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Creating a wedding reception party playlist

It's the end of May, and wedding season is upon us in the UK. We've already written blogs about key musical moments, like choosing your wedding entrance song and your first dance song. But what about the reception party? You want your guests to stay energised and dance the night away, celebrating the day's events.

To help, we've curated our top tips for curating a wedding reception party playlist along with a mini playlist for each phase of the night. At Clear View Sound, we have diverse musical tastes, so it may seem like an eclectic mix. However, one thing is guaranteed: these songs will get the party started and hopefully help you kick off planning your own your wedding reception party playlist.

Even if you're hiring a professional DJ for your wedding, it's a good idea to give them a list of songs you like so they can understand your musical tastes. They can often add to the list you provide.

Transitioning to dancing

The majority of weddings we have had the pleasure of attending as the DJs or as guests usually have a first dance which serves as the signal that the evening party has begun. However if the first dance is not serving this purpose in your wedding you can signal the shift from dining to dancing by gradually increasing the energy and playing upbeat familiar songs that appeal to all ages. 

10 upbeat songs to signal dining to dancing 

  1. "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

  2. "I Gotta Feeling" by The Black Eyed Peas

  3. "Shape of You" by Ed Sheeran

  4. "Happy" by Pharrell Williams

  5. "Can't Stop the Feeling!" by Justin Timberlake

  6. "September" by Earth, Wind & Fire

  7. "Dancing Queen" by ABBA

  8. "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" by Michael Jackson

  9. "Treasure" by Bruno Mars

  10. 24K Magic" by Bruno Mars

Early wedding reception party playlist

When it comes to dancing in the early part of the evening, if the couple's musical brief permits it, we sometimes like to start with older classics because of their wide appeal. Depending on the crowd, songs like “Twist and Shout,” “One Love,” or “I Want You Back” can turn the foot-tapping of the older generation into a full dance floor. It’s prime party time for the older generation, and the younger generation gets involved either because of nostalgia or because these songs are timeless classics. The key here is building gently, so start with the oldies but do slowly start to transition through the deceased and genres to your prime time peak of the party. 

15 example of Oldie, Motown and Classic Pop songs

  1. "Twist and Shout" by The Beatles 

  2. "La Bamba" by Ritchie Valens 

  3. "One Love" by Bob Marley and the Wailers 

  4. "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets

  5. "Surfin' U.S.A." by The Beach Boys 

  1. "I Want You Back" by The Jackson 5 

  2. "Dancing in the Street" by Martha and the Vandellas

  3. "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder 

  4. "My Girl" by The Temptations 

  5. "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell 

  6. Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson

  7. "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond

  8. "You Make My Dreams" by Hall & Oates

  9. "I'm a Believer" by The Monkees

  10. "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison 

Wedding reception party at its peak

As the wedding reception party reaches its peak, those who can’t keep up may start to leave the dance floor. Your task now is to keep the energy high with a mix of crowd-pleasers and current hits. Think chart-topping Top 40 tracks across your favourite genres, but don’t forget to mix it up a little—your guests undoubtedly have diverse musical tastes. Whether it’s dance, pop, rock, or hip-hop, play a blend of popular throwbacks and modern songs. The goal is to maintain the lively party atmosphere, keep the energy high, and make time disappear on the dance floor.

10 dance songs

  1. "Padam Padam" by Kylie Minogue

  2. "Baby Don't Hurt Me" by David Guetta, Anne-Marie & Coi Leray

  3. "Miracle" by Calvin Harris & Ellie Goulding

  4. "Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 52" by Bizarrap & Quevedo

  5. "Where You Are" by John Summit & Hayla

  6. "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham! 

  7. "Rhythm of the Night" by DeBarge 

  8. "Everybody Dance Now" by C+C Music Factory 

  9. "Groove Is in the Heart" by Deee-Lite 

  10. "Stayin' Alive" by Bee Gees 

10 Hip-Hop songs

  1. "Spin Bout U" by Drake & 21 Savage

  2. "Princess Diana" by Ice Spice & Nicki Minaj

  3. "Peaches" by Jack Harlow

  4. "Superhero (Heroes & Villains)" by Metro Boomin, Future & Chris Brown

  5. "Creepin'" by Metro Boomin, The Weeknd & 21 Savage

  6. "California Love" by 2Pac ft. Dr. Dre 

  7. "Gin and Juice" by Snoop Dogg 

  8. "Hypnotize" by The Notorious B.I.G. 

  9. "Drop It Like It's Hot" by Snoop Dogg ft. Pharrell 

  10. "Lose Yourself" by Eminem 

10 EDM Songs

  1. "Redlight" by Swedish House Mafia & Sting

  2. "On & On" by Alok & Dynoro

  3. "Runaway" by R3HAB & Sigala

  4. "Believe" by Alesso & Marshmello ft. James Bay

  5. "Escape" by Kx5 (Kaskade & deadmau5) ft. Hayla

  6. "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" by Skrillex 

  7. "Clarity" by Zedd ft. Foxes

  8. "Animals" by Martin Garrix 

  9. "Don't You Worry Child" by Swedish House Mafia ft. John Martin 

  10. "Reload" by Sebastian Ingrosso & Tommy Trash ft. John Martin 

Winding down the reception party

Alright, it's the last 45 minutes of the night, and it's time to start winding things down. Use your song choices to gradually decrease the energy levels and allow guests to have their final conversations as the night comes to an end. Still play popular songs, romantic ballads and sing-along favourites work well here to keep the vibes rolling albeit at a lower energy level.

  1. "Perfect" by Ed Sheeran

  2. "All of Me" by John Legend

  3. "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran

  4. "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri

  5. "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis Presley

  6. "Your Song" by Elton John 

  7. "Just the Way You Are" by Bruno Mars

  8. "Make You Feel My Love" by Adele 

  9. "Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers 

  10. "Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton 

Choosing a last dance for your wedding

Why not end the night on a memorable note with a song that resonates with you as a couple? It could be a romantic number, a song from your first holiday together, or the one playing the first time your families met. Either way, end the night with a last dance that’s meaningful to you and your loved ones. We can’t give examples for this one, as it should be a personal choice that comes from you.

I hope this helps you with curating your own wedding reception party playlist, if you’re looking for a little more advice check out our blog on “creating the perfect party playlist”. 

The playlist is one thing, but do you have the right speaker set up? Check out our blog on "choosing the right speaker set up for your wedding" or this one “why you should use a professional speaker set-up”. 

As you can probably tell we are in the business of renting sound and lighting equipment, so if you need any help with this, check out some of our services here or don’t be afraid to get in touch.


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