How to Make The Perfect Wedding Music List

How to Make The Perfect Wedding Music List

wedding music - eco caters
@jimkennedyphotographers & @jpk_megan

Making a music list for your special day may sound easy, until you go on Spotify and realize there are an overwhelming amount of options. We know you have a million things on your todo list, from choosing the right wedding catering company to selecting the alcohol for your wedding reception. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Keep reading for helpful tips on crafting the perfect wedding playlist.

Getting Ready:

The Bride

You haven’t put together a playlist (or tape or CD) like this since prom. So why not throw it back? Whether it’s a playlist you’ve made with your bridesmaids on Spotify or you just decide to let Pandora take over, this part of your wedding music should be positive and exciting, but toward the end when your photographer is taking pictures of the veil going on, and hugs all around, shift the mood to something calming.

The Groom

You and your boys might be suffering from a slight hangover, so consider not going full heavy metal. If you need to take some Advil and hair of the dog, put on some classic rock. Queen, Aerosmith, and any songs the bride and groom have mutually agreed should NOT be played at the reception can be played now.

During Photos

Music during photo shoots is a must. Remember, the music you play getting pictures of you in your wedding regalia will pop into your head every time you look at your photos. You may need to keep in mind that playing music may be dependent on where you’re taking your photos. If you’re going to be outside, you may want to invest in a Bluetooth speaker so that you or a photographer’s assistant can hook the playlist up to from a cell phone. After all, why else would they invent a Bluetooth speaker?

The music you choose will depend on the feeling you’re going for in your photos, but no matter what, this music should be comforting–something to make you genuinely smile!


One huge mistake you can easily avoid making is not having music when your guests are entering the ceremony. Make sure that you have some form of music so they aren’t too distracted. (Pro/Nerd Tip: If it fits with the theme of your big day, go with some video game music. It was made to keep people focused, and can be played at a moderate volume without being too distracting)

This is the first point of your wedding during that you will need to make a choice about live versus pre recorded music for your wedding reception. Thankfully, there are a ton of options you can choose from. You could have a cellist, a piano or organ player, or go classic with some vinyl records. Do not make the mistake of thinking you can play anything, however, it’s depends on the venue. Some have specific rules about songs that can be played. So if you’re getting married in a Catholic church, talk to your parishioner about playing your own music.

Receiving Line

Something easy jazz or classical music. Don’t just play the same song over and over (as much as we all love “Celebrate Good Times – Come On” (make it a joke, see what I did there?!)

First Dance

This is probably the first one of the wedding songs you started thinking about once you began your wedding planning process. Are you going to be funny? Did you take tango dance lessons? Are you going to stand in the center, say, and just enjoy the fact that you’re now married? No matter what route you choose, keep to a few simple rules.

  1. Keep it short.
    1. As much as everyone enjoys their first dance, after three full minutes of dancing, you’re going to want a break for some water (or champagne)!
  2. Keep it clean!
    1. All eyes are on you, including, if they’re present, the eyes of the kids at your wedding. If you’re dancing to an “adult song”, make sure its the clean version.
  3. Practice.
    1. Not your two step. Before your guests arrive, make sure your wedding planner (or a close friend) gets the DJ to play your first dance song in full. There is nothing more awkward than getting up to dance and the music not starting, the wrong song playing, or the song stopping in the middle. This is also a good way for the DJ or band to check the levels of sound, and if anything needs to be tuned.

Reception Dancing

Finally, the fun part: the wedding music playlist for your reception! This is also a time where you need to make a couple of big decisions regarding music selections. Below are some decisions you should make with your fiancé at the star of your wedding planning.

Band vs. DJ.

wedding music _ eco caters
@jimkennedyphotographers & @jpk_megan

The first question you need to address. Ultimately, it’s up to you, so here are pros and cons of both.


  • Pros: Live music sounds great, guests can get super into a performance, no random song suggestions.
  • Cons: Sometimes, live musicians can mess up, guests may be scared to dance, a band will be more expensive.


  • Pros: Cheaper, can respond to requests, injects personality into the evening.
  • Cons: Fallible, might play something you don’t like, may not have the personality you want.

No matter what you choose, have an honest discussion about how much of your budget you’re going to put aside for your wedding music first. Search for what’s in that budget afterward. Have a frank discussion with your DJ or band about your wedding music song list expectations.

Can DJs take suggestions from the dance floor?

Talk to your DJ about whether it’s even possible for them. You might get friends reminding you about the songs of your childhood, but you also might get your uncle to request “Highway to Hell”.

  • Tip: Draw up two lists: ‘Must play’ and ‘Under no circumstances play’ (try not to mix them up). Nothing can kill the mood at your party faster than a song that you hate.
  • Tip: If you want your guests to help choose songs for your reception, send a request ticket in your RSVP. This way, you are still getting the final say in any requests for music that might clash with your overall theme.

Play something for everyone

Something your grandparents will love to dance to can also be fun for you. Some classic jazz might be a welcome break from the line dances and predictable Top 40 playlist.

  • Tip: Consider playing the first dance songs that your parents danced to.
  • Tip: Last song? Don’t worry about it, you aren’t going to remember it anyway. You’re too “Drunk In Love”.

Here’s a list of wedding music to help you get started:

wedding music _ eco caters
@jimkennedyphotographers & @jpk_megan

Songs we love for getting ready:

Songs we love for photos:

We love this playlist from Nicholas Donner! Highlights include…

Songs for an adult reception:

Songs for line dancing:

Songs for your first dance:

Or, if you wanna break all barriers, follow this couple’s example and write (and record) a music video on your wedding day!

Need help planning other aspects of your big day? Contact Eco Caters today for affordable organic catering and assistance with your wedding day checklist.

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