Big Bucks for Big Name Bands at Wedding

About this time last year, I read about a groom who thought he was hiring a music superstar to perform at his wedding and ended up falling prey to a scam. Apparently Brian Valentine, a hot shot executive at Amazon, thought he had booked Tom Petty, the artist behind songs like “Refugee” and “Free Fallin,” to rock out at his wedding reception. The performance was going to be a gift to his fiancée, a major fan of the band that rose to fame in the 1980s.

After finding a website that books these types of music transactions, the groom negotiated a price of $330,000 for the performance and wired over half of the funds as a down payment. When the details started to get fuzzy and bogus emails started showing up, the groom contacted Petty’s management company directly only to find out that he had been defrauded. In the end, the FBI was involved and the bad guys were busted – and, if you can believe it, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers showed up as a surprise anyway to play at the wedding reception! Happily ever after ending!

So, have you ever thought about hiring a famous band for your wedding reception? It would be a dream come true to have the latest chart-topping artist or a long-time favorite perform for you and your guests. It would be a personal concert without any of the hassles of waiting in line, sitting back too far from the stage or dealing with smoky venues and other nuisances.

However, you’re going to need a big wallet and plenty of advance notice! There are many things to consider and it's actually pretty unlikely you'll get a "famous" band to play at your party, even paying their customary fee. Unless you are a celebrity yourself. For example, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day played at Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s wedding and Usher played at Michael Jordan’s no-expense-sparred wedding a few months ago.

When hiring a big-name band, you’ll be responsible for all of the “riders” in the contract. This includes thousands of dollars for a "hospitality" rider – those rock stars need their flask full of whisky, energy drinks and finger foods. Lighting, sound equipment, stagehands, first class travel and professional drivers to haul them to and fro are also factored into the fee – as is, lodging (and we don’t think a La Quinta is going to cut it).

After surfing around the web, I started to understand just how expensive it would be to hire a hit making band. Cheap Trick goes for about $75,000 while the Foo Fighters are estimated to be in the $400,000 plus range. If this isn’t famous enough for you, Metallica can be had for an estimated $1 million show. Plus expenses. Plus production. Have an endless money clip? The Rolling Stones goes for $2 million minimum.

Not only would hiring a famous band be an awesome surprise for your bride (as long as she likes the music), a thrill for the guests, and a gift for the groomsmen and yourself! Hire the band you and your buddies loved to listen to in the glory days! Too bad the original Van Halen wouldn’t get back together for my wedding. Of course, you’ll want pass out great wedding favors (and groomsmen gifts) if having a “concert” at your wedding reception. Our sterling-silver guitar picks make awesome best man gifts and groomsmen gifts and can be personalized to your exact specifications. Another idea for cool groomsmen gifts are personalized beer mugs to commemorate the occasion. Unlike big public venues, your cozy concert can serve up drinks in glass beer mugs – really the only way to drink beer!

So, if you had all the money in the world, who would you hire to play at your wedding reception? Let us know in the comments below.