How much does a wedding musician cost?

National average: $235 See National

$160

low cost

$235

avg cost

$345

high cost

The average cost for a wedding ceremony musician is $235. You are likely to spend between $160 and $345 total. Exact price may vary depending on your area and project details.

Updated March 1st, 2017

Next Step: Find out exactly how much your project will cost.

A professional musician or band can take a wedding to another level. Various solo musicians and bands specialize in pop, classical, standards, rock, R&B, big band, jazz or a combination of some or all of the above. Karaoke bands are also available for weddings. Costs vary depending on the specific day of the week and date, distance the musicians must travel, their skill and experience, food and drink, gear, special requests, and how in-demand the performers are.

Flat fee or hourly

Wedding musicians and bands often charge a flat fee for each gig. For example, MarkOHarps of Arlington, Virginia, charges $350 for a large wedding and reception. Others charge by the hour. Tucker Dale of Redondo Beach, California, charges $200 for up to two hours and $50 an hour thereafter. Scotty Paulk of Austell, Georgia, charges $100 an hour for weddings.

Number of musicians

Generally speaking, the more musicians, the higher the cost. For example, Sweet Harmony of Plainfield, New Jersey, charges $450 for a soloist, $650 for a duo, $850 for a trio and $1,150 for a quartet.

Skill and experience

Generally, the more skilled the musician or band, the higher the price. But that’s not always true. Talented musicians who are just starting out generally charge less. Customers can usually listen to musicians’ music on their website, SoundCloud or Bandcamp site to determine if they are a good fit. Many highly skilled musicians and bands develop a repertoire and stage act specifically for weddings. These acts are generally in high demand, so the price is generally higher.

Sound gear

Most bands and musicians provide their own sound gear as part of their price. Sometimes the sound gear is listed as separate charge from their performance fee. Some musicians do not provide sound gear, in which case customers will need to rent equipment. Some wedding venues can provide sound and lighting gear on a rental basis or as part of the overall fee for the wedding.

Food and drink

Wedding bands and musicians generally request to be fed during the wedding reception, so account for this cost.

Day and date

Prices for wedding entertainment fluctuate based on demand. More weddings are held at certain times of the year, so demand for musicians and bands is at its highest. Also, prices for Saturday performances are usually the highest because the majority of weddings take place on that day.

Union musicians

Members of the American Federation of Musicians union have defined minimum rates. While this may be more expensive than hiring nonunion musicians, the experience is likely to be highly professional in terms of booking and logistics.

Special requests

Most musicians and bands provide a list of the songs they are prepared to play. Customers who have a special request that isn’t on the list may have to pay an additional fee to cover the musicians’ time learning and practicing the new material. For example, The Ocdamia Strings of Anaheim, California, charges $25 per song not in their repertoire.

Distance

Some musicians charge a travel fee to attend weddings that are relatively far from them. For example, Acoustic Guitar for All Occasions in Burbank, California, charges an initial flat fee but adjusts that price based on travel expenses and the gear needed to perform the job; he also charges by the hour for overtime. The Ocdamia Strings travels free to weddings within Orange County and Los Angeles County but charges $1 per mile in excess of 20 miles from Anaheim.

Consultation

It’s always a good idea to meet with the musician or band manager in person or over the phone to plan for an event and set expectations. This service should be free.

Deposit

Some musicians require a deposit upfront to secure services. For example, The Ocdamia Strings requires a signed contract and a 25 percent deposit to book a specific date and time. The remaining balance is due the day of the wedding before the performance.

Cost-saving strategies

Hire a tasteful solo musician or DJ to save over the cost of a full band. Have talented friends or local music students play. Schedule your wedding for a day other than a Saturday or at a time of year when demand is lowest.

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Recent reviews

Leila Bishop

Encore Performance! Hiring Miss Bishop to play the harp at my outdoor wedding was an excellent choice and a beautiful musical addition to our wedding. She was very professional in all of her communication and the planning of the music selections. I hired her on a short notice, but she was able to deliver. One of the songs I wanted her to play worked best with a violinist, and she was able to find a violinist to play along with her for a slight increase in price. They arrived timely to our location in Central Park and were set up and ready to play the classical music selections I requested. Miss Bishop was a pleasure to work with the harpist and violinist were a wonderful addition to our wedding. It was my pleasure to hire a young professional such as Miss Bishop, and I highly recommend this budding music aficionado!

Amy Meyer - Harpist for Special Occasions

Amy did a wonderful job as our musician for our wedding in Baltimore, MD. She was very easy to work with, and gave me several options for the ceremony and cocktail hour. Her music (harp/violin) was beautiful and it was a lovely touch to our garden themed wedding. Our guests raved about her! thank you Amy for making our day so special! -Mallory and Jeff

Sweet Harmony

I'm so glad we booked Sweet Harmony!! Tara, the owner, was lovely to work with during the planning stage. She helped guide us which songs work well for the instrument duo we picked, and they have wonderful sample programs that guide you. They offer fun contemporary pieces as well as the classics. The musicians who played at our wedding were wonderfully professional, showed up with ample time in advance. We were on the fence due to budget constraints about whether we would do musicians but I can't tell you what a difference it made. It elevated our outdoor garden wedding ceremony, bringing it all together. They were affordable but professional and good quality.