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Picking the Perfect Houston Wedding Band for Your Reception

From Posh Downtown Affair To Galveston Shindig, How to Find the Ideal Live Band

Once you have decided to hire a band for your wedding reception it is time to start down that road of picking the perfect wedding band to get your guests on the dance floor and getting their groove on. But with so many different types of Houston wedding bands out there in such a large city, how do you decide on the right one? I have played for a living in one of the best Houston wedding bands in town called The Grooves for years and know this subject inside and out and would love to share my expertise with you to make sure you find the perfect band for your wedding party!

Table of Contents

Book Your Band Ahead of Time

The best wedding bands get booked up between six months and a year out and there are only a handful of awesome and affordable Houston wedding bands.  Wedding venues in the Houston area also book up pretty quickly so you will want to book your venue first and then lock in your band on that date as soon as possible.

Discover local wedding bands through word-of-mouth

To get some candidates of some of the best local wedding bands start by asking your wedding coordinator.

Friends discussing wedding band options in Houston

Your wedding coordinator has seen lots of wedding bands no doubt, and should have experience working with them to get to know them and find out how easy the band is to work with, make sure that the wedding music that they played got the crowd on the dance floor and that the band was never too loud during the evening.

If you don’t have a wedding coordinator ask the owners of the wedding venue that you booked. The venue owners have hosted hundreds or even thousands of weddings and are a wealth of knowledge with what bands out there are perfect for weddings in the Houston Texas area.

If you have any friends who have recently been to weddings or would have gotten married themselves then ask them if they have any suggestions. Most of the best wedding bands on the Internet will have a live video on their website and you can watch quite a few videos and get some ideas of some bands that might be a great fit for your wedding reception.

Also take a look at the band’s song list on their website.

A good band will have a good variety of songs including:

  • slower music and standards for the dinner set
  • 60s 70s and 80s for the older crowd early on in the night and 90s through…
  • current dance for the younger people who are left at the end of the night.

Be sure and avoid bands that only play original music as they most likely won’t be able to play the full four hours that a wedding reception normally lasts and no one will know all of their songs even if they could. You want a band that plays fun upbeat dance hits with a few slower songs and a few country songs for your guests to two step to. Also make sure that the band is going to be able to play songs based on the crowd response just in case their set list that they have put together beforehand is not working with a particular crowd.

Ask What All the Band Provides

The Best Bands are More than JUST a Band — Know the Difference!

All professional bands in the Houston area always provide all sound and lights and are fully self-contained. A common question from my brides is if we provide up lighting for the venue. No bands provide any up lighting for the venue and usually only provide lighting for the stage only. On rare occasions a band will have lighting for the dance floor but not usually. As far as a stage is concerned, Bands do not provide a stage and it is usually the venue that provides a stage although the stage is not always necessary and most bands can set up directly on the ground if needed. Venues charge anywhere from $900-$2000 to provide a stage so many people skip the stage just to save some money for their honeymoon.

Another question I get commonly from my brides and grooms is if we provide a sound system for the ceremony. We can rent a sound system and provide a wireless lapel mic and additional mics for readers during the wedding ceremony if there are any for a small additional fee, Which is often a fraction of what you would pay hiring a separate sound company to do this. I just do this for a small fee as a favor to my brides and grooms. As far as other bands in the Houston area, some provide this service and some don’t, you would just have to ask the individual band you are looking at. Also be sure and ask the band how long they play and how long their breaks are. Some play over the course of four hours with two 30 minute breaks which is industry standard and some play over three hours with two 15 minute breaks.
Another question I often get from my brides and grooms is if we will learn specific songs for the first dances. Most bands including ourselves will learn extra songs for an additional fee. It often takes many rehearsals to get a song show worthy and the band leader will have to pay his band members for the extra time of learning the song at home and travel to the rehearsal space to rehearse it several times before the event, so it is rare for a band to learn extra songs without charging extra for it. If a band doesn’t charge extra for learning more songs then they are probably desperate to get a gig and there would probably be a reason for that so beware of any band that offers to learn songs for free.  One thing that I have noticed with my many years of performing over 2,500 weddings is that it is not necessary for the band to be playing during first dances, as all eyes are on the first dancers not the band. I have even asked people in the audience if the band was playing during the first dances or if it was the Jade and they never can remember. It is just as classy to DJ the first dance as it is to have the band play live so I would recommend to save your money and have your first dance DJ’d rather than paying a lot of money to a band to learn extra songs with nobody will notice anyway.

Ask the band if you are allowed to pick some of your favorites for them to play. A good band will always work in your favorites at the right time while still playing songs that get the crowd on the dance floor. Here’s a pro tip: Never insist that the band only play your favorite songs. When you tie the hands of the band and only allow them to play your favorites, they can’t play songs that they know it will get the party momentum rocking and you’ll end up with an empty dance floor and guests leaving early.  Professional bands know that if they have a packed dance floor and everyone of the party is having a blast they will get hired again and will always do everything they can to play the songs that they know are going to get the majority of the crowd having fun. This no doubt will include some songs that you think are cliché, overplayed or cheesy wedding songs, but there is a reason these are played at weddings so much and that is because the majority of people love these songs and will pack the dance floor when they are played, So be sure and trust your professional band to you know what songs to play to show your crowd the best time possible.

The Cost of local Houston wedding bands

Most wedding bands in the Houston area are going to be a different price on Saturday night then other days of the week.

Paying for wedding bands in Houston

Saturday nights are often at a premium price and bands can run anywhere from $3500 all the way up to $15,000 depending on the band, level of talent (don’t cut corners on talent!) and how many pieces in the band. Some bands can offer anywhere from a four piece all the way up to a 15-piece orchestra and price will vary greatly depending on the size that you pick. Days other than Saturday night are much cheaper as are venues and caterers as well. If you’re looking to save a bundle on your wedding reception, have it on a Friday or a Sunday instead of a Saturday night.

It is customary to feed your band as well as your photographers, wedding coordinator and other vendors as most will be there for eight hours or more setting up, working at the reception and tearing down at the end of the night without being able to leave to get food. Bands will also request a dressing room to change into their Tuxedos or other nice clothes before and after the performance.

Tips are never required but are very much appreciated by bands and if you feel they have done a great job tip them if you can afford it.

Looking for One of the Best Houston Wedding Bands Around?

The  Grooves band specializes in weddings and can make your special day a hit that your guests will be talking about for months to come. We always play the right music at the right volume at the right time and guarantee a rollicking good time to be had by all.

See our live video here:

Consider booking The Grooves for your rocking Houston wedding! We have decades of combined experience among our group of artists based in Houston, Texas, unparalleled energy and showmanship, and  reviews!

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