How to Write a Contract for a Band for Your Wedding Reception

Whether hiring one musician or a large band, a contract ensures your reception entertainment is a success.
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A contract between you and the band hired for your wedding ensures an accurate understanding between all parties for your big day. Discuss your expectations, hall information and the agreed-upon pay rate in advance before you offer the contract to the band to sign to make sure all details are covered in advance. Chances are, the band representative may raise concerns you may not be aware of, since the band may be experienced with

1 Time Frame and Pay Rate

Spell out in the contract exactly when and where the band is expected to play, including contact information for the hall or reception site. If hiring the band to play for four hours with a 15-minute break each hour, put this in the contract; if the band is expected to play pre-recorded dinner music during a meal, include this information as well. Include the agreed-upon price for the performance in the contract, as well as an hourly rate if the band is asked to play beyond this time frame. Detail in the contract when the band will be paid, such as half in advance for a deposit, half upon arrival on the wedding day. The more details, the less likely the chance for disputes. A cancellation policy is also important. In many cases, bands turn down other work while holding your wedding date on their calendar, so they may expect to keep the deposit or expect additional pay if you cancel close to the planned date.

2 Attire and Venue Concerns

Just as the wedding party knows in advance what to wear for your wedding day, the band should know the dress code as well. For instance, a backyard wedding is probably more casual than a wedding at a country club; the band relies on you to provide information about attire. In some cases, the band has to set up many hours before the actual wedding, depending upon the rules or layout of the reception site, or the band may be expected to load in or out through a specific area other than the front door. Include all of this information in the contract so there is no confusion or conflict.

3 Song Specifics

Inform the band in the contract about your special wedding songs, such as the bridal dance, or songs that you expect them to play. If you prefer a particular artist's rendition of your favorite song and prefer that the band play a recording of it rather than play it live, include this information as well. The band needs time to gather, learn and prepare song material to ensure your satisfaction. Even if you do not have many song requirements, include general stylistic details such as "1980s funk and dance music" for the upbeat music, or "instrumental jazz" for quieter times. If there are songs you strongly do not want the band to play, include this information on the contract; otherwise, the band members have no idea.

4 Other Pertinent Information

Spell out as many details as possible in the contract; for instance, if the band is playing outdoors, they need a power source to plug into. Inform them where they are to plug in, whether stage lighting will be provided for an after-dark reception, and if the stage area is covered, in the event of rain. If the band is sharing space with a DJ or another band, spell this out as well, so there are no surprises. Since the band is spending a good portion of the day making sure everything goes perfectly, they also need to eat. Include whether food for the band is included, as well as when they should eat. If you wish the band to stop playing during certain times for toasts or announcements, stipulate this in the contract as well. Both you and the band representative should sign the contract and keep a copy for reference.

Kathy Adams is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer who traveled the world handling numerous duties for music artists. She writes travel and budgeting tips and destination guides for USA Today, Travelocity and ForRent, among others. She enjoys exploring foreign locales and hiking off the beaten path stateside, snapping pics of wildlife and nature instead of selfies.