Have you ever walked into a party where no music is playing? Awkward, right!?
Few things affect an event more than the music, yet many couples don’t go much further when planning their wedding music than choosing music for special moments like their grand entrance and first dance. There’s nothing wrong with taking time to find the right songs for those moments, but it’s actually what’s playing the rest of the time that will have the biggest impact on your guest experience… so it’s worth putting some thought into!
A great DJ or band will be able to tailor their selections to your wedding, so it may be worthwhile to ask them about how they personalize their service before you choose who to hire. Whether you give suggestions of a genre or ‘vibe’ you’re going for or you give specific songs, your musicians should be able to fill in the blanks to make it sound just right.
If you’re DIYing your wedding music, a little bit of time and thought can make a huge difference in creating the perfect wedding playlist. Here are 4 tips to help you have the best wedding music possible, whether you’re enlisting a professional or curating your own playlists.
1. Create an Atmosphere
You’ve likely taken the time to consider the atmosphere you want to set visually. The music that’s playing will play a huge part in achieving that desired atmosphere, so it’s worth taking some time to figure out.
Generally speaking, folk or acoustic music compliments a rustic wedding well. For a more formal vibe, both old and new jazz add just the right amount of class.
The music doesn’t have to stick to one genre all night, though! It helps to break up your wedding music into four stages: ceremony, cocktails, dinner, and after dinner. Each of these stages have different objectives - the ceremony music is setting the tone for a romantic and intimate moment. Cocktail music is what will welcome your guests to your reception and get them excited to celebrate all night long. Dinner music can be more subdued, to leave room for the conversations that will happen around the dinner table. After dinner, you’ll be bringing the mood up again to get people ready to dance as soon as possible!
With these stages in mind, find one to five songs that just right for each part of your wedding, and ask your DJ or band to find complimenting music.
If you’re DIYing your wedding music, you can use Spotify or Youtube to find similar music. If you play a specific song on either service, it will automatically follow that song with something similar. It works surprisingly well for compiling a wedding playlsit!
2. Go With Your Heart
Setting an atmosphere is important, but the most important thing at your wedding is you! You and your partner are the whole reason for this celebration - so don’t be afraid to fill your wedding with personality!
There is always a way to fit in the music that you and your partner love, no matter what it is. A great DJ can find ways to incorporate even not-typically-wedding-appropriate genres or songs. For example, there are tons of amazing covers of all sorts of genres by groups like Postmodern Jukebox, The Vitamin String Quartet, and The Piano Guys. All it takes is a simple YouTube search to track down at least a handful of covers of your favourite song.
Many bands do live versions or acoustic covers of their most popular songs, which often lend well to weddings.
Lastly, remember that people will generally only get out of their chair to dance to music that’s familiar to them, so if you want to play music that most people won’t know, cocktails, dinner and after dinner is the place to fit it in.
3. Share Your Story
Music that holds special memories or significance for your relationship can be very meaningful to include in your wedding playlist. Is there a movie, TV show or musical that is special to you? Find some songs from it that will fit at your wedding. The same goes for concerts you’ve been to or even songs about places you’ve visited together. On a day that’s focused on your love story, the music that has been part of that story is the perfect soundtrack.
For these significant music choices, it’s likely that most of your wedding guests will have no idea that the song holds meaning for you. On one hand, that can create a special moment for you and your partner to share on your wedding day. On the other hand, why not let your guests in on the moment? You can share your most special music with your guests by having the emcee share the story behind the songs you choose to include.
4. Give the people what they want!
Now let’s talk about the really fun stuff - the dance floor! As we mentioned above, people only get out of their chair to dance to music they know. With that in mind, try to focus your dance floor music on what will get your guests dancing. It’s not the time for your most obscure music selections - fit that in during cocktails and dinner! If you want an awesome dance party, you’ll need to play the music your guests want to hear.
Consider what music your friends and family dance to at other weddings you’ve been to, or when you go out to a club. Chances are those same genres and songs will get them dancing at your wedding. Most often, the dance starts off with more of the older crowd on the dance floor while the younger crowd is at the bar, so try to include some all-ages dance floor hits to start off the night. Later on, when your younger friends have migrated from the bar to the dance floor, you can bust out the music that will really get the party going.
Lastly, there’s just something about nostalgia that creates a great dance party. No, your whole night doesn’t need to be throwbacks. But be sure to make note of the songs that bring back memories for your friends and family, and mention them to your DJ. It will help them choose more music that they know your guests will love. You can also sneak in some nostalgia-inducing tunes throughout cocktails and dinner. That song that you and your bestie played on repeat during your last road trip? You know she’s going to look over at you and smile when she hears it playing during dinner.
Here’s to awesome wedding music, and making new memories with your loved ones on your best day ever!