Need a band for your wedding?

NOCO’s got the talent.


Remember those middle school dances that introduced us to palm sweat? We clumsily attempted to dance to songs we didn’t know or retreated to the sides of the gym where it was safe.

That’s awkward in middle school. It’s appalling at your wedding reception.
So what’s the best way to avoid an empty dance floor at the biggest party of your life?

“You cannot beat a live band,” says Malini Bartels of the Fort Collins Music District. “It’s an energy booster, and the band’s liveliness transfers to the guests.”

Fortunately, Northern Colorado boasts outstanding performers with a wide range of sounds. “We are so lucky to be amongst such a dynamically talented community,” raves Fort Collins wedding planner Emily Jolly. Whatever mood you’re trying to create, there’s a local band that can set the right tone.

Do Your Homework

Jolly and Bartels both recommend that you start looking for your band months in advance. It’s not uncommon for bands to have bookings a year out, so the sooner you look, the broader your range of options.

If you’re working with a wedding planner, he/she may already have a go-to list of musicians from this area. Online resources such as,, and are worth browsing, but you’ll get better local info at The Music District ( or the Fort Collins Musicians Association ( It might even help to stop by your neighborhood bar or microbrewery and talk to whoever books the live acts, or check with the music departments at UNC (which has nationally acclaimed jazz and musical theater programs) and CSU.

A good dance band typically costs anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 for a wedding. If you want to keep costs low, make the gig as simple as possible—a two-hour set from the band’s standard repertoire. Anything extra (special song requests, emceeing the reception, background music during dinner) will add to the cost. You can also save a few bucks by minimizing downtime. If the musicians have to set up before dinner but won’t start playing until after dessert, you’re paying for hours of waiting around.

Before you finalize the booking, Jolly cautions, make sure the reception venue can accommodate the band you choose. Take into consideration the number of musicians, the type of instruments and the sound system they’ll need. “I would ask the band members or the band managers for samples of their music,” Jolly adds. Most groups have recordings or videos on their website or Facebook page, or on YouTube, SoundCloud or Bandcamp.

Get Started

The NOCO bands listed below all come recommended by wedding planners, venue managers and other knowledgeable sources. They’re only the tip of the iceberg, but they’re as good a place as any to start. Happy hunting!