Creating your wedding soundtrack sets the tone for the happiest day of your life. From finding inspiration to making the songs flow, it’s a bit more complicated than throwing your favorite songs into a big playlist. Don’t let it overwhelm you—we’ve made a list of all the songs you’ll need on your playlist for your Big Day, and how to choose them.
Make a list of events you need songs for
First things first—choose your songs and create your playlist according to the ceremony and reception events. Here are all the moments you’ll need a song or set of songs for:
- Pre-Ceremony: Pick some light, upbeat music to play as your guests enter the ceremony and find their seats.
- Processional: Although “Here Comes the Bride” is the most traditional song to walk down the aisle to, you don’t have to follow suit. There are plenty of other classic alternatives, like “Canon in D, Pachelbel.” If you find a song you love but want to drop the lyrics, play an instrumental version.
- Recessional: After saying “I Do,” exit with something celebratory— you’re officially married! Think something like, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” by Stevie Wonder.
- Cocktail hour music: If you choose to host a cocktail hour between the ceremony and reception, it’s good to have a playlist of songs to set the mood. Choose a good mix— people aren’t ready to dance yet, but you don’t want to put anyone to sleep, either.
- Reception entrance: Some couples choose a song for their entrance into the reception (usually with the wedding party in tow). Go for something upbeat to get your guests pumped to welcome the new couple.
- The first dance: The most important song of all! No rules here—it’s your song. Pick whatever song you think best defines your love, especially if it’s one that is special to you as a couple.
- Father/daughter dance: Traditionally, the bride and her father dance together, but many choose to dance with a brother, uncle, grandpa, or even their mother. It’s a chance to choose a song that is important to and that special person.
- Reception music: This is a playlist within your playlist, and it will be your biggest one! These songs set the entire mood for the night’s dance party. Special note: if you hire a DJ and plan to give him or her free rein with the music, consider preparing a “Do Not Play” list of songs that you don’t want to hear—if Cotton Eye Joe makes you cringe or the idea of another round of the Cupid Shuffle exhausts you, tell them.
- Cake-cutting: If you make your cake-cutting a ceremonial event, pick out a cute upbeat song for this sweet part of the evening. You can stick to the sweet treats theme by picking something like, “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” by The Four Tops.
Now, how do you choose the right songs?
Start with your own music collection
Start with your own music—that’s the music that speaks to you the most. Spend time scrolling through your personal playlists and pull the songs that you both love. Think of the songs you can’t imagine not including, and songs you love in general. You probably won’t find every song you want in your music library, but it’s a great start. From there, find inspiration from wedding playlists people have already created or Googling popular song ideas.
DJ or Band?
One of the first details to sort out is who will be in charge of running your playlist(s) come the day of your wedding. Maybe you hire a live band, a DJ, or both! Whatever route you choose, remember that your song options will vary. Some bands prefer to play their own genre while you have more freedom with song choices when you work with a DJ.
Choose a variety of music
Make your playlist with a variety of music genres—it sets the tone for all the different moments throughout the day and excites all generations of your guests. Play slow, jazzy jams during dinner then throw on some Top 40 songs when it’s time to dance. But, make sure it sounds cohesive—you don’t want to shock your guests’ eardrums with a sudden switch from classic orchestra to 90s R&B.
Sample it out
Give your playlist(s) a run-through from start to finish to make sure everything sounds like it’s in the right place. Try practicing your walk to your processional song and dancing to your first dance song. Then have a mini-dance party to test out the reception tracks.
This is your wedding soundtrack—have fun with it! If you need more wedding planning resources, read more of our blogs. Or contact us today to start putting together your dream wedding! You can reach our event coordinators by email or phone at 877-545-1002.