How many songs should we pick out for our wedding?
How many songs should we put on our “Must Play” List and our “Do Not Play” List?
Over the years as the owner of DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style, a mobile disc jockey service specializing in weddings in the Hudson Valley, NY, I have been asked questions about playlists many times. I am always only too happy to answer these questions, and to give a bit of advice about planning your wedding in the process.
There are a few different ways to look at these questions. First of all, make sure that you’ve selected a song for each major event on your wedding planning forms (i.e. Grand Entrance, First Dance, Cake Cutting, etc.) that reflects your style as a couple. Secondly, you shouldn’t have to choose a single song for cocktails, dinner, or even open dancing if you don’t want to! A truly professional Wedding DJ will be able to read the crowd, take requests, and, using the special songs on your wedding planning form as a guide, put together an event that will fit your style as a couple, keep you and your guests happy, and keep the dance floor packed all night long.
However, if you’re interested in doing the math, consider the following . . .
After cocktail hour, a wedding reception in the Hudson Valley of New York is usually is 4 hours long. With the typical song being about 3 minutes long, that means you will have about 80 songs played at your reception. Subtract all of your special event songs and you’re closer to 70. Of that 70, you’ll probably need 10-15 songs to cover courses, dinner and dessert. That leaves 55 songs for dancing — approximately 5-10 ballads or slow songs and 45-50 upbeat party songs. For these 55 dancing songs, a short, specific list of 10-15 songs is a good length for a “Must Play” List. A 10 or 15 song “Must Play” List leaves room for a professional DJ to read the crowd and take guest requests at your wedding reception. Your “Do Not Play” List should also be no longer than 10-15 songs — just long enough to acknowledge the types of music or specific songs you would like to avoid on your big day.
If you would like to be very specific about the music you want — and don’t want — at your wedding, a professional Wedding DJ will be able to listen to your requests and work with you to honor them at your event. “Must Play” and “Do Not Play” Lists are extremely important tools to a Wedding DJ in order to host a wedding that fits your definition of “fun.” However, programming every song at your wedding ahead of time ignores the opportunity to not only honor appropriate requests by your guests, but also for your DJ to read the crowd and create memorable moments for you and your guests. Striking a balance between what songs you do and don’t want to hear and what types of music you think your guests would like to dance to is essential for planning a successful wedding.
DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style
Your DJ for Your Unique Style
in the Hudson Valley of New York