All the weddings J and I’ve been to have featured DJ’s, and they have been fun. But both of us feel a live band would be fun and I’m personally hoping we can find one. Unfortunately, our budget for music ($500) is limited and so looking around has been difficult.
Perhaps it’s because my line of work borders on blue collar, so although I appreciate art and music, I’m finding a lot of the quotes difficult to swallow. During our search for photographers and musicians, I’ve seen some prices on websites in the range of over $100/hr per musician or even $500/hr per photographer. I know Fire Fighters, EMS Medics, Police Officers, Doctors at Community Centers, Teachers, Nurses, Pastors, etc. who don’t make $30/hr, so it’s hard for me to justify spending a lot more on music.
I’ve tried posting on Craigslist but they require a phone/text msg confirmation of the post and when I tried to do it, I never got a text msg so I haven’t been able to post the gig on Craigslist. I’ve also looked at www.gigmasters.com, which is a great site for finding bands (e.g. with their availability and sample music/video online). But their prices are still way beyond our budget. Some 4 person bands were asking for $800-$1500/hr. We couldn’t afford for them to come, setup, and break down their equipment! So I got to thinking outside the box.
J and I are planning on getting married in the Chapel Hill area of North Carolina. So I decided to go on the University of North Carolina’s website and searched for the Music Department. I called their office and spoke with an employee who stated she could post my “gig” up on their ListServ. So I wrote up an ad with what we were looking for and what we could pay, and it’s been relatively successful. Within 3 days, I’ve already received 5 different student musicians email me. And this is during summer vacation! Many of these students have a group that they regularly perform with for events, so it’s a great start. Most are classical musicians who are interested in the ceremony hour gig, but we’ve gotten responses from others who perform at hotel lounges on a regular basis.
I don’t want to devalue any vocation, and I realize that there is a supply and demand factor involved. But since we’re looking for a cover band to play Michael Buble or Jack Johnson rather than celebrities, it’s difficult for me to justify going beyond our initial budget. I think contacting UNC was a great option and I’m excited to see and listen to these students perform. I remember going to college and being ecstatic finding a work-study position for $10/hr, so I’m thinking this is a great opportunity for students. I’m considering contacting other local schools as well. It also makes me wonder about contacting Photography majors for photos but I know photo quality is important to J so I’ll leave that up to her.
J is definitely the type to look at the going rate and try to negotiate from there, while I just try to do what I can within my budget. What do you think?