There's no cooler way to add life and true zest to your wedding reception than having a live band to play for your guests. If you're like most people, you find that live music is just an irreplaceable enjoyment that goes far beyond any digitally reproduced music. The band can play to the crowd and add fun, vigor, and even humor you won't find when playing MP3s or CDs. If you can swing it, we highly recommend getting a wedding band to play for and emcee your reception.
If you're here, you're likely considering this as an alternative to the DJ. Now, we have nothing against DJs, and sometimes, you'll find that a band can double with a good DJ to ensure constant entertainment for your guests the whole night through. We've seen this before, and it surprised us how well it was pulled off. In that case, it was an ethnic band, and the DJ played the standard wedding music numbers while the band was taking a break. It was a great way to blend cultures!
As a couple, you can go through a few different means to find the right band. If you can find a recommendation, that is the number one method. Word of mouth is by far the most reliable way to find a band you'll love. We highly advise against hiring the perennial "bar band" to handle your wedding. Being a wedding band is far different than playing to a bar crowd. There's a different expectation of professionalism involved, as well as the emceeing duty, should you not have a DJ to back up the band.
At the stage of the game where you have a band or four picked out, dig deeply into their websites and see if you're able to find that they have videos posted of previous wedding work. This is by far the best and most complete way to get an idea of what you'll be getting. Most reputable wedding bands know to put videos on their websites. So, this is a good indicator for you in determining if a band is right for you.
Another thing you should do in your search for a wedding band is seek testimonials about their past performances. At the very least, seek out online reviews that speak to their professionalism and ability to play to the general wedding crowd. Before you contact the band, be sure to have a list of questions related to aspects of your wedding that are important to you. They should be happy to answer all of your questions.
One thing you may not have considered to this point. You'll want to ascertain ahead of time if you want the band to play the ceremony and the reception. If they are amenable to playing the ceremony as well, you'll want to have an approximate timetable ready for them to check out. This way, you can formulate a solid plan. You also want to consider whether or not they'll be playing recorded music while they're not performing. (If you are not going to have a DJ, anyhow).
You will want to know that bands do cost considerably more than DJs. There's a bigger investment and more mouths to feed, so to speak. However, the added enjoyment and life they can add to your reception is something that is really worth it to some couples. You'll want to weigh whether or not this is the right decision for you!