18 Mar
wedding ceremony music

The Ultimate Guide to hiring the best Wedding Music

Welcome to your wedding music booking helper. The following notes have been penned by the top wedding music experts at Mood Music Musicians. We write this in the hope that it will serve as your loyal guide through every aspect of planning your live wedding music.

There is a fair bit of choosing involved in booking live music for your wedding. As your guide, we advise preparing a drink and settling in whilst we make this journey. Tea, coffee or even an alcoholic beverage are all fine by us. As long as you’re comfortable.

If you are unsure of where to start with your wedding music, it’s all here.

Mood Music Musicians will cover everything from what you can expect to pay for wedding music, how hiring performers actually works and loads of other useful tips, tricks and ideas to help you get the most out of your entertainment on your wedding day! Let’s get started…

How Much Does Wedding Music Cost?

Before hiring something it’s good to know how much you can expect to pay. Live wedding bands and music come in all shapes and sizes, and therefore, prices can vary quite a bit. A good rule of thumb for professional wedding musicians is that the cost per musician or performer is usually around $250 to $400. When we do the math then you can expect duos in the region of $650 to $900 depending on location and hours and full four piece or larger bands to be around $1800 to $3200. Now that is some solid mathematics, are you impressed? We didn’t use a calculator or anything.

Wedding Music experts

Wedding Music Experts

Remember that factors such as the distance your musicians have to travel, the popularity of the date and any extra services offered can alter the price.

The best thing about wedding music these days is that every budget is catered for. You can still have an amazing celebration with a small budget. On the other end of the scale you can make a big impression when spending big. It all depends on the atmosphere you would like to create.

The Cost of Hiring Professionals

Hiring a group of professional musicians or entertainers to perform at your wedding may seem expensive on the surface, but there is a good reason behind this. If there is but one thing you should take away from this post, it’s that you should absolutely hire professionals for what is potentially the most important day of your life.

“But, I have a mate who can do it…“ you insist! We all know a friend who plays the guitar, or a colleague who reckons they are a dab hand on the drums and claims they can rip through a classic drum fill with ease. They might be able to hold a tune, but put them in front of a crowd, under pressure, with a list of requests and a sea of merry friends… how can you guarantee they won’t send everyone home?

Mood Music Gatsby Band – Brisbane City Hall

These are the parts of the day that your family and friends will remember the most, so don’t leave it up to chance! Does your mates band have Public Liability Insurance? Is their electrical equipment tested? Do they even have their own gear? Avoid these headaches and go professional. Trust us, this is not a risk you want to take. We have been playing wedding music our entire working life and have the experience to ensure everything runs smoothly.

What Is Included In The Price?

So now we have a rough idea of how much hiring a performer will cost you, but what are you actually paying for?

Performance: This is the bit you really care about. The actual performance from beginning to end makes up part of the fee for your wedding music, and it promises to be wonderful!

Expertise: When booking a professional, you are also paying for the years of experience that come with their music craft. The best wedding musicians will know how to deal with pretty much any situation, because you can guarantee they’ve dealt with it almost certainly many times before.

Covered: Like we mentioned above, professional wedding musicians we hire out will have the relevant insurance and equipment docs. Your venue may ask to site these and we are happy to lease with your venue contact re this.

wedding music
Amica Jazz Duo at Kangaroo Point wedding

Amica Duo – Elegant wedding Music

Equipment: The performers will provide all of their own equipment as part of the price. You don’t have to worry about PA hire, microphones, amplifiers or any other technical wizardry…if there is a lecture and microphone available for your formalities via the venue then this is the best option. At smaller more informal weddings it may be possible to use a band microphone…you can lease with Mood Music Musicians on this one.

Travel: This is actually one of the biggest expenses, yet most clients done seem to think about this part of the booking. The travel time alone, and then setting up and packing down can amount to many hours! Our advice would be to opt for entertainment that is closer geographically to your venue. You will save money and the performers will find it much easier. We are based in Brisbane but travel quite often to the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coasts, Toowoomba, and as far south as Byron Bay. Outside of these areas the costs can climb quite significantly. We usually apply a small travel surcharge for outside the Brisbane area…but this is usually around $50 per car.

Bespoke Service: Every performance is unique. Your band may play a bespoke set for you, or even learn requests for your first dance or ceremony. As long as we have the requests in by a month prior we can also learn new material. Your wedding musicians will make their performance tailor-made for you and will spend the time working out set lists to suit the event. This may include costs of procuring new sheet music, or backings also.

All of this and more makes up the final price that you see in front of you for your potential wedding music! Bear this in mind when you are looking for entertainers. The most professional acts will create memorable moments on your wedding day and will provide all of the above as part of their cost

. Now let’s take a look at some different types of musical entertainment that you can actually book for your wedding day.

Wedding Entertainment Ideas

There are so many different types of wedding music, and it can be overwhelming when you first start thinking about this. To begin with, we are going to look at the most common and popular types of wedding entertainment. Live wedding bands.

drummer weddings
One of our fabulous drummers, Lachlan Hawkins

Your Guide to Wedding Bands

Without a doubt, the most sought-after type of wedding music by most couples is the live wedding band. Get this right, and you really do have a show-stopping finale to your big day. At Mood Music, we focus on classic music in the classical, jazz, swing, latin, and classic dance music styles. If you are after an Indie, Rap or totally contemporary unit, we are not your people. We also believe in specialising in what you do best and not trying to be something you are not.

Kathy Sander and Mood Music Musicians are really fantastic! They played not only as a String & Piano Trio for our wedding ceremony, but then as the Mood Music Band during our reception. Kathy will really listen to what you want, she will give you lists of songs the band commonly play, and they will even learn songs you want to hear! I have had so many comments from guests about how great the music at the wedding was. Thanks Kathy for contributing to our special day! 🙂

Booking a wedding band is a process, but is also one of the most enjoyable and exciting parts of your wedding planning! There is something special about live music, it can generate so much energy and emotion in a room. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to put a lot of thought into what band you choose. Here are the things you should look for when searching for your perfect wedding band.

Genre: Decide on your style. Our most popular style of wedding band available is the Covers Band archetype. These bands will have something for everyone, and can really bring a proper gig atmosphere! There are so many styles of bands available if you’d like to keep to one style, but here at Mood Music Musicians, our swing and covers band is the most popular choice. If your wedding is themed you can pick something more unusual – such as our Gatsby Band for 1920-30s style entertainment.

setting the right mood with live music

Mood Music Gatsby Band

Setlist: Does the bands setlist line up with your tastes? Party bands spend a long time refining their set for maximum impact. Don’t just look for your favourite tracks. Instead, search for songs on the band list that will keep everyone at your event happy. This may mean choosing music from different periods, as there will normally be a variety of people from young to old at the event.

Our main Mood Music Band can take you from the smooth songs of Michael Bublé and Sinatra to Moondance and Brown Eyed Girl, Creedence Clearwater and the Beatles and on to Bruno Mars and Maroon 5.

Videos: As much as you may wish this wasn’t true – you are very, very unlikely to be able to see your chosen band live before you book them. Unless you have been lucky enough to catch them at another private or corporate event (or are an expert wedding crasher), seeing them live will be tricky. We have a range of Soundcloud audio and youtube video available on our site for you to check out the musicians prior to booking.

Reviews & Testimonials: Paying attention to testimonials from real couples is so important. Do they have many reviews and can you trust they will deliver on your day? Real wedding blogs are also a great resource and can give you a bigger picture of someone’s day with your ideal live music!

Extras: Make sure you’re getting value for your money. Find out what extras the band offer as part of their package! Do they provide a DJ set in between or after sets? Can they learn your first dance song if they don’t already know it or maybe even provide an acoustic set earlier in the day? Remember, we can provide anything from Brisbane’s top solo pianists and guitarist up to our full-sized bands.

Social Media:  Everyone these days is a semi-professional social media stalker by day, so do the same with your band! Check them out on Facebook or Instagram and see what they get up to. You might spot some awesome live clips, pictures from previous weddings or interesting posts. Remember Mood Music Musicians is a collective of professional musicians based in Brisbane – we are not agents but promote our own live music.

mood music band horns
Mood Music Wedding Quartet Brisbane

Mood Music Swing quartet

Wedding Venue Checklist For Live Music

Before we move on to what other types of live music entertainment you can have on your wedding day, you will want to use the following venue checklist. Ask your wedding venue these questions before you book your wedding band:

This should be your first question! Make sure your chosen venue actually allows live music before you book your band.

Some wedding venues have sound limiters in place that cut the power if the noise level is too high. If your venue does have one, don’t panic! We can lease with the venue regarding this. Unless you have booked our pro sound company along with the band – this will not usually be an issue.

Some venues work to a specific supplier list, and this is true for entertainment as well. Make sure you are allowed to bring in your own band before you book outside the venue.

If you’re one of those people who likes to party late into the night, firstly check on the times in and out of the venue. Secondly, check if the venue has a curfew. You don’t want any surprises on the night. Usually it is best to start with lighter music at the beginning of the reception and pump things up later in the night – we are happy to work with you on packages for the whole day, including the ceremony

You need to know if there’s enough space for your band to fit, and also enough space for you and your party to throw some dance moves. What’s the point in practicing your moves in the mirror if you can’t bust them out on the night?

Strings and Classic Ensembles

Congratulations, you’re now a wedding band expert! Join the cool club. Enjoy your search for your live music. You’ll soon realise that it’s really exciting to book a band so make sure you revisit the above tips to help you find the right one for you.

So, what about music for the rest of your day? When booking wedding entertainment, we say that the best approach is to work backwards. There is so much that you can have on your day, but prioritising the big finale and then figuring out the rest of your day will make things much simpler. Having said that, some people may prefer to think about hiring amazingly beautiful music for the ceremony first and then think about the reception.

Once you’ve booked your wedding reception music, you can start to focus on the rest of your day. We’re going to revisit the evening party later on for some more advice but for now, let’s take a journey through the 4 main parts of your day in search of some wedding music ideas for each of them.

Wedding Ceremony Music Ideas

The wedding ceremony is one of the most important parts of your nuptials, after all it’s the part where you actually get hitched! Such a special moment deserves your special attention and thought. Don’t forget, if you are stuck for ideas, we can help.

Consider the role your music takes here and how it can elevate and heighten the emotions of your big moment. The way your ceremony plays out will set the tone for the rest of the day, so think carefully about what atmosphere you would like.

wedding ceremony

Wedding Music with Mood Music at Ideal Weddings

The use of live music is the most common idea in a wedding ceremony. If you a hire a musician or group of musicians for your wedding ceremony, the format is usually as follows…

Prelude (Guest Arrival): Around 30 minutes of background music.
Procession, Signing the Register and Recessional: Typically 3 to 4 pieces of music, including your aisle walk and the exit.

The type of musician you choose to hire for your wedding ceremony depends on what atmosphere you would like. Solo Piano, Guitar or harp for example are one of the most popular solo acts booked for ceremonies. The instruments both look and sound beautiful, and overall, it’s a really stunning way to begin the day.

You can always hire a vocalists such as classical singers or a vocal ensemble to really ramp things up. This will absolutely create an amazing memory for anyone who attends. We are happy to organise this through our extensive contacts in the professional music scene in Brisbane.

solo pianist

Mood Music Soloists

Other popular wedding ceremony musicians include string quartets and classical musicians. You will notice that all of these musical options are great as a ‘backdrop’. You don’t want anything too overpowering here, just something that augments the already romantic atmosphere.

Of course, you might be thinking that you can always pop on a CD and walk down the aisle to a pre-recorded track. If you have the opportunity to have your song played live by a musician or sung by a choir, you absolutely should. It creates such incredible memories and will be unique to you. Your chosen artist will be able to learn your track on their instrument, or even suggest tracks for you to walk down the aisle to.

See our listing on Ideal Weddings

Not only will a live performer sound incredible, they will also relax your guests in what is typically the most formal part of the day.

String Quartet

It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because this is your big moment, everyone else will be completely switched on and ready to fully invest their undivided attention into every single romantically filled second of your ceremony. The truth is a little less picture-perfect, however. Now don’t shoot the messenger but the reality is that a lot of people can find wedding ceremonies unenjoyable!

For many guests it can be boring, stressful and may even drag on for too long. They may get restless and feel tense from the seriousness of the situation. Do them a favour and provide a relief point to keep them relaxed. They will subconsciously thank you for it and the rest of your day will be better off for it!

Drinks Reception Entertainment Ideas

There are so many gaps and lulls throughout a wedding which means that guests can easily get bored, tired, hungry, or a combination of all three! The most common wedding ‘lull’ is the drinks reception. These lulls can be alleviated, or better yet, become the highlights of your wedding day by a little forward thinking.

The beauty of the drinks reception is in its freedom. You really can have anything. Ooh. This is often where you’ll see unique wedding entertainment being used as a way to break the ice. Our cocktail duo or Trio is possibly the most popular option here.

Amica Jazz Duo

Breaking the ice is really important this early on in the day. This is where the two sides of the family come together, having to make small talk. These social interactions are notoriously a little bit awkward. “Oh yes, the ceremony was lovely wasn’t it?” or “we’re so lucky to have such beautiful weather today!” are two phrases often overheard being articulated by guests attempting to make some conversation with their wedding guest counterpart. Please rescue these poor souls. A talking point is sometimes needed, and this is where your wedding entertainment comes in. To set up a chilled out atmosphere with music is essential to its’ success.

Amica Jazz Trio with our sax players

Anything goes, so look for something that represents your personality as a couple! You can shock, surprise, amuse or amaze with the right entertainment. Check out our wedding live music packages and string two or three different ideas into the one ideal wedding day package here at Mood Music Musicians.

Live music is also really popular during the drinks reception. You can be really open here about what styles you have, but definitely hold back on trying to create a lively party experience just yet. That can come later! Instead, look towards different styles of performers. Maybe solo acoustic musicians or singers who can provide some background music. A top tip here is to consider asking your ceremony musician to stay a little later and perform during the drinks reception as well! Quite often here at Mood Music Musicians we have solo artists who are also members of the band you may book for the reception – keeping things simple and easy to organise. A smart way to save a little money on your entertainment. We are on your side when it comes to creating the perfect atmosphere for each part of the day.

Wedding Breakfast Entertainment Ideas

As your guests sit down to eat, it can be a good idea to keep the atmosphere flowing.

The wedding breakfast provides a mixed bag. There is quite a lot happening! Photos are being taken, food is being consumed, small talk is still happening (albeit hopefully less stilted if you’ve relaxed your guests!) and of course speeches are being delivered. A subtle combination of wedding entertainment ideas can be the best approach.

The thing to remember about the wedding breakfast is that it’s the last big section of the day before your evening party starts. Some of your guests will need more than a 3 course meal to coax them up onto the dance floor later on. It is up to you to use this time wisely and set the scene for what’s to come.

Mauricio Hosi – our brazilian guitarist

Here at Mood Music Musicians – we obviously focus on music and are specialists with regards to live music. We can put you in touch with fabulous extras like dancers, who can present spots in the band breaks, photo booth suppliers, artists with guest participation, etc. Please fell free to ask us if you have any ideas and we can source this for you.

Like previous parts of your wedding day, background music is also recommended here. Remember that people are eating and talking so nothing too overpowering! Both guitarists and pianists can be a good idea during this part of the day. They set the scene for more music later on but aren’t too intrusive during a meal setting.

Evening Reception Entertainment Ideas

This is it, the big party! Hopefully everyone is suitably softened up at this point and ready to let loose. So what’s it going to be? Band or DJ? Or a mix of both?

For a long time, this has been an internal debate for couples looking to book their evening wedding entertainment. The truth is that both have their strong points. Live music is something special and exciting, whereas wedding DJ’s can be quite cost effective in comparison to a live band and still fill a dance floor.

Mood Music Band

Mood Music Band

The most common compromise is to book a band that offers a DJ set as part of their package. Now we know you are a wedding band expert at this point already as a result of our advice earlier on, but there are a couple more tips and tricks we can share about live music for weddings.

Wedding Band Timings

Wedding bands will always try to be as accommodating as possible with their set times, but which set length is best? Most commonly bands will offer either 40 or 60 minute sets. Our advice is that 2 x 60 minute sets or 3 x 45 minute sets should be what you aim for.

Think about the flow of your night. With three separate sets of 40 minutes, you’re moving the band on and off stage with more breaks. The other thing to consider is that with two 60 minutes, the band are only having to bring your guests onto the dance floor a couple of times. Breaking things up and making them do this an extra time can fragment your night.

First Dance

Ultimately, it’s ideal to get the band to start as late as possible. Your dance floor will be bouncing if you wait for the right moment to kick things off! A full dance floor is what every bride and groom wants on their wedding day. What other things can you do to ensure that your dance floor is packed?

Invite Your Guests Onto The Dance Floor: This is so important. The very second your first dance is over, you can set the tone for the rest of the night by getting all of your friends and family onto the dance floor. The absolute worst thing you can do is to depart the dance floor after your first dance. It’s your day, and people want to celebrate with you! Stay on the dance floor for a bit and get things going.

Ways To Fill The Dance Floor At Your Wedding

Hands Off The Set List: Trusting your choice in wedding music goes a long way towards a great night. It’s natural to want to have a say in what songs your band play on the night, but try not to be too controlling. A professional band will have created a setlist that has been refined to perfection over years of live performances. Let them do what they do best and have faith!

Look After The Band: This is something that comes with the territory of hiring human beings to perform on your big day. That’s right. These living, breathing, walking, talking talented people are about to travel countless kilometres to give the performance of their lives for you and your guests. Provide them some musical fuel with some food, drink and a place to rest up and change before the show. Wind them up and let them loose.

swing and jazz
Hot Jazz for your wedding

The Bazkatz Band

Have The Bar In The Same Room: If possible, try and have your bar in the same room as your band. This is something you can check when you visit your venue. At this point in the night, the drinks are flowing the party is moving! Keeping everything contained means that the visit to the bar won’t separate your guests too much.

Use Professionals: This one rings so true that it’s worth mentioning twice! Professional wedding bands are experts at reading a crowd and knowing exactly what to do to fill a dance floor. Your wedding entertainment will be able to interact with the crowd and create that incredible atmosphere.

How To Book Wedding Entertainment

So how does booking your wedding entertainment actually work? It’s not as complicated as you might think. Here is what you can expect from the booking process.

  • discuss by email or phone your requirements
  • find out our availability
  • fill in our booking form online
  • pay your deposit to hold the musicians
  • a week prior to the wedding – pay the balance due
  • any special requests we don’t already play need to be in a month prior

With our tips outlined in this guide, you should be well on your way to choosing the right live music for you. If you are still unsure who is right for you, you can always contact us for help and more advice..these are the things we will ask you for more info on..

  • what is your date?
  • do you have a budget in mind?
  • how many guests are expected?
  • how much room is there for the band at the venue?
  • where is your venue? there is a small surcharge for travel if outside Brisbane
  • if the venue has a piano or not?
  • how long you need music for?
  • do you need to book music for all 3 parts – ceremony – drinks & dinner – and the dancing or end of the reception?

Once you’ve decided what suits your atmosphere, it’s time to make your enquiry. The more details you can provide, the better! We do like to get to know you. It helps us match you with your ideal entertainment. We can work within your preferred budget, so please chat with us about options if the price is a little over what you were hoping for.

If your chosen musicians are available on your date (hooray!), then you will receive a quote. This price is all inclusive of equipment and travel surcharge if needed. The best bands and wedding musicians are often booked up years in advance and there is nothing worse than missing out!

If you are happy with the price and want to go ahead, confirm the booking with your us. You can read our terms and conditions here on the website and pay your deposit to secure us for your date!

In the weeks leading up to your big day, we will contact you to go over any finer details. This gives you the opportunity to get to know the people you’ve booked before they turn up at your wedding. They will be able to answer any last minute questions you have and help you organise certain parts of your day.

  • it’s good to prepare a simple run sheet for the musicians to go from on the day
  • lease with us regarding timing at the reception

You’re all set! Just sit back and let your day unfold. Your musicians are due to arrive and everyone knows where they are meant to be and when! You have an amazing celebration ahead of you so relax in the knowledge that your guests will be thoroughly looked after and entertained.

The Role Of our Musicians Collective

Booking through the musicians themselves ensures that your choice of music will be what you get on the day. No middle man or agent to deal through – you are speaking with us directly. It also means you have all of your details covered – not mixed up through too many people handling the situation. Booking wedding entertainment is something that people usually only do once in their life! As you have probably gathered from this guide, we certainly know our stuff and we love to help, having much experience in performing at weddings collectively over many years – we pride ourselves in our work and will provide the best live music for your special day.

What is most popular at weddings right now
Wedding singers

Our collective will also take care of all the contracts, paperwork, follow up calls, correspondence, double checks and any of the last minute panic if anything happens to change!

Final Words

And that brings our entertainment at weddings post to a close! We hope you have found “The Ultimate Guide to Hiring the Best Wedding Music” useful. The ideas and tips enclosed here are born out of years and years of experience in booking wedding music for hundreds of couples in Queensland.

If you would like to chat with us further then you can call on 0412 670 038. Keep in mind that as a full time working musician – it is often tricky to get me on a call .. please just leave me a text or and email on office@moodmusic.com.au and I will attend to your enquiry asap…. 

Good luck with your live music search and all the best from us,

Cheers from the Mood Music Team

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