Time and again, you’ve heard the same advice: one of the best things you can do to make your wedding day memorable is to hire live musicians. Having musicians play right at the wedding ceremony and at the reception after just hits different. It charges the air with emotion. It fills the room with the energy that you’re looking for. 

If you’re in the thick of wedding planning and need to know how much a solo musician (like a violinist) for the wedding ceremony or a wedding band for the reception will cost, this article will break it down for you. 

Wedding ceremony music cost

How much you’ll have to budget for your wedding music will depend on a lot of factors but the first thing that will impact the price is the kind of musician or musicians that you want to hire. Are you looking for a pianist and a vocalist for your march down the aisle? A jazz band for the reception? Or a string quartet that can play music both at the ceremony and the reception?

Wedding musicians for the ceremony might be relatively cheaper to hire than a wedding band for the entire night given that they will be spending less time at the venue. However, this may not always be the case. The level of expertise of the musician, as well as the type of music they will have to play, will also affect the cost. For example, a popular string quartet from out of state that’s asked to perform a complicated piece for the wedding march and interludes is likely to charge higher than a local cover band that will play the Top 40 for the night.

Musicians for wedding ceremonies cost between $200-$350 per musician. Groups like bands, quartets, and the like can charge up to $800 depending on how many musicians are in the group. This price may go up or down depending on how much musician equipment they have to bring for the ceremony.

According to Wedding Wire, couples spend between $330-$700 for a wedding ceremony musician. There are of course ways to save money like hiring local musicians or getting a soloist or a duo. Also, take advantage of entertainment companies that offer free quotations (most, if not all, do!). This is the best way to gauge how much you can spend and save on a wedding musician.

Wedding band cost

A typical wedding band will charge anywhere from $1,500-$5,000 per night depending on the size of the venue, the number of guests, and the length of the event (this is usually 3 hours). A lot of popular entertainment companies in New York and the Tri-State area offer packages that start at $2,500. The price is inclusive of each musician’s fees, sound equipment, and lighting. If you want to add additional services like DJing, those costs will likely increase. 

Similar to ceremony musicians, the level of experience and travel time will impact the final rates applied for performing at your reception. Another cost to consider when hiring a wedding band is the food for the musicians. Unfortunately, it’s common for couples to forget to set aside food and time for the musicians to eat. So when planning your reception, remember to buy plates or seats for your wedding band. While the wedding band is eating, it’s a good time for a DJ to take over the music.

While we are on the topic of DJs, these pros usually charge $1,800 upwards. For couples who are trying to save money on wedding entertainment, it’s a good idea to hire a mix of a wedding band and a DJ. For example, the jazz band or cover band can play during dinner, and the DJ can take care of the music for dancing later on in the night. 

When budgeting for your wedding entertainment…

While it’s important to stick to your budget, don’t automatically go for the cheapest option when it comes to wedding entertainment (or anything for that matter). Premium rates usually mean premium service. That translates to less worrying and stress for you and your partner on the days leading up to the big day and on the wedding day itself. 

That’s not to say that bands offering more affordable rates are all bad. When choosing a wedding band with a rate that falls below the average, make sure to clarify the inclusions and ask to see samples of their performance (you should do this when hiring a wedding band at any price point anyway!).

Do you have any questions about hiring a wedding band? Do you need help figuring which kind of entertainment will work best for your reception? Fill out the contact form below so we can schedule a call with you!

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