No products in the cart.

Best Music for a Romantic and Intimate Wedding

t’s no secret that many talented musicians call New Orleans home. Whether it’s catching big names like Trombone Shorty or Jon Batiste, a second line popping up throughout the city or any number of buskers on Bourbon Street, music is a way of life in the Crescent City. While DJs and bands always are a good choice for weddings and receptions, soloists add a touch of romanticism that just can’t be replicated by thumping beats or larger ensembles. Here are a few highly rated local musicians to consider for upcoming nuptials. 

Musical Notes
Robin Barnes

Robin Barnes, AKA The Songbird of New Orleans

Singer, songwriter and performer Robin Barnes (also known as The Songbird of New Orleans) began playing tambourine with her father’s jazz band at the age of six and quickly discovered her passion for music. In 2016, she received a No. 5 debut on the Traditional Jazz Albums Billboard charts. In addition to singing at the MTV India Music Summit in Jaipur and performing the national anthem at the 2019 Sugar Bowl, Barnes has been seen on ESPN, BET, NCIS and Bravo. She also has received high acclaim from The New York Times, Forbes, Marie Claire, Travel & Leisure, Yahoo! Music and more, while also entertaining music royalty such as Rod Stewart, Herbie Hancock and Marcus Miller during her residency at New Orleans’ Windsor Court Hotel Polo Club Lounge. Her current sound — a unique blend of  jazz, funk and soul — can be heard in both her original songs as well as in renditions of popular songs and contemporary classics. She has performed with the full band (Robin Barnes & The Fiya Birds) for receptions, has learned specific songs for first dances and has performed as a duo or trio for ceremonies. robinbarnesmusic.com

Sean Huddleston

Guitarist and music teacher Sean Huddleston has been playing in wedding ceremonies for more than 10 years. He studied classical guitar and music composition at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and he currently resides in Opelousas with his wife and new baby. Available for New Orleans weddings, Huddleston plays prelude music while the guests arrive, the ceremony music and one song after the ceremony for the recessional. “Solo guitar music (with amplification) gives a wedding ceremony a feeling of sweetness, simplicity and intimacy,” he says. “Brides and grooms can request any new songs they want, and I will arrange them for guitar or look up a version that will work for me. I want the ceremony music to reflect the bride and groom, and the family members’ unique musical tastes, so I give them time to think about what music is special to them.” seanplaysweddings.com

Musical Notes
Lauren Lewandowski

Lauren Lewandowski

Pianist and harpist Lauren Lewandowski graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with a Bachelor of Music degree in piano pedagogy and a Master of Music degree in piano performance. She has run a successful piano studio for more than 15 years. But, as much as she loves piano, Lewandowski started harp lessons after college and fell in love with the instrument. For weddings, she plays elegant, romantic music for 30 minutes before the ceremony. She also plays for elements such as the bridal party’s procession, the bridal entrance and any other special moments during the ceremony. She can play classical wedding repertoire in addition to pop music. Lewandowski also is happy to take requests so that the music choices are special and personal to the couple. 225-266-7218, pianowithlauren.com

Alicia Renee, AKA Blue Eyes

From her first performance in “The Wiz” musical in middle school, Alicia Renee (also known as Blue Eyes and the Gem of the Vieux Carre) has gone on to sing at venues all over the world, including La Scène in Paris, the Jazz Café in London, the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland and the world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. She also was featured in the 2022 five-time Grammy Award-winning Jon Batiste music video, “Freedom.” She performs music in different genres, from jazz (such as Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong) to soul (such as Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey). She also sings opera, and in French and Spanish. For weddings, she can perform as a soloist with a pianist or with a small band (such as a trio or quartet). She also is always happy to honor requests and suggestions for the choice of songs. linktr.ee/bluuwise

Amanda Shaw 

Cajun fiddle queen, veteran live performer and Louisiana Music Hall of Fame inductee Amanda Shaw is a regular performer at major festivals like the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and French Quarter Festival. Her unique sound — an energetic mix of Cajun music with a pop sensibility — has led to high critical acclaim. She signed with Rounder Records in 2006 and released her first album, “Pretty Runs Out,” under the new label. “Good Southern Girl” was the follow-up album, released under Poorman Mayfield Music, a record label co-founded by New Orleans jazz legend Irvin Mayfield. In the spring of 2022, Opry Network’s The Southern Weekend enlisted Shaw’s talents as host, exposing her to a national audience. Over the years, Shaw has collaborated with many music legends, including Charlie Daniels, Cyndi Lauper and Michael Franti. Today, Shaw has six studio albums and several EPs under her belt, and she continues to write and record music with an ever-deepening respect for Cajun music. amandashaw.com

Nell Simmons

Known for her soaring vocals and soulful stage presence, native New Orleanian and vocalist Nell Simmons auditioned for American Idol in 2004, embarked on a theater musical opportunity for “Dreamgirls” in New Orleans and recorded music in New York City. She currently tours with Trombone Shorty in the United States and the United Kingdom, and she has appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “Good Morning America.” Simmons loves performing at weddings, and she describes her repertoire as a mix of R&B, soul and jazz, influenced with a hint of pop. She offers an acoustic three-piece band for smaller ceremonies and other intimate events, such as cocktail hours. 202-5497, nellsmusiq.squarespace.com

Ashley Toman

Ashley Toman started playing the harp and studying music at the age of 14 in Traverse City, Michigan. Three years later, she was accepted to the prestigious Eastman School of Music where she earned both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in harp performance. Toman’s career as a freelance harpist has taken her all over the United States and Europe. She performed twice daily as the harpist in residence at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan, for five seasons, which gave her an opportunity to build up a versatile and expansive repertoire covering many genres of music. Since moving to Louisiana, Toman has appeared with the Louisiana Philharmonic and Baton Rouge Symphony. She also has recorded with Ani DiFranco, and she is the harpist seen and heard in the Tarantino film “Django Unchained” as well as the 2013 film “Repentance.” Today, she performs for wedding ceremonies and other events across southeastern Louisiana. “I can accommodate any genre of music requested,” she says. “Every once in awhile, I will have a client who feels shy about asking me for a special request song that might seem out of the ordinary for the harp, but no request is too out there.” ashleytoman.com

Digital Sponsors

Become a MyNewOrleans.com sponsor ...