Archive for the ‘Wedding Reception Music on the Beach’ Category

Negotiating Pricing for your Wedding Music Part 2

Monday, February 15th, 2010

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!

Negotiating Pricing for your Wedding Music Part 1

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

First off, you want to create a list of considerations and requirements. This is part of your “pre-production” as we call it in the recording business. This list should take the most time and research. Information such as topics that I am writing about in past blogs will give you fodder for this list. Without this list, you will 1.) NEVER remember everything and 2.) be unable to lead or participate more fully in a discussion about your needs. In other words, you will be dependent on someone else’s vision of your music and AV needs.

This is not to say that you may not be speaking with someone that can take care of your needs and provide you with a more complete vision, it is only a step in preparation that arms you with the type of information that will help you discern if you are speaking with someone that is competent and experienced, or a hack that has decided to try a new line of work beginning with your wedding reception as the “beta test”.

I will create such a list as well as illustrate some negotiating parameters in my coming blogs.

Audio Visual Concerns for your Wedding Ceremony and Reception

Friday, January 15th, 2010

There are many Audio Visual (aka: A/V, AudioVisual, AV) considerations that you should be aware of. The first that comes to my mind is that ceremonies that take place on the beach, are often seen and not heard. Why? Because it’s rather LOUD on the beach. No, not loud when your walking on the beach taking it its majesty and beauty, but LOUD when your exchanging vows at a talking volume level. Now imagine rows of chairs and people sitting in the sand, with the wind blowing, attempting to share that moment by hearing what is said.

Even if you go out to the beach right at this moment to test this theory and decide “hey, it’s really quiet out here, I think we can run without any additional sound reinforcement”, the day of your wedding could be completely different.

You will need at the minimum a clip-on Lavalier (Lav) microphone for the Pastor. Preferably, you will want to place one on the Groom as well. The Bride will be heard by the Grooms Lav so there is no need to place one on her. Also, you will need two powered speakers for <100 people and two additional powered speakers for more then 100 people. Four (4) powered speakers should cover any beach ceremony. This system will require a "mixer" and an A/V table which can be set up to the side of the cermony and to the back so it will not detract from the visual of the event. The A/V table should be draped and all wiring can be easily buried in the sand with excess cable placed under the table. When professionally set up, these speakers can actually add to the visual of the event. The importance of their functionality, however, cannot be overemphasized. Further, if you have music for the ceremony (harpist, violinist, guitarist or singer) you can now place a microphone on them and everyone can enjoy the music! Another strategy is to use a CD player to play some soft background music before anything takes place while people are milling around and before taking their seats. Then you would go to the instrumentalists for the ceremonial music performance and then the vows. All covered through the same PA system. Someone needs to drive this system and preferably that will be a professional AV type person (DJ's and musicians count for this job). Soft music after the event also really adds a touch of class to the event as people will be there at the location for 20-30 minutes just hanging around. The most cost effective way to accomplish this overall mission is to plan for this, then negotiate it with the band, DJ or musician that will be performing for the ceremony or reception. IF you can negotiate this as a "package" with the rest of the entertainment, you stand to save some costs. When I am hired to do a wedding reception, I always bring these issues to the forefront before pricing my services because 1.) I know what needs to be done, 2.) I am already going to be on the job and 3.) I have the equipment to do what is required, correctly. I am then able to price this part the AudioVisual equipment along with my services which saves the bride and groom a lot of money. To give you an idea of costs here, a wireless microphone to rent would be somewhere in the $125.00 range, then your PA system would be another $300'ish. There are PA systems that run on DC power (batteries) or sometimes a couple hundred feet of heavy gauge drop cord is required. If I PERFORM for a ceremony, I BRING all of this PA gear with me for my performance, then just "give" the pre recorded music as an incentive for using my services. Then I would rent the Lav's two for the price of one so I am earning an additional $300-$400 but providing a value in the $750-$1000 range. Another consideration is at the reception location. A really cool thing to do is prepare a video presentation of the bride and groom as kids, a montage' of their courtship and lives. Then project this in a loop format on an 8' screen somewhere off to the side where family can enjoy this. Believe me, this will be a big hit feature and where ever you place this screen, people are going to gather. MAKE SURE you don't create a bottleneck with your screen placement. Don't put it in front of the bar or food. Find a nice corner where there are not bathroom doors or entrances. These videos can be with or without sound but you have to plan in advance for which it will be. I have a recording studio so I have built a lot of these over the years. I always put music to them. These become heirlooms so even if they are played at the event with no sound, the sound becomes important when played at home. Grandma will want a copy of this too so you'll need several copies. From an A/V perspective, you'll need the screen (usually a 6' or 8' screen), a projector and I recommend planning for audio which would require a powered speaker. The screen should be placed in a corner, draped, then the speaker sits behind the screen, hidden to the audience. This should look good. If this is indoors, a couple pieces of Pipe and Drape can make this really "POP". I've done this with 12 foot screens too so it depends on the venue. Typically, your musicians are not going to have this type of gear available but you can easily rent this from an A/V company ( I recommend Five-Star Audio Visual which you can find at Another feature often overlooked is a dance floor. Dance floors make a huge difference and they can be set up outside as well as inside. Uplighting, rope lighting and ambience lighting can do for your event what a candle can do to your dining experience. It's just a touch of class that can make the event unbelievable. As you can probably tell, there's a LOT to be considered. This can get to be a strategic mess if not thought through in advance and planned for correctly. I am always available for any input or service that I can provide at

What to consider BEFORE hiring entertainment for your wedding or reception

Monday, January 11th, 2010

What to consider BEFORE hiring entertainment for your wedding or reception:

After considering your venue size and deciding on what type of band to go after, there are many other important considerations. I’ll touch on some points overall and go into more detail in future blogs. You can always contact me with questions at:

You are about to invest thousands of dollars in food and flowers and clothing and venue and that list goes on. One of the very highest priorities on your list should be your investment in MUSICAL ENTERTAINMENT. No offense to relatives, but a common mistake is to try to save on money by using a relative or friend to perform the music or be the DJ. Yes, there are exceptions when this can work but the “consideration” here should be at what level of proficiency do you expect your event to be. A wedding ceremony and a wedding reception are a “one shot” experience. You don’t get to try it again tomorrow.

Only seasoned professionals that have been through the procedure many times before can know what to expect, how to prepare for it and how to execute perfectly every time. Sounds a bit dramatic but believe me, if something goes WRONG with your music, it will likely BE a dramatic experience.

Budget for entertainment just like you budget for food. For example, if you budget $20 for each guest towards entertainment, a wedding with a 100 people would allow you a budget of $2,000. Without a band, just renting a modest PA system that could cover 100 people would cost you $4 or $5 per person, just to help put costs in perspective. That is to say, if you called an AV company to rent a PA for an event that size, you could expect to pay that much WITHOUT musicians…does that help?

It feels good to be able to say this BEFORE an event. Most people do not realize or appreciate the importance until they get to the point where the event is about to take place and the band or DJ is still not there, or they show up looking like they just slept under a bridge OR they’ve been drinking before they even get set up or any of a hundred other things that can go wrong including THEY ARE INCOMPETENT and sound like twice baked crap.

The music IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF YOUR EVENT. Consider this and budget accordingly BEFORE hiring your entertainment.

More on this to come. Call or write if I can be of further assistance. Jesse Deese

Wedding Reception Locations

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

You will have limitations for what size band dependent on your reception location. Consider where the band will be staged. Typically, the stage will be the center of attraction for the reception. If the event will be held outside, consider local noise ordinances. Volume becomes a huge issue in outdoor events. Volume is an issue at indoor venues as well but much more controllable in this environment. One question to ask is: “does the band come with a dedicated FOH man” FOH=Front of House aka “sound man”. It is not unusual for a band to mix their own sound off of the stage. Usually someone on either side of the stage will have access to a mixing “console”. The problem CAN BE that that person is not hearing the “MAIN MIX” because they are behind the speakers. Therefore, volume can be a problem. If you are paying top dollar for a band, expect a sound man to be in the package.

Music for your Wedding

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

The first question to ask is what type of music do you want. I write this from the perspective of a performing musician so I will be naturally biased to the “live” music side. I recommend a VARIETY of music because typically there will be several generations of family attending a wedding representing a variety of tastes, genres and musical era’s. Variety Bands are the most expensive form of entertainment because they usually have the most musicians in them. A seven piece variety band would have drums, keyboard, bass, electric and acoustic guitars and a male and female vocalist, for example. Variety bands can be much larger, up to 14 pieces or much smaller. As a performer, I do a VARIETY solo act.

You will want to hire a band that has a web presence to assure that you are not hiring a “pick up band” i.e. a bunch of musicians that don’t rehearse but know common songs that they will perform together. This is very typical so check out their website to assure that 1. they are a bona fide band 2. that you can hear a demo of them 3. that you can see their song list.

If you have a special song that you would like to have performed, you will need to negotiate this very early. More on budget and negotiation later. Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns that you have at

Wedding Music

Friday, December 4th, 2009

This begins a series on what to look for and expect from the musician, DJ or Band that you hire to perform for one of the most unique experiences of your life, your wedding.