Most young girls (for a while, at least) and young women dream about their wedding day; they think about their perfect partner and their perfect dress. I however, was nothing like those people. Sure, I dreamt about my wedding, but I did not longingly gaze at beautiful dress, cakes or venues--I thought about how I was going to have the most epic wedding playlist...ever.
It felt a little too soon (for me personally) to start planning anything the day I got engaged to my husband, but anyone who has ever been engaged can definitely agree that those first few days, weeks and months being engaged just feel, well, magical. It is hard not to get swept up in the moment. So what did I do? You guessed it: started my playlist. Now, it is kind of like cheating when you're marrying a Wedding and Events company owner or you've worked in the industry (lucky for me, I raised my hand for both of those). You've already seen and heard what songs couples typically choose. You've already passed judgement on their questionable choices from the early 90's and also for Miley Cyrus' "Party In The USA" that were on their playlists. You've seen packed dance floors one minute and empty ones the next. You know that "Don't Stop Believing" is going to get everyone on their feet, no matter the age. Yes, you know all of that, but now it is time to compile your own list of important songs for all of the specific moments, as well as the soundtrack for the rest of the reception. Where on earth do you start? These tips will help you if you're hiring a DJ or plan on doing it yourself.
SIX STEPS TO THE PERFECT PLAYLIST:
STEP ONE: Start by making a list on your phone of any song you hear that you like and even remotely think you may want on your playlist. You're about to get "wedding brain" (kind of like "baby/pregnancy brain" except no one is very understanding because you're not growing a human inside of you) and you'll forget all of the songs you hear throughout your planning that you like. Consistently update this list and refer to it often.
STEP TWO: Start an iTunes playlist with any possible song you could want played at your wedding. ANYTHING. Throw them all in there and then begin to weed them out once you see them all together.
STEP THREE: With your partner, decide what parts of the wedding those songs are appropriate for and categorize them as such. Some parts of the wedding to consider are:
Bachelorette Party and Getting ready playlist: I don't know about you, but I need the perfect playlist (clearly) for everything, so I even made these. Songs that go well here are some of the more cheesy ones (The Dixie Cups "Going to the Chapel" for example) that you might not want to hear on your wedding day.
Ceremony: Prelude (as guests are arriving), Procession (songs for the wedding party to walk down the aisle to as well as the bride), the Ceremony itself (unity candles, sands, moments of reflection, etc), Recessional (bridal party exit and guest exit).
The limo or bus ride to the reception: Sure, you might not even remember this part, but its sure fun to have great music on while you celebrate!
Reception: Cocktail hour (classic/traditional or modern), Bridal Party Entrance, Married Couple's Grand Entrance, Cake Cutting, First Dance, Parent Dances, Bouquet and Garter Tosses, any other special events.
STEP FOUR: Once you have your songs picked out and separated, burn CD's or put them on your phone or wherever you play your music. Listen to them a few times. I totally thought I nailed my playlist the first time out, but you know what? I listened to it a few times and realized that some of the songs were going to sound super lame at a wedding, even if I did love them. This step also helped me decide on certain songs for certain events, as I would actually envision them happening to the song playing.
STEP FIVE: Decide which songs fall under the "must play" category. Guess what--even this girl knew they weren't all getting played, but deciding myself which songs I was okay not hearing made it all better. Also, it gets more exciting at the reception when you hear some of those must plays. It will help to remind you to go dance it out with your buds for a minute or two.
STEP SIX: Hire your DJ company and trust them. Guess what? Even some of your "must plays" won't get played during your reception. The DJ helps to keep the party moving and is so, so smart when it comes to what to play and when. If it didn't get played (as long as it wasn't your grandparents wedding song they were supposed to dance to, let.it.go.)