Solid Steel - Weddings

Why should you hire a live steel band for your wedding?

Steel bands (please don’t refer to them as ‘steel drum bands’- it’s an unwanted Americanism!) have been playing live as wedding bands in the UK since the Fifties when Trinidadians like Russell Henderson and Max Cherrie (Solid Steel bandleader Paul Cherrie’s father) played in steel trios featuring these novel new instruments that had only been ‘invented’ some 20 years earlier in Trinidad.

There was no such thing as an all-acoustic 3-piece steel band even in Trinidad back then (with each band member exclusively playing a steel drum) and it hasn’t emerged anywhere else other than in Britain since either.

Wedding Bands London

So steel band trios as live wedding music bands or indeed as any kind of ’function band’ are a uniquely British phenomenon and, due to their Afro-Caribbean identity, have always been considered a ‘cool’ alternative to the likes of other live acoustic wedding bands such as string quartets and traditional jazz bands.

Back in those early days only the British aristocracy booked live steel bands for their weddings and for many years it was seen as being quite a ‘posh’ thing to do. These Trinidadian musicians (many of whom played other ‘first’ instruments) took their steel drums or ‘pans’ to wedding receptions and played mostly songs that Harry Belafonte had made popular.

Modern steel band

Whilst very capable of playing 'traditional' Caribbean and calypso music associated with steel bands many clients now demand that a steel band be equally as competent playing contemporary music and in particular pop and reggae hits.
Solid Steel's repertoire is the most extensive in the business and can be found here.

We actively encourage our clients to browse our playlist and offer us direction on what they would like us to play.
If special requests are made that aren't in our playlist we offer consultation after which we can create bespoke performances that can include them.

So whether you require a traditional or more modern steel band, we guarantee not to disappoint.

Live Wedding Reception Band

Whilst steel bands may be hired as wedding music bands for wedding receptions within their own Caribbean community, it is just as likely that they may be hired for an Indian wedding, more likely that they will be hired for a Jewish wedding (very fashionable in the Seventies!), and most likely they will be hired for an English wedding!

Another very recent trend is to choose a steel band as the live wedding band for post-wedding receptions. Many couples now go abroad to marry in romantic Caribbean beach settings and want to give their wedding guests back home in the UK a taste of Caribbean musical sunshine at their receptions. What better way to do this than to hire a live steel band?!

Live bands for weddings

In terms of how a steel band is used at a wedding, most commonly, a steel trio is hired for the early part of a wedding reception, when the wedding party have returned from the ceremony and guests are being served with champagne and canapés and photographs are being taken. However, it’s not at all unusual for live steel band music to be required for the wedding service itself or for that part of the wedding breakfast before the speeches are due to start.
But when considering live bands for weddings, why are live all-acoustic steel band trios in particular, such a popular choice for couples today? Well, here are just half a dozen reasons:-

  1. In terms of their staging area a 3-piece steel band takes up very little space. Most professional 3-piece steel bands operate with 4 steel drums or less and require an area of only 4m x 2m.
  2. All acoustic and ‘unplugged’ steel bands are ideal for positioning in outside locations as they don’t need to be near any electrical power point. So, if you’re keen on saving the planet you earn ‘green’ kudos for booking them!
  3. The volume of the music made by just 3 musicians exclusively playing steel drums is ideal for the ‘background’ during a champagne reception or a wedding breakfast. Many people feel that string quartets can often be too quiet to be heard above the ‘chatter’ of a wedding party and that louder, brassier acoustic wedding bands or amplified groups are often too loud and intrusive in a situation when many guests are either just meeting or have a lot of ‘catching up’ to do!.
  4. 3-piece steel bands are quickly set up (10-15 minutes) and are mobile so that they can be re-positioned throughout their engagement if required.
  5. Visually and musically 3-piece steel bands are colourful, evoking sunny weather even on the worst of days in our dodgy British climate and their informality makes them the perfect contrast to the formality of a wedding.
  6. Sorry for mentioning it again, but booking a live steel band for your wedding is timelessly ‘cool’!! 

Solid Steel for your wedding

Why, of all steel bands, should you choose Solid Steel for your wedding? The short answer is, ‘because you can trust us to do a great professional job at every stage- from your initial enquiry right up to the last note we play at your reception’.
But OK, I know you want more! So let’s do another half-dozen reasons for you:-

  1. Solid Steel as a live wedding band and as a company have been operating for over 20 years now and enjoys an excellent reputation with all the best professional entertainment agencies, party organisers and wedding planners.
  2. We’ve got the best sound files on small acoustic steel bands in cyberspace. There’s a very simple reason for this. We use the best musicians. Our music is represented by those musicians going into a recording studio and playing the songs ‘live’. So our tracks are honest representations of what we’ll produce in performance.
  3. Solid Steel will always try and cater to your specific needs. We often get specific wedding song requests, particularly if we’re required to play for the wedding service itself. The steel band you book for your wedding will be properly prepared to play the music agreed upon.
  4. We’re very flexible with regards to schedule and even payment terms. Weddings don’t always run on schedule. We know that and we’ll go with the flow during the course of our band’s engagement. Some people also prefer the ‘security’ of paying deposits whilst others are quite comfortable just signing the contracts we issue and paying on their wedding day.
  5. Our ‘look’ is authentic. We’ll look the part for you and we’ll be costumed accordingly.
  6. We won’t accept any bookings that aren’t likely to be successful.

Sometimes clients have unrealistic expectations when it comes to live wedding music. For example, somebody may want to have our steel band trio play late on in the wedding reception for dancing. They would need a bigger amplified steel band for that, ideally a group that would include a drummer and vocals and could play some ‘modern’ popular music and include some Bob Marley and UB40 reggae classics for instance. We can play this kind of wedding music very authentically, but only with a larger wedding function band- please take a look at We Be Jammin’! who share several band members with Solid Steel and often work together with them on the same bill . We’re fortunate to be successful enough not to accept a ‘fast buck’ from a wedding client who we feel may be disappointed later on.

Finally, here are some recent comments from some satisfied wedding clients:-

‘Absolutely EXCELLENT! - thank you so much guys for making our day even better than it already was, you were brilliant and everyone loved the music. Keep up the good work!’ - Rob & Jen Brindley
‘From beginning to end dealing with Solid Steel was an absolute pleasure. The booking was very straight forward and they made our wedding even more special. Everyone loved them! Can't wait for another opportunity to book them again!!!!’ - Val & Craig Gutteridge
‘Solid Steel played our big gay wedding (ok, technically our 'Civil Partnership celebration!) at The Cavendish in Eastcote, Middlesex on Sunday 23rd August, 2009. The guys were fab! Hugely well-received by our guests, they struck just the right chord (pun intended!) for pre-disco musical ambience. They were well-liked by adults and kids alike! Refreshingly easy to book and deal with, having them there added a unique and stress-free dimension to our wonderful day. Solid Steel made our special day that much more special, and our straight/gay audience loved them in equal measure. Highly recommended! Thanks guys! xxx’ - Vik & Miranda

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