As many brides and grooms can attest, crowd-pleasing music elevates any wedding reception. But booking your ideal band is only the first step, since couples are sometimes responsible for renting stages for their entertainment. Here's everything you need to know about the topic.
Do I Need a Stage?
At the end of the day, renting a stage is entirely optional, and the decision depends on the couple's budget and the venue layout. However, John Hozey of Blue Earth Productions in New Orleans says that stages have many advantages. "When the band is on a stage, it sets the performance up to be like a show or concert," he says. "We feel a stage definitely adds to that dynamic, while easily keeping a professional barrier between the band and the crowd. Also, if we want to invite the bride and groom up to do something special, we can really direct attention to them when the stage is raised." The stage can also serve as a focal point during the reception, and the elevation ensures that everyone can see the performance. Plus, Hozey says that having a stage provides an added safety measure, since guests can't easily trip over wire, monitors, and other equipment.
But despite the advantages of renting a stage, Hozey also mentions one major disadvantages: lack of personal interaction. "When the band is on the floor, we tend to interact more and are willing to go out into the crowd. There is a certain dynamic and connection when you are eye-level with the bride, groom, and their guests." Additionally, some stages may look out of place at certain wedding venues—especially when choosing a small stage for a large space. According to Sammy J. Kudmani, the chief planner, emcee, and entertainment officer of the band KUDMANI in Louisville, Kentucky, "Whether the dance floor is 16 feet or 24 feet across, our eyes may favor a matching stage width. In the event that the band cannot fit or cannot fill the space of the stage, it may be better to skip it entirely. Request pictures or videos from your venue or planner to help you envision the right stage and entertainment combination."
How Big Should It Be?
According to Lindsay Sims, owner and principal planner of TOAST Events in Atlanta and Nashville, the stage size will be determined by your entertainment provider's contract. Stages usually range from 8x24 feet to 20x30 feet. For example, Hozey says his band, D Play, requests 12x16 stage size for their six-piece base package. If they're adding additional horns to their ensemble, the stage should be increased to 12x20 feet; anything smaller prevents the band from doing their signature moves and dances. That's why it's vital to ask your band for their requirements and plan accordingly, but know that some entertainment groups can be accommodating. "If you are tight on space, it's always worth asking for the smallest size your band can work with," she says. "They have a bit of wiggle room!"
Where Can I Rent a Stage?
Larger bands might provide their own stages for a wedding reception, and some event spaces will already have one in-house. However, a large chunk of couples will need to borrow a stage from a rental company. Consider asking the venue or band for recommendations. According to Sims, it's important to include the cost of a stage in your initial budget draft, and couples should aim to reserve their stage at least 90 days in advance. Rental prices vary, but for reference, Kudmani says that a stage for his six-piece band generally cost anywhere from $750 to $1,500.