The music selection was a big part of any wedding reception. In all honesty, this was probably the part of the wedding to have agonized over the most. In what way could you select music that would be liked by your guests, suit the theme of the day, and reflect your taste.
There’s no question that you’ll have to put together a list of songs for your wedding at some point, whether you create your playlist (like I did), hire a DJ, or book a live band. There are countless songs in the world, so this can be challenging! A well-thought-out playlist can keep everyone dancing from the first song to the last.
Upbeat music is an excellent place to start
There’s a lot of time for guests to make their grand entrance at a reception before the “first dance” occurs. While they wait for their tables, the guests mix with their family and friends, and, yes, they dance a little. Wouldn’t it be great if you played some party music to get the party started?
For the first song on your reception playlist, start the evening with an uptempo song to get your guests pumped up. Your guests will want to dance, so you’ll need something to dance to! This tune will help set the mood for the evening! There will be some guests who won’t want to dance, but at least a fun, danceable song will get them bopping in their chairs!
Don’t be concerned about “Originality.”
The couple may worry that their reception playlist will be too basic or overplayed. Everyone looks at the list of popular reception songs and cringes, wondering why on earth anyone would want to listen to “Uptown Funk” for the millionth time? It’s no coincidence those songs were so popular. Everyone wants to hear them.
The personal taste should be reflected in your wedding, just as you should reflect your spouse. Don’t forget to include a few top-40 hits on your playlist! It’s great to dance to a song your guests know well. There’s nothing better than a song they’ve heard before. It’s unnecessary to make your playlist super unique or obscure; in fact, that might turn your guests away.
Embrace all genres
Your wedding will likely bring together people from all walks of life with very different tastes, including childhood friends, relatives, frat brothers, and sorority sisters, as well as people from different professions. Many people may like country music, while others may prefer EDM, while some may listen to hair metal from the 1980s. What can you do to ensure all enjoy your playlist? Make sure that everyone can find something they are interested in.
Playlists shouldn’t be limited to one genre. Don’t limit yourself to one musical genre, but find tunes that cover a wide range! Check out what other wedding songs are popular (or consult a “most popular wedding songs” list online) if you’re hiring a DJ or band. Consider giving a song a listen before you add it to your playlist yourself.
Requests are welcome
What are some other ways to make your guests dance? Find out which songs they love! You can ask your party guests to write down their requests for the DJ or band (or you) on their RSVP cards. You’ll be amazed when your playlist starts to take shape after you receive the cards! This technique ensures everyone listens to a song they like, even if you or your partner add songs to the list.
The “trigger” song, on the other hand, is something I would seriously consider overlooking. There will inevitably be tunes in our lives that trigger memories of something terrible, like a bad relationship or a horrible time in our lives. Do not worry about tossing aside your guests’ RSVP card if they request one of these songs. During your wedding, you have the opportunity to celebrate who you are, what you both have accomplished, and the new life you are beginning. It’s time to move on and let go of the songs that bring back bad memories!
Considering the Flow
There is probably some sense of flow to your DJ or band: when the music is best to simmer down, when to play most dance-worthy tracks, etc. Make sure you figure out your reception timeline (here is a template to help you get started) so that your wedding playlist follows this timeline. However, if you’re making your own wedding playlist, you may not understand how the reception will flow.
During the meal and toasts, you should tone down the mood and be ready to start the party again once they are over. Your wedding reception will be a great time if you choose the right flow and music.
Put the playlist in the hands of the professionals.
You don’t have to choose every single song at your wedding reception. The average reception includes about 50 songs. If you’d like, you can provide your band or DJ with a few essential songs and a “don’t playlist,” but instead of forcing them to pick songs, give them the responsibility of reading your crowd and picking songs accordingly. It would be best if you asked yourself some essential questions. What is your favorite playlist? Is there one that represents you better? Your guests’ experience is more important to you, or vice versa?”
You can dance to your 90’s alternative collection behind closed doors, but it might not be the right music to get the floor moving. Let the DJ do what he or she was hired to do.
Set realistic expectations.
You can drastically affect how many people dance on the dance floor, depending on the size of your wedding guest list. In a small gathering of 60 guests, the dance floor might not remain packed all night. With 200 guests, the dance floor should be full all night long.
Provide an example of good behavior.
There are several reasons why couples aren’t on the dance floor. A couple’s location and their activities attract people’s attention. During cocktail hour and dinner, make sure to catch everyone’s attention, and don’t take too long away from the dance floor (because you can go to the bathroom or rest your feet during the meal). Make sure your wedding party joins you as well – it’s their “job” to enjoy themselves and get their groove on!