Your evening reception can help to make or break your day and your WEDDING PLAYLIST is the key to this! A full dance floor of guests enjoying the evening is ALWAYS preferable to them watching the clock until they can make their goodbyes.
But just how DO you create an AWESOME wedding playlist?
Here are my tips for helping to create the right party atmosphere for YOUR big night…
1. Involve your guests in your wedding playlist
It sounds simple enough doesn’t it?
Guests are more likely to dance and enjoy the evening if they’ve had some input to the playlist whether that’s before the evening, or asking the DJ on the night itself.
Why not put a card in with your invitations asking each guest for a song they’d like to hear on the night?
Most DJs now offer online systems for pre-requests and are usually more than happy to accept guest requests on the night (make sure yours does).
But supposing your guests are asking for music you don’t want to hear?
Not a problem when you hire me for the entertainment! Before the night, we’ll already have discussed your preferences and if there’s an artist, song or genre of music you’d rather not hear, then it won’t make it to your wedding playlist no matter how much your guests plead!
2. Is "cheese" your thing?
Some people love songs with action dances, you know….Agadoo, the Hokey Cokey, The Macarena (there are too many of them to mention but you get the idea).
Others absolutely hate them (and I have to admit, I fall squarely into the latter camp)
But, do YOU like them and do you want them as a part of YOUR wedding playlist?
If you don’t, speak to your DJ and let them know. Most of us will rarely play these songs unless you specifically give the go-ahead for them, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
3. Certain songs appear in wedding playlists regularly for a reason...
Yes dear reader, I’m talking about those tried and tested classic floor fillers….the Bon Jovi’s, the Bryan Adam’s, The Killers…those songs which seem to get an airing at every wedding you go to.
They’re popular for a reason though!
They tend to (but not always) get a dance floor moving, guests singing and create a party atmosphere.
Just by looking through lists of pre-requested music not only for Imagine but for wedding playlists world-wide, these songs are always in the top 200 songs requests by guests.
You can also see a bit of a pattern on wedding playlists by looking at my recent weddings posts where the playlist for the night is often listed at the end of the post.
But, if that’s not your style just speak to your DJ before your big day and they should be able to accommodate your wishes.
4. Pick and mix the genres
Whilst a wedding playlist based around a particular theme can work on the night, it’s rarely the case.
For instance, an evening of your favourite Drum & Bass producers isn’t necessarily going to cut the mustard with your older guests. Likewise, an evening of 70s classics will leave the younger ones a little miffed!
The best wedding playlists contain a mix of genres and decades, something to entertain everyone during the evening and not leave guests feeling left out.
5. Special dances
No, I’m not going back to the action dances discussed in point 2 above.
There can be many opportunities to invoke memories in your wedding playlist with dances that have a meaning though.
Examples I’ve seen in the past are a recreation of dances created during University days, re-enactments of something which happened during the Stag/Hen nights, or even dances with parents or in memory of guests who are no longer with us.
It might even be that there’s one particular song that your family like to hear and dance to every time they get together (I see this a lot!)
It’s always worth considering the above and trying to fit them in somewhere. Trust me, it’ll help to create memories.
Likewise, the last dance of the evening….how do you want your party to end?
Do you want it to just fizzle out, end on a high note with singing which continues long after the lights and speakers are turned off, your guests in a circle of love around you on the dance floor?
6. Don't pick too many!
Probably the biggest mistake I see is a wedding playlist designed for a 5 hour reception with enough tracks on it to fill at least 10 hours!
It’s easy to do once you get carried away with picking those favourite songs!
Some DJs will limit the number of tracks you can request before the night to between 10-20 to allow them to have some creative license. I don’t put any limits in place because I find it better to play the music you and your guests want to hear rather than my own selections. In fact the only thing I won’t do is play music in a particular order because that rarely works!
But, what happens if some of those don’t get played on the night? Maybe some of them take more priority to you over others? Would you be disappointed if certain songs on your carefully curated list didn’t make it on the night?
With the average song being between 3 and 5 minutes long (some of them longer), a DJ will generally get through around 18-20 tracks per hour, or 100 over the period of the evening…and that’s with the tracks being shortened to allow for mixing and transitioning.
Whilst it’s often nice as a DJ to have a massive list of your favourite songs to pick from, it can also make the job a lot harder!
7. Speak to your DJ!
Probably the most obvious solution when working on your wedding playlist is to work with your DJ. After all, we probably attend more weddings in a year than you’ll go to in a lifetime!
Most professional DJs will be at weddings at least once a week, sometimes many more in peak season. We see what’s working (and it goes through “trends” as does everything related to weddings).
By talking to your DJ, you can work together to create an AWESOME playlist which should produce results on the night with a happy and full dance floor, which is what we’re there to do!
Likewise, talk to your DJ about some of the more obscure requests you might have. We sometimes look at a request list and think “how is that going to fit in?”. Do you know what….there’s ALWAYS a reason for that song to be there although it might not be obvious to us unless you tell us!