A wedding ceremony music trend we’re seeing more of: live jazz! It’s different, fun and in the right hands totally appropriate.
A jazz trio or quartet is not unusual for cocktail and/or dinner music, but at a venue where the ceremony is the same location as the reception, a jazz group can provide a livelier, uplifting atmosphere to the nuptials, and then seamlessly kick it up a notch for the reception immediately following.
I recently led a jazz quintet (sax, trumpet, keyboard, string bass, drums) for a beautiful wedding at Chicago’s River East Art Center. The bride and groom had wanted a little bluesier, jazzier, less traditional feel in their music. Coordinated by our friends at Big City Bride, the pre-ceremony featured mellower jazz and pop tunes like “It Had to Be You” and “I Will”. The ceremony included “You Are the Best Thing” for the groom, “Something Tells Me I’m into Something Good” (bridal party), and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” for the bride. Following the ceremony, livelier jazz and pop tunes like “If I Were a Bell” and “Afro Blue” created a celebratory, upbeat vibe for the couple and their guests.
Tasteful song planning was called for here—wild bebop jazz excursions during pre-ceremony would have been too jarring for the guests’ arrival. I felt we needed to set a respectful (but not dull) tone for the crowd—a few of whom were a little taken aback at first by the sound (and sight) of a jazz quintet at a ceremony. But we won them over and created the right mood for the proceedings—fun and celebratory, yet acknowledging that this was an important, special day.
Using professional musicians (not students or club players) ensured that the music would have the right tone at the right time—a subject I’ve touched on in my previous blog (click here). In the hands of pros, live jazz or popular music can allow brides and grooms to more fully express their unique personality and special love for each other, and can be a pleasant surprise for their wedding guests!