LDS Wedding Reception Music Checklist
When you get down to the nitty gritty details of your wedding reception music, it helps to have a list on hand to make sure you’ve covered everything. Use this article as a guide to draw up your own list of the kinds of music you need for your reception, and make sure to give a copy to your DJ, too.
When guests begin to arrive at the reception, it’s nice for them to have something to listen to. Simple instrumental music without words can set the tone for your reception nicely, especially if you’re having a theme wedding.
Grand Entrance and Introductions
It’s customary for the wedding party to enter after all the guests have been seated, bride and groom last, announced by the DJ. (They are usually announced as the new “Mr. and Mrs. Erickson” or “Michael and Jayne Erickson.”) Whether you want the DJ’s voice to be the only sound, you want soft music playing underneath, or you’d like to just dance in to louder music depends on you.
During the meal, it’s a good idea to have some music playing in the background. It shouldn’t be loud (guests should be able to talk over it,) but having something playing will make your reception feel less like a middle school cafeteria and more like a sophisticated evening complete with ambience.
Ring Ceremony Music
Having a ring ceremony can smooth over hurt feelings about not being able to attend the sealing and clear up confusion about what exactly is meant by “temple marriage.” Most ring ceremonies include a special musical number, which you may or may not choose to have provided by your DJ.
Bride and Groom’s First Dance
Out of all the wedding reception music you’ll need, the bride and groom first dance song is the one you’ll most carefully choose. Try to pick something that personifies you as a couple and also complements the theme and tone of your wedding. Avoid songs that will quickly become dated and make you roll your eyes a year from now wondering, “What were we thinking?”
Father/Daughter and Mother/Son Dance
After the bride and groom’s first dance, the traditional parent/child dance comes next. What will the groom and his mother, or the bride and her father, want to dance to? It’s important to think about their relationship with each other when choosing a song that both of them will be comfortable with.
Wedding Party Dance
Not every reception includes a special wedding party dance, but it sure does make a pretty picture to see all those color-coordinated outfits swirling around the dance floor before it opens up to everyone. Since the bridesmaids and groomsmen dancing together will most likely not be in a relationship, it’s best to keep the music for the wedding party dance light and avoid romantic lyrics.
And now to the meat of the wedding reception music – a robust playlist to keep guests dancing all night! You’ll want to pick a mix of fast and slow tunes, classics and new hits. (Most DJs also take guest requests, so be prepared to hear something new.) In addition to general dancing music, consider whether you want special music for:
• Generations Dance – All married couples start on the dance floor, and the DJ asks everyone married less than 12 hours to sit down – namely, the bride and groom. Then you move on to 1 year, 5 years, and so on until only the longest-married couple remains on the dance floor. The bride and groom present the couple with a small gift or bouquet, then join them on the dance floor to finish out the song.
• Dollar Dance – The bride and groom stand separately on the dance floor, with the maid of honor and best man in front of them collecting dollar bills from each guest to dance 30 seconds or so with them. Many couples like the face time with each guest this provides, not to mention the extra cash to recoup reception costs. But others feel that it’s tacky to “charge” for their time and decide to forgo the dollar dance.
• Chicken Dance, Hokey Pokey, and Electric Slide – We don’t know what it is about weddings, but it seems like it’s hard to get married without hearing these three silly songs during the night. Don’t feel pressured if you just can’t stand any or all of them, but know that you’ll have at least one or two disappointed guests if you don’t put your left hand in and shake it all about sometime during the reception.
During the cake cutting and the bouquet toss, many receptions don’t play anything. But we all know that events put to music become all the more meaningful. So put some thought into whether you’d like something to play while you’re slicing into your wedding cake or throwing the bouquet to an eligible bachelorette at your reception.
Wedding reception music comes in different flavors, each appropriate for different times during the night. Make your choices wisely and go over each of them with your DJ for his or her opinions and experienced advice.
♥ Jenny Evans
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