Crafting the Perfect Wedding Playlist for Every Moment

If you’re a music snob, you already know this. If not, listen up: Music is POW-ER-FUL. In fact, it’s so commanding that it influences our perception and emotion without us even realizing it.

Take those dramatic scenes from movies: They all are made what they are by the music. And if you were to substitute the film score with silly clown music or an upbeat polka, it changes the whole vibe.

Now, none of this is to say that you need to hire Martin Scorsese’s music supervisor to help you with your wedding day music selection. We just want to emphasize how important choosing the right music actually is. That way, we can help you craft the perfect playlist for every moment of your special day.

Secrets to the Perfect Wedding Playlist

Just like a movie, your wedding day will have different scenes. Let’s break each of them down to accurately pair music to mood.

The Perfect Wedding Ceremony Music

The ceremony is a beautiful and powerful exchange. It’s the reason for the whole day: to gather those you love together and witness your lifelong commitment.

The music during the ceremony should be classical, ideally played by string instruments like violins or a harp. Playing softly and sweetly as you make your way down the aisle, conveying that slightly aching beauty that makes your throat catch with emotion.

Bonus points if you hire actual violinists.

Think: Canon in D by Pachelbel

The Perfect Cocktail Hour Music

Cocktail hour has a totally different vibe. You want something light and upbeat. Jazzy—yet not too dominating. People are going to be mingling and chatting, catching up with friends and family they haven’t seen in a while. Marveling at how stunning you look in your vintage gown, and your bridesmaids. Gorgeous in their Bella Bridesmaids dresses.

Think: French café style music mixed with folk artists like the Lumineers, then throw in some Jazz from the 1920s or ‘30s.

The Perfect Dinner Music

During the dinner hour, the music should be purely ambient, instrumental only. People will be eating, chatting and relaxing, fueling up for the dancefloor later. You don’t want to tempt anyone up there prematurely, and at this point, the music should be background only.

Think flamenco-style guitar or subtle classical music.

The Perfect First Dance Song

The first dance is when the music cranks up. Choose a song that’s significant. Truly, it can be anything. And while you’re at it, why not take a few dance lessons, or choreograph something fun, to really impress your guests?

The Perfect Music to Get Wedding Guests Dancing

Okay, here’s where it gets real. Now the music can really take center stage—literally if you hire a band.

You want to open up the dance floor with some upbeat tunes that everyone knows. Classics that span generations. For those of you who are deeply into music, you can create a theme: Your extensive music collection should give you tons of love songs in all genres.

Put your guests through their paces, get their heart rate up, then treat them to something a little slower. Keep in mind though that people typically won’t slow dance, and nothing empties the dancefloor faster than a slow-tempoed song that goes beyond the 4-minute mark.

Another important component to consider is your audience. You’re going to have multiple generations and a wide range of tastes in music. Do your best to cover the spectrum: give everyone their song. Their moment to shine.

Just be sure to steer clear of lyrics with foul language or messages.

Get a Little Help from Your Friends

If you’re not totally sure what all to include on your wedding day playlist, have your friends chime in. What are their favorite songs? You know, those siren songs that draw them to the dancefloor every time?

If you’re hiring a DJ, make sure they are aware of your must-have tunes. Do your best to convey the overall atmosphere you’re hoping to create.

Putting together your perfect wedding day playlist is not something you should leave to the last minute. 

It’s something that you can create over time. Something to listen to while driving, working out, or tidying the house. Working and reworking as you go.

An Important Note

Thanks to Spotify and Apple Music, you have more music at your fingertips than you’ll ever know what to do with. 

A note on Spotify—if you create your playlist there, please. Pay for a subscription! Your wedding day is neither the time nor place for those annoying advertisements.


Select your playlist with intention. Pay attention to the overall mood you want the music to help shape. That’s the code to create a perfect playlist. 

How do you know you cracked it? You’ll have a lively dance floor as proof.

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