Decide whether you want your Band Leader of DJ to act as an MC, is he someone you would feel comfortable with? Is he a middle aged, daggy man who makes crass jokes at other people’s expense? If so, you may want to consider whether you want him up there for a good part of the night introducing the formalities on the most important day of your life.
If you are looking for someone who can double as an MC consider how good they will be at sticking to your wedding run sheet. Does he seem like an organized, intelligent person and did he show up punctually for the interview? You will need someone who is congenial, charismatic, entertaining, enthusiastic and whose overall demeanour is similar to your own.

When you listen or watch a live band’s demo you need to assess whether the band’s musical performance is of a high standard. You may want to ask a friend or family member who is of a musical background to help you out with this. It’s important to make sure they are talented and professional. All of the musicians in the band should ideally possess tertiary qualifications from a prestigious musical institution or conservatorium. If you’re in Sydney, almost every musician worth their weight has a Bachelor of Music Degree in Performance from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, so this is a good question to ask the Band Leader at the interview.

Examine how the band look in the demo video or in person if you’re offered the opportunity to hear them perform live. Do they look well presented, sophisticated, professional, groomed, at ease on the stage, technically proficient at their instruments, is the balance right? Does their performance have a lot of energy? Or are they suffering from stage fright? What sort of genres can they play and do they do each to the same standard eg jazz, blues, funk, soul, pop, Motown, rock. If you’re interviewing a DJ pay attention to how the songs are interchanged, is there a smooth changeover? Does he have the right equipment including a mixing deck? How extensive is his playlist?

In the actual interview make sure you discuss your wedding and provide them with your overall concept for the reception and how the music will fit into it. Tell the live band or DJ where you will be having your wedding and see whether they are familiar with the venue, have they performed there before? If you’re having an intimate backyard affair then the Band Leader or DJ needs to be aware of this so they have music to suit the occasion. You should also come prepared with the logistics of the day such as guest numbers, the time of day of the reception, any noise restrictions imposed by the venue. If you’re hiring a live band find out from the reception venue whether they have a grand piano installed in the room, as this can save the musicians from having to bring a keyboard and AMP. It also looks a lot more elegant and chic for the pianist in the band to perform on a real piano. You should ask the live band or DJ how many wedding receptions they’ve performed at, experience is essential.

Before the interview, work out what kind of music you would like the band to play. Like any wedding vendor, whether it be a dress designer or cake maker, the clearer the concept you have, the easier it is for them to make your dream a reality. If you can write down names of particular music artists or songs you really like even better.

If you’re having a live band, ask whether you are required to provide any equipment such as amplifiers or microphones (these are typically included in the performance fee but it’s always good to check). If you are after any audiovisual equipment for your wedding such as a projector, ask the Band Leader whether he can source, obtain and hire it for you. It will add an additional cost, but save you a lot of hassle having to pick it up from the hire company and return it the next day.

The author Scott Simpkins is the Musical Director of Jazz Fever, Sydney’s most sought after live wedding jazz band.

We like to work closely with our clients in understanding their needs, with each event individually tailored to their desires. The band leader is your single point of contact, guiding you through the planning stages and performing with the band on the day. With countless weddings under their belt, Jazz Fever is highly sought after, having secured its place in wedding industry circles.

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