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Compile an exciting wedding reception playlist for me!

Hey there:

I have been honored with being offered both the position of DJ and groomsman for the official wedding of two good college friends.

I made it clear to them that by offering me the DJ position, I would claim no expertise in setting up sound equipment or mixing songs. They responded that I shouldn’t worry about that stuff and that they chose me to put a unique musical program together.

It’s an exciting honor, and I hope to make a perfectly sequenced 4 hour session of songs. I’m still waiting to hear about the exact ground rules for what music I could play, but here are some things they suggested.

1) As little lame wedding reception standards as possible – i.e. no Chicken Dance or Electric Slide and NO BTO! (personal preference on that last one)

2) Some conventional dance standards (from any era) so as to not totally alienate the guests

3) Some traditional jazz standards, because there will be elderly relatives there and the wedding is in swingin’ Lousiana!

The rest is mostly up to me for now, although I would probably exclude some of the more grating and slightly obnoxious songs in my collection. You know what I mean, the totally awesome songs you can play loud by yourself and among friends, but would really ruin the atmosphere among polite company.

So my fellow forumites, list anything, regardless of obscurity, that could fit in with this setting! Help make a great couple’s special day even more memorable!

Re: Compile an exciting wedding reception playlist for me!

I'll post some stuff later, but just remember that the wedding reception is for the guests. If the guests would be mainly indie rock fans, play indie rock. But, if they are a bunch of mainstream country fans (like the guests at my wedding ) you have to play mainstream country. I wanted a real hipster wedding dance and it ended up that the DJ didn't have most of the music and I realized when the songs he did have on hand were playing only a few people were dancing while the songs I loathe at wedding dances packed the floor. So, again know the guests because the reception is a thank you to them for coming.

Re: Compile an exciting wedding reception playlist for me!

I had a friend who used to work the grounds for this little mill/plantation place in Virginia where they had lots of weddings and he told me, after having attended about 50 weddings one summer, that the 4th - yes, 4th - song that was played at every single wedding - different djs, age groups, etc. - was ALWAYS "Brick House"!!!!! I find this fascinating/hilarious, like there's some secret universal wedding playlist protocol. So if you don't want anyone to know you're not part of the cabal, make sure to spin that 4th (you can spin "Brown Eyed Girl" 3rd and "Jungle Boogie" 7th).

I can't really think of any good wedding songs right now except for "Happy" by Bruce Springsteen. It's a slow-dancer, circa mid-'90s - similar saddish vibe as "Streets of Philadelphia" but not about AIDS. It's semi-obscure, never released on an album, but very beautiful if your particular folks in crawfish country dig the Boss.

Re: Compile an exciting wedding reception playlist for me!

Hope you can use some of this:

Shania Twain - From This Moment On
Celine Dion - My Heart Will Go On
The Temptations - My Girl
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Simple Man
Grand Funk Railroad - Some Kind of Wonderful
Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl
The Go-Go's - Vacation
Queen - Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Otis Day - Shout
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill - It's Your Love
Garth Brooks - Friends in Low Places
Hank Williams Jr - Family Tradition
Prince - Take Me With U
U2 - Beautiful Day
John Fogerty - Joy of My Life
Elton John - Tiny Dancer
The Beatles - Girl
The Bangles - Eternal Flame
Dido - Thank You
Edwyn Collins - A Girl Like You
Etta James - At Last
Patsy Cline - Crazy
Donovan - Wear Your Love Like Heaven
Björk - Venus As A Boy
Ella Fitzgerald - Let's Fall In Love
The Magnetic Fields - The Book of Love
Nina Simone - I Put a Spell On You
Al Green - Let's Stay Together
Lou Reed - Perfect Day
Beach Boys - Let's Go Away For A While
Nick Cave - Into My Arms
The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset
Jewel - You Were Meant For Me

As for the jazzy part, I found this nice mix of jazz, big band and blues.

John Coltrane - Cousin Mary
Nina Simone - Love Me Or Leave Me
Dave Brubeck Quartet - Take Five
Ella Fitzgerald - Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Glenn Miller - Pennsylvania 6-5000
Count Basie - Everyday I Have The Blues
Charles Mingus - My Jelly Roll Soul
Louis Jordan - Salt Pork, W. VA
Thelonious Monk - Straight No Chaser
Helen Merrill - You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
Charlie Parker - Lover Man
Wynonnie Harris - Sittin' On It All the Time
Miles Davis - Rocker
Mose Allison - It Didn't Turn Out That Way
Jimmy Witherspoon - Good Rocking Tonight
Benny Goodman - Jersey Bounce
Louis Armstrong - I Still Get Jealous
Duke Ellington - Satin Doll
Billie Holiday - The Way You Look Tonight
Frank Sinatra - They Can't Take That Away From Me

Re: Compile an exciting wedding reception playlist for me!

Any song off of Paul Simon's "Graceland" album.

Re: Compile an exciting wedding reception playlist for me!

Well I hate to give away a fresh idea. But personally me and the fiance have been doing the same for the last month. what we've done is mix in classic love songs. Wild Horses, sad eyed lady of the lowlands etc. with 50's rock and roll (Buddy holly, Jerry Lee lewis etc. And in between we have included a bunch of the tracks from the MAGNETIC FIELDS 69 LOVE SONGS ALBUM. As wedding gifts we have specially packaged random tracklisted 80min CD's with songs from the album.

Re: Compile an exciting wedding reception playlist for me!

The most important thing to remember is that the reception is for the guests. I did a reception for my friend with rented gear and a list of stuff he did NOT want to hear (i.e. No Macarena, chicken Dance, C'mon ride that train, Cha-Cha slide, etc.)

I did as he asked but I told him beforehand that people would REPEATEDLY ask me for those and be disappointed they weren't there. I was right.

Yes, those songs are kinda cheesy but they are wedding "standards" for lack of a better word. People just expect them. Outside of getting those in, cater to the crowd. If you've got boomers, keep the Motown coming. 70s era..make sure you brought "Free Bird" and "Layla".

Find out from the bride and groom who will be there and play for THEM. Nothing wrong with tossing in a song for the bride and groom especially..or even in throwing in something "less travelled" if it fits in with what you're doing overall. But playing "weird stuff" is a sure floorkiller...wedding receptions are NOT the time to push new music on folks.

(I did that for my wedding with music played BEFORE the wedding. We had a CD that ran for about an hour with some unusual cuts on it..album-track Stevie Wonder, music from COSMOS (my wife's request), etc...)

Re: Compile an exciting wedding reception playlist for me!

Hey thanks for your thoughtful advice. I have received more guidance from my marrying friends, but I still want to sneak in a few songs under the radar that I think are danceable.

I'm concerned that my eccentric music tastes might hear something groovy and fun while most others would hear something alienating and unfamiliar.

So I want to just provide you with a few select tracks, and if you've heard these songs, give me an idea if you think these tunes will fit in right along with your Love Shacks or Sweet Hole Alabamas or Takin' Care of Businesses. If there's some subtle lyrical aspect that I haven't picked up that would be inappropriate, tell me that to!

1. Prince - Darling Nicki (just kidding!)

Seriously, though.

1. Missing Persons - Words
2. Sugababes - Push the Button
3. Fujiya and Miyagi - In One Ear and Out the Other
4. !!! - Must Be the Moon
5. Prince - Dirty Mind
6. The Knife - Heartbeats
7. Junior Boys - In the Morning

Re: Compile an exciting wedding reception playlist for me!

This is the One- Stone Roses
She's So Fine- Ride
Vapour Trail- Ride
Take a Picture- Filter
Madeup Lovesong #43 -the Guillemots
Lazy Calm-Cocteau Twins
Lala Love You- Pixies
Did I Say? -Teenage Fanclub
Perfect- Smashing Pumpkins
Funny Little Frog- Belle and Sebastian
Lunar Sea- Camera Obscura
Sometimes -Ash
Crazy for You-Madonna
Runaway- the Corrs
She's the One- Robbie Williams

Re: Compile an exciting wedding reception playlist for me!

Excellent choices all. I've actually been charged with the same duty in a couple weeks so I'm gonna leech off Jonah's thread :)

Re: Compile an exciting wedding reception playlist for me!

A question for the Brits. Does "Angels" by Robbie Williams get played at every single wedding?

Re: Compile an exciting wedding reception playlist for me!

I'll play these, among others, at my wedding, in this order:

The Pretenders - Stop Your Sobbing
Nat King Cole - Mona Lisa remixed with The Prodigy - Smack My Bitch Up
Madonna - Material Girl
Kitty Wells - It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels
Nilsson - One
Buzzcocks - Orgasm Addict
Curtis Mayfield - (Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below, We're All Going To Go
N.W.A. - Gangsta Gangsta
Liz Phair - F And Run
The Who - I Can See For Miles
Dusty Springfield - You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
Duran Duran - Hungry Like The Wolf
Amerie - 1 Thing
Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers - Why Do Fools Fall In Love?
The Beatles - Help!
The Cure - Boys Don't Cry
Missy Elliott - Get Ur Freak On
Motorhead - Ace Of Spades
Nelly Furtado - Maneater
Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Want To Have Fun
Yazoo - Only You
Iggy & The Stooges - Gimme Danger
R.E.M. - Imitation Of Life
The Pogues - Fairytale Of New York
Primal Scream - Accelerator
Prince - Batdance
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Mercy Seat

But I don't know if my tastes fit yours.

Re: Compile an exciting wedding reception playlist for me!

Oh, and the centerpiece.

Phoenix - Everything Is Everything

Re: Compile an exciting wedding reception playlist for me!

Orgasm Addict Masmainoie??? for a wedding reception. I like that song, but I don't think I'll push that on this crowd.

Thanks for the advice. the wedding is a week from today, the happy couple is finally giving me some more specific guidance. The groom and I are worried that we don't have the most objective years as far as picking up music that is acceptable to the general public. But if we mix in some standards with a little sampling of something different we shouldn't scare people away.

Re: Compile an exciting wedding reception playlist for me!

Hope it all went well...and that you had some good stuff in between the Chicken Dances and Hokey Pokeys

Re: Compile an exciting wedding reception playlist for me!

It went great! Even though I appropriately wasn't the center of attention, I got a great round of applause at the end of my night.

I also learned how to plug in an amp for the first time. For the music I just used a friend's laptop, which is such a great tool for a complete amateur.

The best technique of the night was seeing who was dancing (young people, old people, little kids), gauging the mood of the dance floor, and choosing the next appropriate song on the fly to keep the momentum going.

I'll do it again because it was so much fun. If any of you (especially from Europe or Australia) would like to pay travel expenses for my "professional" MC services, I won't mind! ha ha