Setting the Soundtrack


Emily Sullivan has been planning weddings for more than 13 years. Many of the weddings she plans are for out-of-towners who want New Orleans destination weddings, but regardless of origin, she notes that wedding guests in New Oreans have particularly high expectations for two elements in particular: food and music.

In a city known for its music, many couples opt for a live band or instrumentalist to perform during the ceremony. As most people who have attended a wedding in recent years will note, it’s no longer quite as common to play the traditional Wagner “Bridal Chorus” (aka “Here Comes The Bride”) or Pachelbel’s Canon before exchanging vows. Sullivan notes that a number of her clients have chosen more contemporary songs, ranging from The Beatles to Coldplay.

As second lines are a common occurrence after a ceremony in New Orleans, many couples hire a local brass band to give the guests that extra dash of Big Easy flavor.

Michael Taylor, who performs with The Phunky Monkeys, says his band performs at both receptions and ceremonies. With a 10-member group, he says that lighting and equipment is another crucial element.

“Be sure to choose entertainment that can possibly create the best memory of the day,” he says. He also echoes Sullivan’s sentiment that the food and music should be the priority.

“… Music and food are the two things people remember most about a reception in the years to follow,” says Taylor. “If you can have great food and great entertainment that suits you and your guests, it makes for a winning combination.”

According to William “Chuck” Credo IV of the eponymous talent agency, who represents a popular local group, The Mixed Nuts,
“It’s crucial to make sure you deal with an experienced band leader who knows the ins and outs of every type of wedding style.”  Some couples request a traditional experience; others want a “giant club rave.”

“Each client is different, each wedding is different, and it’s important to know how to perform at all of the above.”

“Our clients are trending away from line dances, money dances, and any sort of wedding party dance,” he says. Additionally, he says that most of his clients want a small amount of ballads as well.

“They want the energy to stay up all night,” he notes.

Above all, Sullivan says that in the age of social media, many couples strive to be one-of-a-kind and stay “on brand” as a couple. Taylor says that it’s important to remember it’s not only about the couple, but also about what the guests want to hear.

“People want a wide variety from the ‘50s up to contemporary music,” he says. “Every genre is desired at receptions.”

Taylor, who has performed with The Phunky Monkeys for seven years, says variety is important, especially given that the guests are likely to range in age and interests.

Above all else, he says be true to yourselves as a couple.

 “First dances are very personal and we have received a huge variety of choices,” he says.

“We try to find out what the bride and groom and their friends are into. Then we add some classics for the older people. The combination works all the time. Don’t be afraid to try to learn special songs for the bride and groom. They really appreciate the effort to make their day even more special for them.”



First Dance
“Perfect” by Ed Sheeran
“No One” by Alicia Keys
“Maybe I’m Amazed”
by Paul McCartney

Father-Daughter Dances
“Daughter” by Loudon Wainwright III
“Father Daughter”
by Paul Simon
“My Little Girl”
by Tim McGraw

Mother-Son Dances
“Forever Young”
by Rod Stewart
“Forever Young”
by Bob Dylan




Save the date for our January Bridal Show, Jan. 21 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. Click here for tickets and more information




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