For those of you who are in the process of booking a band for your wedding reception, you may be wondering how many hours you should hire your band for. No one wants their wedding reception to feel too short, or for guests to feel like it’s dragging on too long. So what’s the norm?

The standard block of time is 4 hours, which is also the typical reception length at venues, and 5 hours is plenty. If permitted by the venue, most bands recommend booking a 4-hour block to start and extending an additional hour the night-of if the dance floor is packed (rather than securing a 5-hour block up front). For your ceremony and cocktail hour music, consider going through the same entertainment vendor to keep things simple and easy (a smaller ensemble of musicians, or recorded music through the band’s DJ, if available). If you want to mix things up, you can of course consider bringing in separate vendors for your ceremony and cocktail hour music, such as string musicians for the ceremony and a bluegrass trio for cocktail hour. Going through one entertainment vendor for all music will be your most cost effective option, however. 

Another option to discuss with your band is the possibility of having the band’s DJ play recorded music for that extra hour, should you decide to extend the 4-hour block at the end of the night. This is always the most cost effective option, rather than paying for 8 band members to perform—and it gives you a bit of a different vibe! 

Photo Credit:
Jim Kennedy Photographers