The General rule is 20 songs an hour. If preparing your music for a wedding, we have broken it down into each part of the wedding for you.
We suggest about 20 songs. Regardless if you are planning 15 -30 minutes for your pre-ceremony it is always good to have extra songs in case things get delayed. Be sure to pick more music than you need. It is difficult to get all the groomsmen, bridesmaids, parents, wedding officiant, photographer etc. to all be ready at the same time. So often, the ceremony starts a few minutes late. Don't add another level of stress by not having enough music to cover if things are running a little late.
We suggest AT LEAST 25 songs for cocktails. Cocktails is often dependent on how long the pictures take. If it is raining or there are other unforeseen elements that get in the way this can sometimes take longer.
We suggest at least 40 songs for dinner. This of course depends on how many guests you have and what type of dinner you are having. Larger numbers take longer to serve. Plated meals generally take longer than buffet-style dinners. If you are having a buffet-style dinner with over 100 guests I would always inquire about a double-sided buffet. Double-sided buffets go faster. For plated meals, unless you have a small group, under 100 guests, we suggest at least 50 for dinner.
Table visitation is often overlooked. This generally happens after you the meal. In a buffet situation, this can happen sooner than a plated meal, which means you can get to dancing faster. The table visiting needs to happen before dancing because the success of the dance floor is dependent on how much time you spend on the dance floor. This is the time of the reception to put all your favorite songs. Sometimes others will suggest calmer music and that is fine. It is going to be background music
We suggest about 20 songs per hour. For 2 hours of dancing I recommend 40 songs. For 3 hours of dancing about 50 songs. Typically weddings end up with an average of 2 1/2 hours of dancing and get through about 40 - 45 songs.
We suggest about 10 songs MAX. This is dependent on your crowd. If you have a lot of couples and very few singles coming, then more slow songs might be nice. Otherwise, I normally suggest 1-2 slow songs an hour. A slow dance eliminates anyone from the dance floor that does not have someone to dance with so you don't want too many. If you have three hours of dancing time you will need about 6 slow songs. I suggest picking 10 slow songs, and put your favorite 6 slow songs first in the list.
Start choosing songs as soon as possible. #1 Rule for Dance Music...Pick songs that will make you run to the dance floor.
Every time you hear a song you LOVE, note it down. Most cell phones have a notepad on them, just note it down on your phone. As you get a couple of months away from you can start to put them into playlists.
Ask your guests to include a song suggestion with their RSVP card. The key word is “suggestion.” DO NOT promise their suggestion will be played, it is simply a song for you to consider putting into your playlists. This is your special day. You want to hear music you love on this day.
Usually music the bride and groom will not hear this music, so pick music your guests and family will enjoy, not necessarily your favorite music. However, you can also pick songs that reflect you. If you or your spouse have some favorite artists, go ahead and include them in the playlist also. Generally, this is low-key music, nothing too crazy.
This is normally a time for pictures so again, the bride and groom will most likely not hear most of this music. Pick songs you think your guests will like. Choose upbeat music, to keep guests in a good mood while they wait to be fed. Many guests come hungry to weddings and can get grumpy waiting for dinner.
This is a time for eating and socializing. The music will not be turned up loud, so you will miss many of the songs. There are several ways to select music for dinner.
I have had several couples who love Heavy Metal music, find classical versions of the songs and put them in the dinner playlist. I saw a groom "headbanging" one time to a classical version of Guns N Roses "Paradise City" while eating dinner.
#1 Rule: PICK SONGS THAT WILL MAKE YOU RUN TO THE DANCE FLOOR.
This is the secret to getting people to dance. If the bride and groom are on the dance floor, people will dance. You can play the best dance songs, but if the bride and groom are not dancing or at least next to the dance floor, your guests may still not dance. They came to celebrate your wedding. They will do what you do.
Rarely are a bride and groom dancing on the dance floor all by themselves, outside of their first dance.
Do not put your favorite songs in the dance music. Just because you like the song does not mean you want to dance to it.
Want to be a DJ huh? No problem, here are some tips...
If you hire Just Press Play's MC Service you do not need to worry about the order the songs are in. Your MC will take care of this for you if you choose.
With this DIY DJ approach, you get to do something unique and different with your song order. If you want advice on how the general flow of the songs in your dance playlist should go, this is for you. These are basic tips. You can vary from the formula however you think works best for you.
At most weddings, there is a large range in ages. This is what makes weddings more difficult than other types of parties. However, Rule #1 still applies: Pick songs that will make you run to the dance floor.
Start off with music that will appeal to the whole audience, from the kids to the grandparents. Like older songs, fun songs, and dance song classics. Generally, we will start off with 3-5 of these songs and then put in a good modern dance song, something less than a couple of years old. Then back to the oldies and classics. About song #6-9 you are going to want to have a slow dance.
After this start, you can start to play more modern songs, mixed in with the occasional oldie or dance classic. Generally, by the time you get to the last hour of the night you are going to be playing mostly modern dance songs and this is most likely where most of the bride and groom's “must play” songs will be.
Usually, it's a good idea to play one slow dance about every 35-45 minutes, especially at the beginning of the night. Keep your slow dances limited to one long song or two short songs.
What songs go together? Putting two 80's songs together is OK, but usually, the novelty wears off quick. Also, be careful of going from a '50s or '60s song to a '90s or later day song. These are usually two different audiences and you can cause a lot of turnover on the dance floor. Fun ageless dance songs are the best to put in between two drastic genres. Michael Jackson has many ageless dance songs. And sometimes disco songs or funk songs from the 70’s work well for this transition.
And again, Rule #1: If you select songs you love to dance to then you will be dancing and enjoying yourself and your guests will follow.
These tips come from a DJ with over 35 years of experience. This formula does not work every time but 90% of the time this works best.
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Many couples spend more time picking the first few dances than they do the rest of the songs. here are some suggestions:
First, how long do you want to dance? Many couples will select a 5-minute song and after a couple of minutes on the dance floor by themselves, it gets awkward. Unless you have a dance routine planned for the entire song, you should look for a shorter song or plan on fading out. With Just Press Play’s setup, it is easy to fade out of a song.
Another option is to choose just one or two songs for all three first dances. A First Dance Song and then a song you both dance to with your parents. Now you have shortened your song search down to one or two songs.
Choose your first songs last. Make your song lists and then look through your lists and often you will realize there's a good song already in your lists. Again, remember you only need a couple of minutes of the song and it is easy to fade out.
There are many websites available on the internet with song suggestions for your first dances. Wedding Wire and The Knot both have good lists.
With Just Press Play Productions equipment you or your MC will have the ability to fade out of any song.
Add a footnote if this applies to your business
There is no way around it, everyone thinks they know what the dance floor needs and everyone has a cell phone that they can easily get the song for you to play. You just need to decide if you wan this to happen.
Most people want to hear their request right now. If possible, stop what is playing and play their song now. Many don't understand the flow of the music and how one song fits with another. This is more of a DJ thing and is not as big of a deal as many make it out to be, but still, it is hard to go from "Jump Around" to "Unforgettable" without really shocking the guests.
Secondly, most people request songs for the wrong reasons. They think it will be funny. It's a song they like, not that they are going to dance to it. They think it's similar to a radio station where they can request their favorite songs. I always ask; “are you going to dance to this song?” Most of the time people are shocked when I ask this, and they usually say no.
If the requester isn't going to dance to the song, why play their song and take away one of the songs from your playlist you worked for months on?
Good Question! Often couples have doubt in their ability to pick good dance music and so allowing guests to request songs seems to make sense. I recommend you pick a family member or a friend to oversee requests. One who knows you and the kind of music you like and also knows what a good dance song is. This is a better plan than just allowing anyone to come up make a request.
I have been in the DJ business, in radio and mobile, for over 35 years. Never has anyone requested a song that really was a complete hit where everyone got up and danced. Until this one special night...
I was the MC for a couple who were celebrating their 25th anniversary. They wanted the same music they had played 25 years ago at their wedding. This meant Bob Seger, Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, etc.
Along comes their teenage daughter who requests, The Hanson Brothers "Mmm Bop." I spend 5 minutes with her explaining how the song does not fit, I don't have it, the dog ate it, every excuse in the book I could think of. She informed me she had the song on her own iPod and swore up and down it would be a big hit and her parents loved the song. I could not shake her. I finally gave in, plugged in her iPod, and played the song.
This was it! The big hit request I had been looking for! There was not an empty seat, the dance floor was completely packed, people were yelling and screaming and throwing their hands up in the air like they just didn't care! Finally, a truly great request. One minute into the song, the daughter comes back to me and says "give me back my iPod!" "What!" I exclaimed. "It was supposed to be a joke," she said. and then my heart sank. I was back to where I was before, still in search of an actual genuine request that would be a "hit."
Many customers decide to save as much money as they can on the speaker systems at their wedding. And instead of spending a couple of hundred dollars with Just Press Play, they decide to do one of the following...
With any of these options be sure to TEST THEM! Take your music player and plug it into the speaker system. Turn the music up as loud as you can. Each guest while talking is about 3 watts of sound. You need to be able to surpass that. If you have 50 guests talking that is 150 watts. If you have 100 guests talking that is 300 watts. If you know how many watts the speaker system is, then you should know if it will be loud enough.
All of these options do not include delivery, setup, and pickup. Some of them might not include a microphone and a microphone stand. Most of them probably do not give you the ability to connect to more than one music player.
Just Press Play's Basic Speaker Rental for $225 includes all of this. Consider this option before wasting a lot of time and concern over these other options.
We see this more than just about everything else. Remember the magic number is 20 songs per hour. If you have at least 20 songs for each hour of your wedding you will be in good shape.
This is a close tie with not enough music. IT's YOUR WEDDING! HAVE A BACKUP DEVICE!
We recommend a laptop as your primary device. They generally have better sound cards in them and they are more reliable. Then you can have a tablet or a phone as your backup. Keep in mind the backup needs to be at the DJ table. It's not a good backup plan if we don't have instant access to it.
And then be sure all your songs are downloaded on both devices. Relying on the venue's wifi is never a good idea. Bringing your own hotspot is an option, but again you are relying on cell phone service. With the songs physically on the devices, this means a lot less for you to worry about.
We see this a lot. The music players arrive last. A Groomsman or Bridesmaid is responsible for bringing them, but they are late getting to the venue.
Suggestion: Bring the music players with the decorations. If you think about it, the music is just as much a part of the decor and the setup of the space, so bring them all together!
It's hard to get married, get introduced, have your first dance, etc., and press play and make the announcements. Find some volunteers.
Notice I said VOLUNTEERS, plural. One helper is great, but that means that person does not enjoy themselves at all. Pick a few volunteers so they can take shifts.
I know they call it a DIY Wedding, but that does not mean the bride and groom do it all themselves!
SALES PITCH: Just Press Play offers an MC/Sound Man Service for $30 an hour. Many customers hire this service to make announcements and help keep the flow going and manage the music. But many use this service just to have our staff on-site to help with any issues that might come up. For a 5 hour wedding, this is only a $150 additional charge.
It's really hard to work with only one playlist. Consider breaking it up.
Making multiple playlists is really important.
To avoid people just sitting down at your wedding, be sure to pick the right songs.
#1 Rule: Pick songs that will make you run to the dance floor!
Your guests came to celebrate your special day. They did not come to dance. They will do what you do. If the bride and groom stay on the dance floor when the dance music starts, the dance floor will be packed!
WHEN TO START MAKING PLAYLISTS
It’s never too early. Start with just three playlists; Cocktails, Dinner, Dancing. As you hear songs you love add them to one of these playlists. As you get closer to the date you can make more playlists.
Every time you hear a song you love, note it down. Most cell phones have a notepad on them, just note it down on your phone. As you get a couple of months away from your wedding you can start to put them into specific playlists.
ask your guests to include a song suggestion with their RSVP card. The keyword is “suggestion.” DO NOT promise their suggestion will be played, it is simply a song for you to consider putting into your playlists. This is your special day, not theirs. You want to hear the music you love on this day.
And of course, if you are having a Bouquet and Garter Toss, you should have a Playlist for each of those along with any other events you decide to have during your wedding.
HOW TO LABEL YOUR PLAYLISTS
Label your playlists with the same name and numerically. Example: Wed1-PreCeremony, Wed2-Ceremony, Wed3-Cocktails, Wed4-Dinner, Wed5-Specials, Wed6-Fast Dance, Wed7-Slow Dance. You can also create playlists in between like this: Wed2.1-Processional, Wed2.2-Recessional, Wed3.1-Introductions, Wed4.1-Cake Cutting, Wed5.1-First Dance, Wed5.2-Father-Daughter, Wed5.3-Mother-Son, Wed6.1-Last Dance.
In the end, it would look like this:
GREAT TIP: Always get your music players as early as possible to the venue. This will allow whoever is connecting your player to the speaker system, time to get it connected, sounding good, and have some time with your player and playlists before the wedding starts.
For the dance portion, you can create an "Early Fast Dance" playlist and a "Late Fast Dance" playlist.
This way you can put the songs you want to be played later in the night in the "Late" playlist when hopefully the older guests will not be too shocked to hear a song like "Sexyback" or "Teach Me How to Dougie."
In the "Early" playlist put songs your grandparents and children would like to dance to.
customers have also organizes dance playlists by:
FUN TIP: Many weddings provide some flip flops so the ladies can kick off the high heels and dance in comfort. Many dollar stores sell flip flops and Old Navy has a $1 Flip Flop sale on a day in June. I believe I have even seen them for $1 at Walmart as well.
ABBA: Dancing Queen
AC/DC: You Shook Me All Night Long
Al Green: Let's Stay Together
Andy Grammer: Honey, I'm Good
B52's: Love Shack
Beatles: Twist and Shout
Bee Gees: Stayin' Alive
Beyonce: Crazy In Love
Beyoncé: Love On Top
Beyonce: Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)
Black Eyed Peas: Boom Boom Pow
Black Eyed Peas: I Gotta Feeling
Bob Seger: Old Time Rock and Roll
Bon Jovi: Livin' On A Prayer
Brooks and Dunn: Boot Scootin' Boogie
Bruno Mars: 24K Magic
Bruno Mars: Marry You
Bruno Mars: Treasure
Cake: Love You Madly
Chris Stapleton: Tennessee Whiskey
Commodores: Brick House
Cupid: Cupid Shuffle
Cyndi Lauper: Girls Just Want to Have
Daft Punk: Get Lucky
Dexy's Midnight Runners: Come On
DNCE: Cake By The Ocean
DJ Casper: Cha Cha Slide
DJ Snake & Lil' John: Turn Down For
Earth Wind and Fire: September
Ed Sheeran: Perfect
Ed Sheeran: Shape of You
Elvis Presley: Can't Help Falling In Love
Eric Clapton: Wonderful Tonight
Etta James: At Last
Faith Hill: This Kiss
Four Seasons: December, 1963 (Oh What
Frank Sinatra: The Way You Look Tonight
Frank Sinatra: Fly Me To The Moon
Fun: We are Young
Haddaway: What Is Love
Harry Connick Jr.: It Had To Be You
House of Pain: Jump Around
Isley Brothers: Shout! Part 1 & 2
Israel Kamakawiwo'ole: Somewhere Over
the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World
Jackson 5: ABC
James Taylor: How Sweet It Is To Be
Loved By You
Jimmy Buffet: Margaritaville
Journey: Don't Stop Believin'
Justin Timberlake: Can't Stop The
Justin Timberlake: Rock Your Body
Justin Timberlake: Sexyback
Katy Perry: Not N Cold
Katy Perry: Last Friday Night
Kenny Loggins: Footloose
Kesha: Tik Tok
Kool & The Gang: Celebration
Lady Gaga: Just Dance
Lady Gaga: Poker Face
Little Big Town: Little White Church
LMFAO: Party Rock Anthem
LMFAO: Sexy and I Know It
LMFAO feat. Lil Jon: Shots
Los Del Rio: Macarena
Lou Bega: Mambo No. 5
Louis Armstrong: What A Wonderful World
Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee: Despacito
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: Can't Hold Us
Mark Ronson (Feat. Bruno Mars): Uptown
Michael Jackson: Billie Jean
Michael Jackson: Thriller
Michael Jackson: Don't Stop 'Till You Get
Miley Cyrus: Party in the USA
Natalie Cole: Unforgettable
Neil Diamond: Sweet Caroline
Outkast: Hey Ya
Pharrell Williams: Happy
P!nk: Get The Party Started
Pitbull: I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)
Pitbull: Don't Stop The Party
Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody
Queen: Crazy Little Thing Called Love
R. Kelly: Ignition Remix
Rihanna: Don't Stop The Music
Rihanna, Calvin Harris: We Found Love
Robin Thicke: Blurred Lines
Sir Mix-A-Lot: Baby Got Back
Sister Sledge: We Are Family
Steve Earl: Copperhead Road
Stevie Wonder: Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Taio Cruz: Dynamite
Taylor Swift: Shake it off
Temptations: My Girl
Train: Marry Me
Usher: DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love
Van Morrison: Brown Eyed Girl
Village People: YMCA
WALK THE MOON: Shut Up and Dance
Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with
Wild Cherry: Play That Funky Music
Will Smith: Gettin' Jiggy Wit It
Ying Yang Twins: Get Low
Young M.C.: Bust A Move