Category Archives: wedding play list

Wedding Music Checklist: What do I need?

disco balls from a wedding danceOnce you’ve finalized all the big details, it’s time to move on to planning the fun stuff: wedding music and entertainment. We’ve got a little bit of experience in that area (maybe a bit more…like 6,000+ weddings), so we put together a step-by-step checklist that can help you plan the perfect wedding music and entertainment for your big day.

What music do I need for my wedding?

In a traditional wedding, your wedding music typically follows this format:


___ Prelude

___ Music while parents are seated

___ Processional music for attendants

___ Processional music for bride

___ Recessional


___ Dinner & cocktail background music

___ Wedding party entrance music

___ First dance

___ Father-daughter dance

___ Mother-son dance

___ Bouquet & garter toss songs

___ Dance songs

How do I choose the right music for my wedding?

Your exact wedding playlist depends on the wedding theme or atmosphere you’re planning. The playlist for a vintage wedding with a Roaring 20’s theme is going to be very different than a rustic country wedding. Choosing the right wedding music can be as complicated as planning and executing a do-it-yourself option or as easy as choosing and trusting the right wedding entertainers.

Commonly, the latter option is split between two wedding entertainers: band and wedding DJ. Bands tend to be more expensive but can add to the atmosphere with a unique wedding theme. Wedding DJs are usually more affordable and can craft a playlist unique to your musical tastes (if they don’t, be careful and look for these other signs of a substandard DJ).

Whatever option you choose, understand that your wedding reception is not an isolated event; it’s part of your whole wedding. Choose music that fits with your wedding theme, or contact a DJ or band and give them all the details as you plan (for a seamless day, use a DJ for your ceremony and reception). A high-quality wedding entertainer can give meld the right wedding songs into a playlist that fits your special day—and makes your guests want to stay on the dance floor.

5 Wedding Playlist Mistakes to Avoid

disco balls from a wedding danceYour wedding reception music can either keep your guests on the floor or make them run out the door. We’ve given you tips on crafting the perfect wedding playlists before; now we’re doing the opposite and giving you mistakes to avoid so your wedding reception isn’t a complete flop.

Hiring a DJ who doesn’t customize.

This is your wedding. While there is something to be said for leaving the important decisions to the experts, you should have some input into the songs that are played for your guests.  For example, if you have a traditional German family, you may want some polkas included in your wedding playlist.  Don’t hire a DJ who doesn’t ask for your input.  Those are usually the DJs that use a standard playlist (and can’t even accommodate your guests’ requests!)—and your wedding should be anything but standard. This is your big night; use these questions to vet your DJs and hire the right DJ that creates a custom playlist for your big day.

Not giving your DJ any options.

We all have songs that give us the same sensation as hearing nails on a chalkboard.  That being said, you don’t want to add so many songs to the ‘do not play’ list (yes, your DJ should ask you for this list) that your DJ can’t play any of your guests’ favorite songs.

Putting too many songs on the ‘must play’ list.

Be realistic when you put together your wedding reception playlist.  Ask your DJ how many songs they can play so you’re not disappointed. Give your DJ a list of “we really, really want” and another list of “these songs may or may not get played.”  To ensure that really special songs make it to the top, give your DJ a short explanation of why they are important (and let the DJ know if they can share it at the reception!).

Thinking you can handle it all by yourself.

As much as you think you can handle DIY wedding reception music, think over your decision carefully.  While it’s true you can customize your wedding playlist, you also have to find the time to compile the list, invest in good equipment, and deal with any headaches if your equipment breaks down.  That list doesn’t even include finding someone who is willing to give up a night of fun to run the equipment.

Being too risqué in your music.

As much as you love that song, you don’t want to hear from your friends and family for days and weeks about the songs that traumatized their kids.  For the most part, make sure your music is PG-13 and songs that your guests want to dance too (or hire an excellent wedding DJ that’s done this before).  Trust us, your guests will thank you if you do.

Wedding Playlist: How many songs do I need for my wedding?

guests dancing to wedding djYour wedding playlist should be as uniquely you as the colors you choose and your wedding décor.  You can make that happen (and all the dancing that goes with it) by leaving your wedding playlist in your DJ’s hands.  If you fancy yourself a music aficionado, however, you may want to take more of a hands-on approach to your wedding playlist.

A “typical” wedding playlist (though every wedding is different) includes the following:


  • Prelude
  • Music for seating the parents
  • Processional music for attendants
  • Processional music for bride
  • Recessional


  • Dinner & cocktail background music
  • Wedding party entrance music
  • First dance
  • Father-daughter dance
  • Mother-son dance
  • Bouquet & garter toss songs
  • Dance songs

Once you’ve made a list of what songs you need, use these tips to craft the perfect wedding playlist:

Hire an excellent DJ for your big day.

If you want the best music for your big day, hire the best DJUse these tips to find an experienced DJ that can take your input and run with it. Avoid amateur DJ’s that may sound like a great deal, but can’t offer you necessities for an awesome wedding reception like state-of-the-art equipment (and back-up equipment), a back-up DJ, and all the extras that take your evening to the next level.

Make a list of must-have wedding songs you have to hear

One sign of an excellent DJ?  A DJ that asks for your favorite songs.  Do you have special song that means something to you and your fiance, songs you love to dance to, or a favorite of your parents or friends that you would all love to dance to? Put them down on paper. To make sure your guests hear all their favorite tunes, add a line to your invitations and ask for their requests.

Make a list of songs you DON’T want to hear

Do you have a song you hate with a passion?  Let your DJ know that too (along with this other important information).

Be realistic about the amount of songs that can be played

Remember, there are only so many songs that can be played at your wedding reception.  Usually that number is about 15-20 songs per hour, so don’t be upset if every song on your list can’t be played.