Negotiating Pricing for your Wedding Music Part 2

Perhaps this is a misnomer for a title but what the heck, it’s just a blog. But my reasoning is that pricing, although it is important for your budgeting purposes, should not be the issue that guides your negotiation. The old adage “you get what you pay for” does apply but it’s not concrete law by any stretch. More likely, you will get what you have negotiated for.

In the case of this blog concerning your wedding music, you are more likely to get what you negotiate, plan and prepare for. So I’ll reveal what I consider to be important issues to discuss upfront with your potential wedding reception entertainer, wedding ceremony entertainer, or wedding music DJ (or in some cases Karaoke dude). For this discussion, I am going to make your wedding event a beach wedding on the Gulf of Mexico in the Panhandle of Florida. (Since this is the environment that I am most familiar with and currently booking wedding events for (shameless plug)). NOTE: This strategy assumes that you have found an entertainer or band that you have visited their website and liked or heard live.

One strategy for you could be to ask questions that DO NOT reveal your level of expertise (after studying this blog and being prepared to deal with wedding event planners, wedding event booking agents, wedding event musicians or wedding event entertainers). Noteworthy is that 90% of the time, this will be the same person. I call it a “fishing expedition”. With this strategy you ask a question to see if the potential wedding entertainer not only gives you the right answers but also follows up with additional concerns. Using this strategy you do not use the classic “how much do you charge to play at my wedding reception”. In fact, forget about money and just go looking for expertise.

For example:

YOU: I’m calling to inquire about your wedding performance services.

THEM: They should want to know where your event is, when your event is, how many guests, venue for reception.

YOU: We are having a BEACH WEDDING CEREMONY and the reception will be at a club house close by.

THEM: They should want to know if you need music for the wedding ceremony, music for the wedding reception or both.

YOU: We would like to have both if we can do that cost effectively (you just planted the first money seed and layout an area for negotiation).

THEM: They should now need to know what you have in mind musically. A solo vocalist type song at the ceremony (one reason that they should know how many guests becomes important now) and a dance band variety of music for the reception. Now the amount of equipment that needs to be set up starts coming to the forefront of the wedding entertainer or their representative. If you have under 100 people, a minimum of equipment can be adequate, for over 100, the equipment needs double. THEY should ask questions such as how far is it from the ceremony to the reception ( power has to be run, equipment has to be hauled on and off etc.) THEY should ask you how much time between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of the reception (of course this is usually immediately but if the events are a mile apart, you can’t immediately do an equipment change over so you want to know that the wedding entertainment is figuring for this).

THEM: They should talk about the AV requirements i.e. if the event will be going on as the sun goes down, lighting WILL be an issue. With no stage lighting, a good wedding band or wedding entertainer losses a lot of “pop” performing in the dark. They should talk about this to make you aware of their high performance standards and desire to make this event the best it can be for you (thereby instilling the concept of “value” in your mind and creating another potential negotiation area).

THEM: They should make you aware of the option to place a lavaliere microphone on the preacher and groom (because it can be quite loud on the beach at any time of any day) They should make you aware of their ability to provide back ground “canned” music before the ceremony (since they will have to pull power to the location and place one to four PA speakers on stands for the vows to be heard.

YOU: knowing that, you should be able to negotiate no additional charge for the “canned” music because the equipment will be there anyway if you elect to mic the ceremony. NOTE: I recommend planning on mic’ing the ceremony because otherwise, there is the potential for no one but the bride and groom to hear the vows.

THEM: They should now start narrowing down your needs and figuring out your expectations to the point that they can begin understanding their costs to professionally fulfill the needs for your beach wedding event.

THEM: They should ask about your inclement weather plans. What if they play for an hour and it begins raining? Will they be expected to breakdown, move, set back up and begin playing again? (more on this with CONTRACTING ENTERTAINMENT FOR YOUR WEDDING)

YOU: Should ask them how much space they will require

THEM: They should ask about access to the performance area/stage. Parking. Sound ordinances if the event runs into the night

THEM: They should ask about set up times/ requirements as they can have an effect on pricing. For example: If the band has to be set, sound checked and out of the area by 3:00 p.m. and then they perform at 7:00 p.m., it could mean the difference between renting hotel rooms or not (in some cases) therefore, in order to correctly price a performance, the savvy wedding entertainment booking agent will need to know these details.

YOU: can now begin discussing pricing.

THEM: assuming the pricing is within your budget, another detail that demonstrates expertise is if the agent of the wedding entertainer would like to come get a look at the location. This allows clearer planning for details such as: where are the electrical outlets and how much are the electrical breaker boxes rated for and other esoteric in access and logistics that YOU should not have to be dragged through but you can now show off a little expertise in understanding these concerns.

These strategies should be helpful to you in removing guess work and focusing on the most important steps of the event, PLANNING and PREPARING!