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Destination Wedding Music: Creating the Perfect Playlist

Two men in suits dancing to wedding music at a reception.


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Wedding music creates a soundtrack for your big day. The right wedding playlist can make you feel like you’re living in a rom-com. From the ceremony and all the way through the end of the reception, the music you choose helps to create moments and lasting memories. 

But how do you even get started making your wedding playlist? What songs are important to include? How do you match the music to your venue? What about choosing the best music for your destination wedding? We have plenty of tips to help you out. 

wedding music

Wedding Music Outline: The Ceremony 

Pre – Ceremony Songs

Often overlooked, the music before the ceremony plays an important role. The music played while guests are taking their seats establishes the ambiance and the vibe. These songs tend to be gentle and relaxed, a contrast to the grand music that starts with the procession. 

Processional Songs

The processional is when the magic begins. These are the first physical steps towards your future as a married couple. The music should reflect that – significant and romantic. Like everything else for your wedding, you can go with traditional or classic music, or something unique to your wedding party. Is there one song that all the groomsmen enjoy? Or something all the bridesmaids danced to at some other point in time? 

Entrance Songs

Here we are. The showstopper, the heart-strings-tugger, the climax of an already enchanting day. It’s time for the bride to stroll down that aisle, or that beach. You can choose the traditional “here comes the bride,” or something uniquely you.  

Your Wedding Reception Playlist  

How to make a wedding playlist? Mix up your favorites – classic songs everyone knows (looking at you “Don’t Stop Believin’”) – and mix up the genres so there is something for everyone. If the goal is to really get the party going and dance the night away, make sure the DJ list for the wedding is full of tracks with a beat you can move to. 

There are of course the necessary songs for the reception, the ones that probably require more thought from the couple. These generally include the following: 

  • Wedding party entrance 
  • Couple’s entrance 
  • First dance 
  • Father/daughter dance 
  • Mother/son dance
  • Final/closing song 

Reception entrance songs for the couple and the wedding party can be heartfelt and sentimental, or simply fun. Or a mix of the two, like the Beatles’ classic “All You Need is Love.” 

reception playlist

First Dance Songs

Choosing what first dance song to include on the DJ list for your wedding can be a challenge. Unless there is already a specific song you and your partner have in mind, you might find yourself scrolling through listicles and Spotify playlists titled “500 best first dance songs.”  Even if you narrow your search down, you still have plenty of lists of specific beach wedding music to sort through. 

First dance songs range from classics such as Elton John’s “Your Song,” to modern classics such as John Legend’s “All of You.” While these tracks are popular for a reason, there is the opportunity to find something more uniquely you. 

Deciding what mood you want your first dance to be is key: slow and passionate, fast and fun, fresh and modern, or a classic romance.  

Parent and Child Dances

Father and daughter, or mother and son dances can be a special moment for parents and their children. Songs for these dances can be something that lyrically makes sense, or maybe a song that has a sentimental meaning. 

Last Dance Songs

All good things must come to an end, and your last dance songs can make your wedding day come to a brilliant, unforgettable end. You can have a slower romantic dance or a triumphant, lively track as part of your reception playlist. Or both. 

You can go with “Save The Last Dance For Me,” as it’s literally in the title. You can attempt to recreate the famous Dirty Dancing scene with “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life.” Maybe you just want all of your guests to jam out to you and your partner’s favorite song. 

Picking the Perfect Wedding Music 

We know music taste is subjective. You may even have very different music tastes from your partner. This can make working on the DJ list for your wedding a challenge. How to make a wedding playlist? Start with the must-have songs, determine the energy and vibe you want to create, and ask for requests. 

You can start your wedding music playlist with your personal must-haves. Maybe your favorite songs, songs that mean a lot to you and your partner, or songs that are meaningful to your guests.  

Along with the must-haves come the important tracks. These are the ones we listed above: the first dance, the last dance, and the ones in between. While it may take a while for you to decide on these, make sure to leave a placeholder in the playlist. 

There is no shortage of wedding music inspiration. Open up whatever music streaming service you prefer and search for “wedding,” and you’re sure to get many results. While none of these will perfectly encapsulate your dream wedding, they can offer inspiration. 

You can also receive inspiration from your guests. Including a space for song suggestions with the RSVP, or even creating a shared playlist folks can add to, can help build the best soundtrack. 

Take into account the location too when selecting your music. A destination wedding on a gorgeous beach can also take inspiration from those premade “beach music” playlists. Sometimes these might be The Beach Boys’ greatest hits with a handful of other tracks sprinkled in. There are plenty of options and inspiration for beach wedding music, from ceremony to reception. 

make a wedding playlist

Wedding Music Doesn’t End After the Reception 

Just because you’ve said your “I Do’s” and danced the night away doesn’t mean the party is over. Your destination wedding playlist can continue throughout the rest of your group’s stay. Choose some tracks to have on hand for lounging by the pool or strolling on the beach. This can be just for you and your spouse, or for the whole wedding party to enjoy. You can even listen on the plane flight home, just to keep the party going for that much longer. 

Destify may not be the expert in curating your wedding music playlist, but we are experts at just about everything else. Our team is ready to help you pick the perfect destination, the perfect venue, and coordinate all the essentials – from catering to decor to the DJ. We’re in the business of making meaningful memories. If you’re ready to make yours, contact us today. 

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