Congratulations on your engagement – and congratulations for choosing the coolest musical theme this side of New Orleans! Jazz is the ever enduring, ever evolving art form that champions individuality and forward thinking – and since you two are your own people, and you’re looking forward to a bright future together, there’s no better musical style to suit your wedding. There’s far more to jazz than squealing trumpets and breakneck swing rhythms – it can be uplifting, subdued, inclusive, personal, or all of these and more – so we’re going to break down which styles and arrangements would best score each stage of your big day, starting with…
Solo Acoustic Guitarist for the Prelude
You want people to arrive at your wedding in a state of hushed excitement – after all, they’re going to have to keep it down during the ceremony! – so you need music that’s going to reflect this. We’d recommend a solo jazz guitarist for this particular duty, either gently strumming through some jazz standards or picking out the melodies to some favourite love songs. ‘Take Five’ is a great standard which translates well to solo guitar, and a jazzy solo rendition of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ or Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ will make your guests think, as well as well up!
Jazz Pianist for the Processional
A jazzy take on the traditional church organist (although jazz organists can also be found to perform on the in-house instrument), have a pianist play you their creative reinterpretations of ‘Bridal Chorus’ by Wagner or ‘Canon in D’ by Pachelbel. Colouring those chords beneath familiar melodies blue will give your processional an unexpected and welcome edge.
Jazz Trio for the Recession
A pianist, double bass player and drummer are all you need to give your guests the get up and go. Once you’ve tied the knot, it’s time for you to depart, and if drums are good enough to keep a marching band moving, they’ll do just fine for you too! Jazz trios tend to be instrumental, and make full use of their seemingly limited resources – anything from long moody jams to fast frenetic bursts. ‘Fly Me To the Moon’ and ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ have recognizable enough melodies for your guests to enjoy them without the singing part, but it’s that extra bit of rhythm from the drums and bass that’ll signal to your guests that it’s time to go. They call it a walking bass line for a reason!
Rat Pack Singers for the Meal
What better way to send you tasty food down than to some smooth crooning? Songs made popular by Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr and Ol’ Blue Eyes Frank Sinatra himself are considered today to be all-time classics, in no small part due to the velvety tone of voice they’re delivered in and the lilting way they follow the melody. And you just know that the crooner you hire for your wedding is going to go all out with the look, as well as the sound, that we so closely associate with their forefathers. Ratpack songs such as ‘That’s Amore’ or ‘The Candyman’ are upbeat ditties that are even, on some level, about food!
Jazz Singer for the First Dance
For maximum feels, hire a jazz singer to bring the love song you’ve chosen for your first dance to life. No other genre of singing comes close to the emotional and technical richness a professional jazz singer is capable of! We’d suggest hiring a jazz singer with live accompaniment for your first dance; something along the lines of a guitarist or pianist, to give it that personal touch. The intimacy of a stripped down performance plus the musical interplay between your singer and player is the perfect reflection of you two as a couple sharing your first dance together.
Big Band or Swing Band for the Reception
Nothing creates a sense of occasion quite like a big band. The bigger the better! Your reception is the part of your wedding where everyone is allowed to let their hair down and boogie, so you’re going to want some exuberant tunes with danceable rhythms – everything that big band music is! Consider this your grand finale, complete with a brass section, backing singers and with any luck some onstage dancing to show your guests how it’s done. Swing rhythms that your guests won’t be able to help to sway from side to side to include: ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’, ‘Moonlight Serenade’, ‘Mack the Knife’ and the theme from ‘New York, New York’. Make sure you watch out for any elderly guests