The Music Issue


Anika Noni Rose

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Photo by Adonye Jaja Photography

Letter from the Editor

Gabriella Rello Duffy, Editor's Letter Image

Photo by Abby Jiu Photography / Design by Tiana Crispino

In the almost ten years that I’ve spent writing about the wedding industry (I took my first official job at Brides in October of 2013!), there’s one fear that I’ve heard couples express over and over again: “I’m scared my guests won’t have fun at the wedding.” When I was engaged and planning my own wedding, I felt it, too. You spend countless hours finalizing all of the details, and you’re likely writing checks for bigger sums than you ever have before—you want all that time, effort, and money to be “worth it” in the end.

Our cover star, Tony Award-winning vocalist Anika Noni Rose, says she also had this fear before her wedding to Jason Dirden. “That was the one thing I actually worried about,” she admits to me. “I said, ‘I want people to have fun. I don't want it to be stuffy.’ And I think the best way to mitigate that is to put yourself into the day and to hire musicians you know will set the party on fire.” I would give the exact same piece of advice to anyone in the thick of planning: Whether you want a band or a DJ, hire an expert who you trust implicitly. You’ll give guidance in the form of a must-play and do-not-play list, but it’s ultimately up to the professionals to keep the party moving; being too involved in the final curation of the playlist can actually take away from their ability to do their job well. On my wedding day, my band read the room and played song after song that kept everyone—and I mean everyone—on the dance floor.

If you want to throw a truly fun wedding, thinking about the music for the entire day is key, and this digital issue is devoted to that very topic. From celebrity first dance songs to inspire your own newlywed twirl to practical advice on budgeting for, booking, and working with musicians and so much more in between, you’ll find absolutely everything you need to know about wedding music here.

— Gabriella Rello Duffy, Editorial Director

Cover Story

Anika Noni Rose and Jason Dirden Wedding Portrait

Anika Noni Rose and Jason Dirden’s Colorful Los Angeles Wedding

If there’s one thing actress and vocalist Anika Noni Rose knows well, it’s the importance of timing. Whether it’s hitting her marks on stage, holding tempo in a song, perfectly delivering a line in her latest show Let the Right One In, or falling in love, timing matters. Anika first met fellow actor Jason Dirden in 2014 when both were cast in the Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun. “We wer...

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Coming Together

Finding Your Tempo

Making Music

Background Image Flowers and Jewelry

The Moment

Anika Noni Rose and Jason Dirden Photograph

"Jason really wanted a tandem bike for our wedding. We love to ride bikes together, and we've ridden them in lots of different places—New York City, the pier in Venice, through Amsterdam. It was very fun and romantic, and it allowed us to share something about the two of us as a couple with the people we love."

— Anika Noni Rose