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10 Music Ideas for Intimate Weddings

By Kevin McCall on September, 21 2020
Kevin McCall

Create a Dreamy Ambience with These Small Wedding Ideas.

Weddings can cost a pretty penny. From the venue deposit, to catering, to the florist,  music might be the furtherest thing on your mind. If you are looking for ways to cut back on costs and still have an intimate wedding, here are 10 musical ideas for small weddings. 

1. Book a Musician For The Welcome Reception

If you are having guests come from out of town, book a musician at the welcome reception to greet them. This will set the mood right from the start. Check out Mole Street Artist Luke Carlos O’Reilly. The Colombian native, was born with a passion for music. In 2011, Luke independently released his debut solo album, ‘Living In The Now’. The album featured several of his own compositions, as well as a few arrangements on some popular standards. Playing with Luke on the album are several of Philadelphia and Brazils finest musicians. Luke's love for jazz and soul has elevated him to be one of the few consistently in demand pianists and keyboard players in the Philadelphia area. Whether performing as a soloist or a trio, Luke brings a soulful vibe to any atmosphere.

Soulful, jazz music for the welcome reception

 

2. Serenade Your Wedding Party

For the bride and bridesmaids, book a harpist to perform while you are getting your hair, nails, and makeup done. Serenade your closest family and friends while you're being pampered. A harpist like Elizabeth Steiner would be best for this occasion as she can play traditional or contemporary pieces instrumentally in any setting.

Since 2013, Steiner has been the harpist for the luxury hotel The Rittenhouse in Center City Philadelphia and has spent her summers performing at the Siena Music Festival in Siena, Italy and the Saratoga Harp Colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. With over ten years of professional freelance experience, Elizabeth has a wide selection of music at her disposal and is comfortable in any setting playing any style of music. By taking your vision of a perfect repertoire and event details, she will ensure a performance of complete satisfaction.

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Classical harp music to serenade your ceremony 

 

3. Incorporate Live Music In Unexpected Places

With fewer guests at your reception, it allows for more musicians to perform in a stripped down setting without amplification or microphones. You can introduce musical elements during walking paths that will greet guests as they arrive. For example, positioning an a capella group on a grand staircase leading up to the reception. This is something that the team at Mole Street Artists has done in the past. 

4. Go Vintage

Performers that play acoustic instruments like strings, upright bass, classical guitar, and grand piano create a warm ambience. Put a swanky spin on cocktail hour and reception with a jazz quartet

The Vance Camisa Jazz Quartet strives for the best in swing and bebop. They draw heavily on the standards of the 1930s and 1940s, recreating the polished sounds and foot-tapping rhythms of the heyday of jazz. The ensemble will transport you to the glory days of New York’s famous 52nd Street clubs, without any hint of sounding dated or self-conscious. The quartet’s fluidity, enthusiasm for their art and ease with their uncompromised playing style prove the timelessness of good, heartfelt jazz. Hearing the Vance Camisa Jazz Quartet helps one understand why America’s only true art form has sustained universal appeal across the generations.

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Vintage 1930-40s bebop & swing music for cocktails or reception 

 

5. Start The Music Early

Have you ever been to a bar with no music? It’s awkward. Talk to your band leader about getting the music started earlier. You don’t have to wait until your guests arrive for the musicians to begin playing. Whether it’s a DJ throwing on a light mix or a performer playing background music, it is always more inviting for your attendees to walk into a new space already hearing music. 

6. Move The Party Up To Cocktail Hour

With intimate weddings, you can ditch the ceremony—cocktail hour—reception construct and go right from the ceremony to the party without skipping a beat. Have the reception band perform your recessional music and make it a foot-tapping kind of tune and get to the fun stuff!

7. Go Non-traditional With Your Reception Band

Skip the pop hits and 10-piece party bands. Book a soulful act instead that will keep spirits lifted and inspire people to get their feet moving. The Sermon! is an organ soul jazz quartet inspired by vintage music. While vintage describes their tone, The Sermon! is anything but old. This instrumental band performs with great energy and a high level of musicianship that blends perfectly with any event as they transition seamlessly from slinky jazz to high-energy blues-rock. Their dynamic repertoire lends itself well to both cocktail hour and full-on dance party. Book The Sermon! As an instrumental quartet or hire them with a vocalist. Their signature sound includes a Hammond B3 organ and their style consists of black suit & tie. They are well known up and down the east coast, playing regularly in New York City and Philadelphia and some of the hippest jazz clubs in town.

Non-traditional, instrumental-soul music for reception.

 

8. Book An A-list Act

Apps like Cameo have given users a direct line of communication to celebrities more than ever. If downsizing your venue and number of guests is an option, you may be able to open up your music budget for an A-list act. However, you must have the proper budget and technical requirements to their professional standards. Learn more tips from Mole Street Artists’ talent buyer, Sean Timmons from the article A-List Entertainment Booking - Q&A With Sean Timmons. 

9. Continue With Music Through The Goodbye Brunch

The type of artist to play your “goodbye brunch,” should be a performer that can play acoustically with virtually no set up. You will want the performer to blend in and play acoustic classics lightly in the background as your family says their final goodbyes. 

Christopher Davis Shannon’s music brings you back to the time of Tin Pan Alley and early New Orleans Jazz clubs with a repertoire spanning from the 1910's to the 50's. His intricate guitar work and plaintive vocals are infused with soulfulness which cannot be imitated, and a respect for his predecessors which is rarely equaled.  Not content with being called a traditionalist he forges ahead with his own modern take on timeless classics, weaving together a sound that is enjoyed by both young and old. Whether you are looking for light jazz for a cocktail hour or music to get your guest's feet moving, Davis-Shannon is sure to please.

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Laid back, Tin Pan Alley “goodbye brunch” music

 

10. Work With a Booking Agency

Planning a small wedding takes BIG effort. Leave the music coordination up to the professionals. Schedule a call with Sean Timmons to chat about all your wedding needs:

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