Chicago's Premier Wedding Band - Soda

Soda bio pic

Soda was featured in Dream Publication's "The Busy Bride's Wedding Planning Bible".


Not All Wedding Bands are Created Equal

Jumping the broom, tying the knot, taking the plunge, no matter how you say it, you are getting married! Now it is time to find the perfect music to compliment your Wedding Day. Don’t take a chance on choosing the wrong band. Get insider tips and information to help you find the perfect contributor for your exciting day.

We asked industry expert, Rob Loar, to help you choose the perfect Wedding Band for your big day!

What Should a Couple consider when choosing between a Live Band and a DJ?

Generally, there is a significant difference in cost when comparing the two. A band may very likely cost twice what a DJ would charge. However, if you can afford it, a band is a great way to go (naturally I’m biased!). The energy a band can bring to your reception is like a gift you give to your friends and family, and they will remember your reception for years to come.

With live bands, does a couple have the ability to request specific songs? If so, how far in advance should the couple notify the band of specific song requests?

A well-established band will likely have an extensive playlist and their song list should be a major factor in choosing them. That being said, most bands will learn songs for your event. You should discuss this when hiring and give notice of the songs you’d like them to learn at the time of the booking. If you need more time to decide, and allowance of a couple of months is usually adequate for a couple of songs.

Do live bands generally take breaks throughout the event? If so, how many breaks are customary and how long do the breaks typically last?

This may vary from band to band and it’s always a good idea to discuss this when hiring any band. In our band, we usually take one (1) 20 minute break during a three hour performance. During that time we DJ, and we feel it keeps the party going. It also allows us to play some of the original recordings of the client’s favorite songs.

What is the typical price range for a live band?

It can vary considerably here in the Chicago area from a couple thousand dollars to well over ten thousand dollars.

What are some of the factors that generally determine the cost of hiring a live band?

The two most significant factors are the size of the band and their reputation. Larger bands obviously cost more because of the number of players, and well established bands can usually charge more because of the demand for their services.

What are some things that a couple should consider when deciding which band to hire?

Reputation should be the number one factor. You want a band that you can rely on to be totally professional. One that can address your needs and wishes without worry. Second should be that they play the kind of music you like. Don’t expect a band that specializes in Motown to be as strong with classic rock songs. Go and see the band and see if you like them. See if other people at the event or club like them. Read as many testimonials about them as you can find.

How far in advance should a couple book a specific date with a live band?

The very best bands will begin to book engagements up to a year in advance. You should contact them as soon as you decide on a date and book them right away. If you have flexibility with your date, you may wish to contact the band first, and book your date according to their availability.

What is the customary deposit that a couple normally places with the band?

This may vary from band to band, but generally a 50% deposit is required at the time of booking.

If an event needs to be re-scheduled or is cancelled, what is the latest that a couple should notify the band, in order to get their deposit back?

Deposits are usually non-refundable, but exceptions can be made. If the date is cancelled within a time frame that allows for another engagement to be booked, a consideration may be made.

Are there ways to see or hear a band’s music before making a decision? If so, what are some ways for a couple to check out a band prior to making a decision to hire them?

Quality audio on the bands website is the best place to start. We have had several couples book our band sight unseen due to the strength of our online music. This is especially true of our out-of-town couples who may not have had the opportunity to see the band. If you can though, you should go and see the band, hopefully in a similar setting to your reception.

Can a couple usually decide how large the band will be?

This is an option offered by many bands, with different size ensembles, with price points. However, size does not equal quality. With today’s technology, a smaller group can achieve a sound as powerful as a larger group, and very often for a lot less money.

What are some other factors that should go into a couple’s decision about hiring a band?

After considering cost, reputation, and song choices, you should make sure the band will fit in the space provided at your venue. This is especially true of larger bands. Ask if the band is totally self-contained as regards providing their own quality sound system. And finally, my own personal prejudice is that any large reception should have a band; especially where the guest list is 200 people or more. There is a certain energy that that many people generate, and only a band can match that energy!

Soda is a Chicago based band that provides quality entertainment for weddings, corporate events, festivals, park districts, and clubs.