How To Create the Perfect Wedding Playlist
15 Jun 2021 •5 min read
More than just another item on the to-do list, perfecting the playlist for your special day can be a fun project—combining both you and your partner’s music library to add a distinct personal touch. The music played on your special day is what truly sets the tone of the celebration. It helps to fill in the gaps of the day’s festivities and gives you more control over the overall vibes of the party.
With this in mind, you don’t have to stress yourself out with yet another line on the wedding to-do list. Just follow our simple guide on how to build a personal wedding playlist and we’ll keep the party pumping all night long.
Set the Energy Early
A strong wedding aesthetic demands a playlist that goes with it! If your wedding style features the pastoral shades of the country on a farm or in a renovated barn, some light and sweet finger-picked folk and country songs will complement the environment perfectly as your guests are walking in. If you’re looking for a modern party kind of party the second your guests enter the reception hall, play the hits early to get the pulse running. Prelude music tailored to the theme will give guests a sense of what’s to come and gives them something to settle in with as everyone else fills in.
Consider giving some fun cues when setting the scene through your prelude playlist. For example, destination-themed weddings like “One Night in Paris” can include songs from Serge Gainsbourg, Édith Piaf, and Françoise Hardy so you can take guests anywhere in the world—without checking passports. They might not understand the lyrics, but the feelings behind the music are universal.
Variety is the Spice of Life
With the initial aural aesthetics in place, you don’t have to lock yourself into one particular mood or genre. No matter how disparate you and your partner’s musical tastes are, the playlist should be an equal amalgamation of your favorite songs—think of it as a sign of how compatible you are despite your differences!
Instead of focusing only on the music of one particular genre or feeling, a diverse list of songs throughout the night will turn background music into a soundtrack that will be as memorable as the food or the venue. You can diversify your playlist while still sticking to the theme by weaving a few choice favorites in with the more ambient, thematic music. Even if your garden wedding theme focuses on tender, finger-picked folk songs for an atmosphere, there is still room for a few crossover songs of any genre to show your guests just how varied you and your partner’s taste are—especially when it's time to throw down on the dance floor. Plus you’re sure to please more of your guests’ musical pallet with more variety.
Timing is Everything
Always make sure to consider the schedule of the big day. Your soundtrack for the night should flow along with the festivities to keep the vibe cohesive no matter what you and your guests are up to. If you have a song you know will get the dancefloor pumping, save it for after everyone’s done eating. You don’t want to force anyone into choosing between a full plate of food and their dancing shoes!
Consider the feeling you want to elicit at different times throughout the event and tailor your tracklist to that schedule. After setting the scene with the prelude music, you will probably want to pick the energy up a little bit as guests are transitioning to the reception hall. Keep some more of the slower tracks during the food service so people know it’s time to sit and wind down and keep the dance-floor fillers for after the meal when guests will have replenished their dancing energy.
The wedding will naturally go through waves of energy and respite, so it’s important to give guests some auditory cues to follow along with and keep everyone on pace with the event. Keep a few high-energy songs together in clusters-your guests will want to dance to more than just one song after all!- but don’t forget to break them up with other tempos so people can have breaks to replenish their drinks and take a breather.
Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Favorite Throwbacks!
There’s often a very good reason that some songs become wedding cliches, and that's because they still get everyone on the floor no matter how hard they’re cringing! Half the fun of the Macarena and the Cotton-Eyed Joe is that no one looks good doing it, so the whole party gets a good laugh. Even if Bruno Mars’s “Marry You” or John Legend’s “All of Me” feels a little too on the nose, they’ll at least give you a break while the other couples have a dance of their own to enjoy.
This is your wedding after all, and so the only people you really have to consider when building your playlist is the central couple—your and yours! Kick out that little voice in your head saying “Oh this song is too cheesy, this one is corny, this is way too overplayed…” or anything of the sort. If you like it, put it on!
It’s your day and it’s all about you, and you’re never going to please everyone anyway. Though you might be embarrassed over the pop-punk tracks you and your partner bonded over years ago or you don’t want to scare your in-laws with your hidden penchant for death metal, make sure to keep the playlist personal and unadulterated to whatever you and your love desire.