When it comes to weddings and events, people want to make their event unique. Playing songs that you love is what the DJ or band should do. The hard part is figuring out how many songs to add to your playlist. Should you add as many songs as possible, or leave it up to the DJ or band? The short answer is, it's your wedding or event, so it's totally up to you.
Overall, it's best to keep in mind that you have a timeline to stick to. Weddings and events are usually between 4-6 hours, sometimes shorter or longer. The average wedding that we do is 5 hours. First, you have to begin your playlist by identifying which key moment songs you want played. "Key moments" means the moments that happen in every wedding reception, such as: First dance, father/daughter, mother/son, bouquet/garter toss, cake cutting, last song, send-off song, etc. So if you have all those, that's already 7 songs, or about 30 minutes. Keep in mind, inviting everyone to the dance floor for the bouquet/garter tosses, often takes 5 minutes, each. Someone is always outside or can't be found. :) The cake cutting usually takes about 15 minutes, too. Sometimes, couples choose to do a "dollar dance," which is usually 3-4 songs, depending upon how many guests are present and participate in this. This usually takes about 15 minutes, sometimes more, if there are lots of guests. So with the above songs, as well as a dollar dance, this is about an hour.
So now that you're down an hour, into your dance portion (don't forget cocktail hour and dinner, which are usually an hour each), you have the remaining hours to pick music for your playlist. It's a good idea to get your guests to request songs before the wedding day, via email. Couples often will send out emails, asking: "What two songs will make you dance at our wedding?" Then, the couple will compile the list, and send it to us. This ensures that you'll have requests from a variety of guests. This is a good idea, since all your guests may have varying taste in music. Keep in mind, the average song is 3 minutes long, which is about 20 songs per hour. Add up the requests and use this average, to determine how much time you have left.
So overall, keep in mind, cocktail hour, dinner, and the key moments will all take about 2.5 - 3 hours of your reception time. The remaining time will be the dance portion. If your wedding or event is 5 hours, that leaves 2 hours, which is only about 40 songs. Another way to hear your favorite music is to have the DJ play it during cocktail hour and dinner. The slow songs or eclectic songs can be played, then. Leave the fun songs for the dance! So when you're planning your dance, keep all the above mentioned info in mind. We've had couples send us 200 songs, to play, but their event was only 4 hours, which is only 80 songs. Using our 20 songs per hour rule will help you plan your reception efficiently.
Lastly, you don't actually have to come up with 80 songs, which can be difficult. You can always come up with 20-30 must-play songs, any do-not-play songs, and then let the DJ fill in the rest with the hits that he/she knows will get people on the dance floor! As always, if you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact us!
- Austin's Best DJs Team
Wedding & Event Planning Tips - Written By Certified Wedding/Event Planners!