5 Wedding Reception Playlist Ideas for your Awesome Wedding

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Written By Aaron Smith

Rev. Aaron Smith enjoys sharing insights from over 10 years of wedding officiating experience.

If you are planning your wedding reception playlist this post is for you. One of the most important and fund parts of the reception is planning your playlist.

By the end of this post, you will have an idea of the types of songs that you will play for your wedding reception playlist!

The problem is that there are so many amazing wedding songs to choose from. This post will help you to narrow down the thousands upon thousands of songs to choose from for your wedding reception playlist by thinking about the types of songs that you want first and then the actual songs.

There is actually an outline to wedding reception playlist songs if you think about it. We know about the dances of the father of the bride and bride and the mother of the bride and groom.

Best Wedding Reception Songs Everyone Will Love

After the couple has danced with their parents the party begins and it’s the DJ’s job to make a smooth transition from these meaningful moments to the party. A few more meaningful moments will help to set the pace throughout the reception such as the first kiss as bride and groom (after the ceremony), the cutting of the cake, the flower/groom toss, and more kisses on demand by guests tapping their glasses.

But the first transition is the toughest because emotions are running high after the very special first dances. It will take your professional DJ or band to help slowly make this transition from slow and somber to upbeat and electric.

Your Wedding Reception Playlist

Songs for your Parents

Song for groom and mother and bride and father are picked out in advance by the couple respectively. Although input is always nice to have it will be wonderful to surprise your parent with the song you will dance to unless you feel that you will get nervous. In that case, if you want to practice your dance ahead of time, feel free to share what song you will be dancing to and practice as many times as you need to.

Transition song

The song that serves to help with the transition from the bride and groom dances with their parents. This transition is for the professionals. In fact, this might be one of the most important moments to get right during the reception. The other parts of the wedding reception playlist are much more difficult to make mistakes with and even if you do the mistakes are less memorable but if you don’t get the transition from one parent-couple pair to the other it will stand out and be harder to recover from. Don’t worry, the DJ’s will help to make this transition go smoothly and this is exactly what you’re paying for them to do.

Upbeat Songs

You will want to choose a few specifically intentional upbeat songs to give your guests a signal that this is a celebration and that they should feel comfortable enjoying themselves. These upbeat songs will not need to be more than 3-4 in number at the most. Their sole purpose is to get people up on their feet and enjoying the reception.

Songs for the Wedding Party

After you get the people on the dance floor who don’t need much encouragement, then you begin to work on the next group. The wedding party is a good choice to work on next because they are part of the wedding party, get it? Forgive the bad pun. But they have volunteered to make the wedding special. That means that dancing and helping others to enjoy themselves is part of their job description.

The other reason to play songs that the wedding party might enjoy is that these are some of the same songs that they will enjoy with the couple. And the couple needs to enjoy the evening more than anyone. This part of the evening is usually when that bonding takes place. Yes, the wedding party is tired after a long weekend but this is exactly what they came for.

Songs for Everyone

This is the longest part of the evening. You will want to talk with your DJ to really spend time thinking about what songs you want played during the “songs for everyone” part of the evening. You will want mostly songs that any age would enjoy at your wedding. That means that these are easily recognizable songs that are proven to keep guests on the dance floor. This is where you want to do the least experimentation.

Ideally, you will give your DJ some background info about your guests and what you enjoy and you will come up with a list of songs for this section as well as the others. Then the DJ might do some improvising along the way but if you pay attention to detail and you are thorough during your conversation there shouldn’t be too many surprises on the dance floor.

Songs for the Younger Generation

Be sure to add songs that the kids can dance to! Again, your DJ should be able to help here to but don’t assume they are up to date on all the best kids songs. The best person to ask is one of your friends who has children what some of the popular songs today for kids might be.

Wedding Reception Songs for Older Crowd

The songs for the elders of the group are a little easier to choose because those songs have been tried and been found true over and over. This does not need to be an extended part of the program. Remember, the goal is to include everyone in your celebration and make the couple feel happy without any causes for alarm.

Slower Songs

After the songs for the older generation it makes sense to start wrapping up your wedding reception playlist. This is just a few songs that send another important signal. The night is coming to an end and be ready to leave when the song is over (so that you don’t get charged any additional fees by any of your vendors.

Closing songs

After you have established that the end of the night is getting closer through playing slow songs, you can play 1-2 songs to make it even clearer that the night is over and it’s time to go home.

Your wedding reception playlist is almost ready! A little more planning and you will have your guests enjoying the whole reception!

The next step is to write out your song list for each category. Remember, you will want to meet with your DJ because they will be the ones to choose most of your songs but you will have heavy input on the songs that they play. Go ahead and use Spotify and Apple Music to save your playlist to share with your DJ!

We hope that this format is helpful to you!

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