Couples often spend a lot of time and effort in choosing the perfect first dance song, but what about the rest of the night?! Believe it or not, there are some major wedding music no, no’s. We are talking the music selections that will clear your dance floor so fast! We’ve called on Jennifer Reitmeyer, president of MyDeejay, to shed some professional insight on the do’s and don’ts for creating your wedding reception playlist. Bring out the iPods and get started on your “must playlist” and “do not playlist” because, let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than one too many line dances! Take it away, Jennifer…


Photo Credit: k. thompson photography from Erinn + Kyle’s wedding

Many engaged couples now are working diligently to craft the perfect playlist for their wedding day. Music, in our experience, is one of the few elements of wedding planning that both parties approach with equal enthusiasm – amidst the stress of RSVPs and seating charts, choosing special songs is one of the most fun parts of the process.

Almost without exception, couples tell us that a packed dance floor is their top priority. That’s why, when choosing your wedding music, it’s a great idea to be mindful of some common playlist pitfalls.

Make your request list diverse.
Often, we’ll get a playlist from a couple that includes multiple tracks by the same artist – the record may have been set by the client who asked for nine songs by The Beatles!A couple of tracks (for example, “Something” during dinner and “Hey Jude” at the end of the night) is realistic, as is a late-in-the-evening “megamix” of a few tracks by a single artist like Michael Jackson.But remember, with only a limited amount of music that can be fit into a reception, repetition quickly becomes tiresome.

Make your playlist inclusive.
Keep in mind that your older family members will likely want to dance as much as your friends do, so try to include at least a few tracks from each decade.That certainly doesn’t mean you should be stuck with music you don’t like.Hate Motown?  Consider The Beatles and Van Morrison instead.Hate disco?Lots of us do. How about some classic funk and soul?Sick of 80s pop already?Maybe some progressive tracks would suit you better. On a related note, be sure your wedding DJ or band plans to move through the different music eras in a logical way, so guests will want to stay on the floor for an extended period of time.Sinatra and Rihanna definitely don’t belong in the same set!

Keep things upbeat.
A few slow songs are a must. Most guests will want to get out there for at least one slow dance, but don’t go overboard.  Every time you put on a slow song, it kills the momentum on the dance floor, and that momentum can take time to rebuild.

Avoid the “toxic tracks.” 
Keep in mind there’s nothing wrong with these songs; in fact, many of our clients love them and put them on their “must play” list.These songs, in our thousands of weddings’ worth of experience, tend to clear the dance floor.Some common “toxic tracks” include Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” (or anything by the Man in Black, really), Simon and Garfunkel’s “Cecilia,” The Weathergirls’ “It’s Raining Men,” REM’s “Stand,” and The Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now?”Dance floor killers can pop up even during slow dances. We’ve seen relatively few people dance to Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes,” for example.

Putting a little strategy into your playlist can go a long way toward getting your guests to dance.  Remember, also, that if you’re working with a wedding DJ or band in the DC area that you trust, their expertise is a resource you should be using.  Ask for their feedback on your “must plays” and ask them to help you find alternatives if a song you want is a dance floor killer.That’s why you hired a professional!


Thank you so much, Jennifer! If you want to keep your wedding dance floor full of fun on your wedding, and are in the market for a DJ for your Washington, D.C. area wedding, be sure to check out MyDeejay.

* MyDeejay and k. thompson photography are two of our fabulous sponsors, but did not pay for this post. We feature local talent because we love it!  For information, please review our the blog editorial policies.

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