Don’t Bore Your Guests. How To Get Your Wedding Music Playlist Right.


wedding music list
photo credit: Alessandro Baffa via photopin cc
wedding music list
photo credit: Alessandro Baffa via photopin cc

Choosing your wedding music playlist can be fun, but be sure to include your music professional (DJ or bandleader) in the decision making to get the best wedding playlist songs that will really work for your wedding reception. Here are three easy steps to help you make your wedding reception playlist.

1) Split your wedding songs playlist between cocktail music, dinner music and dance music including slow songs and your special traditional songs like First Dance, Cake Cutting, etc. It is common that the dinner will take longer than you expect so be prepared.

wedding music playlist
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2) Make it clear to your wedding DJ or bandleader which songs are “must-haves” wedding song playlist. It is important that the DJ or bandleader knows wedding music list that is must-play. These are the songs that are most important to you. For example; if you definitely need Bruno Mars- Just The Way You Are, because it is your favorite slow song; Black Eyed Peas- I Gotta A Feeling, as the first after dinner dance song and Elvis – Always On My Mind, as a dedication to your Grandparents for their 50th anniversary, then let him know the titles and the artists.  You may also like to hear Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross- Endless Love and Justin Timberlake- Sexy Back but only if there is time to fit it in at some point. This is critical information to communicate to be sure that you and your bride (and your guests) are not disappointed.

wedding playlist songs
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3) How much is the right amount to put on wedding music playlist advance? This is a great conversation to have with your DJ or band. Many couples think that during a five-hour wedding you should pick out five hours of wedding music for the DJ to make sure they are playing what you want. On the surface, this makes sense. The missing detail is that you will be picking out your music BEFORE your wedding. A good DJ will be able to understand your needs from your basic playlist and the conversations you have.  I always suggest choosing between 20-35% of your songs in advance. This will offer the DJ enough information to make excellent choices to fill in the gaps, and more importantly, meet the needs of all your friends and family.  Just as the couple may know their guests personalities, a good DJ can read a crowd, so allow him the freedom and wiggle room to make choices you may not have planned.  Of course, there might be a “never-play-this” list too.

wedding music list
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  • It is normal for the older family members to appreciate different music then the couple. We need to please the elders too. The DJ needs to make certain that there is room for requests without leaving out any of your favorites. That means leaving things off your wedding songs playlist in order to please some others. 
  • Most couples have a decent idea what wedding music their friends and family will like, let’s face it, who knows them better? But, what they listen to and what they like to dance to might be different from the younger guests. Recently I provided music at a wedding for a couple that were in the their forties and they made a comprehensive playlist. The bride chose all the music and her friends liked, all 80’s club songs, but at the wedding her friends were requesting stuff like Usher, Beyonce and Lady GaGa. I approached the couple to get their approval. The bride was totally excited that her friends were interested enough to ask for dance music and she said “Of course!”  Not all couples are able to give that kind of attention to the DJ at their wedding. For this reason, it’s best if the  DJ is given some wiggle room to make experienced decisions based on songs the guests are requesting and responding to.
  • Most DJs and musicians are professionals. Let them do their job. Leave plenty of room for their professional discretion. If you do not feel comfortable with them being able to choose music for your reception, maybe they are not the right band or DJ for you. You should feel confident in their ability and experience to make the right call to facilitate a great party for you and your guests. Trust them as you would any other professional.