Wedding receptions are uniquely different depending on where the bride and groom are from, family traditions, religion, and many other factors. One thing they all have in common is having a wedding playlist. From your first wedding dance, to the songs being played on the dance floor at the reception, having the perfect playlist is an essential part to any wedding.

Having the perfect playlist translates to setting the tone for the whole night, your guests having a more enjoyable experience, and having a more memorable wedding.

First, you both have to choose whether you want a DJ or a band at the wedding. There are pros and cons to both of the choices. With the band, you get a more personable vibe with the live music. Also, there are a lot of cover bands to popular groups. So if you and your spouse-to-be have a favorite band, then hiring a cover band would be an attractive option. The downside to having a band is they are limited to the amount of wedding songs they can perform. With a DJ, you have a lot more variety with the music selection, which is excellent to have if you have a lot of different music tastes. The downside to having a DJ is the loss of the live performance. In either case, make sure to talk to the performer(s) before hiring them to see if they are personable. A great band or DJ should be able to keep the crowd entertained with and without music.

The first song, and arguably the most important wedding song is the first dance. This is the Bride and Groom’s song to pick, and they should not pick a song for the audience’s liking. The first song should be a song that important to the newlyweds, such as their first song, a mutual favorite song, or any song that holds some place special in their hearts. The dance that goes along with the song is important as well. From slow dancing to breaking out The Charleston and everything in between, the dance that is chosen should be memorable for the bride and groom.

When picking music for the dancing afterwards, you are going to want to have a balance of music you both will like, and music that your guests will like. By no means should your playlist be completely for your guests, or completely for yourselves. It is your day, but these people have to sit and listen to this playlist the rest of their night. The guests want something to dance too as well. Again, whether you choose a DJ or a band, having different types can be easier or harder.

The songs picked, regardless of their genre, should be catchy and somewhat popular. Even people who hate Country recognize a few songs or artists, and the same goes for Hip-Hop, Rock & Roll, and many other genres of music. Having popular songs prevent people from feeling left out from the music. An asterisk to picking popular songs is to not pick too many over-popular songs. Any wedding song that drives people crazy because of overplaying on the radio should be seen as dangerous. It is okay to have a few, but do not make your wedding party a generic radio party.

When picking music for the playlist, you want to have certain types of songs, regardless of the wedding style. First, you will want to have a group dance song, specifically the Cha-Cha slide. All DJ’s know to play this song, and bands can usually play this while they take a break from performing. The Cha-Cha slide, originally performed by DJ Casper, continues to be one of the most played songs at weddings, proms, dances, etc. The reason it is so popular is that the song’s lyrics are literally directions on how to do the dance. It makes it extremely easy to get a big group of people to dance together. This dance is also not hard on the body at all, so seniors can get involved too.

Next, you need to pick a couple of slow wedding dance songs. You can never go wrong with a slow dance in a music playlist. You will want to have two to three slow dancing songs in a row, two to three times in the night. Since this is a wedding, love will be on everyone’s mind. Married couples want to dance because it reminds them of their wedding night. Friends of the bride and groom can mingle a little more, and if anyone is not into slow dancing, it gives them a song or two break to grab some water and time to talk amongst other guests.

The most important part of your wedding playlist is the timing. Timing deals with two issues; breaks and the order of songs. Unless you come from a family of Olympians, odds are that your guests cannot dance the whole night without a break. Breaks are very important not only to the guests, but it will also give your DJ or band time to rest and prepare for the rest of the night. A fatigued performer is a sloppy performer.

The order of the songs is also unquestionably important to the mood of the night. When playing a genre of music, it is important to play a couple of songs of that specific genre in a row. Since there are people with different music tastes, this gives people the opportunity to stay out on the dance floor and listen to their favorite genre. Guests would much rather pick this method instead of having to go back and forth when a song comes on that you don’t like, then going out when your genre comes back on.

There are a lot of aspects to picking the perfect playlist for your wedding. You need to be able to entertain your guests, while also entertain yourselves. You have to make help bring people together to have a great night. You have to make sure you both have an amazing night, because this is your big day. Make sure to make it memorable.