If there’s one thing you can expect from the wedding of a Tony Award-winning singer and her music-loving husband, it’s great music. And that’s exactly what Anika Noni Rose and Jason Dirden’s October 16, 2022, ceremony and reception delivered. From the ceremony prelude to the last song of the night, the bride and groom (along with their talented string quartet, vocalist, and DJ) ensured that every number performed or played on the big day added to the overall guest experience.
Here, Anika and Jason share eight important moments from their wedding day and the songs that accompanied them.
Ceremony Prelude Music
As guests gathered for the ceremony, DreamPlug Quartet performed a mix of classical and contemporary music, including songs like Handel’s “Alla Hornpipe,” Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune,” Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik,” and Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.”
Jason and Groomsmen’s Ceremony Entrance Song
The ceremony kicked off with an entrance from Jason and his groomsmen. The men all walked down the aisle to a rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Knocks Me Off My Feet” performed by the string quartet.
Anika and Bridesmaids’ Ceremony Entrance Song
When it was time for Anika’s bridesmaids, followed by the bride herself, to make their way down the aisle, DreamPlug Quartet pulled out a classic before transitioning into something more modern. What began as Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” ultimately shifted into H.E.R and Daniel Caesar’s “Best Part” for Anika’s entrance, which was sung by vocalists Bianca McClure and Chrys Ryan.
Anika and Jason’s Ceremony Recessional Song
Once the newly-minted Mr. and Mrs. Dirden shared their first married kiss, DreamPlug Quartet struck up their version of Stevie Wonder’s “As” for the happy couple’s recessional.
Anika and Jason’s First Dance Song
For their first dance, Anika and Jason worked with a professional to choreograph a first dance to Nora Jones’ “Come Away With Me,” but it was ultimately a rendition performed by the bride herself that played on the big day. One day before the wedding, while a flurry of activity was happening at their home, Anika snuck away to record her own version of the tune, which has always been important to the couple; Jason thought she was doing press for her show, Let the Right One In. “The only other person who knew that this was happening was the DJ,” Anika says. “I saw the moment Jason realized it was me singing.”
Father-Daughter and Mother-Son Dances
In honor of her father’s Cape Verdean roots, Anika and her dad shared a dance to “Balancé” by Sara Tavares. Next, Jason and his mother took to the dance floor while Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” played.
Hiring an amazing DJ to read their group was important to Anika and Jason, and they entrusted George 2.0 with the job. Their instincts were right, and the DJ kept guests dancing all night long. "Church" by Samm Henshaw was one of the bride's favorite songs of the entire night. "It always gets people up and moving," she says. "He's one of our favorite new artists." Other hits? “Look, ‘Back That Azz Up’ is a full bop! Still! It never fails to get people on the floor,” Anika says. Eventually, the bride and groom say that their DJ had to usher guests inside—local noise ordinances meant there was a hard cutoff time for outdoor amplified sound, but family members and friends were having too much fun for the party to end, so dancing continued inside the estate. Other favorite songs of the night? The bride and groom say “That’s What I Like” by Bruno Mars, “Levitating” by DuaLipa, and “Bad Mama Jamma” by Carl Calton were unequivocal hits. “We really wanted a mix of current and classic bops because we wanted our parents to be able to recognize and enjoy the music as well as our friends,” Anika says.
Last Song of the Night
To close out the night, George 2.0 played “I Only Have Eyes for You” by The Flamingos. “I’ve always loved this song, and the meaning is self explanatory,” Anika says.