It’s your wedding reception. It’s 9pm, and you’ve been on your feet quite a bit all day. You’re an hour into the reception, and you made your own wedding reception playlist.
You’re surrounded by family and friends, (maybe you’re a few cocktails in), and it comes on. Your song. The song that makes the endless hours of standing up all day feel like nothing. The song that makes you throw down your plate of hors d’oeuvres to get on the dance floor. Can you picture it?
Now, picture every song being played at your wedding making you feel like that. There is literally nothing stopping you from making your own wedding reception playlist. Plus, can you imagine how *hard* we’re all going to party post-covid? You’ll want your own music for that.
So, it’s no secret that something pretty major to consider when in wedding-planning mode is music. Music can – no pressure – really make or break the mood of the reception. So how do you ensure your guests will be up on their feet and having a good time?
While you’re booking your wedding vendors, ask yourself if you prefer:
Band or DJ?
Throwbacks or top 40?
Pop or rock?
The entertainment you book will play a part in the vibe of your reception. The options are seemingly endless when trying to decide on the songs to add to your wedding reception playlist. If the entertainment you choose for the night is cool with it, it might be worthwhile to make a list of some must-plays. If you’re open to asking some guests for suggestions, that could be a big help, too!
Being music fanatics ourselves, it’s super fun to discover new artists and make Spotify playlist upon Spotify playlist. I know one of my favorite things to do for those I love is to make playlists & mixtapes – I once made custom CDs for all of my friends for Christmas one year (custom album artwork and all). With that being said, We made a reception-inspired Spotify playlist (linked below) and will be talking about how to pick the best tunes for your own wedding reception playlist.
At your wedding, there will be a SLEW of different types of people there, from little ones to grandparents, so you have to consider music that will be appropriate for multiple age groups AND get people up on the dance floor. There’s one genre that accomplishes both – disco. While reception classics like Marry You by Bruno Mars & Crazy In Love by Beyonce can definitely do the job, don’t be afraid to branch out and include music you regularly listen to. I mean, you can’t help but smile and sing at the top of your lungs when September by Earth, Wind, & Fire comes on. But if you need any inspiration, here are some definite classics.
You know there is actual science behind why we want to dance, right? Apparently, according to researchers at Columbia, “danceability” in songs is determined by tempo & beat regularity. Danceable songs tend to be consistent the entire way through, like “Sexy Back” by Justin Timberlake & “Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen. The idea is for the song to not really have a distinguishable bridge – if the beat is thrown off slightly, it is less appealing to dance to. A lot of real bangers have been “danceable,” and it’s easy to determine what could become a hit based on its tempo the danceability score. Take Tom Haverford’s advice:
We’ve all had that thought. At one point or another, we’ve asked ourselves “if my life was a movie, what would the soundtrack be?” You know the moment – you just got your morning coffee, you’re in the best outfit you could put together, you’re feeling truly invincible. The songs that come to mind are…which ones? Whatever songs make you feel like you’re on top of the world are definitely ones to include on your wedding night (bonus points if you dance to them while alone in your car). They will hold that much more meaning when you get to associate them with one of the most special nights of your life. Here’s some inspo if you need it:
There are some songs I think were absolutely made to be played at weddings, whether they’re first dance songs or regular old slow songs. I’m talking about songs that made me cry into my pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Obviously, if there is a song that is “your” song, play that. But if you’re a little fuzzy on what other ones to play or if you want to discover some new tunes, here are some you’ll find on the playlist:
And trust me, no one — I mean NO one — wants to hear Ed Sheeran. Sorry.
These songs won’t be appropriate for every wedding, I’ll say that now. But I find it hard to believe there isn’t a single couple out there that doesn’t want to absolutely go head-banging nuts to their favorite edgy throwback songs. I know if I was at a wedding and I heard Zeppelin, Nirvana or anything of the like come on, I’d lose my mind. Here are some songs that you’ll definitely need to remove earrings/adjust your hair/set down drinks for:
These tracks won’t be on the pre-made playlist; throwback tracks come from your soul.
Clocking in at 60 songs & 4 hours & 10 min long – “Wedding Reception Bops” is complete. The playlist is collaborative so please feel free to add your favorites!
We're Sava, a small studio of photographers who bonded over our similar educational background, love of art, & general affinity for timeless wedding photos. Based in NYC, will travel, will pick up your coffee order on the way.