Every destination wedding should have some local flavor of music to tie in the environment. Whether you’re bringing in a party band or DJ from the States, if your event is out of the country, or getting a local act, you can accomplish this best during your wedding ceremony and/or cocktail hour.
The cocktail hour is a great place to have music that reflects the country or part of the United States you’re in. How do you find local live entertainment? If you’re out of the country, some countries will have local talent booking agencies. If you’ve hired a local planner or designer they will know of options as well. Your venue contacts will also be a great resource since they see various options regularly. Beware that local musicians may not have the same perspective as musicians do in the States. So, it’s critical not to make any assumptions. Discuss your expectations for appearance, timing, requests, etc.
If you want classic and current Top 40 and budget allows, you may want to fly in an American act to handle your wedding music. Local cover bands may claim to perform American and British Top 40 music. I would recommend asking to see a song list and hear samples of their take on these styles. If the budget is too prohibitive for bringing in a full party band, you can fly in a DJ to ensure you get what you want. For local DJs ask for examples of what they would play at your party to ensure they have the approach you want and be very specific about your desires. Be sure to put everything you discuss in writing so there are no misunderstandings. When flying in musical acts, be sure to discuss who is going to be responsible for any licenses, taxes, and other possible travel expenses. You don’t want any wedding music surprises at the last minute!
An issue you hopefully won’t have to deal with, if flying in a dance band, is securing sound equipment (PA sound system and amplifiers/speakers for electronic instruments) and backline (large instruments bands don’t fly with such as drums and electronic keyboards). If the band isn’t responsible for this, absolutely assign this task to someone on the planning team if it hasn’t yet been brought up. This can be a very complicated issue. Sometimes, a small country or island simply doesn’t have certain required equipment available and it has to be brought in from outside the country such as by boat.
Carefully consider the musical aspect of your destination wedding, given the enormous impact it can have, and you can have a celebration that leaves wonderful and lasting memories!