If you’re like me, music will be one of the most important details of your big day. For some, the classics work—and why shouldn’t they? There’s nothing like “At Last” to bring a tear to your eye, or “Shout” to get every guest on the dance floor. But for many modern brides, “unique” is the compliment they’re striving for. Music is an easy place to start. Okay, “easy” may not be the word. For the music-savvy, curating playlists is fun. For those of you who stick to the Top 100 Spotify playlist, it’s stressful. To ease you into this, I’m going to focus on the “easiest” playlist of them all: your wedding dinner music. These are the songs that will be heard during your cocktail hour and delicious meal. Since this is when you guests will be mingling, chatting, and eating, odds are they won’t pay much attention to the melody selection. It’s essentially background noise that shouldn’t distract from socializing. However, the tunes you choose should add to the ambiance you’re looking for. Here’s some of my tips on how to create the best wedding dinner playlist.
11 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Wedding Dinner Music
1. First, every great wedding playlist has 4 traits:
- A mix of genres
- A variety of tempos
- A combination of popular and unknown songs
- A “vibe” that ties them all together and creates the ambiance you desire
Folk can be mixed with pop, rock with country, etc. As long as they’ve all got the same vibe, you’re golden. Remember to think about every generation included on your guest list. What would your parents want to hear? Your Grandma? You want a mix of tempos so it doesn’t fade too far into the background. If you choose all slow songs, your guests may zone out. If you choose all upbeat, it’ll distract. There’s a reason certain tunes are at the top of the charts: People want to hear them! It’s essential to give the public what they want, but throw in a few unknown jams to spark their interest. A compilation is only a success if every song complements one another. Wedding dinner music is a perfect medium to use to incorporate the theme of your wedding day or maybe tell your love story!
2. Don’t forget live bands.
If you have room in your budget, hiring a band may be worth it. They’ll get your guests excited, keep the energy up, and who doesn’t love a good cover? Plus, searching for a local band to play at your wedding makes a great date night for you and your spouse-to-be!
3. How do you want to feel after you get married?
When choosing the “vibe” of your wedding dinner playlist, consider how you want to feel after you tie the knot. Celebratory? Romantic? Relaxed? It’s up to you! Find your feel then start choosing your songs. Spotify has tons of playlists that portray a certain “vibe.” You can steal one of those playlists or pick and choose from various playlists to curate your perfect wedding dinner music set!
4. Don’t waste dance hits.
Never waste a good party song on your cocktail hour. Save those crowd-pleasers for later.
5. Make sure your DJ knows your must-hear melodies.
Prioritize! Highlight the tunes you have to hear and make sure the DJ has them in their collection. If they don’t, you may have to pay extra fees to get them.
6. Create a do-not-play list.
While I love Bublé, he won’t be singing on my big day. Give your do-not-play list to your DJ and make sure they stick to it—even if the tune is requested by a guest.
7. Never skip a soundcheck.
You need to test the acoustics. You don’t want to be running over to your vendor every 5 minutes, telling them to turn the volume up or down.
8. No R-rated music.
Grandma and the kids are still going to be there…hold off on any curse words until dessert has been served.
9. Consider entire albums.
I know what I said about variety, but sometimes one album has everything you need. Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, Moondance by Van Morrison…there are plenty of incredible albums that can be combined for a simple, impactful playlist.
10. Be super detailed.
Don’t worry about being too Type A when planning. The more details you give your vendor, the more successful they’ll be. When my brother got married, he gave his DJ a list of 30 songs. It exemplified the variety he was looking for—the “vibe” he wanted. After studying what my brother gave him, the DJ found related artists and songs to include. He KILLED it at my brother’s wedding. Everyone was on the dance floor—grandparents included.
11. Don’t stress!
Like I said before, these tunes will be background noise. Don’t worry too much! Save that stress for your ceremony and reception music.
Bonus: 50 Recommended Songs for Your Wedding Dinner Music
50 songs, 3 hours, shuffle recommended.
45. “XO”—John Mayer
What would Bublé think?
I know, Michael Bublé really is the best. I listen to him a lot! But if you want to receive the compliment of all compliments–your wedding was SO UNIQUE–then you need to save that modern crooner for later.
Did I miss your favorite tune? Do you have more advice for your fellow brides and grooms? Join the conversation in a comment below!