Wedding Ceremony & Reception Music Discussions

We're playing our own music, not using a DJ or band.

Has anyone else done this? We are having the reception at a family members house and they have a system that plays music all outside and inside and I've started making a playlist but I was wondering how anyone else has done this? What order do you recommend putting this in, how did anyone else manage?

thank you!

Re: We're playing our own music, not using a DJ or band.

  • We're doing the same. It's been slow going and I really need to commit more time and effort to it. We're using an iPod with multiple play lists so it's easy for the DOC to start the processional and recessional music. Then we have a playlist for dinner, which will consist of slower, more classic tunes, Sinatra, etc. Our reception play list will start with our first dance song then move in to fun, danceable stuff. We're timing the dinner and reception lists via iTunes and trying to guesstimate how much music we'll need for the amount of time we think it'll take. We'll definitely err on the side of having too much music so there's no awkward silences.
  • We had a playlist for cocktails, a playlist for dinner, a playlist of the three first dance songs, and then a playist for the dancing portion of the reception.  It was time consuming, but totally worth it. 
  • Any song recommendations, We are doing this also and was wondering if you had songs that where a must for you.
  • melbensomelbenso member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    edited August 2014
    DH and I did this for our wedding.  It worked out really well.  Some suggestions:

    1. Someone other than you should be in charge of making sure the music gets played.  One of our good friends and guests, who is in a band, volunteered not only to lend us his speaker equipment, but also to be in charge of making sure the music was played at the right times.  It was his wedding present to us and was one of the best gifts we got.

    2. Make different playlists for each separate musical event, label them clearly on your iPod (or whatever you are using to play the music), and make sure the person playing the music knows how to get to them.  I set up our labeling/playlists like this: C1 - Groom/Wedding Party Processional, C2 - Bride's Processional, C3 - Recessional, R1 - Cocktail Hour Music, R2 - First Dance, R3 - Father Daughter Dance, R4 - Mother Son Dance, R5 - Reception Dance Music.  That way, the music was all accessible in the order it should have been played and we were guaranteed that songs wouldn't start before we wanted them to.

    3. Actually make playlists.  Don't put your iPod on shuffle or use Pandora.  Pick all of the songs that you want to play and the order you want to play them in.  Make sure you think about how long the music will be playing for during each section.  DH and I started thinking about the songs we wanted to play several months before the wedding and kept a running list at the house. 

    4. Make use of the library to get music you don't have.  A month or two before the wedding, we went to the library and checked out a bunch of CDs with a lot of the songs we wanted but didn't already own.  We started to do this with enough time that we could request CDs that were checked out if there were songs on them that we wanted.  There only ended up being 3 or 4 songs we had to purchase online.

    5. Song order matters.  Make sure you have a nice variety of fast and slow songs and that they are well mixed.  We opted for 4-6 faster songs followed by 2-3 slower songs, depending on length of all of the songs.  Don't forget to think about what song you want to play for the first dance for everyone and for the last dance.

    6. It doesn't matter how similar you and your future spouse's musical tastes are; you will disagree on some of the musical choices.  DH and I decided that we each had 3 vetoes of each other's song choices for any reason.  Others we disagreed on we talked about and worked out.  Be prepared to compromise some.

    7. It is hard to time the music so that it ends exactly on time.  Our reception dances started later than we anticipated, so towards the end of the night, DH just went up and skipped a couple of songs that we had selected to get to the closing of the night songs we really wanted to hear.

    8. Don't forget your other guests and their musical preferences.  We decided not to take requests from all of our guests before making our playlist.  We did, however, contact our VIPs (parents, wedding party) to ask them if there were any songs they wanted us to play.  We let them know we had final decision making on the music, but tried to accommodate as many of their requests as possible.

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  • How long were your selections for the processional? I'm creating my own playlist and cutting music but I'm not sure how long the music should last for the processional...
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