Guide To A Musician’s Contract For Your Wedding

by | Sep 9, 2020 | Finding Musicians, Hiring Musicians, Inspiration, Wedding Ceremony Music | 0 comments

Hey! It’s Jared from and I help couples just like you plan and book the perfect entertainers for your big day!

So, you’re planning out your big day and you’re gonna hire an entertainer, this can get really scary because for many of you this is your first time booking an entertainer. Might actually also be your last time booking an entertainer and you’ve never done it before so you don’t know what goes into it.

There can be a lot of fear about it like, “What if they don’t show up?”, “What if they ruin my pictures?”, what if.. you know God forbid lightning strikes and destroys their instruments. And that’s all super scary!

So, what if there’s a way to make sure that it goes smoothly from start to finish. Everything is crystal clear, you know what to expect as far as booking them is concerned. You know what to expect as far as them showing up. You know what to expect as far as paying them and it’s all written out and documented in a way that you can reference it at any point.

Well, artists use contracts. Just like all of your other vendors. You’ve got a catering contract, you’ve got a floral contract, artists have contracts too. And if they don’t, you should be very skeptical about them not showing up doing a bad job.

So, make sure that your artist(s) uses a contract and every artist on does use one(1). So, I’ve helped artists, hundreds of artists create their contract. I’ve helped thousands of couples planning their weddings, deal with contracts to make sure that all the details are ironed out and secured before the wedding.

So, I’m here to help you understand what goes into an artist contract so that you know what to look for and what to make sure is actually there and agreed upon.


Basic Terms & Conditions

So, the first thing of every contract is the basic terms & conditions. The basics terms are the obvious ones like the name of the artist, their address, city, state, zip code, telephone, e-mail address, stuff that you need to know in order to communicate with them. It will also have your name on it. It’ll maybe have both the couples’ names, your phone number, e-mail address. It might also have your physical address too.

It will have the name of the venue and the address of the venue. That’s super important because the artist needs to know where to show up and say they show up at the wrong venue and they’d say, “We don’t know where it was!”. You’ve got the contract very clearly stating this was where you agreed to show up.

And then it will also have the performance date and time. This is gonna be your wedding date, and it’ll also have the time so that they know when to start playing their music. So the other details in the basic terms is, you should talk about how much music they are gonna play.

Like for many people, it’s just one straight wedding ceremony but for a band that’s playing at your reception, you might want to agree on the number of sets and sometimes they’ll take breaks in between sets. Play forty-five(45) minutes, rest for fifteen(15), play for forty-five(45), rest fifteen(15). Those are called sets and the one that negotiates the number of breaks get that all in the contract so there’s no question on the day of.

You might also want to put in a time for load-in. You know if you’re having a wedding, you might not want the band rolling up half an hour before and potentially ruining your pictures or just making the wedding feel disorganized and sloppy. So, agree on a load-in time and then you might also wanna agree on a soundcheck time.

Some groups don’t need a soundcheck but some due and you wanna make sure that soundcheck happens before the guests started arriving. So, like maybe thirty(30) minutes to an hour before the actual start time of your ceremony. So, these are the basic terms.


Payment Terms

The next part of the contract is the payment terms. Artists deserve to get paid, they deserve to make a living doing what they love to do. And they are providing you service and they are gonna get paid for it. So, let’s discuss those payment terms beforehand so there’s no question about, “Hey! When do I pay the deposit? When do I pay the balance? How much is it?”.

So, you’ll agree on an overall performance fee, that will be on the contract. You’ll also agree upon a deposit. Some bands do a flat fee some bands do a percentage, get all of that in writing. And then you’ll also want to have due dates for any installments that you’ve to make or the final balance. Get that in the contract too!

Some bands will also ask, “Which forms of payment?”, they’ll tell you which forms of payment are acceptable to them. Some will have Venmo, Google Pay, there’ll be PayPal. Get that in writing, cash, check, credit card. And that covers the payment terms!


Other Terms

Then there’ll be other terms that are little less cut and dry than that. This is where some artists, a famous example is the “Brown M&Ms”. This probably won’t happen for you but there’s a story about Van Halen who uses “Brown M&Ms” in their contract to make sure all of the technical details of the contract were executed fully. So, check the other terms.

For most artists, their other terms will include stuffs about they get to pick the music or they will let you pick the music. It’ll agree upon their equipment being brought to you, brought to your performance in good working condition.


Transportation and Lodging

There will be terms about transportation and lodging. Some will charge a travel fee that will be in the contract. Some might require a hotel room, that’ll be in the contract. And then as far as your responsibilities, some artists will ask for adequate load-in and load-out conditions. Meaning, they don’t have to schlep up hundred-pound amplifiers, five flights of stairs. They might ask for an elevator or they’ll ask for parking spots.



They’ll also ask that the area that they’re performing in is may be covered by some sort of shelter in case it rains, then their instruments don’t get damaged. Their electrical equipment doesn’t short circuit. And they might ask for a green room or a case storage room a place to store their equipment that they are not using. It’s convenient, it’s secure, they are not worried about their wallets getting stolen. That stuff can go all in the contract.


Cancellation Clauses

Then there’s cancellation clauses. So of course, stuff happens! So you’ll want to plan for the worse and have a clear understanding of what happens if either you need to cancel or the artist needs to cancel. This is where many artists will have a non-refundable booking fee but as you are closer to the date, less and less of the remaining balance is refundable.

This is super important to understand that the artist has given up other opportunities to play at your event. And so that’s why a non-refundable booking fee covers this case where they risking missing out on potential other opportunities by committing to you.

So, make sure there’s a clear cancellation in policy in your contract as well as a ‘Force Majeure Clause’ which discusses what happens for an “Act of God”, say a weather event or illness, that kind of thing! Get that all in writing!


Optional Clauses

These are some more optional in clauses which would be about sickness and inclement weather. And some of them also have clauses about recording. So, are you allowed to record and then publish the music in a YouTube video of your wedding.

Some artists will have clauses that say, you have to get their written permission and you’ll also want to make sure that you comply with all the copyright laws for that too. So, some artists will have that in their contract as well.


So, that is the contract in a nutshell! Make sure that the artist is playing for you has a contract. So just to review, the contract is super important! Make sure that you get everything in writing.

There are Basic Terms which covers the Who, What, When, Where. And how much for the artists’ performance. There’s the Payment Terms such as like the amount paid, and then the deposit, installments for the remaining balance. Acceptable forms of payment.

And then there are other terms such as the Performance Condition Terms, the sickness, the cancellation terms, and even the recording terms.

So, check out the contract! If you want us to take a look at the contract, send us a message!

Again, all of the artists in do use a contract. So, right now I ask you to go ahead and browse for your favorite musician on

Watch some videos, message them back and forth and when you’re ready, use to secure your artist with a contract!

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