Top Tips for Selecting Your Wedding Music

What Songs Are Must-Plays, Which Are No-Go's, and How To Decide

Picking the music for your wedding is a hugely important task. Music sets the mood, the tone, and the energy for your event. But, there's quite a lot to consider about the type of music you play and where and when you should play it. Don't "fret" - we're here to help you get a great start on your wedding day playlist path. We'll run through some tips for picking the best music and songs, and how to decide whether to go with your personal flavor or the old-reliables.

Five Songs You Definitely Should Play

There are classic songs that a lot of people play at their weddings, and for good reason! “You’ll definitely want to play the crowd pleasers,” says Adam Michaels, the owner of Around Town Entertainment, a live wedding band company. “There are certain songs that get everyone up and dancing at a wedding, and your music vendor should be able to recommend these to you.” These tunes have survived the test of time, and now it's almost expected that you play them, whether during the ceremony, the bouquet toss, first dance, or just as the party is getting started.

  • 'Uptown Funk' by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars

This is a song that will get everyone up on the floor, ready to dance. It's a modern classic and something that everyone will definitely enjoy and remember. There's no reason for you to not play it, unless of course you really just hate the song.

  • 'YMCA' by The Village People

A song that's synonymous with large gatherings: birthdays, weddings, graduations, this is a killer dance song. It's also got a dance to go with it, meaning you'll have a dance floor full of choreographed wedding guests without hiring professionals!

  • 'Stand By Me' by Ben E. King

This is a lovely, slow song that makes perfect sense to play for your first dance or during the ceremony. There's just something really classic and elegant about this song, and it's one that a lot of people will appreciate.

  • 'Living On A Prayer' by Bon Jovi

This is a song that most people will sing their hearts out to, but it also has a lot of meaning and is worth including in your day. It's a super upbeat song, and that means a lot when it comes to celebrating. And that's what a wedding is: A celebration of love!

  • 'Happy' by Pharrell Williams

It literally says it in the title! This song is one of the most enjoyable, carefree, and simple songs about happiness that was ever produced. It's definitely going to get people clapping their hands and tapping their feet along to the beat.

wedding dance floor
Photo courtesy of Visionari

Five Songs You Definitely Should Not Play

There are some songs that seem like love songs on the surface until you delve a bit deeper into the meaning behind the lyrics and find that they're about love lost… so be careful where and when you play these songs. Ideally, these five songs shouldn't make it anywhere into your wedding day.

  • 'My Heart Will Go On' by Celine Dion

I don't know about you, but for me, this song reminds me of that scene from Titanic where Leonardo di Caprio is literally dying in the hands of his lover. While it is a romantic song, there is a lot to be said about the memories the song conjure up in our minds.

  • 'Every Breath You Take' by The Police

The lyrics in this song are a little bit stalker-y if you listen closely. I mean, they literally say 'Every step you take, every move you make, I'll be watching you.' Of course you'll be in close proximity with your new spouse, but stalking takes it a bit too far!

  • 'No Scrubs' by TLC

While the bridal party probably loves this song and completely rocks out to it, there's something to be said to leaving it for the bachelorette party. Some weddings play this song during the bouquet toss, but it's now dated and not everyone will understand the irony.

  • 'Single Ladies' by Beyonce

This is another song that single women love to give it their all to when it comes on in the club or at karaoke. It's been making its way into wedding playlists since its release, again during the bouquet toss. For the sake of clichés, leave it out of the wedding party playlist.

  • 'We Are Family' by Sister Sledge

Of course, two families are merging and you and your spouse are creating your own family when you get married, but this song has been played to death at weddings for decades! Leave it out and pick something a bit more fresh and interesting.

Wedding dance floor
Photo courtesy of Christie Pham Photography

How To Choose Your Songs

So, while we just told you some songs you definitely should and should not play at your wedding, it's worth remembering that it's your day, and you can ultimately play whatever you want. If there's a song on the no-play list that means a lot to you, then go for it! But to help you out, here's a couple of things to consider when making your decisions.

  • Think Of Your Guests

While you want this day to be special for you, there may be certain things that you and your soon-to-be-wed are interested in that your guests might not appreciate. For example, while you might appreciate death metal, your grandmother might not. So try to find a middle ground in terms of musical choice.

  • Remember The Good Times

When you're picking your songs, there might be a few that hold a huge amount of emotional weight for you. If this is the case, go for ones that immediately conjure up nice memories for you. So whether that's a song from the first time you went dancing together, one you saw live in concert, or just something that you both really enjoy, play it!

  • Be Appropriate

There are certain moments during your wedding day that certain songs won't necessarily be appropriate for. If you're going to remove a garter, maybe don't have a sexy or provocative song playing in the background. The removal itself is sexy enough, you don't want to make your guests feel uncomfortable!

  • Honor Your Friends

Both wedding parties should honor their friends during the reception, so pick a song that means something for both spousal parties. These friends are the ones who have stood by you for a long time, through all your different relationships and milestones, so why not pay tribute with some fun songs?

  • Compromise With Each Other

There will be certain things that neither of you will want to budge on, but remember, there's a lot of time to fill with music throughout your wedding day. You've got the ceremony, the dinner, and the afterparty, so there's more than enough time to fit everything in! So just write a list, give it your band or DJ, and leave the rest to the professionals.

No matter what type of music you like and enjoy, when you hire a DJ or professional wedding band, remember that they're experts. They'll get an understanding of the type of vibe you're going for and will read the room. So enjoy the day and get ready to dance your socks off as you celebrate your love for each other.


Hero Photo Courtesy Tiffany Von Photography

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