Where To Start With Wedding Playlists

I recently asked my Instagram community for blog topic requests and received this one from COVID-bride and friend, Kristin! She wanted to hear about wedding songs so here are my playlist tips. (If there are any tasks to try and tackle for your 2021 wedding during a holiday season amidst a pandemic, this is a good one!)

Don’t get overwhelmed, start with a template. Open an excel document and create three columns titles on the top row: EVENT, SONG ARTIST, SONG TITLE. Event would be things like ‘ceremony’ or ‘first dance’ and the song details don’t have to be exact, but put down what you know (even if names are spelled wrong or titles are incomplete because you can clean it up later.) You don’t need to fill this all out yet, but it will be a good template to refer to. This will also allow you to filter and sort so that you can get a quick glance of any artists repeated too many times or missing items like the exit song at the ceremony.

If you’re working with a professional who will be taking care of your music, ask them what they need along with any due dates since there will be varying levels of support. If anything, they will need some guidance and requests for specific points of the wedding, like the first/family dance song requests. You could also give them directional genre guidance, like ‘No Country’, ‘Make it family friendly’, or ‘We love artists like _____________’ or ‘Like oldies that are upbeat.’

Put down the first songs that come to mind. Once you have your template crafted, just start typing. You and your fiancé likely have songs that are important to your relationship so fill those out first. Then think about songs that you both really enjoy. You know, the songs that you turn up the volume on when you’re in the car together or is connected to a special memory. To begin to add length to the playlist, start to think about weddings you’ve been with music vibes that you enjoyed and try to emulate that. While this is your day, do consider your guest preferences. To meet diverse needs, you will likely have things on your list that aren’t personal all-time favorites but that your guests will enjoy.

When you need inspiration, do some research. You will get stuck. Here are some ways to get inspired:

  • Scroll through your own music library as well as other playlists. Music platforms like Apple Music, Pandora or Spotify have a variety of playlists that have already been created. Type in things like Wedding Playlist or Party Vibes. These playlists will help point you in the right direction and make you think of songs that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
  • Google and YouTube will be your friend, along with any of your go-to wedding planning sites (like Brides or The Knot) that you have bookmarked. When you search, try using specific search terms, like ‘Unique Acoustic Wedding Songs’ or ‘Modern First Dance Songs’ or even ‘Wedding Playlists That Aren’t Cheesy’.
  • Pinterest is one of my faves because there are TONS of entire playlists that are featured (using some of the same search terms from above). Check out the board I created with curated playlists from others.
  • Have you attended a wedding where you loved the music or are you close with a bride that just went through the planning process? Check with the couple to see if they have a copy of their playlist to give you some ideas. If you have a wedding planner or friend in the music/DJ industry, they may be able to help, too.

Don’t expect to finish it in one sitting and editing will be your friend. Keep it in mind as you hear songs on the radio or make new memories with your spouse. While this can be an intimidating exercise, music should be FUN. This is going to set the tone of the entire timeline of your event so spend some time settling in to making these decisions. When you have your playlist close to complete, play some of the songs on your list to make sure they still feel right.

If you have some extra time, don’t underestimate the joy that a ‘Morning of’ playlist will bring to you. Press PLAY when you’re getting ready with your girls and have music in the background that will put you in the right mood. You don’t have to be overly selective here, and this would be where a pre-made one on YouTube or Spotify would be suitable. Too much? Ask your MOH to be in charge of this task.

Remember that more is better. I got confused about how many should be on the list. While the number will vary based on length of your event, more is better and not all songs have to be ones that you absolutely love because there will be a lot going on that day. Most weddings have a solid 1 or 2 hours of ‘dance time’ but there will be moments where music can be played but won’t be the focal point (like when you greet your guests at each reception table). I used a DJ at a destination wedding so didn’t have to be overly prescriptive but still provided a list of 60 songs. Not all were played but many were. When our special song collections came on, they made me smile, and some of the wildcards selected by the DJ to match the energy were the best.

Lastly, if you’re able to, SAVE your wedding playlist document and then create a physical playlist on your music devices. You can play it once you’re married to remind you of your special day.

Kristin, I hope this helps! I am excited that you were able to have a micro-wedding to become a new Mrs. and know that you’re looking forward to your future wedding celebration.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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