Most people tend to notice things when they go wrong and overlook things that go right. So an evening of wedding reception fun that moves seamlessly from one part to the next may seem like it just simply “happened” the way it was supposed to. Your wedding reception can most likely be broken down into about 10 parts. That is why we offered musical suggestions in the first Wedding Music article of this series. The previous post gave some insight on how to break down your reception into parts, and provided some guidance for the selection of wedding reception music. The first five parts—covered in the first article—were as follows:
- Cocktail Hour
- Introduction (Grand Entrance)
- Prayer and Toasts
- Dinner Music
- Cake Cutting
Here is a little more information to consider on each of these final five topics. Hopefully these thoughts will inspire you as you continue your wedding planning.
6. Bride and Groom’s First Dance
The music for your first dance as husband and wife is a very personal selection that can be a message to your guests about your relationship or a private musical moment between the two of you. Most often this is a slower romantic ballad whose title or lyrics reflect some element of your experience together or feelings for each other.
Occasionally, a fun-loving couple will start with a “serious” song and then use the element of surprise by kicking into something completely different for fun. You can add to the sense of showmanship by taking dance classes to prepare a special routine to your song.
7. Wedding Party Dance
Some couples choose to have their attendants join them during their first dance while others skip this event altogether. However, this selection is an opportunity to express your feelings of friendship and support for your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen. Songs like “That’s What Friends Are For”, “I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends”, and “I’ve Got Friends In Low Places” are a few ideas.
8. Dances with Parents
One of the most emotionally touching moments of the evening is when the Bride dances with her Dad – and the Groom with his Mom. Most couples choose to do these separately but doing both to the same song is fairly common. Some will even invite guests to join in if it’s the first dance kicking off the guests’ participation. Another nice idea is to ask all Fathers and Daughters to join the Bride and her Dad and you can do the same for Mothers and Sons with the Groom and his Mom.
9. General Dance Music
This is a very important part of the evening and the one thing that couples seem to spend the most time planning. Many see their dance music selections as a direct reflection of their musical tastes and by extension themselves. Try to pick a few songs from all eras including Elvis and Sinatra, to Disco and Motown, to 80’s and 90’s, to the latest Black Eyed Peas and Cupid Shuffle. Speaking of group dances; be clear with your DJ/band what you DON’T want to hear. Choosing 10, 20 or 30 – at most – favorites should be plenty to allow a professional DJ to mix sure-fire hits with your selections to make the party jump. Another hint: Stay on the dance floor after whichever dance starts the after-dinner dancing so the MC can tell everyone that couple wants them to join them in the next dance.
10. Last Song of the Night
What kind of tune do you want to send off the guests? Fast, slow, sing-along? “Save The Last Dance for Me” or Donna Summers’ “Last Dance” are popular upbeat picks to fit the moment. “At Last” or “Closing Time” fit the bill for slow tunes. You could have the group form a circle and sing “Piano Man” or “Friends in Low Places” to finish it off. One thing to keep in mind is if you are up against a firm deadline to end the party you may want to keep it slow so the crowd is not so wound up they won’t want to stop.
There are plenty of sites that offer lists of tunes to fit each part of the night so relax and take your time choosing your favorites for a night to remember.
Article by Steven Vance