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Hello, and welcome to the CSP blog! I'm Chris Sosa—ice-cream-lover, encourager, and wedding photographer based in Miami, Florida! My passion is photographing timeless estate weddings for joyful couples who put their marriage first! Grab a pint of your favorite ice cream, curl up on the couch, and enjoy scrolling through some of my recent weddings, getting all the latest planning inspiration, and learning from my best photography tips!

Today we have something very special – a guest blog from a DJ! He’s sharing how to choose songs for your wedding reception playlist, so the party keeps going aaaall night long!

Music is one of those magical things that make or break a moment. Ever wonder why a scary movie is scary? Try watching with no sound. It’s not as scary.

For the same reason, when you hear the song for a first dance at a wedding, most guests are in tears! Even I usually shed one or two… But that’s probably just something in my eyes. Hehe.

Music sets the emotional tone for whatever is happening around you.

So without further introduction…. A man who always gives introductions! DJ Benjamin Williams, ladies and gentlemen, sharing some tips on how to pick your music for your wedding!

From DJ Benjamin Williams:

You’ve planned every detail of your big day… You’ve met with your photographer and gone over the shot list, you’ve met with your florist to go over all the boutonnieres and bouquets for the bridal party, you’ve gone over the menu with a fine toothed comb with the caterer to make sure you covered all the possible food allergies for your guests…

But have you gone over your wedding reception playlist with your DJ?

A lot of times when you discuss music with your DJ, you usually cover what I call the “special moment songs” (first dance, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, cake cutting, bouquet toss, garter toss, etc.).

But many people don’t really go over the songs for when the party gets started! So if you haven’t thought about it yet, here’s what you need to know when you are picking songs for your guests!

1) Offer plenty of variety in your wedding reception playlist

You want a variety of songs if possible. Go for a mix of fast and slow songs, covering a number of different genres. Not everyone that is at your reception is into the same style of music. I would say have 1 slow song for every 2-3 fast songs. The slower ones will give some folks a chance to catch their breath.

2) Make sure songs are appropriate for the audience

This is one that will depend on a couple other factors, but you want to make sure you screen songs with your DJ before you put them on your playlist in case you need to edit any potentially risque lyrics out. If you think you’re going to have more than a few kids in attendance, or older guests, I would be careful of songs with a lot of explicit lyrics.

3) Be clear about DNP songs

The DNP, or Do Not Play List, is probably about as important as the playlist. Remember, your DJ is a DJ, not the Amazing Kreskin. If you have a song that you do not want to hear played at your reception, make it clear early on. That said, you can’t control if someone requests the song, although that is probably something you will want to discuss when you are consulting with them prior to the day of.

4) Have some direction with all your music

I mentioned earlier the importance of having variety, but there is a difference between a playlist that is varied and one that is chaotic. If you’re list goes from “Homegrown Honey” by Darius Rucker, to “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine, to “Fly Me To The Moon” by Frank Sinatra, to “Drive Me Crazy” by Brittany Spears, to “Collide” by Howie Day… There really is no direction and it will be hard for a DJ to get a read on the room and keep the energy going.

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch, but it is a good place to start when you start meeting with your DJ.

Happy music hunting!

Benjamin Williams

B. James Productions

Benjamin James “BJ” Williams is a traveling wedding and event DJ from Virginia with B. James Productions. He can be found on the web here and on Facebook here.”

For Couples

August 30, 2016

Guest Blog | Selecting Your Songs for Your Wedding Reception Playlist

  1. Carolyn

    August 31st, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Great advice! This is always something our couples ask our opinion on!

  2. Kemari Ihlenfeldt

    August 31st, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Haha cute intro & nice read! 🙂 DJ’s keep that music flowing and the guests on the dance floor. So fun!

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