A couple's first dance at their wedding

Creating the Perfect Wedding Playlist

Matt Campbell is the founder of WeddingMuseum.com, a source of 50+ wedding song lists and vast playlist library by era, genre, love, topic, top 10, days of the year and musicians.

Brides and grooms typically immerse themselves in logistical details of their wedding such as booking vendors, managing guests, and looking great. But one common aspect of a wedding that’s commonly overlooked, or pushed to the last minute, is the music. A planned wedding playlist can be a lifesaver for the couple as well as the wedding planner.

1. The ‘Do Not Play’ list

One of the best ways to keep couples happy for the whole wedding day is to create a “Do Not Play” list. This list may include cheesy songs and music genres that don’t necessarily fit in with the couple’s tastes or the wedding’s theme. It’s a good way of avoiding any surprises and keeping things safe.

2. Think about the themes

Does your selected music fit within the theme of the wedding? If your clients are having a romantic wedding at an upscale venue, what style of music fits the bill? Jazz, Adult Contemporary, Country, R&B? All can work if you’re choosing the RIGHT songs.

Musician playing guitar at a wedding

Additionally, if you are planning a wedding with a specialty theme (baseball, Star Wars, Wizard of Oz, etc.), be sure the music fits your theme or, at least is incorporated in a way that makes sense.

3. Consistency

Just be sure to have music consistency throughout the wedding day. If you’re planning a casual backyard wedding reception, playing classical music while the meal is being served might not fit the mood.

That being said, a little variety is nice, too. If the bride and groom love country music and are having a country theme, why not encourage them to have country music throughout the wedding day with a little rock and roll mixed in?

4. Know your guests

If your clients are fans of R&B music and their guests are fans of country music, you should mix in a few country songs here and there. Yes, this is your clients’ wedding, but you want their guests to have a good time, too. This is certainly not a genre to add to the ‘Do Not Play’ list!

5. Relax!

Give your DJ leeway in the music selected during the dancing and party time of the reception. It’s their job to know what’s appropriate, what’s going to fit the mood and how to keep your guests dancing!

Each part of a wedding can be accented with music. Try not to be too detail-oriented and let things happen as they may. But if the couple has a special song that would perfectly accent a part of their big day, figure out how to incorporate that song into the wedding.

Bride and groom dancing together

When to Set Music at a Wedding

Another thing to keep in mind is when you will be playing the music. From the ceremony to the reception events, you’ve got lots of opportunities that require a great deal of planning and consideration.

Non-Traditional Wedding Elements:

  • Dressing room music to help the bride and groom relax
  • Music playing during the limo ride to the ceremony, reception or inside the “getaway” vehicle
  • Music playing during the venue decorating and clean-up

Ceremony Elements:

  • Music playing as guests arrive at the ceremony
  • Entrance music for the wedding party
  • Special music for the bride’s entrance
  • Music to be played while the wedding party and guests leave the ceremony
  • A candle lighting, sand ceremony, rose exchange or other event during the ceremony
  • Songs sung by special guests or family members during the ceremony

Reception Elements:

  • Music playing as guests arrive at the reception
  • Special music playing when the wedding party and bridal couple enter the reception venue
  • Music for the cocktail hour and meal
  • Special songs selected for all formal dances like the first dance, father-daughter dance, mother-groom dance, or bridal party dance
  • Music playing during special reception elements like the cake cutting, bouquet toss, garter toss, and last dance

In conclusion, as the saying goes…

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

Be sure to discuss all musical aspects of your clients’ wedding. Discussing these details now will not only avoid stress and panic later down the line, but also create a memorable wedding experience for everyone involved.

Interested in finding more online wedding and event resources? Check out our post on the top wedding and event blogs you should be following!

One response to “Creating the Perfect Wedding Playlist”

    Alicia, your post had some great suggestions. I think you’re right that music might be one of the last things that people think about when planning their wedding. That’s something I don’t get since music is one of the prime factors that influence the setting of the wedding.

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