What Is “Typical” Wedding Music? (What to ask for or avoid in planning your Must Play and Do Not Play Lists!)

What is “typical” wedding music?

What music should you either ask for or avoid when creating your Must Play and Do Not Play Lists?

Hudson Valley Wedding DJ Bri Swatek Spinning with Style Sarah Immel Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding DJ Bri Swatek Spinning with Style Courtesy of Sarah Immel Photography

Music Sets the Tone

As the owner of DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style, I know that choosing music for a wedding is a matter of personal taste.  In choosing songs for your wedding day, you want to find titles and artists that reflect your own personal style as a couple.  From the grand entrance to the last dance, the music you choose (or choose to avoid) sets the tone for your event as much as the venue, the food, the flowers, etc.

Most of us know what we like in terms of music.  How does the playlist on our iPod fit into a wedding?  Also, what other lists of songs should a couple consider when planning music for their wedding day?

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at the Grandview Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Owl's Eye Studios Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at the Grandview Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Owl’s Eye Studios Photography

Must Play and Do Not Play Lists

When you put in the time and effort to plan a truly unique wedding that actively involves your friends and family throughout the festivities, filling the dance floor will be a natural part of your wedding day.  Your friends and family want to celebrate your marriage, and getting up and dancing is one of the best ways to do so!

We all have music that we personally love–and music we can’t stand to hear.  Our iPods, computers, and phones are full of our favorite songs that we like to “listen” to.  But how does this music translate to “dancing” at a wedding?

One question I often encourage my couples to ask is, “who are all these other people at our wedding, besides the two of us?”  What about your family and friends?  It may seem like an obvious question, but when you begin to make your Must Play and Do Not Play Lists, it’s easy to lose sight of your friends and family.  What music do you think that they will get up and dance to?

As a professional wedding DJ in the Hudson Valley, NY, over the year it has been my experience that 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.

It’s important to strike a balance between the songs you love the most and songs that will give your guests an opportunity to dance to the music they know and love as well.  If your Must Play List is full of music only you know (and your guests are not familiar with or don’t like), they won’t have the opportunity to help you celebrate on your wedding day by dancing.  Similarly, if you fill your Do Not Play List with all of the most requested, most popular songs that people expect to hear at a wedding, your guests might be disappointed at your event.  No one wants an empty dance floor at their wedding!

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at the Grandview Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Owl's Eye Studios Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at the Grandview Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Owl’s Eye Studios Photography

“Listening” vs. “Dancing” Music

For titles and artists you truly love, but can’t see anyone dancing to on your big day, consider times such as cocktail hour, your entrances, dinner, and cake cutting to share your favorite “listening” music with your family and friends.  Also, if you know that a unique “dancing” selection is important to a particular person or group, indicate that on your wedding planning paperwork, so the song can be played at the right moment with the right people there to enjoy it.

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Dutchess Manor Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Allan E Levine Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Dutchess Manor Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Allan E Levine Photography

Party Classics

Oftentimes, my couples will ask me for the same list of songs for two very different reasons:  they want to make sure that their family and friends can enjoy certain songs that they know and love, but at the same time, they want to avoid titles or artists that they personally dislike.  Phrases such as “typical,” “usual,” “cheesy,” “non-cheesy,” “party classics,” “fun,” and “wedding music” can all be used positively or negatively for this very same list of songs, depending on your point of view!

All of my couples at DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style receive comprehensive song lists featuring “classic” wedding selections from the 1940s to today’s hits, as well as “current” music that is popular now.  The classic song list is continually updated based on notes I gather after each wedding I DJ, and is organized into a variety of categories to make wedding planning easy.  The current song list is updated regularly as well, based on the radio-edited pop, rock, hip hop, dance, Latin, and country music I receive each month from Promo Only, “The Industry’s Complete Source for Music.”

These lists are extremely comprehensive and offer a variety of ideas for wedding planning.  But what about something simpler?  What if you want to quickly identify the “typical” music that guests often hear and request at a wedding–either to add to your Must Play List or your Do Not Play List?

A great song list that I share with my couples comes courtesy of Mobile Beat magazine, an industry resource written by and for Mobile Entertainers, including Wedding DJs.  The list is called the “Mobile Beat 200,” and can be found online here at www.mobilebeat.com.

The “Mobile Beat 200” is based on all of the requests given to thousands of DJs by their customers in advance of their wedding, party, or event.  As such, it’s often described by my customers as a real “love it or hate it” list–because so many types of events around the country are represented on this list, any couple is sure to find at least a few songs for both their Must Play and Do Not Play Lists here, if not more.

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Dutchess Manor Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Allan E Levine Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Dutchess Manor Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Allan E Levine Photography

“The Dance Floor Was Packed All Night Long!”

Every wedding is unique, and so is every group of friends and family.  Songs that work at one event may not work at another.  Must Play and Do Not Play Lists are incredibly important tools that you can use to tell your DJ in advance what types of music you think your friends and family will enjoy, and what songs you do not want to hear.  Finding a balance between showcasing your unique style as a couple and taking your guests’ taste in music into consideration will ensure that the dance floor will be packed all night long.  By considering your own personal tastes, as well as who is coming to your wedding and what music you think those family members and friends would love to hear (or avoid), you can create a wedding day that reflects your unique style as a couple–a celebration of your marriage set to a soundtrack of the music you love the most!

Congratulations,

Bri

__________

DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style
Your DJ for Your Unique Style
in the Hudson Valley of New York

Email:   briswatek@gmail.com
Phone:  845.235.0080
Online:   www.djbriswatek.com

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Involving Your Friends and Family in Your Wedding Day

As a DJ, I get sent a lot of YouTube and Facebook video clips of “crazy” wedding entrances or first dances.  Most brides and grooms have seen at least one clip of the Evolution of Dance or a ballad with a scratching sound followed by “Thriller.”  This clip I received of a ceremony entrance did highlight some of the pros and cons of the practice:

 

After my initial reaction of a few laughs, my second thought about this entrance was how much time and effort the bride and groom and their friends and family put into this choreographed number.  I can only imagine the work and the fun that went into practicing this routine.

While a staged entrance or dance like this might not fit your wedding or your style as a couple, it does ask the question:  what could you do to set your tone at your wedding, and in particular, how could you involve all of the wonderful friends and family who are in your wedding party?  Could you use more than one song in your entrance to set different moods for different groups of family or friends?  What about having two first dances, one for you as a couple, and a second one where your guests join in, creating two different moods at the very beginning?  Who have you asked to give speeches such as blessings or toasts, and have you considered spreading these speeches out at different points throughout the wedding, depending on the speaker and their personality?  Could you dedicate a song to special family members or friends who were there for you, particularly throughout all the excitement and stress of planning your once-in-a-lifetime event?  Have you considered adding a photo slideshow during dinner at your wedding, highlighting all of your memories with these special people though the years?

As the owner of Spinning with Style, I, DJ Bri Swatek, always like to ask my brides and grooms, “who’s coming to your wedding?”  It’s a simple question with a complicated answer:  all the people who are closest to you and your fiancee.  How can you make certain to express your friendship, gratitude, and love for these people on your wedding day?  It doesn’t have to be an over-the-top dance routine–it’s the thought that counts.

__________

DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style
Your DJ for Your Unique Style
in the Hudson Valley of New York

Email: briswatek@gmail.com
Phone: 845.235.0080
Online: www.djbriswatek.com