Our Wedding Reception Playlist

May 30, 2018 Rebekah E. Goodall 0 Comments

For some of us hiring a professional DJ is out of the question, too expensive. And the same goes for a live band. There is the perfectly fair option of having as the guys from DIY Reception call an "iPod wedding." So here I am with my limited experience.. no wait don't I have a bachelor's degree in music...writing my really helpful advice for your own iPod wedding.

The first problem is that even when you have no DJ, you still have to ask someone to be a makeshift DJ. You have to find a person to control the music even if they aren't an expert. The amount of control this person has...that's where you need to be totally transparent with them.

Why is this a problem; you may be asking? well then you're not the type of person who gets worried about these things. "Good for you," I say through tightly clenched teeth, you don't care if the person controlling the music puts slow and fast songs in the wrong order and God forbid, they change the song half-way through!!

Yes, I have been to a wedding where I was enjoying dancing to a song with my then boyfriend and this happened. The song was changed perhaps every 30 seconds because the brides cousin, or bridesmaid or who ever she was, could not contain her excitement for a different song. This was despite the fact that she was one person in a room with a hundred other people who really enjoyed how things were going music-wise. I wanted to slap her silly. She was behaving as if this was her own party and yet here name wasn't even listed in the bridal party so no, she wasn't really anyone special. This is not how anyone should play music at someone else's wedding reception. Have some self-control, woman!

So Tip no. 1 - Choose your makeshift DJ to be a really old person who doesn't understand technology and perhaps doesn't even know they could change the song.

And there's Tip no. 2 - Choose your makeshift DJ to be someone so old they are deff and can't hear the people who come up to them requesting songs.

I've just come up with a new rule - yes, I really like rules that make other people do nothing to upset me. Here it is:
Requesting songs is not acceptable until the bride and groom have left the building, because it's not your party.

Is that an okay rule? I think it's fair. And even when the bride and groom leave you to keep dancing for the rest of the night you have to consider everyone else that's left. Grandma doesn't want to listen to gangsta rap at her little grandson's wedding. And Aunt Suzy was having a gay-old time flailing her hands in the air before you switched the song for the eighth time.

And here we go with another perfectly acceptable rule to follow:
Requesting songs is not acceptable unless you paid for the wedding, because it's not your party.

They say first that it's the bride's big day, and then the most important person after that- you'd think it was the groom, but it is the mother of the bride. I don't really agree with this because my my mother already had her wedding so I don't know why she really gets to fuss, and fiancé cares about his wedding day too. However I'll accept that the family who help pay for the wedding are more important than the guests that came for the free boos and therefore should get to choose the music that they want to dance to once the bride and groom have left.

but here is the point I'm really trying to get to with this blog post;
Tip no. 3 - Have multiple playlist for different stages of the night.
I suggest, and what I am trying to put together, is sectioning the party into playlists to help the guests get into the right mood at the right time. These don't actually have to be in any particular order and you might want, and they may be dependent on how you arrange the party. Things to consider an order for are dinner, speeches, desert, cutting the cake, first dance, dance party, and any other entertainment you may include.

Here's how I see things going down at our reception...

We'll at start the night with smooth jazz as the guests drift in, start to mingle, find their tables, and await the arrival of the couple. Really this playlist is not necessary, it's just an extension of the dinner playlist, but houmor me.

These songs could be jazz covers of contemporary songs or the ones typically found in classic wedding films from my childhood starting with the opening number of the parent trap;


L.O.V.E - Michael Buble
Rude - PostModernJukebox
Lavender's Blue Dilly Dilly
Forever in Love - Kenny G

Then the song picked to walk in with needs to be cued in, the videographer gets into place as does the Master of Ceremonies (or MC) to announce "for the first time Mr and Mrs [insert name here],"and we move into the tame, no-one's-dancing-yet dinner playlist. It basically consists of all the slow songs in all the twilight soundtracks.


Northern Lights - Cider Sky
My Love - Sia
It Will Rain - Bruno Mars
High - Peaking Duk
Would You Be So Kind - Dodie
Bittersweet - Ellie Goulding
Castle On The Hill - Ed Sheeran
Haze - Tessa Violet
Fools - Troy Sivan
Dreaming - Smallpools
The Violet Hour - Sea Wolf
Counting Stars - OneRepublic
Sugar - Maroon 5
Dear Future Husband - Meghan Trainor
Ho Hey - The Lumineers
Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen

The shorter ballroom playlist is really just the few songs you choose for the first dance, daddy/daughter dance and other like that. Most modern weddings won't have many people that are into ballroom dancing as a pass-time so it's the shortest playlist. That reason and because finding songs that are in the right time signature is really difficult, I'm finding.

Don't forget you're dance songs can be instrumental versions. This especially works if you like a song for it's music but the lyrics don't really apply to two people having just made a life-time commitment to love one another.


Marry Me - Train
You And Me - Lifehouse
A Million Dreams - The Greatest Showman
Delicate - Taylor Swift (Perfect for a rumba)
A Thousand Years - Christina Perri
All About Us - He Is We ft. Owl City

This next playlist, like the mingling music, doesn't have to be seperate from the club bangers: the point is actually to save the hard-out dance songs till the final section of the party, so this one can have the more tame pop songs. Those classic dance party songs, like La Macarena and cha cha slide, should get mostly used up in this list while most people will still have the energy to join in.


Love Story - Taylor Swift
Love Me Like You Do - Ellie Goulding
Galway Girl - Ed Sheeran
Can't Stop That Feeling - Justin Timberlake
Centerfold - J. Geils Band
You're The One That I Want - Grease soundtrack
Footloose - Footloose soundtrack
If It's Love - Train
Party In The USA - Miley Cyrus
Mr. C - Nina Nebitt
Call Me Maybe - Carly Rea Jepsen
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - The Proclaimers
Wagon Wheel - Darius Rucker (man, this guy must get a great lot of royalties)

Here's were you can get loose, get down, and get funky with some club bangers from this actual decade.

Make sure you've got a mix of mosh-pit numbers and ones that are better for slow dancing, or sitting down to catch your breath if you can't find a partner.

You can find more upbeat versions of your favourite songs if there's a remix of it somewhere.


A Little Party Never Killed Nobody - Fergie
Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO
Rude - PostModernJukebox
Cheep Thrills - Sia
Love to Hate It - Off Bloom
Youth - Troye Sivan
Dancing - Queen
Gangnam Style - PSY
SexyBack - Justin Timberlake
Green Light - Lorde
Strip That Down - Liam Payne
The Night We Met - Lord Huron
Sign Of The Times - Harry Styles
Slow Hands - Niall Horan
Why - Sabrina

A really important factor to keep in mind is on average 20 songs equals 1 hour of playing time. This is both a lot of songs and not a lot of songs so make sure there really are the ones you want to play, or if there is something better that makes it more your own wedding music.

Considering that fact I'm not even half done, but this should give you some ideas if you've actually come here for that.


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