Banga Studios

Rachel Dalton In the News

September 12, 2018

How to Hire a Celebrity Musician to Perform at Your Wedding

Having your favorite musician perform a live rendition of your first dance song, or else dancing to a selection of their greatest hits during the reception, sounds like a dream to most brides and grooms, but it doesn't have to be. In fact, turning that fantasy a reality could actually be possible, especially if you have Rachel Dalton—who helps couples secure star talent, like musicians, for their events—in your corner.

Recently, she's help clients secure Jason Derulo, James Taylor, Ne-Yo, and Austin Mahone for their receptions and events. How does it work? The bride and groom send her their A-list performance wish list and she'll check availability and cost, then use her lawyer background to handle all contracts and insurance. Her production partner helps tackle the rider and travel needs, meaning that the couple (and their planner) get to sit back and enjoy.

From a planning perspective, Dalton notes that having a few months to sort things out is ideal, but that going the last-minute route sometimes yields the best deal. "It gives more leverage to negotiate if the artist is available," Dalton says of tight timing. Regardless of the time frame, budget is most likely the key factor in determining whether or not a famous musical guest is an option. Dalton has worked with artists who charge anywhere from several thousand dollars up to those in the seven-figure range, so part of her job is to also help couples evaluate the bigger entertainment picture. By helping them select amazing but well-priced bands and DJs , they are able to free up more of the budget for a notable performer.

Once you know you can pull it off financially, you'll want to talk to your planner to discuss logistics and to make a plan. Some planners are used to handling star talent on their own, too. Kimberly Curtis of Toast Santa Barbara recently had John Legend play the processional song during a ceremony. She suggests having a dedicated staff member for any star talent, to focus solely on logistics (like travel and sound production) and needs (such as a meal).

August 15, 2018

Here’s How to Include Your Favorite Celebrity at Your Wedding, According to an Expert

Ever wonder how that one gal from high school managed to get John Legend to perform at her wedding reception? Or how celebrities like Taylor Swift manage to catch wind of their fans’ big day and show up unannounced? For one expert, whose job description is brokering celebrity appearances at events and weddings, the bridge to bringing the stars to soirees is none other than herself.

"My role is to help people turn their dreams into a reality," says Rachel Dalton, the founder and president of her own namesake company. "I help my clients secure their favorite celebrities to perform at their events or help them create a unique gift experience, such as dinner with their favorite fashion designer, tennis lessons with their favorite professional, or cooking lessons with their favorite celebrity chef."

Of course couples oftentimes demand a guest appearance on their wedding days and other related events. "People often call me to help secure their favorite musical artist to sing the first dance song at their wedding," she says. "Others want to surprise their guests with a fun musical artist later in the party, or have a celebrity DJ for the afterparty… Other ways that I can be involved in the wedding festivities include bringing in celebrities for the bachelor party (think Eli Manning of the New York Giants hanging with the guys) or having Padma Lakshmi do a cooking demo for the ladies during a bridal shower."

Proposals are also a prime opportunity to involve a favorite star, she says. "Such as having John Legend sing one of his love songs during the special moment."

Mostly, clients find Dalton via word of mouth and directly through party planners. "Working with celebrities is a job unto itself, and my legal skills come in handy," she muses. "My clients are delighted that I can protect them on the legal front. I handle all the contract work, insurance, and negotiating, as well as all of the technical aspects of the production."

Once a couple decides to work with Dalton, she then requests a talent budget to see if the artist is available within the limitations. "For instance, if a client wants Ed Sheeran, I will check with his agent to see if he looks to be available on that date and confirm his talent fee," she adds. "I now most of the agents in Hollywood and NYC, having been in the business for the last 18 years. If the client wants to move forward, then I’ll submit a formal offer on behalf of my client, which is binding if the artist accepts. Once the offer has been accepted, we are off and running."

With nearly two decades of experience in the industry, Dalton says she takes pride in each celebrity secured for clients, but one career highlight of hers was a rather emotional one. "I secured Good Morning America’s Amy Robach, herself a cancer survivor, to speak at the opening gala for The Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha," she recalls. "And her speech, describing her own personal experience [with cancer], brought everyone in the room to tears. Her participation helped the facility raise substantial funds for cancer research, which is truly fulfilling to me on a personal level."

Dalton also negotiates riders, which is a luxury for most couples working with stars. "Certain artists have had interesting demands. One required a private plane from their home in Europe, which really threw a wrench into the budget," she laughs. "Another wanted a certain type of champagne that was very difficult to get. Another needed a specific type of chrome microphone, which was not easy to find. [So] nothing really surprises me anymore."

And she’s flexible about budgets. "I work within all price points. There are some artists that are quite reasonable and many that are more reasonable than one would think," she adds. "For the money that many people spend on a big band, they could afford some level of celebrity talent (and I recommend getting a more affordable DJ to handle the rest of the party)."

Overall, Dalton sees weddings as an opportunity to bring spectacular memories to loved ones. She previously orchestrated a moment when Ne-Yo came out to surprise guests ahead of a couple’s first dance. "I love that moment," she concludes. "When we add a celebrity to that moment, as we did recently Ne-Yo, it really is a game-changer for the event. It heightens the emotion in the room, almost to a spiritual level, for all in attendance."

February 2, 2018

Here's How to Get a Celebrity to Come to Your Wedding

Have you ever mused about getting a celebrity to come to your wedding? It's totally understandable if you have: Over the years, celebs like Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and Bon Jovi have all crashed the nuptials of us normies, and seeing those stories in the news is bound to make a bride a little jealous. Who wouldn't want a celebrity wedding singer crooning at their reception? Well, instead of just daydreaming about the possibility, consider hiring Rachel Dalton, whose namesake company specializes in getting celebrities at weddings, parties, and special events.

We chatted with Dalton to get the inside scoop on how she makes these special appearances happen— and how you can score a celebrity to play your wedding (without being famous or royal yourself).

How did you get started?

"I was an attorney—I still am. I always wanted to get into sports and entertainment law. I was told to get some good corporate [law] experience, and I did for a few years. Then I got a great opportunity to work at a company doing fantasy experiences with celebrities. That company went a different way, and I'd had a baby, and I decided I could do this myself from home. It's been about 17 years with my own company. It's a lot of fun, but I love that I can still use my law experience—I do all the contract work, negotiate the agreements, do all the research on talent, handle the rider agreements, tech details, travel, and I'm on set for the entire event. It's really turnkey from start to finish."

What's your first step when working with couples?

"Oftentimes, couples have a favorite singer or two, and then other [couples] will just say they have a certain amount in their budget and I can come up with a list of people in that budget who are available. They might want Taylor Swift and then when they hear her fee, they make other choices. Since I've been doing this for so long, I have relationships with all the agents, so I have a good sense of what people are charging and then I double-confirm it with the agent because artists are able to change their price at a moment's notice. From there, I am able to negotiate the best pricing—that's what sets me apart from my competitors. I don't charge any more for that."

What have been some of your favorite celebrity wedding appearances?

"I did one recently with Ne-Yo which was a lot of fun. He came and sang the first dance song, then he sang a couple of fun songs. I did something with a family who loved Air Supply. That was a lot of fun. I did a wedding for two gentlemen who love the Pointer Sisters, and that was a surprise for the guests. And I worked with Michael Feinstein for an older couple."

What advice do you have for couples thinking about booking talent?

"They should get a sense of what their budget is for the whole event, then see how much they can allot for the talent. Once they have a sense of the budget, call me and I can help you figure out who would be a realistic option. If they're not going for the hottest artist right now, they might be surprised at the pricing—not everybody is in the million-dollar price-range. I welcome clients with all budgets to come to me because we can often find the right fit."

"Maybe go the route of a DJ for the rest of the party, and allot the rest of the budget for a celebrity. Artists will usually play up to 60 minutes, but most couples only want about 30 minutes because they don't want to have the artist steal the show. I'm in favor of that as well—just a pop of entertainment during the night that doesn't take over."

What if the couple thinks even a short celebrity performance will steal the show at the wedding?

"There's a lot of ways this [service] can tie into the wedding process. I've talked to people about bringing in a celebrity chef for the wedding shower. All the events having to do with the wedding—shower, bachelor party, bachelorette party —are doable. We can even bring the bride-to-be's favorite celebrity to the proposal."

What are the benefits of working with you as opposed to doing this through an event planner?

"It's not something [event planners] do every day. It takes a whole other set of skills to deal with celebrity talent—something that's outside the scope of a typical party planner. They come to me because they know I know how to handle it. I am very passionate about what I do. I love my clients and I strive to really just make their experiences the most memorable, unique, special moments of their lives."

Just consider Rachel Dalton your celebrity wedding whisperer!

Tell us about your next event!


Rachel - Thank you so much! You were amazing and we loved working with you! You put in a huge effort and we greatly appreciate it!

Partner from large NYC Law Firm at their Corporate Client Event with Comedian, Jim Gaffigan at Zuma New York