Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Reception Music!

Hello friends! Although a party is a party with or without dancing, the music is key to set the tone. Have you ever been to a shindig that just never gets going because the music isn't right? I'm a big believer that the soundtrack has to match the mood and the setting-- and that it can make or break an event. For example, I heard of a recent wedding where the music was all wrong-- "Ave Maria," a very pretty yet somber ballad, was played while the bride walked down the aisle-- and everyone came away thinking, "That was weird."

So with this in mind, I've been thinking about reception music extensively and have been compiling a list of tunes. We've booked Rod Sterling to DJ at our wedding- he played for my brother's reception in December and was fabulous! People had a blast dancing, even my 80 year old aunt.

For our celebration, I thought that it would be good to have three different groups of songs- one hour of upbeat and fun tunes during cocktails, one hour of laid-back classics during dinner and two hours of fabulous dancing for all ages. I like all sorts of different music and want to make selections that are appropriate and fun for our octogenarian relatives and our 25 year old friends.

For the cocktail hour, I think that it would be fun to have some international music to keep the spirits high and conversation moving- I like Gypsy Kings, Ottmar Leibert, Buena Vista Social Club, Cuban music and Afro-Cuban music. My question is, will it be confusing and/or weird to play Latin jazz and then play upbeat 50s tunes? Perhaps if we slowly transition, it would work. Any other suggestions for high-tempo fun music for that time?

For the dinner hour, I would like to play Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett and any other singers/bands (perhaps more modern too) that are jazzy yet relaxed. Any additional suggestions?

For the dancing, the options are endless! 60s, 70s and 80s are at the top of my list. I'd like to shy away from rap, group dances and music from the last 10-20 years to keep things fun for young and old. Any must plays here?

Oh by the way, on side note...I just watched a bunch of videos of ridiculous first dances on you tube....GREAT entertainment!


  1. I think it's an awesome idea to use different types of music to mark the transitions in your reception. It's a really creative way to set the tone...For cocktails I really like Frederico Aubele, Sergio Mendez, etc. and for dinner hour, you can't go wrong with Ray Charles, Sam Cook, or Van Morrison. It's always smart to match your music to your venue. That can really help cast the right mood and enhance the ambiance of your setting and decor because music elicits such an emotional response from people. As for dancing, stick to songs that everybody knows and loves, songs that are easy to dance too-the "classics," as it were...haha. I love dancing at weddings. It's enjoyable even for those who choose not to dance, just to watch the other guests get down is always fun AND it's a surefire way to keep the mood light and more importantly, keep guests entertained, which is always crucial to a fantastic reception. Good Luck! :)

  2. Thank you so much- I love your suggestions and I plan to use them!!

  3. Ugh, I can't bring myself to look at music yet...I'm burned out! :)

    Daniel told me about Jared when he got drafted to the Steelers...crazy!

  4. Your brother's playlist was fab! Happy to hear he'll be the DJ at yours!!
    And no, I have no suggestions beyond that. :)


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