Planning the Music for Your Wedding Reception

Updated: Mar 21

Music brings up emotions and can set the tone in a wedding. So, it’s important to take some time for planning the music for your wedding reception. The music at a wedding represents the style of the couple.


The selection of songs at a wedding varies from couple to couple.

This article describes some things to consider in planning the different components of your wedding reception music.

What kind of music do you want? Do you want music to be live? Do you want music from your culture? Do you want to have the DJ select most of the music? Do you want to figure out your whole playlist?


I’ve been to weddings and events that had either a

live band

a string quartet

a harpist

a mariachi band

a rondalla or

some other type of cultural music ensemble.


Some couples have a friend or relative play one or two songs. Some weddings even have the bride and/or groom sing or dance to a song or two. We had some tinikling dancers at our wedding. (Tinikling is a Filipino folk dance.) The live music component at these weddings and events made the event extra special and more memorable.


For your wedding, you can choose to have live music as well as a DJ. When you have a DJ, you can give guidelines to the DJ such as playing a certain type of music for different parts of the reception or not playing certain types of music such as no rap, hard rock, or heavy metal.

If you have five or six particular songs you would like the DJ to definitely play, then tell the DJ those songs.


Let the DJ know if there are particular dances or songs that you’d like. Also, tell the DJ of songs you don’t particularly want to be included. Many weddings I have gone to have the following dances:

Electric Slide

YMCA

Chacha slide

Chicken dance


Find out if the DJ takes requests. If the DJ does take requests, it’s a good idea to check if there are particular song(s) you especially want to be played at your wedding. In this way, if the DJ doesn’t have the special song(s), then you can give them a copy.

Many DJs have a call with the bride and groom to go over the wedding music before the wedding date.


Here are some of the music that the DJ may have you think about:

Music played during serving of hors d’oeuvre

Usually, this music is some type of background, instrumental, mellow, or easy listening music.

Dinner music

Dance music


What kind of dance music would you like?

Ballroom

Contemporary

Songs from a particular decade, for example, 80s, 90s, etc. Many couples pick music from

their high school or college days.

Bridal party entrance

The grand entrance of bride and groom

First Dance

Mother and son dance

Father and daughter dance

Bridal Party dance

Anniversary dance – As the DJ mentions the number of years married, couples who have not reached that milestone leave the floor. The couple married the longest will be left on the dance floor.

Cake cutting

Money dance – make sure you have adequate time.

Last dance


You can search for particular wedding songs by going to YouTube and typing

“wedding songs” and “grand entrance”

“wedding songs” and “mother-son dance” or

“wedding songs” and “father-daughter dance.”


Picking out the music for your wedding can be one of the most fun things to plan for your wedding.

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