The Wedding Blog

The Stylist Wedding blog: songs to play at your wedding reception

Posted by
Stylist Team
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites

If Emily Phillips was to reveal her wedding reception playlist it would look something like this

This week we secured two of the musical elements for our wedding (which, of course, I’m not going to discuss for fear of ruining the surprise). But it has thrown up the age-old question of ‘what do we want to soundtrack this auspicious occasion?’ We've precision-timed every other element of the day, so how can we not want to fine-tune what’s going into people’s ears, as well as their eyes?

Don’t pretend like you’re not also fretting about what’s going to get people dancing once they’ve had a skin full of Pimm's and table wine. Whether you’re hiring a DJ, creating your own Spotify playlist, or lined up one of those ‘snazzy’ pop orchestras to unpick your MTV favourites, you’re going to have to give them a steer on what you want to hear.

I shrivel inside every time I hear the opening twangs of Wild Cherry’s Play That Funky Music, and am also (sadly) pretty allergic to Stevie Wonder’s Superstition. I realise both are classics, but I’ve heard both played by every single wedding band ever. Don’t they know any other funk songs?

We’ve also realised that, now we’re not 17 and hitting Yates's every Friday night, our friends and family aren’t as au fait with chart music as we used to be, so unleashing the freshest tunes is pretty futile if we want people to get down to them. This does not mean we will play indie classics from 2008 (Sex On Fire, you’re gone as well), but maybe give the crowd a six-month lag-time to get fully involved with a song. Just about now you could safely roll out Applause by Lady Gaga. And Blurred Lines, as sexually inappropriate as it is, will make people dance. Robin Thicke’s later Give It 2 U however, may well not. I’m still giving it time.

Thankfully, my brother James is a DJ with London’s premier crazy club folk Sink The Pink, so the tequila-ed up young ones will be assured a truckload of club-worthy bangers once the oldies have buggered off for tea and a slice of cake. And there are few people who could judge my taste in music better than him, but I’ll still be giving him a bit of a clue. Plus, I’ve just realised that I want Cassie's Me & U for our first dance (just so I can go into a studio to practise my sexy moves). This will obviously not happen.

That aside here are my (credibility-free) wedding reception playlist suggestions...

Alt-funk to get the oldies grooving

Indie anthems that aren’t an ode to cystitis

Dance Songs that will actually get people dancing

Nineties classics for your mates

There is so much more I could and should add. Songs that are actually cool. Hits of 2013/ 2014. A garage hour. The new-wave electro segue. Bowie. 1980-1989. 1990-1997 with a focus on Britpop. A dash of Northern Soul. All of Pharell Williams’ back-catalogue. Jennifer Lopez in general. I can’t fit it all in, and I don’t want to spoil what’s actually going to be playing. But it’ll probably be less early Noughties if my fiancé has anything to do with it (which he will, having read this). @emilylphillips