Wedding Music Planning: How long will a live band play for?

When planning live music for your wedding reception you need to have a rough idea of how long your live band will play for in order to work out an order of events for the day and evening. Most wedding bands work to a previously agreed playing time, although different musicians will have different standard arrangements.

The majority of live professional performers will be fairly flexible as to how they will arrange the entertainment, provided your requests are reasonable and made in advance of the big day.

Most wedding bands will provide two hours of live music

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The typical performance time for a wedding band is a total two hours of live music within a three or four- hour period. The musicians will split this two-hour playing time into sets with breaks in between, and will arrange these however you wish depending on your requirements. Most bands will offer three 40-minute sets of live music, but two 1-hour sets or four sets of 30-minutes are also fairly common. Two hours of live music is usually more than enough to provide a fantastic main event for the evening reception.

In between the live sets, most musicians will have ready prepared playlists in keeping with the musical theme of the reception. These will be played through the band’s PA system in order to ensure that the atmosphere is maintained throughout the evening. If you would prefer, it is perfectly acceptable to create your own CD, or hire a DJ to fill in during the breaks. Some party bands offer a DJ as an additional option.

Many musicians will be flexible with their performance

If you are planning to have live music during a different part of your wedding day, for example during the ceremony or afternoon drinks reception, you may find a different setup is more appropriate. If you are having a band to play at your wedding ceremony, they will probably still offer to provide two hours of live performance. This might include a set while your guests gather, specially chosen songs during the ceremony and then a further set directly afterwards to entertain at the drinks reception.

Certain bands playing specific musical styles might offer a shorter performance for a reduced price. Steel bands will commonly offer two 40-minute sets of live music within a two-hour period, and some other musicians may be willing to do something similar.

The fee doesn’t tend to change for a shorter playing time

In most cases the fee you pay will remain the same if the band is asked to play for a shorter period. Even if they are only performing at your wedding for an hour, the musicians will still be required to book out an entire day or evening to cover travelling and setup times. If they were to offer a reduced fee for the shorter playing time, it would deny them the opportunity to earn their full fee elsewhere on the same day.

The exact duration of time that musicians will perform at your wedding tends to vary slightly from band to band. In general, you can expect about two hours of live music split up into two or three sets of an hour or 40 minutes. Some bands will offer different options for performances at specific times of day, but in most cases you will pay the same amount for a shorter playing time. If you have any unusual requirements you should communicate with the musicians as they will often be fairly flexible and do all they can to make your wedding day as special as possible.

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