can imagine you can make a good living out if it under one caveat: you're willing to travel. A lot. If you live near a mega city you probably stand a better chance if the competition isn't that great.
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#29
tobysaurus  
There are definitely a lot of people on here saying negative things about function work. I’ve played in a wedding band for the past 8 years and really enjoy it. We do around 60-70 gigs per year with pay ranging from £600-1000 per gig (between 3 people). It may not be the job that every musician sets out to do, but it pays the bills and allows you to pursue your original music during the week. 

My band gets all of our gigs through an agency called Function Central. I would check out what some of the bands on there charge to get an idea of just how much you can earn from function work… http://www.functioncentral.co.uk