Kaylin Lee Clinton is the lead singer of Blue Opal Jazz, a New York City-based jazz band made up of world-class musicians. They combine vintage American and French influences, and their unique musical performances elevate the ambiance of every event they do and they are perfect for a couple looking for a classy affair! She was a guest on our podcast, Love Stories Radio, where we asked her your music-related wedding questions and have compiled quick hits of all her answers below! Listen to her episode to get the full responses and even more great info and inspo!
How do you know what band fits your specific wedding day? Do we go by our theme or venue?
If you have a specific theme you're leaning toward, you can definitely start there. However, if it's just costume-specific, that could always change, so you should ultimately find someone whose sound you like and who you like working with.
Any tricks to affording a band while still staying on budget?
Just ask! There are so many DJs who are as expensive, if not more expensive, than a live band. Don't be ashamed to say, "Hey, this is our budget, can you work with that?" Also, look for independent bands because there are very large companies that represent a lot of bands and you're not necessarily just paying for the music in this case, but their Manhattan office, the staff, etc.
What kind of music do we play during all the different parts of a ceremony?
Definitely ask your band for suggestions. If you don't have something in mind, they probably do. I say one song for the processional, one song for the bride and one song when the ceremony is done is plenty. If you want to have some music going while your guests are being seated, leave that up to your musicians. In terms of what to play, simply choose songs that are important to you. Even if you only have two musicians, you can turn a pop song into a beautiful instrumental.
How do I have more traditional ceremony music if I'm not at a church? I'd love a pianist and cellist to play, but our venue doesn't have a piano on site.
Most places don't have a piano on-site and, if they do, it's not necessarily tuned! Inquire with the space to see what they can provide or ask a pianist if they can bring a keyboard (professionals will have one!). A keyboard and flute is a great combo. I wouldn't worry about not being able to have piano music without an actual piano.
Is it rude to have a do-not-play list?
Absolutely have a do-not-play list! It's helpful, it's not rude! You're paying for it so if you don't want to hear the Cha Cha Slide, tell them. And if there are songs you DO want to hear, share that as well. Just make sure you tell the band so they have enough time to prepare because they may need to learn how to play your favorite song if it's not already in their repertoire. Just remember, you don't need to come up with a whole playlist. You can just give a do-not-play list and a few requests.
How do we find a compromise between our very different musical styles while still playing music for everyone?
If you have a band that has a diverse repertoire, pick some songs your partner likes, pick some songs that you like and let the band fill in the blanks. It will all wind up going by so fast anyway!
My dad and I are both really awkward so the father-daughter dance is going to be pretty excruciating for us both. Any advice for songs that will make it go by a little quicker or that won't be obvious if they're cut short?
I picked a tearjerker ballad for my father-daughter dance and my dad was really awkward because he was trying to figure out what ballroom steps to do, while I kept saying, "Just stand and sway!" Most songs can be shortened by fading out after intro, verse, chorus, which is about a minute long. You can also pick something that's light and even funny just to lift the mood and the pressure.
Is it a waste of money to have live music when we're eloping?
Definitely not! Surround yourselves with the things that are important to you. If having live music speaks to your heart, then absolutely have it. In fact, if there's any detail that comes to your mind and makes you smile when planning your day, you're only cheating yourself if you don't do it.
Has everyone ever not hired a band or DJ and regretted it?
Don't go into debt for your wedding. That being said, if you can, don't skimp on the music. You're not going to want to be messing with a computer or your phone to play music on your wedding day. That goes for any aspect of the day. There are things that can be DIY'd and there are things that, if you can have people handle it for you, have people handle it for you.
We're having an outdoor wedding—what do we need to know logistically if we have live music?
The biggest thing is having a connection to power. Unless you're having a tiny wedding, you're going to need to amplify your sound. You also need a rain plan so the musicians and their instruments know they will be covered if it suddenly starts raining.
Listen to her full episode here: