Wedding reception music
It’s time to show all your friends and family how much you love them. What better way to do this than by throwing them a party! Wedding receptions vary in style, size and atmosphere and you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing music that will suit your big day.
Choose music that will suit style of your wedding
Whether your wedding is an intimate lunch with family or its all of your friends partying all night, finding a band or DJ that caters to your wedding needs will need to tick a few boxes. The music will need to suit your musical styles and the style of your wedding. Keep in mind, your guests are the people who have supported you and your partner and they deserve to hear music they love. While some of the classic songs might not be your favourite, your guests might love them and will want to dance the night away. Here’s a short story and one I’ve told many times:
In the early days of my music performing career I had a wedding couple, Sally and Charlie, book me to play at their wedding. They liked my sound and my setlist (I’ve always been happy to play around five requests for wedding couples. It’s something I still do), Charlie sent me their requested song list (40 songs!) and it was full of some of my favourite songs and artists, but I quickly realised that there were only a handful of songs out 40 that were popular. While I tried to give them my spiel on playing classic pop songs, they were adamant they wanted these songs played. In my inexperience and keenness to expand my repertoire, I did as I was asked. At the reception, I began playing through the set list and after about 20 minutes (or five songs), I was asked (by a young person) if I was able to play something more familiar. I apologised and explained that the wedding couple had chosen the song list. Over the course of the hour set, I was approached three more times (yep, three, by three different people) to play music they knew and could dance to. During the set break I went to speak to the groom and before I could get to my point, he asked if I could play the hits. This I did with pleasure and the rest of the nice was a party with a packed dance floor.
Bands and DJs come in all shapes and sizes and some specialise in certain styles or genres of music. Most wedding bands and musicians are great at reading the room and creating a party atmosphere but it’s best if you give the band or DJ an idea on the styles of music you and what you think your guests would like to hear.
What to consider when choosing a wedding band
- Choose music that you and most of your guests will know.
- Choose half a dozen songs from the bands set list and let them do what they do best. The band will be able to quickly gauge what music styles you like and adapt accordingly.
- Find a band that has an extensive repertoire of all the classics that can keep all your friends and family having a boogie or singing along. A lot of professional bands cover a wide range of music styles.
- Your guests! The ceremony is your special moment. The reception, however, is about thanking your guests for their love and support.
5 from 5
Five songs from five different music styles that are played by most bands
Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson
Faith by George Michael
I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston
Shake A Tailfeather by Ray Charles
All Night Long by Lionel Richie
Superstition by Stevie Wonder
Crazy In Love by Beyoncé
Valerie by Amy Winehouse
Blame It On The Boogie by Jackson Five
September by Earth, Wind and Fire
Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi
What I Like About You by The Romantics
You Shook Me All Night Long by AC DC
Mr Brightside by The Killers
Footloose by Kenny Loggins
I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
That’s The Way (I like it) by KC and The Sunshine Band
Celebration by Kool and The Gang
Lady Marmalade by Patti Labelle
Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry
Pav Chudiak is a Melbourne-based professional musician with over 20 years experience playing at all types of events. He is also a co-founder of tremolo.com.au and a tertiary music teacher of over 10 years.