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A Quick Guide for booking live wedding bands In Houston, Texas

Get the Skinny on what it takes to find a great live wedding band in the Houston, TX area

Congrats on finding your soul mate! If you and your fiancé are feeling completely overwhelmed with all that entails planning your Houston wedding reception, don’t feel like the lone ranger. The choices seem endless as there are Country bands, Soul bands, Big Bands, Rock bands, pop bands, Funk bands… which one should you choose? It’s always a lot of decisions to make when hiring a band and we’re here to help you find the perfect one for your Houston ceremony and wedding reception!

Table of Contents

To Have a Live Houston Wedding Band or Not

Some folks wonder about even having a live musical group at their event because they are daunted by the choices of what band to pick, what will their set list consist of and will it go over with my party guests. Just to cut to the chase, nothing gets your guests out on the dance floor and having a ball than a great live Houston wedding band. You always see brides and grooms saying they are so glad that they hired a live wedding band in reviews of live bands on Google or Weddingwire. Live music at a wedding reception is always a winner Even if you’re having a very small wedding, with a small budget, there are many smaller sized bands in Houston that would be a great fit for any sized wedding budget.
Kinds of Wedding ceremony music bands in the Houston Area
If you’ve decided to have live music for your ceremony, then consider a trio or string quartet. These choices are quite popular and always add that touch of class to the ceremony. Ceremonies always are more classy with live music than with just a DJ service. There are plenty of classical bands for hire in Houston so you will have quite a few choices of excellent musicianship. Be sure and look for a Houston wedding band to entertain your guests that has professionalism and can give you the musical vibe that you’re looking for. Most bands that you hire for the reception will also have a musician or two that can also perform for the ceremony and are cheaper to hire than a separate band for the ceremony only. Always check with the reception band on this to save several hundred dollars on the ceremony musicians. There are other styles of musicians as well to consider such as a violinist, pianist, saxophonist or even a bagpiper if the bride and groom are Scottish. These solo musicians are always the cheapest option. After you have decided on your ceremony band you will need to decide on the ceremony music for the bridal walk down the aisle, the entrance of the wedding party or bridal party, meaning the groomsmen and bridesmaids, and the exit of you and your fiancé after you have tied the knot.

Wedding reception band cost

Costs for entertainment at a wedding can vary quite a bit depending on whether you book them on a Saturday night or other day during the week. Bands are almost always cheaper on any day other than Saturday so book your wedding on either a Friday or Sunday to save a bundle. Venues, Caterers, and flower vendors are also discounted tremendously on any day other than Saturday so by having your wedding on a Friday or Sunday could pay for that expensive honeymoon you were planning. In the Houston area, bands usually go for anywhere from $3500 to $12,000 on a Saturday night depending on the talent level, size of the band, and popularity of the band or the date. Saturday nights in December and New Year’s Eve is often at a premium. Most Saturday nights in December are when there are a lot of corporate holiday parties booked which drives up the price of bands, especially with all the oil companies in the Houston area.

Do you want live music for the cocktail hour as well?

Some brides and grooms want live music during their cocktail hour as well to add that extra touch of class to their party. Some couples will hire the string section that played during the ceremony to play an extra hour for the cocktail hour which works fine. Also, as I said before, the band that you’ve hired to play the reception most likely always has a few musicians who can perform for the cocktail hour and again, because the band will already be onsite for the reception, they will be cheaper than hiring another band to make the trip all the way out for the party. String sections will play mostly classical music but also seem to be playing more and more pop music these days but still on classical instruments. If you’re looking for a more modern flare on pop music, the musicians from your reception band can cover this end very nicely for your cocktail hour and will utilize either a solo performer playing piano or guitar, or a duo with two instruments or a trio with bass, drums and either guitar or keys. They might have only a female vocalist or male vocalist or possibly both, so check what each band offers for a cocktail hour show as it will vary from band to band. Another option for cocktail wedding music would be a jazz band or small orchestra playing big band style music such as Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Dean Martin or Rat Pack kind of music. Just make sure there is power for the band’s sound system at the wedding venue.

Advice on booking the band from experienced couples

Most couples will say to be sure and give yourself plenty of time in advance to check out your bands as most wedding bands travel all over Texas and they might not be in Houston for several weeks or months for that matter and popping by one of their live shows is the best way to see what they can deliver. Most couples will also say that you want a band that can play a good variety of all styles of both slow and upbeat music and to stay away from original bands. Original bands rarely have enough popular songs You want a good variety for all the different age groups that will be present at a wedding. You will want oldies, light Motown and Country for the older folks and then newer decades for the middle aged and younger and lots of pop for the youngest at the party. Experienced couples also recommend that you listen to your wedding planner as she will have experience with the talented musicians for hire in the Houston area and can recommend a good party band. Being as your party will be in the Houston, Texas, you will most likely find cover bands that play a lot of Country music in their song list so be sure you tell the band how much country you want during the night as some might play lots of Country Music, and others may play only a few Country songs unless you tell them to do otherwise. One thing that you hear from newlyweds is that you should not have your band play a lot of Country music if there will be lots of guests from areas outside of the Southern U.S. or if the majority of your guest list will be coming from overseas as not many of these guests will know how to dance to Country and also will not know the music and you will have an empty dancefloor as long as Country music is playing. If you know that your crowd loves country music and you are looking at Country bands, make sure the Country band you hire can also play top forty music as Country music all night long can get a bit dull for most folks.
Be sure to tell your band to play lots of high energy music toward the end of the night as that’s when celebrations get the most rowdy and experienced live musicians with lots of gigs under their belt know how to turn up the energy and rock the sox off the wedding venue. Wedding reception music is best started off slow during the dinner set, moving to rock and pop, and then getting funky at the end of the night with current music and classic hip hop. Stay away from blues bands, punk bands, rockabilly, tribute bands or salsa bands as these are too specialized for a wedding.
Most seasoned couples always remind you to make sure that you have a rain plan and most wedding venues do, but be sure and ask the venue coordinator. Live wedding music and rain don’t go together very well and neither does a dance floor and no music.

Let your Houston wedding band know exactly what kind of music you want

Most of the best wedding cover bands in Houston will have a huge song list to choose from and will play a set list of the best songs they can think of that will get your guests onto the dance floor. Great bands will pick songs on the fly based on your crowds reactions to insure that they play songs that your specific demographic of guests will like the most. That being said, be sure and let your band know what styles or songs are your favorites. A good group of wedding musicians will also ask you what songs you want to hear for first dances and if there will be a dollar dance or married couples dance. For those that don’t unfamiliar with these special dances, the dollar dance is an old tradition where folks line up to dance with the bride and give her money for a dance with her. This usually lasts about a song or two and it’s usually a bridesmaid or groomsman that collects the money while the bride dances. This is always a slow song or two. The married couples dance is a dance where the bandleader asks for all married couples to get on the dance floor and then the band starts a song, again usually a slow song. The band then asks the married couples to leave the dance floor if they have been married less than a certain number of years, starting with a lower number of years all the way up until there is only one couple left on the dance floor, who is the couple that has been married the longest. Sometimes the bride gives her bouquet to this couple if she does not have a bouquet toss. Other times, they don’t get the bouquet but are asked to give some advice to the newlywed couple on how to stay together for the long haul.
If you are looking through the band’s song list and you don’t see some favorites or special dance songs that you want in their playlist, be sure and ask them in advance if they could DJ those songs on their breaks. Most pro bands experienced with wedding receptions will be happy to do that for you. If you have a song in mind for the last dance, be sure and let the band know that as well.

Final thoughts for your wedding celebration

Live wedding cover bands will always add that extra punch of excitement for weddings and will always add more than just a DJ, just ask any wedding planner in Houston. Decide if you want a live band for your ceremony and then narrow it down to the specific style that you want such as string quartet, solo violinist, pianist, guitarist or something more exotic like a bagpiper. Decide on your budget and if you want to add the same band or a different one to perform for the cocktail hour. Get advice from your friends who have recently gotten married, and be sure and communicate with the cover band you have chosen to let them know exactly what you’re expecting for the perfect fairytale reception. With all this planning you will be ready to hit it out of the park on your wedding day!

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