I take selecting music very seriously. I'm a fan of songs across all genres, though, being from Cleveland – where Poison still sells out – I have a soft spot in my heart for glam rock.
Image Courtesy of: Duane Cochran
Regardless, picking music that will keep your guests dancing is harder than it may seem. You need songs that will keep people of mixed ages, backgrounds, and rhythmic ability shaking what their mamas gave them, while mixing in an adequate amount of slower stuff because it's a wedding, and people (i.e., moms) like an excuse to force other people (i.e., dads) to slow dance.
Image Courtesy of: Brad Howe Photography
Many make the mistake of trying to cater to their audience's existing tastes. So, your DJ's online “most picked songs” are probably things like “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang and “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC and – shoot me now – the “Cha Cha Slide.” There, you have selections that are fairly inoffensive and they attract middle aged aunts and uncles to the dance floor like white on rice.
Image Courtesy of: Orange Country Dance Studio
The problem? When you really, really think about it – they're not good songs to DANCE to. They're kind of slow and clunky. And do you really need five minutes of someone TELLING you exactly how to dance (“Everybody clap your hands!” ***clapclapclapclapclapclapclap*** Ugh.).
Image Courtesy of: Jenny J
So, how do you keep the Engelbert Humperdink loving grandmas, the disco loving aunts, and the Bieber loving teenagers on the dance floor?
Enter MY PERFECT MIX OF 90S RAP AND TRASHY POP SONGS FROM ALL ERAS.
When you see the list, you'll realize why it's so, well, EPICLY AWESOME. 90's rap songs have a good beat that's made for dancing, and they're not SO dirty that your grandma will blush. Hell, she probably won't even know what they're talking about. I still don't know how to pop, lock, or drop it. Then, add in some more recent pop songs. The more they get stuck in your head, the better (I'm looking at you, “Moves like Jagger“). The teenagers will keep the party going. Mix in a couple token slow songs, a few motown hits, and one disco anthem – which probably qualfies under the trashy pop bucket anyway – and you're good to go.
Image Courtesy of: One Love Photo
Now, whether you include line dancing music is a personal decision that only you can make. Personally, I pretty much HATE EVERY SINGLE LINE DANCING SONG (with any exceptions listed below). Each time something like the “Electric Slide” is played – that's 3-5 minutes of my life I'll never get back. I realize some people like them – hell, I was pretty much accosted by a drunken guest who was IRATE that I had the “Electric Slide” on my NO list – but they make me want to punch someone in the face. And? Someone always humps the ground during the “Cha Cha Slide” in an effort to prove how low they can truly go. TRUST ME.
Image Courtesy of: Funny Junk
Anyhow, I've gotten a TON of compliments on the wedding music mix, especially from people I thought would be the least happy about it – the big disco and classic rock fans, and the younger folks who probably aren't as old as half of these songs. So, dearest readers, I'm sharing my ultimate wedding playlist with you to help keep your party bumping.
And, if you think it's a bit unconventional – well, I'll give you my wedding music, too. It was all on piano, in a lovely 100+ year old church. And it was epic. My dream for my reception? To have a string quartet playing dirty rap songs (“Is that Ludacris?”), but we were on a budget. Maybe for wedding #2.
Image Courtesy of: Jamie Lee Photography
- Processional – Mothers/Bridal party – Songbird – Fleetwood Mac
- Processional – Bride – To Make You Feel My Love – Bob Dylan
- Recessional – Just Can't Get Enough – Depeche Mode
- Recessional – Marry You – Bruno Mars
- Extras for before – Bless the Broken Road – Rascal Flatts, All I Want Is You – Barry Louis Polisar
- Extras for after – God Only Knows – The Beach Boys, All You Need is Love – The Beatles
Image Courtesy of: Miller + Miller
- Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO (*Note: This wasn't on my list, but an aunt said she'd be on the dance floor in 20 seconds if it was played. fair enough!)
- Bust a Move – Young MC
- Jumpin' Jumpin' – Destiny's Child
- Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 (*Note: Not out for my wedding, but I would add to the list!)
- Push It – Salt ‘N Pepa
- Marry You – Bruno Mars
- Jump Around – House of Pain
- F**k You – CeeLo Green
- No Diggity – Blackstreet
- Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
- Stronger – Kanye West
- And We Danced – The Hooters
- Ain't too Proud to Beg – The Temptations
- To Make You Feel my Love – Adele
- It's Tricky – Run DMC
- Songbird – Glee Cast
- Now That We Found Love – Heavy D and the Boyz
- Crazy in Love – Beyonce
- The Edge of Glory – Lady Gaga
- Baby Got Back – Sir Mix A Lot
- Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours) – Stevie Wonder
- Apache – The Sugarhill Gang
- Bootylicious – Destiny's Child
- Motownphilly – Boyz II Men
- Raise Your Glass – P!nk
- God Only Knows – Natalie Maines
- Give it to Me – Timbaland feat. Justin Timberlake
- Party in the U.S.A. – Miley Cyrus
- Humpty Dance – Digital Underground (*Note: my mom came and got me when this song came on, saying, “Just so you know, they're playing YOUR request.” Um, they're all my requests? Ha.)
- Hot in Herre – Nelly
- Beer Barrel Polka (*Note: I'm from Cleveland.)
- Rump Shaker – Wreckx-N-Effect
- Dance, Dance – Great Big Sea
- Rhythm of My Heart – Rod Stewart
- Friday – Glee Cast (*Note – gotta get down on Friday.)
- Tootsie Roll – 69 Boyz
- My Life Would Suck Without You – Kelly Clarkson
- Ignition (Remix) – R. Kelly (*Note: This counts as a SLOW song, for my purposes. Setting the mood, people. Setting the mood.)
- The Dance – Garth Brooks
- Talk Dirty to Me – Poison
- Just Can't Get Enough – Depeche Mode (*Note: If you've seen “An Idiot Abroad“, you'll know why I cracked up when I picked it as the recessional.)
- Umbrella – Rihanna
- Faded – soulDecision
- Maybe I'm Amazed – Jem
- Since I Don't Have You – Guns N Roses
- Toxic – Britney Spears
- Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
- Single Ladies – Beyonce
- Poison – Bell Biv DeVoe
- Ride Wit Me – Nelly
- Save the Last Dance For Me – Michael Buble
- Beyond the Sea – Bobby Darin (*Editor's Note: The Robbie Williams version is also quite good.)