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The choice of music at your wedding can be a make or break for a lot of people. Music sets the tone, the mood, and the ambience of the environment. It can evoke emotions in people that can help them enjoy their time, so you gotta nail it! Here's 10 tips on how to knock this one out of the park.
1. START THE DANCE OF WITH THE PARTY CLASSICS
You'll want to start with the songs that everybody knows and everybody can dance to. That way, you can keep the older generations entertained with some classics that they know, and as they begin to leave, you can move into the top 40 that the younger generations enjoy. Let's be honest, you're Grandma probably isn't interested in dancing to "Hotline Bling" by Drake...
2. CHECK THE LYRICS FOR THE SONGS AT YOUR CEREMONY
I once played acoustic guitar for a wedding ceremony, and we were asked to play "Follow Me" by Uncle Kracker. Totally sounds like a cute little wedding song right? Well, when you look at the lyrics, you realize the song is about cheating on your spouse. Wow, that is inappropriate! So make sure you listen to the lyrics for all the songs played at your ceremony.
3. THE CEREMONY SONGS SHOULD BE UPBEAT AND LIGHT
This is a joyous occasion, so make the music follow suit! You certainly don't want to walk down the aisle and hear a song that makes you feel sad or down. Choose something that has meaning to you as a couple and is also uplifting and makes you feel good!
4. PLAY MUSIC WHILE GUESTS ARE ENTERING THE CEREMONY
Ever been sitting at a restaurant or an event and heard the music suddenly stop playing? Did you feel a slight discomfort? Playing a light and low volume background music while guests are entering will make them more comfortable with having conversations and greeting each other. This is because the background music tells them that it is acceptable to make some reasonable noise, such as a normal conversation.
5. CHOOSE A FIRST DANCE SONG THAT IS A REASONABLE LENGTH
Think about how long 5 minutes actually is while you're dancing in front of an audience of your friends and family. That can go on for a long time! If possible, try to choose a song that has a shorter length, such as 3 and a half minutes. You can often find radio edited versions of songs that are shorter as well. Alternatively, you can also edit the song to a shorter length, although this requires an audio engineer or some basic audio editing skills. Velveteen Audio can easily do that for you ;)
6. CREATE TEST PLAYLISTS IN ADVANCE
My wife and I created a dinner playlist in advance on our Apple Music. We then listened to it while we were eating dinner for a few weeks. We realized that a few of the songs just didn't fit the dinner theme, so we replaced them. After three or four iterations, we had an amazing playlist that set the tone we wanted.
7. CREATE A DO NOT PLAY LIST
Let's be honest, there are probably quite a few songs that you absolutely do not want to hear at your wedding. For myself, if I hear "Sweet Home Alabama", I am definitely leaving the dance floor. that's probably because I'm also a guitar player who has played in numerous cover bands, and therefore I have played that song more times than I can count. But regardless, create a do-not-play-list for your band or DJ. Try to keep it minimal, as you don't want to restrict them either.
8. GET A DJ
I may get mixed opinions on this one, but in general, I'm going to say that you should definitely get a DJ. I have been to many weddings where the DJ was just iTunes, and it was controlled by a wedding party member. This leads to a biased playlist, and it some extreme cases, people going up to the computer and switching the song midway through! Imagine dancing to a great song, and then someone changes the song midway. That's not cool! Get a DJ who is in control and leads the charge, you won't regret it.
9. CONSIDER A LIVE BAND
There are a couple of pros and cons to this one. Let's start with the cons. It can get a little bit pricey, requires a pretty good sound system, and the band can only play the songs they know. However, if done right, this can really set your wedding apart from the pack. There's always something magical about a great band playing live music. If you do want to go this route, I would suggest seeing the band before you hire them. Also note, you can do a band and DJ arrangement, since the band will probably play three 45 minute sets.
10. PUT CARDS ON EACH TABLE FOR REQUESTS
This is also a choice that some may be into, some may not. The goal with this idea is to make sure the party is fun for everybody. So consider putting simple cards on each table that allow one or two requests. If the songs are on your do-not-play-list, then they won't get played regardless. But if they aren't, you can leave it up to the DJ to use his or her discretion on whether or not they are appropriate.
We hope that helps! Good luck on planning your wedding, and please comment below if you have any other suggestions!