When looking at music for the wedding Fiance and I were pretty sure we wanted a band as opposed to a d.j. Fiance is a huge live music fan and we both liked the atmosphere that a band can create. Unfortunately, bands usually cost a lot more then a d.j. and Fiance and I didn't want to spend a ton of money...which meant we had to research, research, research to find a good but reasonably priced band.
Hands down the best resource we found for researching bands was Sam Hill Entertainment. They are a booking agency based out of Charlottesville but they book all along the East Coast (focusing mostly on D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina). What sets Sam Hill apart from the other booking agencies is their website and their customer service.
They were the only booking agency we found that listed the price range of the bands on their website. This was so incredibly helpful. We didn't have to contact an agent just to see if the band we were looking at was expensive or not. Fiance and I could look at bands that were within our budget range and not get our hearts set on something we couldn't afford. We could see videos, listen to music clips, and read reviews of the different bands as well. It was also a great learning tool...what's the difference between a $10,000 band and a $1,500 band? Take a listen and see.
Some other agencies I contacted were less then helpful and actually refused to give me a price list for their bands...so there was no way I could compare bands or figure out what fit within my budget. I felt that any place that would refuse to share prices of the product they are supposed to be marketing was probably pretty unethical and trying to hide something so I didn't give them my business. I didn't want any financial "surprises" on my wedding day.
When you look through Sam Hill's site make sure you put in the correct region your wedding will be in...part of the pricing on the bands depends on the location of the band....so a band based out of Philadelphia will be cheaper if your wedding is in Philly and more expensive if the band has to travel from Philly to D.C. Hiring a local band can save you a couple hundred to a $1,000+