How to create a wedding music playlist - a guide to getting it right
Updated: Jan 29
So you have the wedding booked and are now starting starting to think about creating your wedding music playlist for you or your wedding playlist. This is our guide of things to consider.
How many songs?
Our experience has shown us that a large proportion of brides go overboard when choosing the amount of songs for the evening reception. An average wedding starts at around 7pm but the first dance doesn't usually take place until 7.30pm or even 8.00pm, This allows plenty of time for your evening guests to arrive and gives you plenty of time to greet them before taking to the dancefloor for your first dance.
With most weddings usually finishing around midnight, and allowing a short break or change in music for your evening buffet, there is on average only about 4 hours of dancing time. Through years of experience we can say that on average your wedding dj will only play about 15 songs per hour. So 60-70 songs in total is enough my most weddings.
What would you recommend?
We are not recommending you pick a list of 60 songs and give it to the DJ, Unless of course thats what you really want to do but remember that you are paying these highly experienced individuals, in some cases, a lot of money for there time, knowledge and experience, so let them do there job. Guide them with some song choices but please don't do what some brides have done in the past. "Here is my list of songs, I want these played, in this order and at this time."
We have in the past even had a bride give us a memory stick with the only songs we could play and the order in which to play them.
Some wedding clients do have very good musical knowledge and could put a great wedding DJ set together in advance but until you are in a room, seen the guests and worked out what will work to get everyone up dancing, keep them up dancing with everybody having a good time, is not as easy as you would think.
Sometimes you need to play a song, that might not be on a playlist to get one table up, or a need to play a link song that will get you from song a to song b without loosing half of the dancefloor.
Online Playlist Planner.
Not all wedding DJ's will offer this but we use a dedicated online event planner system so that brides and grooms can login and build suggested songs into a "Must Play" list, "Play if possible" list, or even a "Do not play" list. We recommend choosing maybe 10-20 absolute must play songs and an unlimited amount of play of possible songs. Some brides have in the past created lists with just the first dance, whilst others have provided lists of 200 must play songs. We have even had lists of 100 plus, do not play, songs. I remember that wedding well. All of those DO NOT PLAY songs were all of the most played songs at a normal wedding, yes all of the most popular songs that would create an amazing wedding, were on the do not play playlist. Imagine being stood behind the decks looking at 100 guests sitting there looking at you thinking what on earth is the DJ playing, They wouldn't know the brides instructions.
Consider your guests.
One of the reasons we highly recommend you hiring a true professional wedding DJ is because your evening reception is a very important part of the day. It is the longest part of the day with all of the guests in the same place and it is the role of your wedding DJ to ensure everyone has a great time. There is nothing better than seeing a full dancefloor at the end of the evening with everyone chanting for one more song. If the DJ with or without your suggestions, get it wrong, then guests leave early and the amazing wedding reception, you had visualised, could fizzle out early.
Allow your guests to make requests on the night if they wish, Some wedding clients have in the past specifically told us not to allow any guest requests on the night and only play song suggestion they have made. As much as we appreciate that it is your wedding day, surely you want your guests to enjoy the evening reception as much as you. Making a DJ only play, for example, obscure indie rock all night, may seem a great idea to you if that's what you like, but if 80% of your guests don't know the songs, they wont dance, enjoy the evening and may leave early.
We offer, through our online event planner, guest access to make requests. This is great for a number of reasons. Guests can make advance requests online, you can approve or delete the request. It makes the guests who are maybe only attending the evening reception, feel part of the day by letting them be part of planning music for the evening. These songs a listed on the planner separately so we can differentiate them from your must play songs, although you can move a song from guest request to must play, if you wish.
We have recently also added Spotify integration to our event planner so clients can now create there suggestions in a Spotify playlist and upload it to our planner.
We hope you have enjoyed this guide to creating your wedding music playlist and if you would like anymore information feel free to get in touch.