1. What mood do you want to create?
If you’re looking for something relaxed that can set the mood for a meal or reception, perhaps an acoustic duo or pianist would be best. If you’re looking to raise the roof and have everyone on their feet, then look for an act which has fun in its performance videos and offers a high energy playlist of songs!
2. What songs would you love to hear?
Lots of acts will offer a sample playlist which can be a good indication of whether they play the kinds of music you enjoy. The best ones will also be willing to learn & include some of your favourite tracks. If you’re worried about your guests enjoying the music ask your act for advice, they’ll know what works well.
3. Will they keep you in the loop?
If it’s difficult to get a hold of your act or if they take forever to respond to your emails, chances are you’re going to find the whole process from booking to the event very frustrating. I always think it’s best to communicate in writing as you both have a record, but if someone wants to call, meet up or Skype I’ll always try and arrange this too. Good communication is key to ensuring your booking runs smoothly.
4. Are they all fur coat?
Don’t get hung up on amazing reviews unless you’re absolutely sure they’re real. Make sure the “live” videos you’re watching are actually real and aren’t overdubbed with enhanced audio. If you’re not sure ask to see screenshots and live performances from events.
5. What are their terms and conditions?
Most acts will issue a booking contract in order to book your date in. These are normally designed to protect you both and outline payment terms, cancellation policies and what happens if there is an emergency. Read through these carefully and if you have any questions don’t be afraid to ask.
6. Does your venue have specific requirements?
Some venues have certain rules/requirements for entertainment and sound. It’s worth checking this with the venue in advance of booking your act, as it might mean you need to look for something specific. What to ask? - Whether the venue has a sound limiter, do they allow amplified music, do they have a music curfew and will they be happy for you to book your own act?
7. Are there any hidden costs?
Most acts are open and honest about their prices and will outline what your fee includes. If you’re unsure it’s always best to check if their quote includes travel, accommodation and VAT. Be aware that adding extras or making changes later on in your booking, such as asking for a ‘late finish’ or ‘early arrival,’ may come at an extra cost. To get a better view of the costs try to ask these at the beginning of your booking and this will help you get a clearer picture of what you need to budget overall.
8. What is your maximum budget?
The price of entertainment will differ from act to act. When setting your budget don’t underestimate the importance of entertainment in making your day special. Great Music = Great Mood! My advice is to set your maximum budget then look at a few acts you like who fall within this. It may be that in the end you choose to go for an act that takes you slightly under or over your budget, but a guideline figure is a great starting point. Tip: Tell the act your max budget to quickly find out what packages they can offer you.
9. How to make it easier for yourself and save money too!
Some acts will offer a range of packages to suit both daytime and evening occasions. This means you could potentially cover your whole days entertainment and sound requirements with one supplier, saving you tonnes of admin time! Acts are also usually happy to offer discount on the total price if you book more than one package…which means savings! Why not ask your acts if they can help with other parts of the day such as DJ, mics for speeches, background music and see if you can make your own life easier!
10. Do you like them? Are you excited to see them?
The truth is whichever act you book you should be excited to see them perform. Pick an act that makes you look forward to the day, someone who is friendly and easy to work with, and an act you trust will be as awesome as you have seen it advertised. Once you’re sure on this you’ll relax knowing you’re in safe hands, plus on the day your excitement will translate to your guests - it’s catching!