Post # 1
We wanted to have a fun cocktail hour that would help break up a bit of the formality and possible stuffiness of our “fancy” wedding. We were hoping to hire a bluegrass band to play the cocktail hour.
I requested a quote from the only local bluegrass band listed on Google.
They finally got back to me today, and it turns out they want $800 for three people to perform for an HOUR.
That seems awfully high, especially since I said that I was on a budget! Is this high, or are my expectations just out of line? (I’m also a little worried that I might have gotten the “bridal markup.”)
Post # 3
I paid $500 for a string quartet for the 30 minute ceremony and cocktail hour.
ETA: It was actually $565 not $500
Post # 4
I think we paid $800 for a string quartet during the ceremony, cocktail hour and dinner. So…like 3 hours I guess? I would think an actual band would be higher though.
Post # 5
I just got quoted (today actually) $450 for two guys to play erhu for two hours. So that seems a little high.
Post # 6
We are paying $400 for ceremony muscians and I believe $1000 for a Mariachi band for cocktail hour and dinner
Post # 7
Ours was $2500 for 5 hours – 2 hours for cocktail hour and 3 for reception.
Post # 8
We’re paying $350 for harpist for the ceremony (1 hour max).
Seems like given the responses so far $800 for 3 people for one hour seems right in line. What were you expecting/hoping to pay?
Post # 9
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
Eh, I don’t know, that’s not crazy high to me. (My husband is in a popular band that plays a lot of weddings etc.) You have to remember that it’s not just an hour, it’s all the time to get there, set up and soundcheck, tear down, travel back home – not to mention you’re helping subsidize their equipment and their time spent rehearsing etc, much as you do when you do when you hire a photographer or videographer or any other professional.
But I will tell you, bands always aim WAY HIGH for weddings because they know people are in the spending mode. My husband’s band is always willing to negotiate. I’d tell them that that doesn’t fit your budget, counter with 400 or 500, and see if you can meet somewhere in the middle.
Post # 10
We are paying our 3 piece Latin band who is also dj and mc $1000 for the entire reception. We are also paying the electric violinist $800 for 1.5 hours! The violinist is my mom’s thing, she cray.
Post # 11
- Wedding: March 2013 - Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
We paid $550 for our string quartet for the ceremony. They played for an hour total.
Post # 12
@lolot: +10000 to your point that you are not just paying the musicians for the hour of time they play. @EffieTrinket I truly don’t mean to be rude or condescending at all, but would like to help anyone who is hiring musicians for any purpose understand why musicians charge what they do. I am a professional musician and make my livliehood performing at many formal events such as wedding ceremonies, receptions, funerals, parties, corporate functions etc. What you are paying for are the years of time (and sometimes multiple degrees earned) that the musicians have spent becoming masterful at their instruments, the hours spent rehearsing or possibly composing or arranging music for the event with that specific ensemble, travel time/costs, set up, tear down, and more. People who work careers with full time jobs are paid for each hour they work whereas musicians don’t get paid for the hours that they practice (essentially our hours spent on the clock), so our living wage comes from the product born from the hours of honing our craft. All that said, I myself do often charge my heighest rate for weddings, but I am always willing to work with a couple/organization if they feel the price I quoted was too high.
Post # 13
@EffieTrinket: Personally I don’t think that’s particularly high, for several reasons.
First, I’m going to assume there are at least 4 musicians in the band, if not 5-6; meaning, individually they won’t be earning much at all.
Second, while they are only performing for an hour, they will have travel and set-up time; so, it’s likely to take more like 3 hours out of their day.
Third, id your wedding is on a peak day like a Saturday, taking the booking may mean that they are unable to get another booking; so, they have to charge enough to make it worth their while if they’re potentially forgoing a longer, more lucrative event. It would be senseless to charge much less.
We’re paying $800 for a string trio for 3.5 hours; if we’d wanted them only for the ceremony or drinks reception, they would still have charged $600, which was their minimum. Our band is then costing $1200 (mate’s rate) and will be playing for about 4 hours in the evening reception.
Post # 14
We paid $450 for a violin/cello duo for our ceremony and cocktail hour. It was absolutely wonderful and would have paid for the quartet if we had the money.
Post # 15
- Wedding: October 2013 - Vine Street Church
@FionnaCake: Oh man, I’d love to have someone play erhu at our wedding. That’s awesome!!
We’re paying our organist $300 for the rehearsal, pre-ceremony music and ceremony music.
Post # 16
@Jazzylove: It seems like others are paying about $500 per hour–and it seems like bees in more expesive places are paying an equal amount or less for a roughly equivalent amount of time. This is a lower cost of living area, and just about everything we have priced out has been cheaper than the average here–photogs, DJs, photo booth, catering. But it seems like bees in higher cost of living areas are paying an equivalent amount or less, which doesn’t make sense to me–more expensive places probably have higher rates for things like lessons and rental space. I do understand that I am paying them for their expertise–which is why I am not offering them, for example, the amount I make per hour at my job.
What I don’t understand is why the financial burden of their years of practice, etc. should have to fall on brides any more than on the guy hosting a family reunion. An hour should be an hour should be an hour. I am not making any kind of special demands and don’t feel like I should have to pay any sort of “bride tax.” I am literally only requesting one song–and it’s one they listed as part of their repertoire already (“Man of Constant Sorrow” from O Brother Where Art Thou). Other than that they can play whatever they want, from show tunes to “Freebird.”
FWIW, we expected to pay the 3 of them about $500 and feed them dinner. Setup would be minimal as we aren’t wanting lighting or anything like that. No one will need to rent a tux or outfit. The band won’t have to drive very far (in fact, another band that would have to come from out of state quoted only $200 more, and they sounded about the same quality. This incuded all travel costs AND an extra performer. I would just hire them but unfortunately $200 either way does matter at this point.)