Avoid These 3 Mistakes When Choosing Music For Your Wedding

One of the most agonizing (in a good way) parts of a wedding for me is waiting for all the reception formalities to take place, like the first dance and speeches, so that I can get on the dance floor. Don’t get me wrong, the first dance and speeches are romantic and beautiful, but I get itchy after a while to get up and move!

Knowing that people go to a wedding to have a good time, many couples often struggle with choosing the right music to play to make sure everyone has a good time. The unfortunate truth is that couples stress way too much over this.

There are mistakes many couples make, without even realizing they are making these mistakes, that cause a lot of added stress and anxiety when it comes to choosing wedding music. Sometimes, they feel like they need to give their DJ a list of all the songs they want to be played and then all the DJ does is play them. We learned already that a DJ does so much more than hit PLAY. Sometimes they think only about the reception and forget about the rest of the day.

So, we asked Hudson Valley DJs to share their best advice to help you choose music for your wedding without making the common mistakes that add stress.



Mistake #1 – Not trusting your DJ


There are many reasons why couples feel like they have to choose their entire playlist, but one of the things they need to do is trust their DJ. Some responsibility does fall on the couple in terms of letting the DJ know what songs they love or hate, what their style is, what specific songs they want to be played during special dances, but ultimately the DJ is in charge. Why?

Domenic Trocino, owner of DJ Domenic Entertainment in Poughkeepsie, says the same DJ can play the same music in the same order and the reaction will be different because of the crowd. “They (the couple) need to trust the DJ. That’s the most important thing.” Trocino says. “You are not hiring a DJ so you can tell them what music to play…As wedding DJs we do what we do for a reason and a lot of our execution is done on the fly. It’s always good to prepare the DJ with what’s important to you…but the rest of it, the DJ probably knows a little bit more about what’s going to make the day go right from an entertainment standpoint.”

DJ Bri Swatek, owner of Spinning with Style in Wappingers Falls, says what couples don’t realize is the amount of songs time allows for, after cocktail hour and formal dances are over, is a lot less than they probably think. He says a typical wedding goes through around 80 songs for the entire day including dinner and cocktail hour. “We’ve got maybe about 50 dancing songs, that’s all we have time for…If you dictate each one of them to the DJ – he or she – does not have the chance to take a left turn.” Meaning, reading the crowd and keeping the party going

Donnie Lewis, owner of Your Event Matters and Illuminate Event Lighting in Hopewell Junction, says, “We don’t need couples to give us lists of music and we actually advocate against it, because 9 out of 10 couples aren’t paying attention to the guests in the room, that’s the most important part. The most important part about the music is just that the music is recognizable and that people know it and it expands all generations, and you’re not just playing four hours of rap music or hip hop.” Instead, DJs take your guidance and choose a wide array of music based on the crowd in front of them.



Mistake #2 – Forgetting about your ceremony, cocktail hour and dinner music


“More and more couples are using DJs outside of the reception,” says Joey Garcia (DJ Joey G.), owner of Jade DJ Entertainment in New Paltz. “They (DJs) set up at a location at the venue different than the reception space and focus on three songs: processional, recessional and bridal march.” He also says that the Bridal March is not as common of a processional song as it once was, with many couples using acoustic versions of songs or playing string instrumentals during the time guests are being seated. He says you need to ask your DJ if they provide ceremony music and what comes with it, such as wireless mics for you and the officiant so that your guests can hear you.

Lewis says, “There’s a couple other aspects of music that we always tell couples to pay attention to, and it’s dinner and cocktail hour. Those are crucial times.” He says that cocktail hour is the time that subliminally transitions your guests from ceremony mode to party mode, so you want to start off with some classic songs and end with more upbeat party songs. “For us, we always say that dinner should be upbeat and fun. We’ll keep them low key and less danceable songs, but more about what the couple likes. If they’re into country, play some country music. Or if you’re into really obscure songs play them during dinner.”

Mistake #3 – Not paying enough attention to lyrics and not using clean edits


Today, it seems like every song out there has a hidden meaning to it. There are so many songs that I love just because of the beat and the music, but when I actually take a step back and listen to the lyrics, I’m shocked sometimes to learn the song is all about sex or drugs.

I still love the songs and listen to them, but I certainly thought twice about playing them at our wedding. Now, are most people going to pick up on those hidden meanings? Probably not. But what everyone will pick up on are curse words. If curse words don’t bother you, great, but remember your guests.

Swatek says clean edits are a “…personal preference, but I see no reason to have anything but clean edits…I don’t see any reason to have language at a wedding that might offend anyone. If one guest is offended, it’s one guest too many.” He goes on to say that “even with clean edits, there are certain songs that are not appropriate for a wedding.” That’s ties back to what I said about listening to the lyrics and what they are really talking about.

You’ll find many DJs will only play clean edits, because, let’s face it, a wedding is a classy event, even if it’s an informal wedding, not a club. Lewis says, “We only play clean music. We always let them (couples) know to pay attention to the people in the room…” Basically, if you think your parents or grandparents are going to cringe at lyrics, you might want to reconsider.


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