• DJ James Stephens

Choosing the Songs for Your Wedding

Updated: Jul 21

This blog provides useful information for couple's who've decided to have a DJ to play at their wedding.


Couple's that have booked a band tend to do so based on the type of music they perform (i.e. funk band/rock band etc.). In other words, the band usually decides what will get the dancefloor going. However, if you're looking for a band and not sure where to start, I highly recommend checking out these guys and these guys.


For those booking a DJ, here's some useful tips for choosing music...


First off, I'll start by saying there isn't a wrong or right answer when choosing songs. Think of it more like...songs that'll get people dancing, and songs that will keep people sat down.


By and large, I think most couples fit into one of two categories, when deciding the music for their wedding:


a) Those that have a really good idea of what they would like to hear, perhaps because they have a selection of artists they really like to listen to in their free time.


b) Those that aren't too fussed, as long as people are dancing.


Since lockdown restrictions were lifted in July 2021, I think more and more couples fit into the former. Ultimately, the couple are the one's paying (usually!), so it really is up to them. I have noticed more and more couple's are requesting the DJ to steer away from the stereotypical wedding cheese, which is refreshing. But I do think it's important to note that if you want the DJ to play just the music you've selected, there's no guarantee the dancefloor would be as busy as if the DJ had their own input. However, I have DJ'd weddings in the past where I have stuck just to the couple's requests, and the dancefloor has been rammed from start to finish.


Most wedding DJ's you enquire with will usually ask for a list of no more than 20 songs that you really would like to hear on the night. Outside of those 20 songs, the wedding DJ will then play what they think will get the dancefloor going.


This usually works quite well for couple's that fit into category b (above), but for those that have a really good idea of the music they want to hear, sometimes 20 songs isn't enough!


Some DJ's (like me), are happy for the couple to provide as many songs they like. I do this because I really want to get the very best idea of the type of music the couple enjoys! I will spend some time looking through the song requests before the wedding, to get a good sense of the couple's music taste. Sometimes I receive 10 hours worth of song requests (which is fine by me). In these instances, I will play the songs from the couple's playlist which I think will work the best. That way, people will be dancing, and the couple will be happy as I'm playing one of their requests!


Normally, the songs chosen by the couple will get people dancing. Some song requests can be a little more niche, so it's just about me managing that and striking a balance between what the couple enjoy, and what will get people dancing. I will discuss this in the meeting I have with the couple before their wedding.


Song requests provided by couple's fit into two categories. Songs which get people up dancing, and songs which don't (sounds obvious I know!) Popular requests which don't usually get people dancing (energetically) are from artists like Ed Sheeran (Perfect), Adele (Easy On Me), The Smiths (Please Let Me Get What I Want), Snow Patrol (Chasing Cars) and Spandau Ballet (True) to name a few. These songs are obviously fine to request, but personally think they are suited to be played at the start of the night or at the end of the night. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. If you and your guests all love music from these artists above, then great. It'll probably be less energetic dancing but more singing, if that makes sense. What I would say is 9 times out of 10 there's quite a varied taste in music at weddings, amongst all the guests. In other words, it's quite effective to to get each guest to submit a song request beforehand. That way the DJ can get a sense of what everyone attending will like. There's been the odd wedding I've DJ'd where pretty much everyone has a similar taste in music, which obviously works well as I know whatever I play will please everyone in the room.


Popular requests which usually get people up dancing include Abba (Gimme Gimme Gimme), Pitbull (Don't Stop The Party), Sean Paul (Temperature), Rudimental (Waiting All Night), Don Omar (Danza Kuduro) and Avicii (Levels) to name a few.


In general, songs that no one really knows will be most risky. I think most people dance to a song because they know it, especially at weddings. An exception to this would be if you and your guests were really into an underground genre such as Deep House or Drum and Bass. In these instances I think the DJ can be more "free" with the songs they decide to mix (providing they are choosing songs from that genre), without the dancefloor going "what the hell is this".


It's also worth noting that you may want to provide songs you definitely do not want to hear during the night. There's nothing worse than hearing a song you absolutely hate! We all have at least one (including me!). I'm even happy to tell you what that song is. If you clicked the link, then yes, I cannot stand it 😂 Obviously if you request that song, I will play it (but with my fist clenched 😉).


To summarise, choosing music for your wedding is up to you. If you're a couple which knows what you want to hear on the night, then the task will be an easy one. A good DJ will advise on what will work and what won't work when they look at your requests. On the other side of the coin, if you're easy-going, then a good DJ will make sure the tunes selected are one's that will get the dancefloor going.


I hope that helps and if you have any questions please contact me!


To find out more about me, click here.