How to Pick Your Wedding Reception Music

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How to Pick Your Wedding Reception Music

Picking the music for your wedding reception is no easy task! With so many killer tunes, narrowing your choices down can feel impossible. Not to mention, the music you choose can absolutely make or break the celebration. Check out the tips and advice below, to ensure your post-nuptial party is one to remember!


Keep Your Guests in Mind

As you start selecting music and genres that you would like to play at your wedding, it is important that you remember the crowd. You want everyone to feel excited to be a part of the day, and one of the best ways to do so is by playing music they enjoy. However, remember that you can not appease everyone. It is still your wedding after all, and what really matters is that you enjoy yourselves.


Mix It Up

The easiest way to select music, is to plan out all of the important parts of the evening, or a breakdown of activities. For each activity, you should have some music to fit the mood. Rather than keep one genre or vibe going throughout the night, mix it up. Include hits that exude romance and fun, and that are from different eras. This being said, The only exception is when it comes time to get on the dance floor. At this point, everything is free game as long as your guests are feeling it. The following list is a generic wedding reception schedule, including suggestions for the type of music to choose.


  • Cocktail hour – Choose songs that are lively yet easy to talk over. Cocktail hour is for socializing, and may be the first time some members of your family or friends meet for the first time, so you want your guests to be able to hear one another.
  • Introduction of the wedding party – Completely up to you, however, many couples opt for something upbeat and fun, so you can dance into the room.
  • Introduction of the newlyweds – Stick to the same song as the wedding party, or go for something different.
  • First dance – Typically a slow song, but it is up to you. Whatever song represents your relationship, or allows your relationship to shine, should be your first pick.
  • Dinner – People will have their mouths full but will still want to chat. Aim for a similar vibe as to that of cocktail hour.
  • Toasts and cake cutting – Instrumental songs work well in any area where guests’ attention and ears are necessary. You don’t want your guests missing out on anything important!
  • Father-daughter dance – Choose a song that is meaningful to the pair of you, or let your father pick.
  • Mother-son dance – Choose a song that is meaningful to the two of you, or let your mother pick.
  • Garter toss and bouquet toss – Think of songs along the lines of Single Ladies by Beyonce. Anything that will get the single folks out on the dance floor.
  • Anniversary dance – Although an optional dance, this is a favorite amongst the older crowd. If you have one in mind, an especially meaningful ballad works well here.
  • General dancing must plays – Pick songs to fill the dance floor, starting with popular oldies to get the older crowd out on the floor first. They will be more likely to stick around when more modern and upbeat songs come on.
  • Line dances and crowd dances – These are any songs that get the crowd rushing to the dance floor, such as Cotton Eye Joe, The Electric Slide and Cha Cha Slide.
  • Exit song – If you are making a grand exit, whether to leave for your honeymoon or for special photographs, you want a song that fits the exciting vibe.
  • Last song of the night – Close the night out with a hit, just make sure your DJ announces that it is in fact the last song. This way no one will be disappointed!


Trust Your DJ

If you don’t have a particular song or genre in mind for a certain part of the night, rely on your DJ. This is their profession after all, and they should be able to use your provided selection to choose a song that fits in. Similarly, they will be able to ask the important questions to not only fill in the blanks, but offer you suggestions. Such as opting for instrumental music during parts of the reception that require peoples’ full attention.


At Pine Lake Ranch we are proud to not only offer a space for DJs, but live entertainment. Our recently renovated 6,500 square foot barn is the perfect location for your DJ to set up, alongside the large accompanying dance floor. Or, should you opt for a live band, our string-lit coral is ideal for dancing the night away beneath the stars. Contact us today with any questions, or to inquire about availability. We can’t wait to help you achieve the wedding of your dreams!