Advice & Planning

How Much Do Wedding Bands Cost, and Why? The Answers Might Surprise You

Budget 1: Starting at $4,000

You’re a bride who wants it all when it comes to your wedding entertainment. You want the dance floor packed. You’re a little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. And you’ve got a budget to maintain. Whatever that number is, ECBands Deno Taglioli has a band for you. When the creator of the famed Emerald City Band started to receive more booking requests than there were available weekends, he developed other groups to accommodate more couples—and his roster has only continued to grow. Now, he says, “We specialize in creating unique entertainment packages—from a cocktail soloist to a 15-piece interactive party band.” The bands in Taglioli’s portfolio all bring talent and energy to celebrations and can handle any genre of music with ease. But they do strike different notes when it comes to the bottom line. Here’s what factors in. 

  • Good Things, Small Packages ECBands’ acts fulfill different size options and price points. At six members—two singers, a guitarist, a drummer, and a horn player—Elevation is the smallest band in the ECBands portfolio. Not only will that carry a lower price tag, Taglioli notes it’s great for tighter venues where there “may not be space for a bigger band.”
  • Schedule Strategically Booking in off months (e.g.  January or February), or on a Friday or Sunday? You may be able to get a better price than brides wanting peak seasons or Saturday dates, which command a premium.
  • Punching the Clock No surprise: The longer the set, the bigger the bill. Taglioli says four hours is most common for a reception, but any of the ECBands can do more or less, depending on your needs. “Because no two events are the same, we customize every detail of every event,” Taglioli says. 
  • Chip off the Old Block Though the sound will vary due to instrumentation and individual style, Taglioli says having a smaller band in no way means sacrificing quality: “All of the bands in our company are pretty much a chip off the old block stylistically and from an entertainment standpoint.”

Budget 2: Starting at $10,000

Emerald City Band is one of the nation’s premier party acts, having performed for the likes of Oprah Winfrey and President George W. Bush. They’re sought-after locally and beyond, with dates booked well in advance. You’re paying for the cache they bring. “I don’t think any company has played more  weddings in America ever,” says Taglioli, pictured below (first row, center).

  • The Set-Up To ensure an unforgettable show, Emerald City uses top-of-the-line audio equipment and lighting—from basic performance lighting to a full-scale concert video experience—which can add to the cost.
  • Extra, Extra Need more than a reception band? No problem! But remember: “Add-ons like cocktail performers, ceremony performers, or an after-party DJ can increase the price,” says Taglioli.
  • Experience Matters Nearly 40 years and thousands of weddings under Emerald City’s belt has given them the ability to adapt in the moment so there’s never a drop in energy. “If that dance floor isn’t packed all the time, we’re able to make instantaneous changes to our set list,” Taglioli says.
  • That Big-Band Sound Generally speaking, the bigger the band, the bigger the bill. Emerald City is a 12-person ensemble—which includes five singers, a bassist, a guitarist, a drummer, a keyboardist, and three horn players.  While they can scale up to achieve certain sounds or add instruments, Taglioli advises against trimming members to save a few bucks: “It’d be like putting a cake together and saying, ‘Can we leave out the sugar?’ ”
  • Have Music, Will Travel Emerald City is happy to take their show on the road—or across the country—but there are extra costs associated with travel.

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