The Average Live Wedding Band Costs in 2022

According to The 2021 The Knot Real Wedding Study on average couples spend $4,300 on a live wedding band. The cost of a live wedding band can vary depending on the size of the band, the location of the wedding, and other factors.

Anja Winikka
May 25, 2022

Looking for information on hiring a wedding band to keep your party going? Look no further!

When it comes to making a wedding memorable, many think a live wedding band is hard to beat. Bands provide an energy and excitement that some believe can’t be matched by a DJ; while a DJ kind of hangs out at his turntables doing his own thing, a band can really get out there and work the crowd. Bands come in all shapes, sizes, and genres—there's really something for every couple. So how much does a live band cost anyway?

How much does a live wedding band cost in average?

The cost of a live wedding band can vary depending on the size of the band, the location of the wedding, and other factors. However, according to The 2021 The Knot Real Wedding Study on average couples spend $4,300 on a live wedding band. 

Cost factors to consider when hiring a live wedding band

There are several factors that will affect the cost of hiring a live wedding band.

  • Number of members. A smaller band (4-6 pieces) will of course cost less than a larger band (9-12+ pieces). And don't forget, members aren't only musicians. You may also need to account for the band’s manager, sound and lighting engineers.
  • Location. If your wedding is in a major city, you can expect to pay more for a band than if it were in a smaller town.
  • Repertoire. A band that specializes in a certain genre of music (e.g., country, rock, jazz) will typically cost more than a band that plays a variety of music.
  • Experience. Seasoned musicians come with a higher price tag, so if you're looking to save costs, consider a band that's relatively new and looking to get their name out there!
  • Special requests. Performers are often happy to learn your favorite song, but since it takes time they will likely charge for it. If you have your heart set on a specific song or two, be prepared to pay a little extra.

Do live bands bring their own equipment?

Bands generally bring their own equipment, but it's always a good idea to check in advance to see if they have any special requirements (for example, an acoustic piano on stage). Most bands will have their own sound system, but we recommend working with your planner and/or venue to make sure everything is covered!

When it comes to lighting, some bands will bring their own lights, others will use the venue's existing lighting and other bands will work with the designer to make sure the dancing area is properly lit. If you have a specific vision for your wedding reception lighting, make sure to discuss this with the designer, band and/or venue in advance.

Should you go for a DJ or a band?

Live bands bring their personality in to get the party going, banter amongst themselves, and create an interactive experience for your guests. However, DJs are typically less expensive than bands and come with their own advantages. Here are some things to consider:

  • DJs can play a wider variety of music since they have access to digital libraries. If you want to segue from Whitney's I Wanna Dance With Somebody to Nicki Minaj's Super Bass and the original versions are important to you, a DJ has you covered.
  • Wedding bands need breaks. Brass players need to rest their lips, and anyone playing an instrument manually needs an intermission at some point. DJing is less labor-intensive so it isn't usually subject to the same constraints.
  • What kind of energy do you want to create? Wedding bands can be very front-and-center, while DJs can fade into the background a bit more. It's all up to what vibe you're trying to create and what your program looks like.

Tips for hiring and working with a wedding band

  • Listen to their music. This one seems obvious, but it's important to make sure you like the band's sound and style before you book them.
  • Meet face-to-face. Their personalities will definitely direct the mood of your party, so make sure you feel comfortable with them.
  • Check out their reviews. See what other couples have said about their experience with the band.
  • Draw up a contract. This is important to protect both you and the band. Be sure to clearly state expectations, such as start and end times, number of breaks, song requests, etc.
  • Remember to tip. Budget about $50 per member to express your appreciation. And remember to leave them a good review and tag them on the 'gram!
  • Don't forget to factor them into catering costs. Your musicians will need vendor meals! So be sure to factor that into your catering budgets.

Now, if you still can't decide between a live band and a DJ, maybe you don't have to choose! Bring in the band for the ceremony, and leave it to the DJ to get people on the dance floor for your evening reception. Who says you can't have the best of both worlds?

Anja Winikka has spent more than 15 years marketing to and engaging with both engaged couples and the small businesses that power the weddings industry.