While the venue you select will give your guests an initial impression for the overall ambiance of your wedding, the secret ingredient that really creates and maintains ambiance is the music. Just as you typically associate traditional, classical, and elegant with a string quartet, you are more likely to associate contemporary, casual, and fun with a different type of music altogether.
Here are my top recommendations for music for a modern, indoor wedding.
For a casual, contemporary, and fun ceremony:
1. Acoustic guitar and violin - Smooth and mellow, the acoustic guitar sounds great in a wide range of styles. From contemporary to folk to country, guitar music immediately inspires a fun, casual ambiance. The guitar and violin duo will provide a modern feel to your ceremony.
If you’re on a budget:
Solo acoustic guitar is a great alternative. Especially in a modern venue, guitar music is perfect for welcoming your guests. As a bonus, if you’d like to mix it up and have contemporary music for your prelude and classical selections for your ceremony, the guitar is wonderful for both styles.
You can also opt to have a guitarist who’s a singer-songwriter, which will definitely add a personal touch to your ceremony.
2. Jazz combo - A jazz combo is an ensemble comprised of a rhythm section and brass or wind instruments. A typical 4- or 5-piece combo has a piano or keyboard, bass, percussion, a melody instrument (such as saxophone), and a vocalist. Performing a wide range of music, from standards to contemporary tunes, a jazz combo definitely sets a modern tone to your wedding. (Imagine being serenaded with your favorite song as you walk down the aisle. . .) As a bonus, a jazz combo is fantastic for your reception, especially if you want your guests having fun and dancing all night.
A duo or trio will be able to provide a more intimate experience. My favorite duos are saxophone and bass or saxophone and keyboard. As a bonus, oftentimes the saxophone player will also be able to play some flute, which would completely change the mood. An example of a typical jazz trio consists of keyboard, bass, and percussion. A duo or trio is a great choice if you want to enjoy your favorite tunes arranged and performed especially for you.
3. Piano or keyboard and guitar - If your venue has a piano and you’d like to use it while still maintaining a contemporary feel, pairing it with acoustic guitar would be perfect. The resonance of the piano coupled with the unique flavor of the guitar makes this duo an ideal choice for your contemporary ceremony. If your venue doesn’t have a piano, most pianists also have keyboards and would be happy to bring it to your venue.
If you’re on a budget:
Solo piano or keyboard is a great alternative. A versatile instrument with the widest range, the piano can play blues, country, easy listening, inspirational (including Gospel), jazz, Latin, pop, or R&B. You can have easy listening selections for your prelude, inspirational music for your processional and bridal entrance, jazz tunes for your cocktail hour, and pop or R&B for your reception. As I mentioned above, pianists are usually able to bring their keyboards in case your venue doesn’t have a piano.
Questions? Comments? Tell me what you think!