What Is on Your Wedding Reception Playlist?

Whether you are DJing your own wedding reception, using a professional musician, or hiring a stellar band, it never hurts to be organized when it comes to your reception playlist. A wedding reception music guide is a handy worksheet that lets wedding staff and special guests know which song to play and when. This planning tool is one sure way to avoid awkwardly standing out on the dance floor while waiting for the DJ to find the right song.

How to Manage Your Wedding Music With the Checklist

Use the checklist to select tunes and schedule when they will play at the reception and to make sure you have picked out music for all the important key moments on your special day. Omit any specific musical moments on the checklist below that do not apply to your personal ceremony and add any special moments that are unique to you that require songs. 

You can use the music checklist to create a general wedding reception timeline, which helps you with the overall pacing of the reception including ending the evening on time. Simply add times and song names next to each event on the checklist.

Type of Music for Your Wedding Guests

Keep your guests in mind when you select songs for the reception. You may have a wide variety of wedding guests, from elderly family members to 20-something friends from college. Select a diverse set of tunes that will satisfy everyone and keep people on their toes throughout the night as you mix it up in the introduction to the party, at the bouquet toss, and on the dance floor.

One tip is to request songs from your RSVPs, especially special guests. One way you can do this is through your wedding website or Facebook group depending on your communication style with guests. This is a great way to set up a landing page with requests or post a poll to garner responses. If you prefer to keep the music somewhat a surprise, you can still get a taste for what people like to hear. On the flip side, think about songs that are an absolute “no-go” for your big day. If there are any songs you do not want to be played, give that list to the DJ or ​another organizer to ensure the songs don’t mess with your plans.

Checklist and Plan

The starred items * are music moments that most receptions include. 

  • Cocktail hour must plays*
  • Introduction of the wedding party
  • Introduction of the newlyweds
  • First dance song*
  • Dinner music must plays*
  • Toasting music or A/V needs
  • Father-daughter dance song
  • Mother-son dance song
  • Cake cutting*
  • Garter toss and bouquet toss
  • Garter/bouquet catchers dance
  • Anniversary dance
  • General dancing must plays*
  • Line dances and crowd dances
  • Exit song
  • Last song of the night*


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