The Expert Panel at BVTLive!’s Showcase
At each BVTLive! Showcase, not only do we offer the chance to see a selection of our award-winning dance bands, but we also bring industry experts to the stage to answer your questions! The November 3rd showcase at The Ardmore Music Hall featured four of the best: Ricardo “Big Ric” Minter of Big Ric Rising; BVTLive! Founder and President Kurt Titchenell; Tim Sudall, President of Allure Films by Video One Productions; and Lori Maslowski, Director of Catering at the 5-star Rittenhouse Hotel. These experienced professionals were ready to share their tips of the trade…check it out:
Q: What do you see out there that is new and trendy that you want to share?
A: (Lori) I love to create new things, new items for our all of our guests. I don’t like to repeat myself. You know how they usually do that candy bar at the end of the night? That’s old. No one’s really doing that anymore. I do a cookie bar: all sorts of different cookies, all different fun to-go containers. We just did it last weekend for the very first time and it was such a major, major hit. So, I’m running with it…let’s go cookies!
A: (Tim) You know, one thing I just saw this Saturday at a past wedding—and it’s for all the millennials out there—is “hashtag my wedding.” It’s free, and you get to go on your honeymoon and see several hundred pictures that were captured. It’s a really great way to share. I have one more thing to add, about history of venues. If your venue or location has lots of character and history, a very cool thing to do is print the history on the back of your program. If it’s an old church, an old synagogue, an old mansion, share the history. You’re creating an experience that day, and it’s so important that if you have anything like that that you can share with the guests, it’s an awesome thing to do.
Q: Do bands learn songs? What’s the take on learning new music?
A: (Big Ric) We absolutely learn songs. All the bands have an extensive song list. If there are some special songs for your special dances, we will absolutely learn them for you.
Q: If guests want to join you on stage and perform a musical talent, do you let them?
A: (Big Ric) If you have a videographer or a photographer, it’s great to have a relative play with the band. It’s a great keepsake, and we encourage having fun. So, ‘Uncle John’ can absolutely come up, only if we have permission from the bride or groom or mother or father.
Q: People see the band videos online and ask, “Is what I see what I get?”
A: (Kurt) Each band is a group of musicians committed to their particular group’s cause. So, when you hire City Rhythm, that’s the group of musicians you get. We don’t mix and match musicians. If there was a rare occurrence where somebody was, God forbid, deathly ill and was unable to perform, that’s the only time that we would use a substitute.
Q: A lot of times, the question of insurance doesn’t come until a month before the wedding, especially with the mansion and historic properties. How does that work?
A: (Kurt) We wouldn’t operate without insurance. So all of our bands carry at least a one million dollar liability policy, and we are often asked to provide proof of insurance. And if you do hire one of our bands, and that does come up, well—rest assured that we are fully insured—it is our pleasure to get a certificate with the facility named as “other insured” or pretty much whatever you need.
Q: So I come tonight, I fall in love with one of your bands. What’s the next step if they want to proceed?
A: (Kurt) Well, first of all, I hope everyone is enjoying seeing the bands, and thanks for being here. Should you decide that we’re right for you—and we hope that you do, of course—you’ll speak with either myself, Dave, Billy McCue or Billy Handy, any one of us can help you. We get all the information and send you a contract. There is a deposit required to hold the band. If you maybe need a day or two, just let us know and we’ll be happy to get you a Rite of First Refusal; but to truly hold the band, there is a contract and deposit that’s necessary. Final payment is due 10 days before the event.
Q: What’s it like to come to Rittenhouse Square to your hotel or to another property and have a rehearsal in town?
A: (Lori) Well, if you don’t actually have the wedding with us and we’re fortunate that we have the rehearsal dinner, it’s great. We have the perfect backdrop for any photos in Rittenhouse Square. What’s nice about having a rehearsal dinner if you are having a wedding with me at The Rittenhouse, I know what we’re serving on Saturday night. So I can plan your menu for Friday night knowing what I’m serving to your guests on Saturday night, as well as roll it into Sunday for your brunch. But if you already have your wedding booked at another venue, I would love the opportunity to speak with you about a block of rooms for your out-of-town guests, as well as doing a rehearsal dinner.
Q: What’s the craziest request someone’s ever asked you?
A: (Big Ric) There’s a song called “Bulls on Parade.” It’s totally head-banger stuff. And they came up to me, “Ric, can you do that?” So we took our iPod, we listened to it, learned it right then and there. And we rocked it, it was unbelievable. The bottom line is we want you guys to be as happy as you can. We will try our very best to play all the music that you want. One more thing: the electricity at a hotel went completely out. The bride was panicking and it was crazy, but we took the piano and brought it to the center of the dance floor. Then we got all of the candles and took all the people and put them in the center of the dance floor, and we serenaded the bride and groom all night long with no electricity. But I have to be honest…it was awesome. So, we cater, we assimilate to whatever the situation is, and we had a great time.
Attend our next showcase to hear some more expert advice!