Our 10 Person Band (each played separately)

My fiance and I came to our first prolonged discussion about our wedding when we broached the ultimate question: band vs DJ. As you may remember, the DJ won.  We want out reception to feel like a hot night-club/lounge in the city and we think our bi-lingual (Polish-English) DJ will deliver exactly that!  Despite this, we’ve hired some live musicians along the way to supplement our special day.

My fiance and I met because of our connection to Africa; We spent two years in the Peace Corps in Africa, and I spent another year working there the year after graduate school.  In fact, Dave proposed to me in Africa when he came to visit me that year!  So we knew early on that adding African elements to our wedding was a MUST.  One of the ways we are highlighting our love for and in Africa is through out music.   Instead of the iPod, we’ve hired 3 African drummers to play during cocktail hour.  They will be jamming in the atrium for an hour while guests sip or chardonnay and champagne.

Ajoite playing at Chicago Festival

Because our wedding is an industrial style building, I was getting anxious that our guests might think they were in the wrong place upon arrival.  I have been racking my brain trying to figure out creative ways to highlight our entrance with either balloons, florals, or signs until it hit me – what about a lone sax player!?  What could be a more appropriate on Blues Fest weekend than a fantastic Chicago sax player greeting you at the door?  We are thrilled that the amazing Skinny Williams has agreed to play as guests enter our venue.

Skinny Williams and band playing Oye Coma Va

Finally, since our ceremony mass will be bi-lingual, in Polish and English, we’ve hired a festive 5-piece Polish folk band to play joyous music as we walk out of the church and greet all our guests.

Polish Highlander Folk Band (Disclaimer: this is not the group we’ve hired)

So that makes 10 musicians (including our DJ).  We think the three supplemental segments of live music will add more ambiance and decor to our wedding than flowers would, so that’s why decided to forego flowers entirely (except for bouquets and our DIY centerpieces).

* tip:  contact music conservatories and local music shops that offer lessons, for remarkable musicians with affordable rates for shorter gigs.  Great resources I contacted in Chicago were the Chicago Jazz Conservatory, Columbia College School of Music and Old Town School of Folk Music.

What music decisions have you made?