Writen by professional DJ & MC Mike Seaquist

Top 4 Most Important Wedding Reception Planning Tips

Top 4 Most Important Wedding Reception Planning Tips

by DJ Mike Seaquist, Owner/DJ Something To Celebrate Professional DJ/MC Service 


Here are a few tips to put some fun into your wedding planning. Whether you are hiring a DJ, having a band or doing it yourself, these are things most brides and grooms are thinking about. I'm talking about dance music, cake cutting, special dance songs and all the other fun events that might take place during your big celebration. This will get your creative juices flowing so you can overcome any "planning block" and start having fun with it.


#1 Use a Reception Planning Guide. This is a document that covers all the who, what, where, why and when. It includes all your events and the music that will accompany each event, announcements, toasts and any other special extras like a happy birthday song to your cousin Jimmy or an anniversary dance to honor your grandparents. Most professional wedding DJs should provide a guide for you and they are pretty easy to find online. It's better to over communicate this type of information than to brush over it and hope for the best. Personally, I think its great when brides email me their entire itinerary for the day including when they are having lunch and getting their hair done to the last song of the night. I really appreciate having this information because it helps keep me in touch with the bride. And that helps me do a good job.


Put the hard work into your reception planning as far in advance as possible. That is usually about 4 to 8 months before your big day in my experience. That way everything is smooth sailing on the day of. A reception planning guide is a must have in my book and one of the DJ secrets for success to create a fun, personalized and stress free atmosphere so you can just enjoy yourselves and party.


#2 Think of your reception music in blocks.

Imagine what will be going on at your event and what the guests will be doing. For example, one block for cocktail music, another for dinner music, another for special dances and events (i.e. intro music, cake cutting music, your first dance, etc.), and a block for open dance floor music (i.e. your must plays, do not plays, special requests and dedications). You can be traditional, non-traditional or a mix of both. No DJ expects you to plan ALL the music, (after all, that's our job!) BUT you absolutely must let your DJ know that your Dad loves James Taylor or that New Kids on the Block have to make a short appearance for your college girlfriends. Remember to tell your DJ about anything else that makes you think of the good old times. Don't be afraid to be nostalgic or even a little cheesy because the same music that you know and love will evoke fond memories with the friends and family that you grew up with. Conversely, you should also mention any songs that would be a do-not-play. I once met with a couple that asked me not to play a very popular song (that I might have played otherwise) because it was a song at their friends funeral. Think of good memories and then music that reminds you of them for your must play list.


#3 Carry a note pad.

Since I listen to most of my music in the car, I usually have a note pad or an app on my smart phone to jot down song ideas and brainstorm. You can even create different play lists with titles of all the event blocks at your reception i.e. dinner music or party/dance music. Another idea would be to make a spreadsheet with all the songs you like (and don't like) and then jot down the purpose in the column next to each song. For example: 'Chicken Dance - Play this song and die' :) or 'Angel by Aerosmith because we danced to this during our prom'. Some more ideas for the purpose column are cocktail, dinner, dance/party, must play, bride or groom favorite, play this song for someone special, make announcement/dedication to someone, last song of the night, play early or later in the evening, play for small kids or 'not a must play but an example of a type of music we like'. Keep an eye out for my blog about using Google Docs to gather ideas and song requests coming soon.


I really like to use an app on my smart phone called Sound Hound. This nifty tool actually listens to a song and tells you the name of the song and the artist. It's perfect for those "what is this great song?" moments. Best of all, it keeps a history of what songs you have been listening to so you can reference it later. My wife really likes the karaoke feature so she can sing along with the scrolling lyrics in the car. How fun!


#4 Do's and Don't While Searching the Internet for Music Ideas 

First, a quick disclaimer about Internet music play lists - don't worry about what everyone else is doing! Just Google wedding music ideas or wedding reception music ideas and pick what you think you want. Thinking about the ages of people is really helpful. For example, people in their 40s probably like 80s music because that is when they were growing up. Music most influences people from their teen to early adult years. Its really just simple math. And if you are not sure what you want, ask your guests to provide requests to you via email ahead of time or ask your DJ to take requests throughout the night. Knot users can provide a special link for their guests to post song requests that can later be filtered and really help with planning. Generally speaking, the songs that work best at getting people dancing are the songs that everyone know and love. Keep in mind that what works for New York and L.A. doesn't always work for Chicago. This is just another example of why you might want to rely less on an online music play list and more on your own intuition. Since the Internet is worldwide, it's easy to run into such randomness. Use the Internet or pull from past wedding experiences to inspire ideas for you and your own wedding. My favorite websites to refer people to for music ideas are and I like how the music is categorized by different wedding events including ceremony music ideas. My best advice is to use the music to communicate what describes you best. After all, we are celebrating your love and your relationship. Lastly, if you are just not sure, you can always draft a play list and ask your DJ what he or she thinks about it. An experienced and professional wedding DJ knows what usually makes people move and what doesn't as well as how to help you find the right tunes.


You know best what special music your friends and family will remember and relate to and the right DJ will know what works on the dance floor so collaborate. Don't be afraid to be vague with very general ideas. A good wedding DJ can pick up your vibe and help you fill in the rest. Remember to have fun with it.


Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more helpful blogs.



DJ Mike Seaquist

Something To Celebrate

Professional DJ/MC Service


Blog Stats

  • Total posts(1)
  • Total comments(0)

Forgot your password?