Putting together your wedding reception playlist may not seem like the most important part of your planning endeavors, but once you're finalizing the reception and getting ready to sit down with your DJ, you'll start singing a different tune. See what I did there? Haaa, cleverness. But seriously, if music is an integral part of your ceremony and the following party, you'll really want to spend time on this. It's something you can discuss with your partner at random moments – while you're hanging out on the couch, over dinner, lying in bed – and it's worth doing it early. If you need some help getting started, never fear – putting together your wedding reception playlist will be ever so much easier if you consider these tips.
1. Stay True to You
In putting together your wedding reception playlist, you have to stay true to you. Don't, for instance, play a lot of light jazz or adult contemporary if it's not your thing. Don't stick to country music because it fits in with the demographic of your guests. You'll want to absolutely consider your guests, which we'll get to in a moment, but this is your reception, and you want to enjoy dancing the night away to music you love.
2. And Your Partner Too
Well. It's your reception, yes, but it's your partner's reception as well. Make sure you consider your beloved's tastes too, and let him or her pick out songs or artists that mean a lot. The playlist needs to showcase your tastes as individuals and as a couple.
That being said, you may hate each other's favorite artists or genres. Heather and I are extremely lucky, because our tastes in music are incredibly similar. We like most of the same songs and artists, and we agree on which songs best showcase our relationship. Still, there are some compromises involved – she has to have a little Hanson, I have to have a little Dave Matthews. Be willing to compromise with your partner, even if it means listening to music you don't necessarily love. You're both involved here, and you both need to be happy.
4. Include Some Classics
Of course, there are classic songs you should include, well-loved songs in general and tunes that are just made for weddings. Throw some of those in for the mix, especially if there are any family favorites that you know will please your guests. We've ruled out the Chicken Dance and the Macarena, but you can bet there'll be some “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” and maybe some “Blue Moon,” too.
5. Look for the Jams
Similarly, make sure you include some classic dance jams and club beats. I suggest some Marky Mark myself. Google “dance jams” if you aren't sure about some of the classic '80s and '90s numbers, but feel free to include more recent favorites as well. Just make sure it has a good beat and you can dance to it. On the subject of compromise? I totally scored “Cotton-Eye Joe.”
6. Make It Appropriate
I'm not even going to tell you not to include rap, R&B, and hip hop if you enjoy those genres. We're playing tons of Eminem and Placebo – but no “FACK” or “Post Blue.” Especially if there are a lot of older relatives and/or children at your reception, you'll want to keep the music more or less appropriate. Try not to include any really raunchy tunes. You can always find alternative favorites, or even clean radio edits of the songs you can't live without.
7. Add Some Parental Love
Why not ask your parents what they danced to at their own weddings? Including those songs on your wedding reception playlist is a lovely tribute. I'm making sure we play “Free Bird” in honor of my parents. Yes. “Free Bird.” They got married in 1980! Ask your parents – and if your grandparents are attending, ask them as well. This is also a lovely gesture if you want to honor a loved one who's no longer with you.
8. Find Diverse Beats
Now, although I said you shouldn't primarily play any genres you don't like, it never hurts to be diverse. Throw in a few songs from different genres, just to ensure a great mix. Play some country, a little rap or hip hop, some soul, some classic rock, and some pop. You don't have to devote the majority of your playlist to genres you don't like, you're just looking for diversity.
9. Get the Guests Involved
If you like, when you send your invitations, you can include an insert card asking guests to send you their favorite songs. You might decide to include those in your playlist! If that's a little too time-consuming (or expensive – inserts can cost a lot!), then simply invite your guests to give the DJ their requests at the ceremony.
Above all else, if you and your partner are pleased with your music selection, that's all that matters. You should of course think about what your guests will like, and if you choose to include them or let them make their own requests, that will be awesome. Make sure you choose songs that mean a lot to both of you, and songs that define your relationship. How did you (or will you) put together your playlist? Did any particular songs or artists feature heavily?