The music you choose to play is an important decision because it sets the mood and ambiance of the evening. The music also says a lot about your personality and taste, and should be music that the bride and groom both like. However, couples should also consider the guests when choosing music. The couple may both love Megadeth (long-haired metal band) but the guests may find there thrashing guitars offensive. Because of this carefully choosing when to play certain music is important. There are several stages to a wedding, and while some are apparent, others are less noticed by people who do not go to weddings all the time.
The first obvious music stage for a wedding is the pre-ceremony music. This should be soft and not excessively loud, but can be anything from classical music to country love songs based on the couples tastes. During the actual ceremony, most will have classical music if they are wanting a traditional ceremony, or for a modern ceremony choose soft love songs from contemporary artists. For the couple wanting a fun atmosphere at their ceremony, choosing a fun song for the recessional (song played as wedding party walks back down the aisle after bride and groom are announced) is totally acceptable. Just remember that this is still a monumental moment, so try to not get too ridiculous with your song selection.
The music for the start of the reception is almost always background music so that guests can mingle without having to yell over the music. Frank Sinatra-esk music is perfect for this time, but you can also choose contemporary artists like Jason Mraz or R&B music, based on the couple's preferences. The grand introduction can be slow or fast based on if the couple would like to have a classy intro or more of a fun intro, followed by more background music if the couple wants to go into more of a meet and greet time.
Once the open dance does start it is best to start with some classic songs that everyone knows and can dance too (older songs) and work up to the newer songs. Of course if the couple just wants top 40 music that is their choice to make, just remember that old and young people can dance to older music, but only younger people generally will dance to newer music. Waiting till later on in the reception to break out the newer, faster songs will allow the older guests to enjoy themselves early, and then leave when the newer music is playing. As a rule, most older guests leave before the younger guests as the night gets later. To keep the younger crowd there the wedding DJ should show the younger guests that they will have a chance to dance to their style of music later on in the reception.
This is the best way to play music during a wedding based on my experience as a wedding DJ. Of course this is more of a guideline instead of a rule, and the couple may not want to stick to this model for a number of reasons. This is ok, it is of course the couple's day (and by the couple of course I mean the bride's). This model is, however, an effective way to keep all of your guests entertained for the longest amount of time possible.
DJ Matt "The Wedding Specialist"
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