“Cowboys Ted, they’re a bunch of cowboys’’

In every industry there are dubious operators or ‘’cowboys’’, the wedding band industry is no different. Yet “cowboys” seems like a lame phrase to describe a wedding band that cancels last minute – the devastation, stress and panic a last minute cancellation creates is no laughing matter. We’ve been involved in bailing out a lot of couples, some of the stories we’ve described here.

As Ireland’s leading provider of wedding entertainment we’ve been in the game long enough to hear most of the excuses. While unlikely to be put as bluntly as this, they rarely fall outside of the following :

  • We are ‘double booked’
  • Got a ‘better gig’
  • No longer talk to each other
  • Yer man is gone off with the PA
  • Their ‘real’ job got in the way.
  • The drummer broke his arm
  • The wife is gone into labour
  • We got a ‘Late Late Show’ slot (this actually happened)
  • We realise how far outside ‘the Pale’ Galway is
  • They stop answering the phone entirely

Lets face it, unforeseen circumstances can happen and people can be unable to perform. Accidents and illnesses happen to everyone. That’s why we provide what one happy bride and groom described as a “dance-floor insurance policy” by providing brides and grooms with a choice of talented musicians who routinely play together.

Here are four ways to avoid ever having to utter those awful words: “The band has let us down.”

1. Choice is never a bad thing

If a band tells you they can only do one event per night, that’s fine. Yet a month in showbiz is a long time, never mind a year.

On the other hand choosing a wedding entertainment provider that gives you a choice talented musicians can help provide you with the assurance you need to know that they won’t cancel with you, even if one member happens to “break his arm”.

2. Check in with your band three weeks before a wedding

Bands should contact you about 6 weeks out to go through all the details, with another confirmation of arrangements a few days out. If your band do not get in touch, make contact with them at least 2-3 weeks out from your wedding. Don’t leave it until the last minute. It’s also good to keep an eye on your band’s website and social media pages for the months leading up to the wedding to see all is active, alive and well.

3. Note these four red flags

  1. You should never pay a deposit in cash – there is no trace or proof of a payment if a booking is in doubt or disputed.
  1. Get a receipt or booking contract from your service provider showing all the details of the booking.  
  1. You should ask your service provider for copy of their public liability insurance (all professional suppliers will have this, and many venues now look for a copy of this leading up to your wedding).
  1. Ask for a VAT number, all suppliers of the non cowboy brigade are VAT registered, you can check it here www.valdit.com.

   4. Ask those in the know

Online forums are great for tips and advice. At the same time would you trust a stranger to pick your wedding dress or decide what flavor wedding cake to have? The same can be said for picking your wedding band.

After seeing a band live, we advise that you go to your wedding planner for an impartial review. They have seen the suppliers come and go, they know who provides the professional service and will point you in the right direction. We recommend that you book entertainment that your wedding planner recommends, people who have been around the block and who know the venue.

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