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How to Plan Wedding Cocktail Hour Music

How to Create the Perfect Playlist For Your Wedding Cocktail Hour Music

Planning Your cocktail hour playlist

Let’s Breakdown Cocktail Hour

Cocktail Hour starts right after the ceremony when your guests arrive at the reception site. The purpose of cocktail hour is to occupy your guests while you are getting photographs taken with the bridal party and family. At this time, your guests will locate their dinner seats, leave their well wishes in the guestbook, deliver gifts and cards. They mingle with friends and family while enjoying beverages and appetizers. It’s important to have music playing during the Cocktail Hour to create the perfect atmosphere for the rest of the evening.

Wedding Cocktail Hour Music | Setting The Vibe For The Evening

The music for cocktail hour should be lively, upbeat, and celebratory to start setting the tone for the wedding reception. The type of music you choose for your cocktail hour should be a touch stone for you and should embody the sounds and songs of your life journey. The music you choose as the sound track for your wedding day should be as unique and special as you are. An experienced wedding DJ will be happy to help you choose your music and will give you input and ideas for your cocktail hour playlist. You can also use popular music streaming services like Spotify for idea generation and organizing your music. There are tons of available playlists to look through based on mood, genres and artists.

Creating The Perfect Playlist

What Kind Of Vibe Are You Going For?

I like to tell couples to start by thinking about the tone and feel you want for your wedding reception. Think about the venue you are using; is it a barn with open doors, rolling hills in the back ground, with lawn games and local beer served in mason jars? Is it a formal hotel ballroom with crystal chandeliers, fancy silver utensils, and white linen table clothes? Is it lakeside in your parents backyard? Is it in a modern art museum with a sexy lounge style ambiance? These factors can help you decide what kind of music maybe more appropriate for the atmosphere you are trying to establish.

Your Wedding Guests Music Preferences

One thing I always remind couples is that they have to consider everyone who is coming to the wedding, young and old. The particular guests you have invited, as well as the number of guests may dictate what music you may wish to choose.  If it is going to be a predominantly younger crowd, say mostly your college friends, and people closer to your own age, you may want to choose more top 40 and modern day artists.  If it is more intimate wedding with mostly just family and close friends you may want to choose more classics and standards as well as Jazz.  The other thing I like to emphasize is that you may love country music, however, most of your guests may not. It is best to take your guests into consideration, rather than to only choose music that you want to hear.

The Vibe Of The Party

The vibe you are trying to establish is as important as anything else.  Are we shooting for romantic, modern and sophisticated, or casual?  Is it your goal to have everyone dancing?  Is there a dance floor at all?  Is your reception going to be mostly a cocktail and heavy hors d’oeuvres affair?  Are you expecting all your college friends to come and party like it is 1999?  Do you want your event to be more like a meet and greet and less like a dance party?  Take time and think about how you want the event to flow and how you envision people interacting during the event.

How Do You Want The Night To Evolve?

With any event there will be an energy that grows during the course of the event.  Our DJs are masters at controlling the energy so that it builds right up to the end of the event.  We suggest thinking about how that energy and sound is going to develop.  A strategy we often use it to spin the oldest music first, and then move forward through time so that as the night goes on, so the music gets newer.  This evolution of music works well especially when it comes to the dance party portion of the night. Generally we will start with everyone on the dance floor at the begging of the dance party, but as the night goes on, the average age on the dance floor will get younger, so the music will get newer.  We also try and save the top hit songs for the end of the evening so that the energy builds right up to the very final song before the last dance. Think about it if you play all the hits too early in the night you have nowhere to go from there?

Things To Consider

Wedding Cocktail Hour Guitar Player

A nice alternative to having a DJ play music for your cocktail hour could be a string quartet or live band. There are tons of musicians out there to fit any type of genres or vibe you are trying to create from a nice classical feel, laid back folk, to upbeat modern covers. Depending on your budget these are great options to consider and keep in mind to spice up the evening and offer a change in tone.

Check Out Some Of The Awesome Cocktail Hour Mixes From Our DJs

Gonzalo: Cool Indie Cocktail Mix

Jeff Durand: Cocktail MIXED!

Dre Smith: Cocktail Hour Mix


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