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Wedding Reception Music

Updated on May 12, 2016
Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna wears many hats: writer, mother, crafter. Over the years, she has found what works and what doesn't for herself and her family.

More on Wedding Music

Now that the issues of the ceremony music are out of the way, we can turn our attention to the fun part!! The wedding reception. This, too, has it's fair share of decisions that need to be made. You want your wedding to be perfect, and that extends to the reception. So, let's dive right in and get started!

The Reception

A wedding reception is all about fun! It's a celebration of the newly married couple, and should reflect that. Putting together a playlist for your reception may seem like a daunting task, but it can be pretty easy. There are a few things you should think about.

If you are going with a band, you are a little more limited in your choice of music. Be sure to choose a band that will play music you enjoy, and that your guests will enjoy. You may really like that AC/DC cover band, but even AC/DC songs can get a little old, if that's all that is being played. More often than not, your best bet is to go with a DJ.

DJ's offer a wide variety of music. Be sure to check the DJ's references. Find out if there have been any unhappy customers. A good DJ will be willing to work with you. Most even provide you with a worksheet, so that you can include the music you want played at different points in the reception. Some even make their job an event in itself, with games, costumes, and fun, interactive dances that really get the crowd involved. If you happen to attend a wedding where the DJ was really good, ask for a business card. Most carry them, and are happy to give them out. Talk to friends who have gotten married, ask them about their experiences and ask for recommendations.

Like the ceremony, the reception requires different pieces of music for different points in the reception. Choosing these songs may be a bit easier, but that all depends. The music may be more familiar to you, but that doesn't mean you will know what to choose. Maybe you and your future husband or wife don't have a special song, or maybe there isn't one song that really speaks to you for the father/daughter dance. Again, your DJ should be able to offer suggestions, and work with you to pick the perfect songs. I am including a list of the different points in the reception, and some popular songs in each category. Hopefully, this will help you on your way. Remember, choose what really means something to you!!

The First Dance

Aside from the ceremony, this is one of the most special, and most romantic moments of the day. Choose something special that you know you will remember as a wonderful moment. If you have a special song, now might be the time. Add your special song to your worksheet. If you don't have one, here are some suggestions of popular first dance songs.

A Moment Like This by Kelly Clarkson

All For Love by Bryan Adams

Always by Atlantic Starr

Always and Forever by Luther Vandross

Amazed by Lonestar

Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts

Come What May from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack

Cross My Heart by George Strait

Here and Now by Luther Vandross

I Love the Way You Love Me by John Michael Montgomery

It Had to Be You by Harry Connick Jr.

Everything by Michael Buble

My Best Friend by Tim McGraw

Wanted by Hunter Hayes

Can't Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley (or UB40)

Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton

Etta James: At Last

George Strait: I Cross My Heart

Father/Daughter and Mother/Son Dance

The father/daughter and mother/son dances can be done at the same time, or separately, depending on your wishes. Several of the songs work interchangeably, and work well if you want to incorporate these into one dance, instead of two separate dances. It's pretty easy to tell which ones work for both and which don't, but I will make distinctions.

A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong

Forever Young by Rod Stewart

Hero by Mariah Carey

I Hope You Dance by LeAnn Womack

I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song by Jim Croce

Have I Told You Lately by Rod Stewart

A Song For Mama by Boyz II Men (for mother/son dance)

Three Times a Lady by Lionel Richie (mother/son dance)

You'll Be In My Heart by Phil Collins (mother/son dance)

You Are The Sunshine of My Life by Stevie Wonder (mother/son dance)

Then They Do by Trace Adkins (mother/son dance)

Mama's Song by Carrie Underwood (mother/son dance)

Angel in My Arms by Gloria Sklerov and Barbara Rothstein (father/daughter dance)

Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle (father/daughter dance)

Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman (father/daughter dance)

Dance With My Father by either Celine Dion or Luther Vandross (father/daughter dance)

In My Daughter's Eyes by Martina McBride (father/daughter dance)

Isn't She Lovely by Stevie Wonder (father/daughter dance)

It Won't Be Like This For Long by Darius Rucker (father/daughter dance)

Daughters by John Mayer (father/daughter dance)

Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion (father/daughter dance)

Martina McBride: In My Daughter's Eyes

Louis Armstrong: What a Wonderful World

Bouquet Toss

The bouquet toss is an important part of a wedding reception, and let's face it, it's a lot of fun, if you don't have to be one of the ones up there, that is! All the single ladies huddle up together, while the bride turns her back to you. She tosses the bouquet, and the mad dash to be the one to catch it starts! It can be brutal, as several women fight it out to be the one holding the bouquet at the end. Superstition has it, that whoever catches the bride's bouquet will be the next to marry. It's silly, really. These days, the brides don't toss their bouquets, but a separate, "tossing bouquet", and besides, how often does that actually predict anything? Yet, the tradition continues, and it can be a lot of fun! Especially with the right music to go along with it. The songs I have included range from the sweet to the silly.

Another One Bites the Dust by Queen

After Tonight by Justin Nozuka

Girl Fight by Brooke Valentine

Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar

I'll Wait for You by Joe Nichols

Ladies Night by Kool and The Gang

She's A Lady by Tom Jones

This One's For The Girls by Martina McBride

Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) by Beyonce

Kool & The Gang: Ladies Night

Garter Removal and Toss

Going right along with the bouquet toss, is the garter removal and garter toss. The bride is carefully seated in a chair, and the groom "tastefully" slides up the skirt of her wedding dress and "tastefully" removes the garter from her leg. This is a moment of great comedy and a lot of cat-calls at any wedding. The comedic nature of the event can be either heightened or downplayed by the music you choose.

Another One Bites the Dust by Queen

Bad Boys by Inner Circle (think of that show Cops)

I'm Too Sexy by Right Said Fred

Macho Man by The Village People

The Mission Impossible Theme

Talk Dirty to Me by Poison

Thong Song by Sisqo

Wild Thing by Tone Loc

Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO

Right Said Fred: I'm Too Sexy

 I hope this list of songs gives you a starting point.  Remember, talk with your DJ!!  If he or she doesn't provide you with a worksheet that allows you to include all the music that you want, write one up of your own.  Make a list of songs you want played at certain points in the reception, and also of other songs, or at least styles of music that you would like played throughout the night.  All good DJ's are willing to work with you.  After all, they are working for you!!  They are also a wealth of knowledge if you are stuck on ideas.  They know a lot about music, and can usually offer a lot of great ideas.

© 2009 Anna Marie Bowman


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