So you or someone you know or somebody they know is planning a wedding and need help coming up with music for the reception and the ceremony. Many people count on the DJ or entertainment to help in this process. Many times the DJ will give you a music sheet or allow you to build a list on their website. Most likely you won't have to build the entire list for the whole reception. As a professional in the business I have some tips and suggestions to help you make it a great evening and help out your DJ or Band.
Whenever planning anything such as a wedding, a party, bar mitzvah, sweet 16, quince, corporate event or school dance keep in mind you're going to be having "guests." Yes, other people that want to enjoy themselves too. So filling a list of 25 songs that only you like may not be the best way to fill your dance floor. Now if you're making a small list of songs for a ceremony it's okay to pick songs just for you. For example many brides will go with songs by the Piano Guys as their per-ceremony music before they officially start or maybe the Vitamin String Quartet. They might pick Chrisina Perri A thousand years for the song the bride is walking down to, or possibly Pachelbel Canon in D which is a great instrumental classical song. Many brides and grooms like picking songs that are instrumentals. You can find many pop songs or country songs on YouTube that are great for walking down the aisle. Maybe you want a song during a candle lighting or sand pouring, a great instrumental would work just fine. Websites such as the Knot or Weddingwire have really great song lists available to choose from. You can even ask your entertainer for suggestions. It's possible that the bride and groom have a sentimental song they enjoy. K Ci & Jojo All my life or Shania Twain from this moment. You will only need about a minute of the song.
You also get to pick an ending song as you walk away. Some fun choices are Stevie Wonder Signed Sealed Delivered, U2 Beautiful Day, Bruno Mars Marry you or something fun. You can get creative with your ending song as this is the "moving to the party song."
Your reception music should comprise of songs that will appeal to a variety of ages. Even guests that are older are enjoying some modern songs such as Robin Thicke Blurred Lines, Bruno Mars Uptown funk, etc. This is also a party for the guests to celebrate the bride and groom, so if they are the only ones on the dance floor and everyone else is sitting down it may not be fun for them. Writing up a music list of all hip hop isn't appealing to Aunt Betty who wants to hear Sister Sledge We are family. A list of 20-25 top songs of your choice will help get people moving. Include the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s music. It's OK to include disco and funk; Wild Cherry Play that funky music, Kool & the gang Celebration, etc. Throw in a couple modern songs Flo Rida Apple bottom jeans, Usher Yeah for the booty shakers out there. Maybe a rock and roll for the older generation; Bob Seger Old time rock & roll or Billy Idol Mony Mony. Include 1-2 slow dances to be played periodically throughout the evening. Not to many though because people get bored when there's to much slow dancing.
One thing brides worry about is, "But what if nobody dances?!" You don't have to include cheesy type songs but possibly an ice breaker song to get the people up who feel funny about actually "dancing." The Cha Cha Slide or the Cupid shuffle are good dances to show people what to do, and more people join that way. You may also want to include a motown style or golden oldies such as Isley Brothers Shout or Rock around the clock, Chuck berry the twist for those people who will be saying "please play an older song."
To sum it all up keep everyone in mind, you don't have to know the exact songs they like but keep your age groups, family and friends attending. Your friend Mike who's 25 most likely won't dance all night to the golden oldies he might enjoy something new and Aunt Betsy doesn't want to hear Snoop Dogg all night either, she might want something from the 70s. You can even call your closest people and ask for 1-2 favorite songs. Happy song hunting and we'll do another part to this post soon.