How To Create The Perfect Wedding Playlist

Music is a magical way to set the mood and tone for your wedding. While you may put your all into planning several hundred details for the big day, your guests will likely remember only a few details, and music will most definitely be one of them. Knowing this, it is quite natural to be worried about how to create the perfect wedding playlist. Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Read more below: 

Trust The Professionals

The first step in creating the perfect wedding playlist is to trust the professionals. Your desire to have what you want for your wedding is entirely understandable; however, there is a reason that people are hired to showcase their expertise in various areas. Check out this excerpt from our blog, “How to Choose the Perfect Music For Your Party”:

“​​While clients should undoubtedly be hands-on when planning a party, sometimes clients can become overly involved with specific party details. When you hire a professional caterer, even if you’re the family’s Top Chef, it is wise to allow a caterer to do what they do best. You may be able to cook for 12 people at home, but cooking for (and serving) 1200 people is a different feat. The same thought process should apply to your DJ or band. While you may believe that you have great musical taste, it’s likely that you haven’t been a professional musician and could be a little more biased to your personal preferences than choosing music that can make an event flow well. 

Making song requests or “Do Not Play” lists are fine, but if you find yourself walking up to the band to make song requests every 5 minutes, you may be creating more trouble than you are helping. You can distract your vendor by doing things like this, and you may unknowingly distract your guests from enjoying themselves. For example, professional musicians think about BPM’s (beats per minute) when transitioning from one song to another because it helps to keep guests dancing without missing a beat – literally. Other little tricks of the trade only come with experience, so allow your professional musicians to do their jobs so your music can be top-notch. Bottom line – put in your requests, then let the professionals do the rest.

The best band leaders and DJs will ask for your input early on in the process and give you the chance to “clean” the setlist. When your time comes, think about specific songs that bring back romantic memories to you and your spouse. 

Ask Friends Who Know You Best

If you get input from people when it’s your turn to “clean the list,” ask some of your closest friends. They usually know your taste and may even be able to see through your “cloud” of wedding planning to bring you back to earth and remember certain things, like your favorite tunes. 

Don’t forget about your spouse either! There is usually a leader when couples are planning a wedding, and the person who leads can sometimes forget to incorporate the other person in some of the decision-making. The secondary person may even desire to opt-out of getting into the details. Still, music is such an essential element of the wedding, so it is nice to get your partner’s input on musical selections early on in the process. 

Think of Your Theme But Stay Versatile

Your wedding theme will have a significant impact on your wedding playlist as well. If you are going for a romantic and intimate theme for your wedding, you may wish to play light and quiet music. If you are going for an all-night dance party theme, you will want your playlist to reflect that energy throughout the night. 

If you are incorporating a cultural element into your event, you may want to add music that serves as a backdrop for that part of the event. During Jewish weddings, guests and the wedding party participate in a traditional dance called the “Hora.” During the hora, family and friends lift the newlyweds into the air, and the rest of the guests dance circles around them while they both hold a handkerchief to signify the union. Traditional musical selections are played, and many bands and DJs are familiar with this traditional element and have the songs prepared for this time. 

On the contrary, if you have a mixed crowd, you will want a versatile playlist. Your playlist should include Motown-era songs, line dances, classic big band songs, and of course, current Top 40 songs. Incorporating your theme into your music selection but still leaving room for your playlist to be versatile will ensure that everyone will have an opportunity to enjoy music from their era. Choose your theme, think about a few memorable songs that align with that theme, then keep the rest of your options open so you can maintain a diverse playlist. 

DJ vs. Band vs. Playlist

How are you sourcing your music during the wedding? Have you hired a DJ? Are you booking a live band? Have you curated your playlist to play from your iPad or phone? There are pros and cons to all three options, and your approach to creating a playlist varies depending on the route you choose.

Hire a DJ With the Right Feel

A wedding DJ is responsible for amplifying your wedding with a playlist with exciting music that merges your taste and style. Do you want your DJ to create a playlist that incites the crowd to have a dance party? Do you want your guests to have a subtle soundtrack playing behind their conversations throughout the night? Either way, your DJ should understand the theme and desired mood of the night early on in the hiring process. This way, the DJ can create a playlist that merges all of these elements to cultivate the perfect playlist. 

Book a Band That Understands

If you decide to go to the next level and book a live band, you’ve made a great choice. Live bands create a special and unique experience for clients and guests alike. Of all of the reasons to hire a live band for your wedding, this is the best one thus far: 

“If you’ve ever attended a live concert, you can attest to the energy and excitement that fills the concert venue when the band or artist is about to perform. Live bands create a one-of-a-kind experience that so many people look forward to when they attend special events and weddings. This is because people live busy lives day-to-day and most likely enjoy music by listening to Spotify or the radio; however, when they get the opportunity to dress up and go out (to a wedding perhaps), they will enjoy hearing some of their favorite tunes live. It’s no wonder that international artists like Beyoncé and Bruno Mars can fill stadiums and make millions from ticket sales — hearing their records are great but seeing them perform during a live show is next level.” — 7 Reasons To Hire A Wedding Band For Your Wedding Reception

A professional live band will offer you a wide range of song options to ensure your night is a success. Most wedding bands have a repertoire of songs that include today’s most popular hits and classic hits from the past. 

Understand that a live band usually has a chunk of refined songs and is considered their base setlist. You can request songs and take pieces you loathe off the master song list, but it is essential to hire a band that already plays songs from genres you like. It is unlikely that you will find a band that plays an entirely different genre of music willing to learn up to four hours’ worth of material for your event.

Use a Curated Playlist

If your budget is too tight and you cannot afford to hire a band or DJ, you have another solution. Do not opt just to shuffle your Spotify playlist — this can create an inconsistency in the mood throughout the night. You don’t want Alexa or Siri opting to play “Single Ladies” by Beyoncé while you walk down the aisle or dance to your first song. Your best bet is to use a curated playlist and select memorable songs for the more intimate and focused moments of the night. A curated playlist allows you to get a professional experience without having to overthink (or spend too much money). 

Unsure of how to use a curated playlist or where to get one? According to Spectrio, “A human-curated playlist is one put together by a person that’s based on your input on artists, genres, and songs. In the world of digital music providers, algorithmic playlists are like commercial radio – you get what you get, with little to no input. In contrast, human-curated playlists are similar to having your very own DJ spinning tunes that flow seamlessly from one song to the next to create a specific mood or theme.”

Do your research online ahead of time and listen to a few “wedding reception” playlists. After you find one you like, you can edit the playlist by adding or deleting songs, so your playlist is personalized with a good foundation. 

Remember that you will have to designate someone to manage the playlist during special announcements or when you need to change the music or have it cease completely. Please communicate with your designated person early on, so they are clear on what they are doing. We do not recommend that person being you – your wedding is your time to relax, not play DJ.

Remember that Music Helps the Event Flow

If you remember anything from these suggestions, the most important thing to take away is that music helps to keep the event flowing. Envision your wedding as a movie and think about the music playing when a scene changes or when a significant plot twist occurs. At times, we forget about the impact and importance of music and its vital role in our everyday lives. With this in mind, it is essential to create a wedding playlist that almost tells a story and influences your guests to feel the right emotions at the right time. During the bridal party entrance, you may want your guests to feel elated at seeing you and your spouse as a married couple for the first time. During the first dance, you may want guests to feel sentimental. Before the last song of the night, you may want guests to have feelings of euphoria to cap off the rest of the night. Whatever the emotion, we know there is likely a song to help galvanize that feeling. And that is the core reason to create the perfect wedding playlist — it makes all the difference. 


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