The Most Common Wedding Music Mistakes

wedding music mistakes

The Most Common Wedding Music Mistakes

by DJ Ben Boylan

Music is a must for every fun wedding. Most of my couples want music that reflects their taste played throughout the night. And a big dance party at the end. Regardless of what you want, music is going to help. Unfortunately, it is possible to screw it up.

Here are the most common wedding music mistakes couples make when planning their wedding.

Only Playing Music You Like

Obviously your wedding music should reflect you and your partner. But if you want your guests to dance, you have to play songs they recognize. People only dance to songs they know.

Ironically, couples who care most about music are the ones who make this mistake. They spend a lot of time finding new music. They are music experts. Unfortunately, their family members often are not.

Most people like music that was popular when they were in high school or college. Take the first 15 or 30 minutes of your dance set and devote it to your older guests. Then have your DJ play songs for your other guests. Finally, end the night with a long set of your favorite songs.

Disclaimer: you only have to do this if you want your guests to dance.

Not Taking Advantage of Cocktail Hour and Dinner Music

The music played during cocktail hour and dinner has two uses:

  1. It allows you to play rare songs your guests won't dance to later on. There's no pressure to dance during this time. Cocktail hour plus dinner can be half the wedding or more. That's a lot of time to play your songs.

  2. It gets your guests warmed up. You can play the same types of music you will be playing later in the night. Just have your DJ play less obvious ones. Your guests will be drinking and in the party spirit well before dancing starts.

Don't make the mistake of just playing background music in a genre you don't normally listen to.

wedding music mistakes

Hiring a DJ, then Requesting 100 Songs

There are only a certain amount of songs that can be played during a 2 to 3 hour dance set. Giving your DJ a "must play" list with 75 or 100 songs on it is usually a bad idea. A DJ's main talent is choosing songs that will make people dance.

Yes, a DJ brings all the sounds equipment. Yes, a DJ mixes the songs together. But those things are pretty basic compared to choosing songs to play. Choosing two and a half hours worth of music is hard. Weddings have guests of different ages, different genders (obviously), and often guests who hail from different countries (and speak different languages). Getting them all dancing is a challenge

Your DJ (hopefully) has years of experience packing dance floors with happy people - just by choosing songs. So, give your DJ the list with 100 songs on it, but only choose 10 or 20 as "must plays."

RSVP Card Requests

Recently it has become popular for couples to include a place for a song request on their wedding invites. This can be really fun. It's not always bad. It depends on the type of couple you are.

If you are the type of couple who wants a fun dance party and isn't too picky about what songs get played, then this is fine. You can send your guests' requests to your DJ before the wedding, and he or she will include many of them in your dance set. Guests love it when their request gets played. "That's my song!" they will yell out.

But if you are the type of couple who is very concerned with what songs are played during your dance set then you will hate this. Your guests will probably choose traditional wedding songs like "September" or "Don't Stop Believing." I was with one couple when they went through over 100 requests from their guests. They did not accept even one of them. At the wedding, guests asked me when I was going to play their request. That was awkward.

So, it really depends on what type of couple you are. If you wouldn't feel comfortable with someone else choosing many of your dance songs, then RSVP song requests are not for you.

Being Lazy About Prelude, Cocktail Hour and Dinner Music

There are types of music that were traditionally played during a wedding. During the "prelude," (the time before the ceremony started), they would play classical music. During cocktail hour and dinner they would play crooners like Frank Sinatra or maybe jazz.

This is fine if you like classical music or jazz. But there are many couples who write this on their music questionnaire just because they don't know what else to put. These parts of the wedding are great for non-danceable songs or to warm your guests up. See what I wrote above about dinner and cocktail hour if you missed it.

Don't ask for classical music or jazz if you don't regularly listen to it.

Trying to Force it

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