How to Pick the Right Wedding Reception Music

How to Pick the Right Wedding Reception Music

In this era of Pandora and Genius Playlists, it is easy to overlook the importance of having the right music play at your wedding reception.  A wedding is a different event than most of the dances you have ever been to in your life, so it calls for a broader variety of music genres.  After all, what event has a more diverse guest list than a wedding?  You will have guests from every generation, from your grandparents who love the Glen Miller Orchestra, your friends who like hits from the 90s and 2000s, your parents and their friends, who like classic rock and 80s metal, all the way down to your teenage cousins who like music you probably haven’t even heard of yet.  But the key to a successful wedding reception is getting all of these demographics to have fun on the dance floor at some point.  This blog discusses some of the big genres of music you should make sure you include in your wedding playlist.


Group Dance Songs

These are the numbers that should play at almost every wedding.  While they might seem corny, the upside is that many people know the moves, and if you don’t the moves are really easy to learn. People from all generations will come to the dance floor for these, and they are a great way to get even the shyest wedding guests out onto the floor.

Examples: “Cupid Shuffle,” “Cha-Cha Slide,” “Electric Slide,” “The Chicken Dance,” “Shout


Sing-Along Classics

Famous tunes with famous lyrics take the energy and excitement of a wedding reception to the next level. Plus, they are a good inroad to getting everybody involved, even those who refuse to dance.  Plus, these numbers are a sure-fire way to get good footage from your wedding video.

Examples: “Sweet Caroline,” “Livin’ on a Prayer,” “Don’t Stop Believin’


Swing and Salsa Tunes for the Real Dancers

Some people love traditional dancing. People in your parents’ generation may even go to dance lessons for fun. A wedding is perfect venue to let these people show off and have a little fun.  Most swing and salsa songs are easy for novices to dance to anyway, but throwing in some swing and salsa numbers may let you see a dancing side of somebody you’ve never seen before.

Swing Examples: Anything by “The Brian Setzer Orchestra,” “Big Bad Voodoo Daddy,” “Sing, Sing Sing,
Latin Examples: Anything by Marc Anthony


Sentimental Retro Favorites

You can kill two birds with one stone by incorporating some retro favorites into your repertoire. Songs from the 1940s are often gentle serenades about love, and your grandparents will be thrilled to hear them. Plus, nobody wants to eat their herb roasted chicken to the tune of a song by Lil John and the Eastside Boyz, so these songs can double as dinner music. And if you’re stumped about the perfect song for the father/daughter and mother/son dances, these can be perfect too.

Examples: Anything by Benny Goodman, Glen Miller Orchestra, Bing Crosby, or Frank Sinatra


Your Favorite Music

At the end of the day, this wedding is all about you. While it’s important to play songs that will get your guests involved and make the wedding fun, ultimately it’s important that you play the music that you want to jam to on your wedding day. It doesn’t matter if it’s something corny, something old, or something nobody has heard before.  Play your jam and sing it at the top of your lungs.

Example: Fall Out Boy, “All Star” by Smash Mouth, Coldplay (seriously?), any other guilty pleasures.


The right songs can turn your wedding reception from a room full of people standing around drinking to a full scale dance party. After you’ve chosen the perfect wedding reception music and that dance party breaks out, you don’t want your videographer sticking his camera into people’s faces and killing the vibe. Flashbox Films has a unique solution to wedding videography that captures all the best moments without any vibe-killing.  Click here to learn more about how we can turn your wedding into a film you’ll want to watch over and over.