Planning your wedding is one of the happiest and most exciting times of your life. That joy can quickly turn into stress and disappointment if you don’t know where to look for quality performers or how to negotiate a fair contract. Here are some tips on how to find and hire wedding entertainers and ensure their terms are agreeable to both parties.
Ask friends and family for references, and consider the weddings you’ve attended in the past. What stood out about the performers? Were there any in particular you really enjoyed, or any you really disliked? Can your friends recommend a great band, DJ, hula dancers, fire performers, magicians or whatever else for you’re searching?
Remember, the sky is the limit. Your wedding should express the personalities of you and your partner. There is no need to stick with a harpist and a four-piece standard wedding band if that isn’t your style.
Have a long chat with the wedding entertainers you are considering. Come with a list of questions and don’t leave until they are all answered. Ask specifically about prices and what is included, especially the amount of time they will be there and any breaks. Verify who exactly will be performing at your wedding – you don’t want a completely different lead singer showing up than the one you auditioned. Ask about experience, including how many weddings this entertainer has done, equipment and any necessary site requirements for it, what emergency backup plan would be put in place for your event, what kind and how much liability insurance the wedding entertainment vendor has, if they belong to any professional or trade groups and how they will be dressed. Make sure you receive a list of references and call them.
Talk price. If there is a wedding entertainer that you love but can’t afford, talk about it. Some vendors will offer you alternative services at a lower price – fewer musicians perhaps, or a shorter performance. Get estimates from three different but similar vendors to compare prices and services.
Once you have decided which wedding entertainment professionals to hire, you must negotiate a contract. Do not hire any vendor for your wedding without a contract, and do not let any money change hands until the contract is signed. This document should include all the information listed in the above paragraph from the questions you asked at the initial interview, as well as payment terms, deposit and cancellation policies, the specific date, time and location of your event, how long they will perform, how many breaks they can take and for how long, and any other details you feel are important.
Once the contract is signed, communicate with your wedding entertainment vendor often. If you are dealing with musicians or a DJ, provide them with a list of any songs that you absolutely do or do not want played. Advise them of all the major players in your wedding like the parents of the bride and groom, best man and maid or matron of honor, grandparents and anyone else you would like to be honored. If Great Aunt Edna is allergic to rabbits, warn the magician to stay away from her.