Hiring A Live Band: Part Two by The Duplicates

Hiya, its Maria again. This week I’ve arranged a two part special dedicated to helping you find the right live band for you and where to start looking. I have chosen two of Wales’ leading wedding bands to offer their advice.

On Tuesday, we had the beautiful Julia Coles who is the lead singer from Brother Ray music. They performed at our Cwtchmas Party back in December and were fabulous!  Today however, we have the rather charming Nathan from The Duplicates offering his professional advice too. I’ve personally worked alongside both these bands at recent weddings I’ve photographed and both are brilliant! They are leading musicians in the welsh wedding industry and highly sought after. Only the best for our readers :)  

So, without further a do, lets hand you over to Nathan…

photoHi, my name’s Nathan and I’m the lead singer and guitarist of The Duplicates. We’re a South Wales based Function band with literally hundreds of weddings under our belts. While some bands are easier to pigeon-hole as Pop, Soul or Jazz etc. we like to think we exist in a category of our own called ‘A Little Bit of Everything’. Just pick a genre or decade of music and it’s a safe bet The Duplicates have a song you can dance and sing along to.

duplicates 3


In addition, I’m quite uniquely placed as someone who not only plays in a band but books around 500 bands and artists a year as a promoter at a number of live music venues in South Wales. With my view from both sides of the fence it’s safe to say I’m well placed to give a few tips on how to ensure you get the right entertainment for your wedding.


My guess is you want your wedding to go with a bang. Live music sets the tone of the atmosphere, provides a focal point for the day’s entertainment (other than, you know, the bit with the rings) and can reflect a little of your personalities at the same time. With all that in mind, choosing a band should be one of your top priorities and not just an after-thought. Here are my top tips for getting it right.

Do Your Research.

To find a band you have a few choices. Your best bet is to go by personal recommendations. Ask friends who share similar taste in music as you or have a knowledge of music you respect. It’s likely they will be able to tell you of a cool band they’ve seen or heard of which will give you a great starting point. Any band worth their salt will have a website, demos, set list and references available for you to view along with a Facebook/Twitter page.

If you haven’t got any friends who fit that profile then you need to head to other sources. If you search for “wedding band (insert your town here)” in a search engine then you’ll see some results of the top acts in your area. If your search has proved unfruitful up to this point then speak to an agent. They should be able to tell you about a few bands, what they offer and how much they cost. Agencies provide security and safeguard you against mishaps but also add from 15% – 50% commission onto your quote. Bear this in mind.


Choose A Band That’ll Keep Everyone Happy.

While you and the better half may be huge fans of Extreme Metal, it’s likely that Great uncle Alun isn’t. Ultimately, you want to have a great time and that isn’t going to happen unless all of your friends and family are having a great time alongside you. This wedding isn’t just about you, you know! Best to go for a band that’s a little less Marmite and more Milk Chocolate – I mean, who doesn’t like chocolate?! A little something for everyone makes all the difference.


Get The Right Price.

Getting married is an expensive business so it’s important you get the best band for your budget. That said, don’t be tempted to plump for the cheap option. The old adage of “You pay peanuts, you get monkeys” applies to musicians too. I don’t care if your old college roommate plays in a band and has told you they’ll do it for beer. Aside from the necessary quality, experience, equipment and plethora of other essentials, would they get your Mum dancing?

Understanding the price and value of the band is key. A great band work extremely hard at their craft and for their clients and are worth their weight in gold. Talk to the band or agent about their pricing and discuss the packages on offer and ask for a breakdown of the cost. If you find that the quote you’ve received is beyond your budget then don’t be afraid to ask if there is room for negotiation. Remember, these guys want you to give them the job, so there may be room for leverage. If you don’t ask, you don’t get, and the worst thing that can happen is you get an “I’m really sorry but….” response. Negotiating over prices is par for the course in this industry but the best bands are in demand and can afford to decline your business in the knowledge that another enquiry is just around the corner.


See A Live Performance.

So you’ve found a band, discussed your requirements and agreed a price. Now all you need to do is ensure that they can walk the walk as well as they talk the talk. Yes, the demos on their website sound fantastic but let’s face it, with all of the technology available these days I could break wind down a microphone and make it a Number 1 single with a little bit of tinkering in the studio. Nothing can compare to seeing a band play in the flesh – you can judge how they sound, look and interact with the audience in one swoop.

duplicates 2

However, your average wedding band aren’t always so easy to see perform because weddings tend to be very private affairs with a tight door policy operating on Joe Public. How inconvenient, right?! Some bands hold showcases for clients to attend every now and then but they can be infrequent or too far away to make it practical for you to attend. If you find yourself in this situation, what can you do?

Ask if it’d be possible for you to briefly attend a private function. An accommodating band will check for a wedding located near you and contact their client for permission. This is something I have done many times and am yet to receive a negative response. Quite the opposite in fact. Our clients are always very understanding of the situation and are more than happy for potential clients to attend their evening reception for as long as necessary. 30 minutes will give you enough time to assess the band’s credentials and allow you to make a decision without outstaying your welcome. Hey, you may even get the opportunity to chat to the Bride and get a slice of cake for your trouble too! Result.

So there you have my top pieces of advice. The wonderfully talented (and exceptionally concise!) Julia has covered a number of other important points so between the both of us I’m certain that you will be able to begin your hunt with all the information you need and feeling confident.

Should you need to know more then you know what to do. Good luck!

Nathan Howells,
The Duplicates


 Excellent! Thanks for sharing your advice Nathan, we really appreciate it. On another note, If you love the Ukulele, I have this funny little bit of footage I shot of Nathan performing a solo while at a wedding in Pencoed House. Please note, I was hired for my photography skills…NOT my filming ones! Have a watch, He’s rather good!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *