How to get wedding gigs – a guide for musicians searching for work

Weddings are a great way of earning an income for musicians – but knowing how to get wedding gigs when you are starting out can be a little overwhelming!  Here are the tips that I’ve picked up and used over the last few years to secure lots of bookings.

Online presence

Having an online presence is a must.  Invest some time in putting together a good website, and make sure that you keep it up-to-date.

Social media is becoming an increasingly useful way of securing bookings.  Facebook is my personal favourite – make a page for your act/band and encourage lots of people to like it.  Update it and add posts regularly to keep your followers in the loop.  Facebook ads are a great way of attracting new attention (ie potential clients), as you can use them to target brides/people looking for live music/certain locations etc.

Multimedia

The most important thing to potential clients is being able to hear what you will sound like before they hire you.  Having good quality clips or videos of you performing will play a big part in helping them make their decision.  It is worthwhile getting some professional photos and videos as this will show you at your best.

Having a repertoire list will also help the potential client to know whether you are likely to provide the kind of music that they are looking for.  Knowing what the most popular requests are likely to be and having these in your repertoire can be very useful, so it’s worth taking the time to research this.  Make sure that you’ve got the wedding classics, and a wide range of music including the newest hits.

Reviews/Testimonials

After playing at a wedding, always ask for a review or testimonial from the client.  Adding these to your website will show potential clients what other people enjoyed about your performance, and how professional you were during the booking process.

 

 

Entertainment Agents

Advertising via a 3rd party can be an effective way of getting booking enquiries.  These generally have a lot more traffic, of which anyone interested in what you are offering can be directed to your profile/website.

The websites I personally use are:

  • www.lastminutemusicians.com/ – there is a fee to advertise on here, but a good proportion of my enquiries come from here so it’s definitely worth the investment
  • https://www.poptop.uk.com/ – it’s free to advertise on here, then poptop take a cut of the fee when the client pays the deposit
  • encoremusicians.com – as with poptop, it’s free to advertise then you pay a percentage of the fee to encore

Wedding Fairs

Wedding fairs are events that are held at a wedding venue, and showcase lots of different suppliers.  There is a charge to do this and I’ve had mixed success so far, but this one is worth looking into as the right wedding fair could lead to lots of bookings.

Wedding planners, co-ordinators and venues

Take a handful of business cards with you when you play at a wedding, and leave some at the venue for other couples who may be looking for live music.

Having a working relationship with wedding planners and co-ordinators is a useful thing to build up, as they will recommend you to couples whose weddings they are planning.  Find out who the wedding co-ordinator is at a venue you’d like to perform at, and request a meeting with them outside the main wedding season (ie not July/August).  This way you can show them demos and describe what you offer – they can then pass on your details to potential clients.

Be Flexible

Be prepared to travel.  Obviously this depends on whether you have transport and how easily you can get there – but at least to start with, accept gigs that you may need to travel a distance to.  This way you are getting experience and building up reviews.

Offer to learn new songs that aren’t in your repertoire.  I don’t charge clients for this.  Although I am taking time to arrange and learn new music, once I have done this the new song is in my repertoire and available for me to play at future gigs.

And finally… Make a good first impression!

Good communication is key when you are trying to secure a booking.  Respond to any messages as quickly as you can.  Lots of people searching for music for their wedding will be shopping around and sending enquiries to lots of different musicians.  A quick response will make you stand out as it will show the potential client that any dealings they have with you will be efficient (essential when they have a million and one other things to arrange too!)

There are lots of different ways to secure wedding bookings if you know the right places to start.  It can take a little while to get going and start building your reputation, and sometimes it will feel like you are spending lots of time sending out quotes and responding to enquiries to hear nothing back.  But with a little patience it’s definitely a worthwhile profession 🙂

If you would like to add anything to this, please feel free to add a comment below – it would be great to hear from you!

 

4 thoughts on “How to get wedding gigs – a guide for musicians searching for work”

  1. Great topic! Weddings are always in high demand and if you can get into this industry you’ll be doing okay. We had a violist at our wedding and I think we paid $200 for an hour, not too bad for the violist. This is a great way to market your talent if you are a musician. Having an online presence is definitely helpful, especially with social media. I appreciate you listing entertainment agents as many musicians might not know about these resources. Excellent post and I’m looking forward to reading more of them.

    • Hi Pentrental,
      Thanks for your comment. The amount you pay for a musician can seem like a lot at face value – but if you take into account the amount of training they have done, hours and hours spent practising (over their lifetime, but also for your wedding, especially if they are learning new songs), their travel time etc – it’s usually pretty fair. We’re not trying to rip you off, but we have bills to pay too!

      Entertainment agents have definitely been a great help in finding the right gigs – especially if you’re just starting out, as they’re directing people to your site/profile who otherwise wouldn’t know you exist!

  2. HI Vikki, I know weddings takes a lot preparation and are a special but I didn’t know that trying to get a gig at the wedding is so competitive as well. You have to cover all bases just like with any other business. Reading the article I can see how important it is to make a first impression because word of moth in wedding planning is big. Also, having colab with couple of wedding photographers would be great.

    As a person looking for a cellist, how do I know I chose the right one? Do you have shortlisted songs that one could listen to before deciding, or how does it work?

    Thanks,

    Katya

    • Hi Katya,
      Thanks for your comment. It’s important that you are using lots of different avenues to advertise yourself to get the best chance of getting enquiries – I wish I’d known this when I first started out, as it’s not something they prepare you for at university and I’ve had to use lots of trial and error to find ways that work!

      Knowing whether you have picked the right musician is really down to personal taste, as there are so many options out there. I have a repertoire list that I send to anyone enquiring about my services, and I also have lots of videos on my Youtube channel so potential clients can see what I do and decide whether they like it before they enquire. Anyone interested in hiring a cellist for their wedding can see my videos here – https://www.youtube.com/user/vhoodless
      If they would like to see a sample of a song that I don’t currently have on my list, then I can usually put this together for them before they commit to booking.

      Thanks,
      Vikki

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