Your wedding day is one of the most important and memorable days of your life, and to many, the music played is one of the most important aspects of that day. The plan is to only do it once, so you must get it right the first time. With everything else that goes into planning a wedding, music selection can be an overwhelming task. I get asked quite often for some help getting the process started. So I’ve come up with a formula to do just that. It’s a snowball, hopefully these hints will help get it rolling.
- Make an event of it. Devote an evening to your music selection process. Give yourself at least 2 or 3 hours, and sit down on a Sunday evening with a bottle of wine and some snacks, and your laptop open.
- Go back to school. Think about songs that remind you of High School and College. There are many good memories from those years, and lots of good songs attached. Google search the Billboard charts from those years, it’s sure to spark some memories.
- What are you listening to lately? What radio stations do you listen to, be they AM, FM, satellite, internet, or other? What have you been searching for or listening to on Pandora, Spotify, etc.? What music have you purchased? Check your iTunes or Amazon Music purchase history for help here.
- What concerts have you attended together?
- What movies do you love the music from, even if it’s for silly reasons?
- Remember your family is going to be there, so think of songs that remind you of childhood, or songs that have childhood memories attached. If there is an artist that you and your siblings used to dress up like and pretend to be, include some of their songs in your list. These will make for some great moments on the dance floor.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to your guests for some input. If you have a wedding website, put a page on there where guests can submit a few requests. If no website, send an email to your guests asking for no more than 5 requests. That way you know they gave some good thought to their top picks, and won’t bombard you with songs. Getting requests in advance prepares your DJ to execute a perfect set with perfect timing. Taking requests the night of can be tricky and can really throw your DJ off course. Typically there are only about 2 hours of dancing at a wedding, so no time to waste.
Every crowd is different, and you know your crowd better than your DJ does. So do your best to prep your DJ and let them know who they’re playing for. Where are your guests are from (originally and currently, both helpful). What age groups and what percentage of each age group will be there, are there lots of kids, is there a theme they’ve been told to adhere to? These are all helpful hints for your DJ to know who they’re going to be playing for.
We've talked a lot about dancing, but don’t discount Cocktail Hour and Dinner music. These are the times during which you can be very creative and experimental, and select songs that your guests might not be familiar with, but are special to you. Familiarity of the music is important during dancing, if you want to keep them interested, but no so much during dinner. In fact, unfamiliar songs can make for good table conversation. Cocktail hour is another time you can be more creative with your selections, but know that nobody really listens to the music during cocktail hour. They’re busy mingling and drinking, the music is just a backdrop. But you do want that backdrop to have a pulse, so pick songs that are upbeat and fun.
Sidenote: Spotify is a great way to share playlists with each other, and with your DJ or band. You can create different playlists for each portion of the evening (cocktails, dinner, dancing, etc.) and add to them as you wish, and your DJ can refer to that when putting together their setlist for the day.