Combining music styles: Choosing what you love while considering your guests

Kara Kamienski Photography

When it comes to music, people know what they like. Whether you're the listens-to-everything or barely-likes-anything type, you're aware of what's going to get you up and dancing. It's tempting to limit the music at your wedding to only your favorites, but the ultimate goal is to get as many guests out of their seats as possible. Want to keep the energy up at your reception? Here are some tips:

1.) Consider your guest mix

If your guests include everyone from your baby nephew to your great-great-grandmother, you're going to want a pretty decent variety. Most DJs will be conscious of playing music that spans the decades, but also bring that up if it's important to you. Songs that most people will know and can belt out the words to really work to get the party started. It's great to include a mix of slow songs, but be sure to specify if you want a little more or less than other weddings you've been to.

2.) Carefully prepare your "Do Not Play" list

Your "Do Not Play" list is a handy guide to let your DJ know what you definitely do not want played at your wedding. It can be limited individual songs, or you may even opt to include artists or entire genres. This is a great way to help you pin down exactly what you do and do not want, but be careful not to make it too limiting. You might want to nix every cliché wedding song in existence, but a few of those might be exactly what will get your guests up and dancing. Focus on what you absolutely do not want and let other crowd pleasers go. Giving yourself a limit of 25 songs or so will also help you select only the songs you and your fiancé are most adamant about cutting.

3.) Allow guests to request songs

It's common for wedding guests to request songs during the reception, but some brides and grooms are letting them select songs even earlier. RSVP song requests are becoming more popular, and it's easy to ask guests to leave a song request on response cards or wedding websites. That way, you can see what guests seem to be requesting again and again, and you can give your DJ plenty of time to prepare beforehand.

4.) Pay attention at other weddings

If you've got a fridge covered in save-the-dates and invitations, use those opportunities to see what works and what doesn't. Everyone's guest mix is going to be unique, but if there is a song or genre that gets everyone on the floor at your friend's wedding, it'll probably go over well at your wedding, too. 

5.) Find a Great DJ

When all else fails, a DJ that knows what he or she is doing is going to keep the mood up at your wedding. Really do your research ahead of time, ask for referrals and meet with different contenders. A talented DJ will take most of the guesswork out of your music selection, so all you have to do is show up and have a great time celebrating with your family and friends.