Want Taylor Swift to Play Your Wedding? The Inside Scoop on Securing Big-Name Acts for Your Nuptials

Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Erickson Public Relations
Taylor Swift performs on Aug. 27, 2009 in New York City. 

Taylor Swift may have made news earlier this month by surprising a New Jersey couple at their wedding to play an acoustic cover of “Blank Space,” but she’s not the only celeb who’s moonlighted as a wedding singer.
 
But what if you want to secure big-name talent for your nuptials and don’t want to rely on the chance that a star feels like crashing for fun? Ryan Schinman, founder of Platinum Rye Entertainment and CEO of RBS Celebrity Bookings, gives Billboard the scoop.

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Who are the most in-demand musicians for weddings?
 
People like Elton John, Lionel Ritchie, Chicago or Journey get requested a lot, because they have such a repertoire of hits. Some are slow, which is good for the father-daughter or mother-son dance, and then later the rest of the guests can enjoy some upbeat music. Everybody sort of sings along.

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For younger weddings, DJs are still in demand. Requests for Kygo or Calvin Harris are very prevalent. But I think a lot of people want to hire a regular DJ, then have a more well-known band -- either a band that has a lot of hits or someone that’s current.
 
How hard is it to get a mega-star to play a private gig like a wedding?
 
A lot of celebrities don’t mind doing it, because it’s not in the press. Some won’t because they feel like it’s a sell-out move, but I’d say 90 percent of bands will do it. There’s something more intimate about doing something at a wedding, right?
 
Of course, some people price themselves out. The Rolling Stones have done private things, but they’ve gotten as high as seven or eight million dollars for weddings and birthdays. So you’ve got to understand what people cost.

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What does it typically cost to book big-name talent?
 
You start at 50 grand when you’re talking about a decent band or well-known singer. You’d think it was just the super rich requesting these people, but it’s really not. It’s people from all walks of life, because when it’s a wedding, people are trying to really do something special.