Many things go into creating the right mood at your wedding reception, the decor and lighting are obvious examples, but often overlooked is the choice of music! It’s important for the DJ to not only play songs that you and your partner love, but also songs that will resonate with the whole crowd. Many couples make the mistake of handing a huge list of their favorite songs to the DJ and saying “just play these, in this order, thanks”. But that’s forgetting the most important people at your wedding (besides you of course)….your guests!

I often advise couples to make 3 lists for their DJ prior to the wedding day. First a “Must Play” list which should include the biggies like your first dance song, and father-daughter dance song, and also some of your absolute favorites that you know you’ll want to dance the night away to. Next, an “Absolutely Do Not Play List” which should include any songs you despise such as for example the Chicken Dance, or the Macarena, or the Electric Slide, etc.  Also make sure to let your DJ know that the songs on this list are not to be played under ANY circumstances, even if people request them. Other songs you may want to add to this list are songs that remind you of past relationships since those might be a bit awkward to hear at your wedding reception. Finally, put together a “Possibly Play” list of songs that you both like and certainly wouldn’t mind hearing. You can even get some requests from close family and friends to add. This will help the DJ get an idea of the styles of music you prefer and what kind of crowd he’ll be playing to.

Once you’ve handed off your lists, leave it up to the professional! Wedding DJ’s work hundreds of wedding receptions and they know which songs typically get tons of folks on the dance floor and which songs will clear it quickly. Even if you may not love oldies music, it’s usually a big hit with the older crowd. The best parties I’ve seen include a wide range of music, usually some jazz and Sinatra during the dinner hour, followed by really well known songs to get the crowd up and dancing, then a good mix of oldies, classic rock, and current top 40 hits, followed by some hip hop and more pop hits towards the end of the evening. DJ’s are also great at reading a crowd and taking note of which songs seem to be working and which aren’t, so trust the person you’ve hired to do their job and you’re sure to have happy guests and happy memories.

What music will be playing at our wedding reception? (which is now in less than 100 days by way and I’m starting to have panic attacks, but I digress). LOTS of Bruce Springsteen! Not only is he my favorite musician but many of Brian’s relatives are from NJ and are big fans as well. I also love most classic rock hits and pretty much anything that can be defined as “pop” music. Brian loves Pearl Jam so I’m sure there will be some of that as well. We also have to include some country music since we are in Nashville! And finally, I will definitely request Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On a Prayer” because for some reason I always smile when I hear that song at wedding receptions…it just makes me happy. 🙂 Stay tuned as next week I’ll let you in on some of our plans for the ceremony music!

What songs do you love to hear at wedding receptions?