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Think back to some of the best times you've had at weddings, and I'll bet many of them were вЂњhold my drinkвЂќ situations during the reception. You know, the ones-you hear that song start and, suddenly, makeup and blowout be damned, the dance floor becomes your stage.
вЂњThose three-minute connections are some of the most memorable moments from a wedding,вЂќ says Shanon Cook, a Spotify Trends expert, former entertainment correspondent for CNN, and longtime music journalist. Cook recently got married herself, so we decided to capitalize on her musical expertise and recent personal experience by having her curate the ultimate wedding-reception playlist.
Now while this baby had me making full use of the wheels on my rolly chair, the Spotify team and I also recognize this isn't a one-set-fits-all solution. Every couple's wedding-day soundtrack will, and should, be different. There are over 3.5 million wedding-related playlists on Spotify. And that's the benefit of premeditated tunes: They're a thrifty substitute for a DJ or band, and they're personalized-all the way down to that obscure remix that forever cemented the friendship between you and your maid of honor.
Thus, in addition to jukeboxing, I asked Cook to give us guidance on how to choose your inclusions and get people movin'! (Remember-research says your attendees are likely way stoked to dance.)
вЂњYou really have to think about your guests,вЂќ she says. вЂњAt a wedding, you have a very broad list-from your grandparents to guests as young as two. You have to think about music that is not only appropriate for that varied audience but also what they're going to like and get into. That's very difficult to achieve.вЂќ
But don't fret your set yet! She's going to get you there with just five tips:
1. Recognize Sometimes It Is a Popularity Contest
For your first selections, let's throw back to high school by looking at the superlatives and then judging the hell out of them. (Kidding.) Remember when Spotify figured out which songs were most often added to users' wedding playlists? What is it about these that make them such great additions?
Check out the top 10 again:
- вЂњThinking Out Loud,вЂќ by Ed Sheeran
- вЂњMarry You,вЂќ by Bruno Mars
- вЂњAll of Me,вЂќ by John Legend
- вЂњUptown Funk,вЂќ by Mark Ronson, featuring Bruno Mars
- вЂњI Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me),вЂќ by Whitney Houston
- вЂњDon't Stop Believin',вЂќ by Journey
- вЂњCrazy in Love,вЂќ by BeyoncГ©, featuring Jay Z
- вЂњA Thousand Years,вЂќ by Christina Perri
- вЂњI'm Yours,вЂќ by Jason Mraz
- вЂњHey Ya!вЂќ by OutKast
вЂњNothing in this list surprises me,вЂќ says Cook. вЂњYou've got representation of up-tempo fun songs with 'Hey Ya!' and 'Uptown Funk.' Some of these songs are very romantic with an appropriate message for a wedding like 'I'm Yours' or 'Marry You.' Then you've got John Legend's song 'All of Me' that's been popular since its release because Legend wrote that song about his fiancГ©e, Chrissy Teigen, and it's all about how much he adores her. What bride wouldn't like to echo that sentiment at her wedding?вЂќ For our playlist, Cook found this remix with a sick dance beat that doesn't detract from the song's emotional quality.
Even if you feel like some songs, such as Pharrell's вЂњHappyвЂќ or JT's вЂњCan't Stop the Feeling,вЂќ are overplayed on the radio, they can take on new life at a wedding. вЂњThey're still great additions because most of your guests will have heard them and they're such feel-good tracks,вЂќ says Cook. вЂњThey encourage your guests to move or sing, and they're also great for younger kids.вЂќ
And, don't underestimate including some freshman picks in your lineup. What's currently owning the Top 40 charts? Play songs people are listening to and talking about right now. (See Cook's choices like вЂњMi Gente," Justin Bieber's вЂњFriends,вЂќ or Maroon 5's collab with SZA.)
2. Embrace the Crossover
Pop. Country. Rock. Hip-hop. What do all these genres have in common-besides a hit song featuring Nelly? They can all feel at home on a reception playlist. вЂњI think anything goes at weddings," says Cook. вЂњMost of the time, you've got a mix of genres. It's all about what makes people happy and puts them in the mood to dance. It makes sense that you're going to have the full spectrum.вЂќ While you and your sorority sisters may have an entire choreographed routine to вЂњCrazy in Love,вЂќ maybe your mom and her pals have an equivalent with ABBA's вЂњDancing Queen.вЂќ (By the way, we recommend springing for Spotify premium to download your songs beforehand and avoid duking it out with spotty Wi-Fi. God forbid a lost connection throw off your 8-count!)
So go ahead and put Frank Sinatra, Notorious B.I.G., and Dolly Parton in a room together; you'll wonder why you've never done it before.
3. Serenade Your GuestsвЂ¦ Even If-Especially If-It's Weird
If your wedding day is simultaneously the only time your kooky aunt is willing to fly across the country and the only time she's game to juju on that beat, you've got to make the most of it.
вЂњYou can't expect every song to cater to absolutely everybody,вЂќ says Cook. вЂњWhat you can do is include specific songs for specific guests, especially if they're traveling really far distances to come to your wedding. That is such a big commitment and such a loving thing for them to do. It's nice to sprinkle in one or two songs they especially would appreciate.вЂќ
You can easily reach out beforehand to poll guests on what songs they'd like to hear, or include a song-suggestion space on the RSVP card. вЂњHopefully, you'll like their choices,вЂќ says Cook with a laugh, вЂњbecause you guys have to be happy and they have to keep people in the mood to dance.вЂќ
And are there certain songs that really encourage people to let their freak flags fly?
вЂњSongs that include extreme emotion are great songs for weddings,вЂќ says Cook, specifically mentioning Bonnie Tyler's вЂњTotal Eclipse of the HeartвЂќ and вЂњHey Ya,вЂќ by Outkast. вЂњWe played 'Hey Ya' at our wedding. That's just a fun, outrageous song that helps people let their hair down.вЂќ
Cook also recommends up-tempo songs that appeal across generations. вЂњIf your mom really loves Cyndi Lauper's 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun' and that's a song that's going to get her excited, why not put it in there?вЂќ she says. вЂњIt's a song for many people. My four-year-old daughter loves that song, and my own mom knows that song.вЂќ
4. Mind Your Sh*t List
We've already established the power music has over people's emotions, so be careful! If a song, or the bad memory (read: ex-boyfriend) behind a song has made it onto your list of names вЂњin red underlined,вЂќ keep it off your playlist.
вЂњEven if it's a song that everybody loves,вЂќ says Cook, вЂњif you have some negative association with it, you don't want to hear it at your wedding-where you should be as happy as can be.вЂќ
Similarly, if there's a song that's going to upset someone else at your wedding, probably best to leave it off too.
Or, maybe your sh*t list just includes songs that make you feel crappy or actually say the word shit.
вЂњYou don't want sad songs, and you don't want songs with perhaps overly offensive lyrics,вЂќ says Cook, who switched out explicit tracks here for their radio-friendly versions-a good idea if you've invited the entirety of the tee-ball team you coach on weekends. Better to be safe, and sometimes it's more fun to yell obscenities over the censored silence anyway.
5. Save the First Dance for Everyone
At this point in your process, we don't doubt you've stockpiled your playlist with gems of jams, but only one belongs at the top of your list chronologically. "It's always good to kick off the dance-floor portion of your wedding with the right tone,вЂќ says Cook. вЂњThat tone is, it's party time! Encourage people to dance.вЂќ The first song must be a beacon, its bright boppiness guiding your guests away from their hesitations and insecurities toward a warm, safe place to dab, drop, and dougie all night long. That's why this playlist begins with Walk the Moon's вЂњShut Up and Dance." Speaking of, I've just made it to Whitney on the playlist. Hold my drinkвЂ¦
See more: The Ultimate Wedding After-Party Playlist
The vows have been uttered, the speeches delivered, and the reception is about to get underway. There's just one thing left to do-oh yes, it's time to dance.В
Curating the perfect wedding reception playlist is something of an art form. It takes taste, grace, and forward planning. You want to make sure that every second of this celebration is accounted for. From pop-tastic tunes to classic tracks, you need to make sure that the roster has something for every single wedding guest. It's a tall order.В
Struggling to get started? You might be lacking the inspiration you so desperately need. Never fear. We have an idea (or 50!) that will get your imaginative juices flowing. Featuring some of the cheesiest music known to the world, along with a few sing-along songs, here's the perfect wedding reception playlist. Read it. Copy it. Use it.В В
Cheesy Dance SongsВ
Getting your guests to the dance floor will take some seriously cheesy songs. When the formalities are out of the way, you'll need to make sure that your wedding party starts with a bang. Here's some inspiration to help you choose some excellent tunes.
1. вЂњGrease Megamix,вЂќ by John Travolta ft. Olivia Newton-John
2. вЂњI Want You Back,вЂќ byВ The Jackson FiveВ
3. вЂњTwist and Shout,вЂќ byВ The BeatlesВ
4. вЂњDancing Queen,вЂќ byВ ABBAВ
5. вЂњI Wanna Dance With Somebody,вЂќ byВ Whitney HoustonВ
6. вЂњSingle Ladies (Put a Ring On It),вЂќ byВ Beyonce
7. вЂњCha Cha Slide,вЂќ byВ DJ Casper
8. вЂњYMCA,вЂќ byВ The Village PeopleВ
9. вЂњMacarena,вЂќ by Los del RГo
10. вЂњFootloose,вЂќ byВ Kenny Loggins
Ready to rock? We're not talking obscure bands that nobody's ever heard of. Instead, this section is dedicated to the classic rock tunes. The moment the opening chords play, you'll need your air guitars at the ready. These tracks are certain to liven things up.
11. вЂњBat Out of Hell,вЂќ byВ MeatloafВ
12. вЂњCrazy Little Thing Called Love,вЂќ by QueenВ
13. вЂњClose to Me,вЂќ byВ The Cure
14. вЂњSweet Home Alabama,вЂќ by Lynyrd Skynyrd
15. вЂњMore Than a Feeling,вЂќ byВ Boston
16. вЂњWalk This Way,вЂќ byВ AerosmithВ
17. вЂњBrown Eyed Girl,вЂќ byВ Van Morrison
18. вЂњSweet Child 'O Mine,вЂќ by Guns 'N' RosesВ
19. вЂњMagic Carpet Ride,вЂќ by Steppenwolf
20. вЂњLivin' On A Prayer,вЂќ by Bon Jovi
'90s and '00s Pop TunesВ
Next, let's take a trip back in time using the magic of music. It's an undisputed fact that the 1990s and 2000s were the golden years of pop. For this section of the evening, you can get your guests feeling super nostalgic as they dance along to some throwback favorites.
21. вЂњHot in Here,вЂќ byВ Nelly
22. вЂњBye Bye Bye,вЂќ byВ *NSNYC
23. вЂњTiK ToK,вЂќ by Ke$ha
24. вЂњHey Ya!вЂќ by OutKast
25. вЂњAll Star,вЂќ byВ Smash Mouth
26. вЂњThong Song,вЂќ by Sisqo
27. вЂњOops!вЂ¦ I Did It Again,вЂќ by Britney Spears
28. вЂњUmbrella,вЂќ by Rihanna
29. вЂњSay My Name,вЂќ byВ Destiny's ChildВ
30. вЂњHollaback Girl,вЂќ by Gwen Stefani
As the evening hits its climax, your guests will be ready to bust out some tunes. It's the perfect time to switch the music to the sing-along songs. We're talking the tracks that everyone knows by heart. From вЂњSweet CarolineвЂќ to вЂњRed, Red Wine,вЂќ you can't go wrong.
31. вЂњSweet Caroline,вЂќ byВ Neil DiamondВ
32. вЂњDon't Stop Believin',вЂќ by Journey
33. вЂњTubthumping,вЂќ by Chumbawamba
34. вЂњAfrica,вЂќ by Toto
35. вЂњLove Shack,вЂќ by The B52s
36. вЂњIce Ice Baby,вЂќ by Vanilla Ice
37. вЂњSweet Home Alabama,вЂќ by Lynyrd Skynyrd
38. вЂњAmerican Pie,вЂќ by Don McLean
39. вЂњRed Red Wine,вЂќ byВ UB40
40. вЂњNew York, New York,вЂќ by Frank SinatraвЂ‹
Romantic Slow SongsВ
Before the night is out, it's time to take things down a notch and get all romantic. After all, this event is all about love. Needless to say, the following songs make ideal first dances, but you can also sprinkle them throughout your wedding playlist, too.
41. вЂњUnchained Melody,вЂќ by the Righteous Brothers
42. вЂњI Don't Want To Miss A Thing,вЂќ by Aerosmith
43. вЂњYou're Beautiful,вЂќ by James Blunt
44. вЂњThinking Out Loud," by Ed Sheeran
45. вЂњLady In Red,вЂќ by Chris De Burgh
46. вЂњCan't Help Falling In Love,вЂќ by Elvis PresleyВ
47. вЂњYour Song,вЂќ byВ Elton John
48. "You're Still The One," by Shania Twain
49. вЂњHalo,вЂќ by Beyonce
50. "Make You Feel My Love," by Adele
See more: Crazy Wedding DJ Requests You Just Won't Believe