It’s no secret that if you want your wedding reception to be an epic dance party, music selection is key. But music is a magical thing. It can set a mood without even being noticed. It can mysteriously make even the most resistant guests race to the dance floor. It becomes as much as part of the memory of the night as the toasts and wedding cake.
So to help you ensure that your wedding reception has the best music possible, we asked four top-rated wedding DJs for their tips on selecting a DJ, creating a “must play” list and more!
What are some things I should look for in a DJ?
When it comes to wedding reception music, the most essential factor is landing the perfect wedding DJ. First and foremost, it’s vital that brides begin the DJ hunt as early as possible to ensure their top pick doesn’t get snapped up.
Daniel Wendt, owner of Smoov Music Sound & Lighting Services, advises couples to make sure any potential wedding DJ has a music subscription, ensuring access to the latest and greatest music. This also prevents them from using iTunes, Spotify or Youtube, music services that create awkward fades between songs and lack smooth transitions.
Ben Mallare of Ben Mallare Events & Entertainment underscores the importance of reading reviews and even watching videos of wedding DJs in action. He says that once you’ve done your due diligence, you can breathe easy, knowing that your reception is in the hands of an experienced professional.
Where can I find great songs for my wedding reception playlist?
Tracy Keo of KEO Entertainment suggests that couples keep a running list of great music they hear in the car, but also recommends checking out one of many apps that exist to help both couples and DJs build wedding playlists. Keo recommends the app DJ Songlist, and Scott Tudor of STE Event Group suggests the app Fun Wedding.
Keo also says that including a song suggestion card in with each wedding invitation to be returned with guests’ RSVPs is a fun way to gather songs they may not have considered. But while a host of apps and strategies exist to build the perfect playlist, Tudor says that his time tested favorite method is for the couple to gather with their close family and friends, pop some bubbly, play some music and build a list of their favorite songs.
Should I stick to a single musical genre?
If you really, really hate a particular genre, then by all means leave it out. But Tudor says openness to all kinds of music makes for the best receptions.
“If you want all of your guests walking away saying ‘That was a great dance party,’ be open to all types of music,” he says. “That does not mean that all types of music be equally played. But just because you do not like country music does not mean you should not have at least three country songs played.”
How much should I plan and how much should I leave up to the wedding DJ?
Choosing key songs for the entrance, cake cutting and first dances are usually recommended to ensure they hold meaning for the couple, but couples are advised not to over plan. After all, that’s why you hired a quality DJ in the first place!
Wendt recommends couples select up to 25 “must play” songs, while Keo suggests 10 to 20, but whether you choose 5 or 25, the key is not to create the entire playlist. Leaving some wiggle room for the experienced DJ to read the room and choose music accordingly will lead to the best type of reception. By all means, create a list of your favorite songs, and even your favorite genres, but “a good DJ,” Keo says, “can take it from there.”
What are some songs I should definitely include on my playlist?
Through the years, these professional DJs have seen hundreds of weddings, and they know what songs will get people moving!
Wendt says his favorite song to transition from dinner to dancing is “I Gotta Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas, while Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance With Me” is Tudor’s favorite. Mallare and Keo recommend “Uptown Funk,” but Keo says it’s equally as important to let DJs know what songs to avoid playing at all costs.
Also, Tudor says that “The Cupid Shuffle” never fails to draw guests to the dance floor, if a couple despises group and line dances, just let your DJ know.
At the end of the day, if you choose your wedding DJ well, they are going to be your greatest ally in creating the perfect wedding reception. From the flow of the night to the atmosphere, your DJ has it on lock.
And like Wendt says, “The couple and the guests likely won’t remember all the exact songs played throughout the reception, but they will remember the atmosphere and the vibe of the night, much of which the DJ drives.”