Your Guide To Wedding Reception Music

bride and groom dancing with guest at wedding reception

3 Types of Wedding Music For Your Wedding Reception

The music you play at your wedding is extremely important, as it’s a reflection of the two of you as a couple, as well as the type of wedding reception you will have. The music played at your wedding reception is the soundtrack to the biggest party of your life.

When considering types of wedding music for your reception, it is helpful to think about the evening as three distinct segments:

This allows you to consider different music genres that would fit each part of the evening. Let’s break down each musical part of the wedding reception timeline.

1. Cocktail Hour Music 

The cocktail hour is a great time to play some of your favorite songs & get creative. While it may be normal to play light jazz or standards, there is no rule that you must follow that trend. If you love acoustic artists, they make a great soundtrack to the mingling of your guests. If you’re looking to keep the mood upset, you can start the evening off with your favorite tunes from the 80s. Anything goes for your cocktail hour.

Stuck on what to play? That’s where a professional wedding DJ can help you create the perfect playlist.

2. Dinner Service Music 

During dinner service, many couples opt for instrumental music so guests can still have conversations without having to compete with the music. As dinner service begins to wind down, consider adding more upbeat songs to your playlist to get guests excited to hit the dance floor. Few ideas:

  • Electronic / EDM
  • Oldies & Motown
  • Alternative rock ballads

3. Dancing! 

Most receptions will open with traditional wedding dances:

  • First dance for the couple
  • Family dances with parents
  • Bridal party dance

Once these wrap up, your guests will be invited to join you on the dance floor. It is important to work with your wedding DJ and let them know if you have any must-playtry to play, and do not play songs. While it may be tempting to try to plan out every song for the night, it is highly advised to let the pros do their thing. A professional DJ is skilled at reading the crowd, selecting the best song to play next, and keeping your party going.  They will know how to correctly weave in and out of many different styles of music and, ultimately, keep the party going all night long.

7 Tips For Building Your Wedding Reception Playlist

bride and groom dancing to wedding reception music

1. Hiring an experienced wedding DJ gives you leverage as to what is played, but you’re still going to need to make lists, and talk with your fiance before completing final plans with the disc jockey.

2. As a couple, decide what you must hear, would like to hear, and do not want to be played. Your DJ can guide you through the decisions and advise on the latest reception wedding music trends.

3. While creating a playlist for the entire reception may be tempting, it is best to provide the DJ with a framework and allow his expertise to keep your party moving.

4. Incorporate music into your wedding reception that you know your family and guests will enjoy. Many couples ask the DJ to play their parent’s wedding song during the evening so they can share a special dance.

5. Be specific when you are requesting a particular song to be played; include the name of the artist.

6. As you select your wedding reception music, it’s also important to consider what songs may alienate your guests. A skilled DJ can work in music from the past several decades and turn your wedding reception into a real dance party.

7. If you would like specific religious or traditional ethnic songs played at your reception, you will want to have a detailed conversation with your DJ regarding this music. For example, many Jewish couples choose to have the Hora song played at the grand entrance. Polish families often enjoy a polka during the wedding reception. Discuss your unique requests with the DJ to have the wedding reception you’ve always dreamed of.

End Your Wedding Reception on a High Note

It’s no secret that music can make or break a party. For a truly unforgettable wedding reception, you’ll want to choose the perfect last-dance wedding songs to end the party. According to our professional wedding DJs, the last song can put an exclamation point on the end of a terrific night. However, deciding the last song of the night before your wedding day has even arrived can be like calling the last play of a football game before it has even started. You don’t know what is going to be happening at the end and who will be there, so it is best to have a few options in mind. Our wedding DJs shared their favorite ways to end your wedding reception.

packed dance floor at wedding reception

Slow Song

If there are a lot of couples left at the end of the night and everyone is pretty tired out from the long day of partying, ending the night on a slow song can be fitting. It is usually wise to pick something that all generations will know. You want everyone there together dancing at the end.

Sing Alongs

Playing a group favorite that’s easy to sing along to can be a fun way of ending the night. Once again bridging the generation gap can be essential if you want to have people from all age groups dancing until the end. Some guest favorite sing-along songs are “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond, “Friends In Low Places” by Garth Brooks, and “Piano Man” by Billy Joel.

Leave Them Wanting More

If you have a crowd that is just tearing it up at the end of the night, there is no sense in putting ice in the boiling water. It is best to just let it flow and end on a high note. It could be your favorite club song that everybody knows or your wedding reception favorite.

“The Grease Megamix” by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta is always a fantastic song that your guests will be singing all the way home.

Ask The Professionals

If you cannot think of anything to have played at the end, the disc jockey usually has something good in his back pocket to finish the night. That is what he gets paid for. Experienced disc jockeys have played hundreds of weddings and know how to finish it right due to their years in the business. Many times there is a great song that a guest had requested that just did not fit in earlier and yet makes the perfect last dance wedding song.

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