Making a Wedding Play List

By Andrea Meadow Stallings

Planning out the wedding music has always been top-of-mind for me, I think because it's so vital in setting the mood. A lot of offbeat couples approach it casually and either set up playlists for each part of the day or allow a DJ to run with it. If you're planning on taking more control of the music, these are the tips you'll need to make sure your wedding day is rocking in all the right ways.

Figure out where your interests overlap

You and your partner should see where there's overlap in your tastes and what types of music will be most appealing for your guests. We've compiled some pretty rad playlists that appeal to more family friendly music, even for metal and punk fans! Don't feel like Top 40 is your only option here. Once your list is set, you can start narrowing down options.

Compromise on choosing specific songs

Come up with a system to choose songs with your partner. Maybe you'll alternate choosing songs, maybe you'll each make a list and match them to specific events/times, or maybe you'll let one of you manage it all. Either way, set expectations ahead of time so that one of you isn't left feeling like the music is one-sided.

Make a list of your favorite songs

This is more for reference than anything else. You may find your perfect processional song in your favorite '90s band's repertoire once you've gotten out of the "traditional wedding music" mindset. You may not end up including all of these songs, but it'll get your head buzzing with ideas.

Keep your options open

Look in soundtracks/film scores, video game themes and soundtracks, television background music, and other less typical genres for songs with which you can connect. This is especially true if you're planning a specific theme like a geeky wedding (hello Pokemon theme song!), goth wedding (hell yes, Atreyu!), or '80s rock (kick-ass '80s cover band and Billy Joel!).

Look for instrumental versions of your faves

If you're opting to accommodate more traditional guests, consider looking for some of your favorite music in instrumental form. Bands like Vitamin String Quartet offer alternative genres in more traditional-sounding formats, like rock 'n' roll and geeky themes.

Match your music to your reception activities

If you're having a reception, determine if you want dancing, chilling with board games, mingling with appetizers, karaoke, etc. The music can definitely set a vibe for getting everyone out of their seats or settling in for a chill time.

Consider do-not-play songs

Some DJs don't recommend having a do-not-play list, but if there's a song you definitely don't want to hear (I'm looking at you, song I associate with my ex!), then be sure to note that in your brainstorming.


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