The more important music is to you, the more important it is to have the music at your wedding be exactly what you want to hear and be played exactly when you want to hear it. You’re in total control and don’t have to rely on the musical stylings of a DJ you probably have never met…. as would generally be the case in most tropical destination weddings.
A big trend I’ve noticed over the last few wedding seasons is that more and more couples are making their own reception music playlists. It can be a great idea, a lot of fun picking and choosing your songs AND be a money saver as you’ll no longer need a full blown DJ. A professional sound system and a sound engineer to set everything up and make sure it all plays and runs smoothly is all you need…. then you and your guests can trip the light fantastic into the wee hours.
Creating a reception playlist from scratch however, can seem a little overwhelming to some folks. What's the first step? Where do I start?
First I would recommend that you try not to think of it as one giant list. Instead break it down into smaller ones, like you do folders on your IPOD:
· Ceremony (for your processional and recessional music)
· Cocktail Hour
· Dinner Music
· Special Songs (first dance, father/daughter, mother/son, cake cutting, garter toss, etc.)
The beauty of having these lists is that not only is everything organized and broken down into manageable bundles, the vibe inside each folder is consistent as well. You can just pick one, hit shuffle, and let the iPod do its thing.
You should start building your playlists 2 or 3 months before the wedding, so you aren’t rushing with everything at the last minute. The classics and favorites will come to mind easily, but other songs will take time. The list doesn't have to be set in stone, you can add and take out songs anytime you want…it’s your playlist… If a new hot song pops up, you can always throw it in at the last minute, even the day before the wedding.
The mood for each folder should be different. The cocktail hour music should be laid back, mood setting music; upbeat, romantic, jazzy or indie, Frank Sinatra or Kings of Leon… whatever makes you happy. Remember, the music at this point in the reception is not focused at getting people dancing and should not be too loud. It should be a good backdrop for people mingling and getting to know one another after the ceremony.
The dinner list should feel a little softer, since people will be chatting with their table mates and won’t want to be yelling across a table to be heard. Plus, more than likely the speeches will be given sometime during dinner, so the lead music should be appropriate.
Last but not least is the dance list. You'll definitely want uplifting beats that let everyone know it's time to party. Classic dance songs that everyone knows mixed with more contemporary party songs is the best way to go at a wedding. Remember, you’ll have people of all ages attending your wedding; your grandparents, your parents, your friends and your little nieces and nephews. Having a dance music list that has something for everyone and is appropriate for all attending is the perfect way to ensure your wedding will be a memorable one!
· To guarantee a good mix the rule of thumb is seven fast songs to one slow song: The slow songs are a chance for the lovebirds to dance and the singles to catch their breaths.
· Unfortunately, you can never count on technology, so it's always a good idea to have a backup plan and be ready for the “worst case scenario”. Definitely have either another iPod or your laptop on hand with the exact same playlist…. you never know!
· Remember that a wedding isn't a concert. During cocktails and dinner, the music should blend into the background - people are going to be chatting, so it shouldn't overwhelm them. When it's time to dance, crank it up loud. Of course, you always need to check with your venue as well. They may have specific restrictions regarding volume and hours.
· Most importantly….. don’t be nervous about using your iPod or laptop as a sound system! You can still get that high-energy, dance-party vibe when you plug into a professional sound system and most importantly….. you’ll LOVE every song that is played!