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Budgeting for your wedding entertainment costs

Live music needn’t be something to scrimp on

Although booking your wedding entertainment is just one checklist item for your big day, costs can vary considerably. These days an average UK wedding price seems to vary from around £11,000 (according to this wedding guide) to £20,000 or more (according to an article titled How to cut the cost of your wedding in The Guardian).

With wedding dresses costing from hundreds to many thousands of pounds, a professional cake costing several hundred pounds, and massive variations in the prices for venues, some weddings are always going to be more lavish than others. Some advisers recommend that if you need to keep a careful eye on things then making small economies in the catering arrangements, or perhaps including a pay bar, can make a massive difference.

Wedding entertainment budget advice

The Guardian’s article quotes one wedding adviser as suggesting “… ways to save include ditching a live band in favour of an MP3 playlist (typically saving £500).”

We think that figure is very misleading; a professional four-piece band is rarely available for less than £1,000. For larger bands – including horn sections, for example – you could be looking at £2,000 or more. (Any professional band will have good quality safety-tested equipment, public liability insurance, and some kind of assurance that you won’t be left in the lurch due to illness).

Of course, wedding band rates in the London region are even higher, but in the areas Avenue plays – Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire – these fees are typical norms. Naturally, if you’re booking through an agent there’s always commission to be included on top of the band’s fees. But our advice for booking a wedding band is to make your selection based on what you actually want on the day, not on what the price is.

What kind of wedding band do you want?

Between us, Marcia and Laurie have played at countless weddings, and we always strive to make sure the couple are booking the right act to entertain your guests. The wrong band can create the wrong atmosphere, and we always ask questions to ensure we’re suitable for what you have in mind.

Some bands concentrate on current chart music, which is great if all the guests are the same ages as the couple. Others – notably those focused on Britpop – are perfect where there’s a slightly older age profile. And there are those marrying slightly later in life, for whom 1960s and 1970s music is perfect. The point is that not every wedding band covers all bases, although their costs may be similar.

In our experience, couples choose Avenue less because of cost concerns and more because we enhance smaller and more intimate wedding celebrations. In other words, we’re the ‘right size’, rather than the right cost. As an acoustic duo, the fact that we cost less than a full function band is effectively a bonus.

The right wedding music

Referring back to The Guardian’s article, we’d suggest that you could look at its advice another way. Instead of an MP3 playlist, a guide price of £500 would cover a typical wedding service from Avenue. With a combination of ceremony, drinks reception and evening packages available, some weddings are priced a little below this and some a little higher.

So if what we do appeals to you, you can be assured that Avenue’s friendly and professional service won’t punch a massive hole in your wedding budget.

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