Wedding Band & DJ Contracts: A Lawyer-Backed Guide
As you check off all the boxes of the vendors you plan to hire for your wedding day, the musical entertainment is a biggie. Whether you choose to hire a DJ or a live band, you'll want to incorporate some element of music to go along with your reception.
Ahead of actually hiring this business or individual to carry out your entertainment needs, you will likely be required to complete a wedding band contract—a legally binding agreement between you, the couple getting married, and a musical entertainment provider, which could be a live band, a DJ or both, hired to perform at your wedding event. This contract provides protections for both you and the company you intend to hire, proving to be indispensable due to several crucial factors, explains Leah Wise, attorney and founder and owner of Leah Wise Law Firm, PLLC, in South Texas.
"Wedding contracts might be the first serious contracts that marriers have ever had to enter into, so it is in their best interest to make sure they understand what they are signing, what their responsibilities are under the contract, and what risks they might be taking on," says Leah Weinberg, Co-Founder and Partner of Oduberg Law, LLP. "The protections that you see in a wedding contract that are also vendor-friendly and provide justifiable protections that the vendor needs in order to make it worth it to keep running a business."
Wedding contracts of this nature are generally sent out after the marriers decide they want to hire the wedding band or DJ. "Some vendors will set a deadline for when the marriers have to sign the contract and send it back and others will just let a reasonable time go by," says Weinberg. "It's always in the marriers' best interest though to sign the contract as soon as possible, because 99.99 percent of the time, their date isn't actually reserved with the vendor until the contract is signed and the retainer is paid—and, pro tip for marriers, make sure your vendor countersigns the contract after you!"
Before you sign a wedding band or DJ contract, make sure it includes these key points, according to lawyers.
1. Contact Information:
This, of course, is just the basics, but it serves an important purpose. You want to make sure that the wedding band contract includes all necessary contact information for both the client and the entertainment provider, including names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.
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2. Event Details:
It's also pertinent that your wedding band contract includes all necessary details pertaining to your wedding day, including, but not limited to, the wedding date, the time in which the band or DJ should begin their services and the location of the wedding venue, indicating. Here, you can also include any specific times in which the wedding band or DJ can set up, start their performance, take breaks, eat dinner, end their performance and break down their set. "With DJs, it's usually less of a concern, but with bands you definitely want to be aware of times when the full band won't be playing and make sure they agree to play pre-recorded music during breaks to fill the space," adds Weinberg.
3. Services Provided:
Here, you want to clearly define the scope of the musician's services. Weinberg recommends including in this section what specific instruments are being provided. "You want to make sure that the contract reflects exactly what instruments you are booking for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception," she says. "Do note that very few bands are ever going to put specific musician names in a contract because it's so difficult to guarantee that certain individuals will be available on your date."
4. Song Requests and Playlist:
"Specify the number of sets or hours they will play and any specific songs or genres to be included," says Wise. "This ensures both parties have a shared understanding of what's expected." Here you can also mention whether or not the band or DJ has creative freedom to choose certain songs or if there are restrictions on certain tracks or genres.
5. Logistics and Requirements:
Here, you want to detail any specific requirements for the performance, such as electrical needs, sound equipment and stage setup, notes Wise. "This ensures the musicians have what they need for a successful performance," she says. You may also want to add in any additional details about the performance area, including stage size, power supply, and other technical requirements.
6. Payment Terms:
In this section, outline all payment-related details, including the total fee, deposit amount, payment schedule (e.i., when deposits and final payments are due), and any additional costs (e.i., travel expenses or equipment rental). This ensures transparent financial arrangements, explains Wise.
7. Cancellation and Refund Policy:
This section in a band or DJ contract should state what happens in the event of a wedding date change. "Specify the conditions under which the contract can be canceled or rescheduled, including any refund policies," says Wise. "Outline how much notice is required for changes and what happens in the event of unforeseen circumstances, like illness or emergencies." This, she explains, provides clarity on potential disruptions to the event.
8. Responsibilities of Both Parties:
In this section, you want to make sure that everything that's expected of the entertainment provider, including the performance, the equipment, the setup and the teardown, is well defined. Additionally, specify any other responsibilities, such as providing adequate space, power and any necessary permits that the wedding band or DJ might need to acquire ahead of the event.
9. Liability and Insurance:
In this section of a band or DJ contract, address liability issues by outlining responsibilities in case of accidents or damage during the performance. "Specify whether the musicians carry liability insurance and require them to provide proof of insurance," says Wise. "This protects both the couple and the musicians in case of unexpected incidents."
10. Indemnity Clause:
The indemnity clause specifies that the couple will indemnify and hold the entertainment provider harmless from any liability, claims or expenses arising from the performance.
11. Signatures and Dates:
A contract without signatures is not a contract set in stone, so be sure that both parties sign and date the contract, indicating their acceptance of the terms and conditions.
12. Additional Terms (if applicable):
Here you can add in any other specific terms or conditions agreed upon between you and the entertainment provider.
"Including these elements in the wedding reception musician contract helps couples and musicians communicate effectively, manage expectations, and ensure a smooth and enjoyable musical experience at their wedding," adds Wise.