How Much Should I Charge to Play at a Wedding

23 Aug 2021 // 5 minute read


Following our article "How much does it cost to hire a band in 2021" we're doing a deep dive into how much should I charge to play at a wedding in 2021. This article is designed to help band leaders and musicians decide the price for a playing at a wedding gig.

Weddings are a special day for couples, so the number of so making sure you Answering this question is tricky as it depends on a range of different sicarios, which we'll discuss below.

How Much Should I Charge to Play at a Wedding?

A very simple way to calculate how much you should charge is to look at the Musicians Union National Gig Rates. They state for groups performing at a function for up to 3 hours is £129 (per person) and for up to 4 hours £172 (per person). The hourly rate should include the set up/set down time. I've included their table below for a more detailed view.

For groups performing in pubs and clubs of up to 3 hours

£129.00

For groups performing at functions of up to 4 hours

£172.00

Setting up time

The engagement is payable at the full hourly rate from whatever time the musician is required to have his/her instruments and equipment set up.

Overtime

Hourly rate of £43.00 payable at time and a half, therefore £64.50 per hour (or part thereof)

Calculating How Much You Should Charge

Calculating how much you should charge is not a guessing game. Every musician has their own way of doing this, but below is a starting point to calculating your figure. I recommend you always budget for up to 4 hours if you're playing a minimum of 2 sets of 45 minutes. Anything longer, you'll need to charge more, but for this example we'll say the band will be needed for a total of 4 hours. From this you can do a simple multiplication depending on your band size, but before you quote this as your final figure you need to take the following factors into consideration:

  • Insurance costs + registration costs
  • Expenses
  • Travel costs
  • Sound and lights costs
  • Anything extra you might need to provide
  • Profit

Insurance & Registration Fees

Your insurance and registrations to services such as your union need to be covered in the cost of the gig. Say for example you play at 30 gigs per year and your insurance plus registration fees total £500. You need to make sure you are making £16 per gig to cover these costs.

Expenses 

Expenses is a very broad range of things, but you should include stuff which isn't normally billed for in this section. This could include charging for an additional song request, or booking a hotel for the band to stay in after the gig.

Travel Costs

If the gig is out of town it is fair to charge the client for your travel. The UK government will allow for 45p per mile. This is to cover your fuel and your vehicle expenses (road tax, insurance etc.). Depending on where the gig is depends on whether you feel it is necessary to charge this to the client. This should be payable to each musician who is driving to the gig.

Sound & Lighting Costs

You will probably have sound sorted if your managing a function band, but this shouldn't stop you adding rhe cost of using your PA kit to the final invoice. If you are hiring a company to do sound and/or lighting, you need to cover the cost of that too, or get the client to pay for this directly.

Anything Extra You Might Need to Provide

If the client has requested additional props or equipment that you are willing to supply you can pass the cost of this to the client. This could include music during the ceremony, or if there's a theme, buying props to support this.

Profit

You're a business and your business needs to make profit in order to grow and survive, because of this you may wish to add a 10% markup to the final figure which you can take home as profit. There's no official figure to use, but supermarkets usually add a markup of anywhere from 10-60%. Don't go overboard otherwise your quote will be too big and you won't get any gigs!

Gig Cost Equation

Once you've calculated all the costs of the section above. you need to add them up and that will provide you with a rough quote. This is the equation you'll need to use:

(Insurance + Expenses + Travel + Sound & Lights + Extra) + (number of musicians x £172) x 1.Profit Percentage  = Quote for Gig.

Our example below is based on: our insurance costs us £24 per gig, £60 in food expenses, £180 in travel, £450 in sounds and no extra expenses, 6 musicians and 20% profit.

(£24 + £60 + £180 + £450 + £0) + (6 x £172) x 1.20 = £2,095.20

This article reflects the current costs in August 2021. I hope this help you calculate your quotes for securing wedding gigs. Deciding whether to break the costs down on an invoice is a personal choice. Personally, I think it's better to be vage otherwise you'll be queried on everything you're billing the client for.



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