“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” (Warren Buffet, philanthropist)
All musicians are not the same – and neither are their fees. Some publish a set fee schedule for weddings. Some other musicians – those that care more about your event – consider it carefully and prepare individual quotes depending on the features of your booking.
There are some professionals who add extra charges to their performance fee. Watch out for the following add-ons:
- Mileage – If your musicians are travelling outside of their normal performing area, make sure your quote includes that travel and, if not, get an idea of the extra charge they will be making.
- Learning new songs – this takes work, even from the most experienced and versatile musician. The performer will likely charge extra for purchasing the sheet music, rearranging it for their instrument and the time this has taken.
- Rehearsal fees – If you are having a wedding rehearsal and you insist that the musicians are there for it too, you will be charged for that time. Or if a friend or relative is performing at your wedding and you want the musicians to accompany them, they will need to rehearse together and there could be an extra charge for that.
- Multi-location – If you need your musician to play in a number of different rooms – or perhaps different locations – throughout your wedding day, you might expect a charge to be levied for this. Time will be needed for the equipment to be picked up from one location, moved to another and then reassembled. At the very least, you might be eating or celebrating in silence for a few minutes while this takes place, unless they have two instruments – setting up one in each location.
- Setup – your musician may have a lot of equipment, and you might prefer it to be ‘in situ’ hours before the wedding begins, rather than having them buzzing around at the last minute. They may also charge extra for locations with access problems – such as the congestion charge in Central London, or getting to remote location, or a room up several flights of stairs.
- Technicians – if you are hiring a band, or a group of musicians with lots of equipment, you may be charged extra for a technician to co-ordinate sound balancing. Or roadies to unload and reload the equipment into their van.
- Extras – some musicians will itemise miscellaneous costs in their invoices. This could be as diverse as clothing, special equipment required, or sheet music purchases. Ask your musician whether their final price is inclusive of extras like these.
These are some of the pricing ‘horror stories’ I have heard in my many years as a wedding musician. I am a violinist and pianist, playing at 50+ weddings a year, and the fee I quote is always the price the client pays. Every quotation is fully inclusive.