When it comes time for your local wedding to take place there is nothing that is going to make your big day more special than proper planning and execution of those plans. Part of your planning will include what you will do for music at your wedding ceremony, reception, or even your cocktail hour. Of course it all depends on the theme of your wedding, but if you go the way of so many these days you will go with a tropical, beach, or destination wedding and nothing sets the tone for these types of local weddings like a steel drum band.
I have been a part of ‘Reel Ting Steel Drum Band’ now for the past ten years and I not only perform in the band, but I also manage it. That said my experience with wedding music spans much more than the past ten years, in fact it spans the past forty years. I grew up knowing nothing but wedding music as my late father was a full time wedding singer. While many household dinner discussions included days at the office and school work, ours consisted of wedding music talk. Perhaps that is why music runs so deep in the fabric of my family. Not only am I in one of the greatest steel drum bands around, my older sister is a part time wedding singer too.
Recently I have had a number of people inquiring what makes for a good steel drum band for their local weddings. Whether planning your local wedding on the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, or even indoors with no water in sight, having a good steel drum band play at your wedding will give you the feeling of being swept away to a tropical island paradise. Here is what to look for when conducting your research:
- Responsible Band Manager?
The most important factor to consider when hiring a steel drum band for your local wedding is finding a band manager that is responsible, will return your inquires promptly, and most of all will have an attitude that will mesh with yours. You need to get a good feel or the band manger right off the bat and that should start with some e-mailing. E-mailing back and forth allows for a record of your conversation to be kept and will give you a general idea of how prompt the band manger will be in responding to your questions and concerns. If you get a good vibe through e-mail then the next step is to make a phone call to the band manger and set up a face to face meeting to discuss your expectations and see if the steel drum band you are considering will be able to oblige. Remember, you are hiring a more laid back style of music and sometimes that means a more laid back group of band members, so it is important that you know what you are getting ahead of time.
- How well does the steel drum band perform?
You simply cannot get a good feel for a steel drum band unless you see them in action. The best way to do this is to go to an event that the steel drum band is planning on playing well in advance of your local wedding event. This is your opportunity to see how well the band performs as well as how they sound. Watch the lead singer and see how charismatic he or she is. There is no point in hiring a boring steel drum band no matter how good they sound. If you cannot make one of their events, see if they have a video that you can watch and look for the same characteristics.
- What music does the steel drum band play?
Be sure you get a song list from the band manger so that you can look over what the steel drum band plays. Remember, their idea of what they like to play may not be your idea of what you want to hear at your local wedding and Caribbean music can vary somewhat from Calypso to Reggae to Soca. It is also a good idea to see how the band feels about taking requests both ahead of time and at the wedding event itself.
- Band Credentials?
It is important to find out from the venue where your local wedding will take place exactly what credentials will be required from a band that may play there. For example, some venues will require a steel drum band to carry a $1,000,000 certificate of Liability Insurance and also carry workman’s comp. Once you find out what the venue’s requirements are, ask the band manger to furnish you with the documentation you need ahead of time. This will avoid any snags from taking place and possibly ruining your special day.
I mention this last for a reason. While in today’s tough economic times it is always good to save a few bucks where you can, be wary of this when hiring a steel drum band. If you go bargain basement in price you will more than likely get a start-up band with little to no experience or one that is less than reliable. Saving money does you no good if the steel drum band you hire is an hour late to your local wedding event. This is not to say that you have to go with the priciest steel drum band, but you do need to thoroughly do your homework. When it comes time to pay be sure you get a contract. Industry standard calls for a 50 percent payment up front and the balance is usually paid on the day of the event. If your local wedding is going to be outside be sure to write in the contract a makeup date as you never know with Mother Nature.
A good steel drum band can be worth its weight in gold and can make your local wedding event be a smashing success. Hiring the right steel drum band for your big day can have you and your guests doing the limbo, making a huge conga line, and creating memories that no one will forget as long as they live. Your wedding day only comes once in a lifetime, so make the most of it by hiring the right steel drum band for you.