How do you pick the right music for your wedding reception?

Picking the music you want to have played at your wedding reception is a fun thing to do, but it also isn’t as straightforward as you might think. There are different things to keep in mind, from the guests that will be there on the day, to how you play your music and the genres you select.

To help, we’ve compiled some things to think about to make sure the music you pick is just right for you and your wedding reception.

Who is attending?


The first thing you should think about when picking music for your wedding reception is your guests – who will be attending? Do your family and friends on the guest list consist of mostly an older crowd, younger or a mixture? Sure, there might be outgoing friends from clubbing days gone by attending, but you’re likely to also have some more conservative relatives there too.

Considering factors like the types of people attending and their age groups can help you know what is the right generation of music and mix of songs to play. For instance, if there are a lot of children attending your wedding you might steer clear of songs with too much swearing in. This way you can include songs that will suit most people and guests will want to hear.

What do you want your music to do?

It might sound like a silly question, but it’s important to think about this, in terms of what impact do you want your music to have.

For instance, you’ll want everyone to enjoy themselves and you probably want to get everybody up and dancing, at some stage of the evening. You’ll also want to create a party atmosphere and get a good reaction from the crowd. You’ll probably also want to create some memories, while allowing you and your guests to relive some along the way.

© Lesley Meredith
© Daisy Chain Photography
© Lesley Meredith
© Daisy Chain Photography

How will the music be played?


You should also think about how you would like the music to be played. Perhaps you’d like a live band to play a selection of classics for some, or the whole, of your wedding reception. Or maybe you’d prefer a professional DJ to be given the job of getting everyone up on the dance floor. Or perhaps you have the budget to enjoy both? Alternatively, you might want to give the occasion a more personal touch by putting your own playlist together.

Thinking about your options is important because the different ways music is played can limit your song choices and affect the general mood and atmosphere. A live band will be limited to the songs they can confidently play, for instance. Meanwhile, using your own playlist, played through your smart phone through a venue’s speakers, probably won’t create the atmosphere that a DJ could with their impressive decks.

Picking genres and songs


Knowing the types of people who will be attending your wedding, how the music will be played and the impact you want it to have, can help you think about the music genres, you, your DJ or live band, should play. From modern pop to dance or R&B, to older sounds like motown and rock and roll, there are so many genres you could focus on or include.

Younger attendees might like to hear some of the latest tracks from popular or current artists, for instance, while older guests might like throwbacks to the 80s or earlier. Alternatively, while it will be difficult to appeal to everyone’s tastes, a mixture of songs can often be enjoyed by everyone. Especially if they’re tracks some people haven’t heard in a while, and they’re more relaxed after a couple of drinks from the bar. You should also think about things like a song that will make a good dance with a parent or close family member or friend, which they will be more than happy to dance with you to.

Reliving and creating some happy memories


You might also want your music to allow guests to relive some happy memories. For instance, you might want to play some songs that you and your friends all once loved to listen to. Perhaps there’s a song that will remind a group of your friends of a summer holiday you all once took together. Or there might be a track that reminds you of past nights out, or your college or university years. Playing songs that bring back special memories can really add to the day – looking back on past good times and ahead to your next chapter of happy married life.

All that said, this is your day, so it’s important to throw in some of you and your partner’s favourite songs too. There’ll be those lifelong songs that still make you smile and dance, or others that remind you of when you and your partner first met. But it’s best to pick those tracks that might be more appealing to a larger audience, rather than those niche or controversial ones that could risk emptying the dance floor.

If there are songs that you specifically want to hear, talk to your DJ, they can often help create a pocket of songs within the evening (usually towards the end) that are specifically tailored to you without throwing off the tone of the night.

While you can decide on the choice of music for your wedding reception, our Dream Makers can help you make sure your DJ or band is set up in the best spot in your venue and help with organising things you might not have thought about, like noise limiters for bands or where best to position your dancefloor.