How to Choose Dinner Music

After Cocktail Hour, the Bridal Party and Bride & Groom are introduced, there’s usually a first dance, some toasts, and a blessing. Following those events is Dinner and the music that accompanies it.

The following are some suggestions for how to choose Dinner Music:

Older guests will be present
This is the most important point to stress when choosing dinner music. Think of your grandparents, your parents, their friends, other family members who may be a couple of generations ahead of you.

Do you think they will enjoy the wonderful meal you’ve chosen for them while listening to blink-182, or the music you rocked out to in high school?

Believe it or not, we’ve had couples ask us to play some pretty wild stuff during dinner. We’re all for respecting the wishes of the Bride & Groom, but when we remind them, “Don’t forget your parents and grandparents might not be too pleased with this type of music”- they usually thank us and quickly change their minds.

No Shouting!
Picture this: you’re a guest at a wedding. You’ve just had a wonderful glass of wine, you’re sitting with your significant other, and you’re surrounded with family you haven’t seen in almost a decade. You’re all enjoying the delicious crab cakes, when all of a sudden, the next song fades in as you’re about to ask your cousin Liz how she’s been.

“So Liz…”

But before you finish asking “how was your first semester of college?” the drums pick up steam and the band loudly joins in.

Your cousin leans closer and shouts “I’M SORRY, WHAT?”

You have to shout, “HOW WAS COLLEGE!?”

She blankly looks at you and just shakes her head, pointing to her ears.

You don’t want anything too upbeat or too loud
Not only should the DJ keep the volume at a comfortable level for guests, but the actual songs should be slightly mellow.

Any DJ can play blink-182 at a low volume, but try carrying on a meaningful conversation with that playing “comfortably” in the background. It’s kind of annoying, even if it is slightly low.

You want something mellow, but not boring.
When we say mellow, that does not necessarily mean elevator music or the kind of music companies play while you’ve been on hold for 20 minutes.

Mellow can still have rhythm; it can still be fun.

After dinner, you’ll dance!
You may want to keep things slightly more upbeat than what we’re recommending, but keep in mind that the dance party will start after dinner. We’re all for people dancing whenever they feel the beats taking control of their bodies, but if you’re music is too upbeat, those people may dance it all out even before the official party has started.

Our Suggestions
First, you want to come up with specific songs, bands, or genres.

Second, try to come up with about 20 songs. That’s the magical number.

Third, those 20 songs should equal to about an hour or so.

Fourth, if you’re going to mix in different genres and bands, the DJ should be able to arrange the songs from mellower early at dinner to more upbeat toward the end of dinner.

Here, we’ll lay out some generic playlists.

The Indie Playlist

Beck – Blue Moon
George Ezra – Budapest
The Rees Shad Band – The Mrs. & Me
Jesse Cole – Same As the Sun
The Sweet Remains – Dance With Me
Rogue Wave – Eyes
Wilco – You And I
Nick Drake – One Of These Things First
The Tallest Man On Earth – This Wind
Sugar & The Hi Lows – Show & Tell
Lord Huron – Time To Run
Jules Larson – True Colors
Daniela Andrade – Crazy in Love
Susie Suh – I Do
Stu Larsen – Skin & Bone
Julia Stone – How Sweet It Is
Sarah McLachlan – Blackbird
Jose Gonzalez – Heartbeats
Ryan Adams – Wonderwall
Andrew Whitman – Sinner’s Sonnet
Jasmine Kennedy – Percy Anderson

Mellow, Top 40/Pop Dinner

Train – Marry Me
Dave Matthews Band – Crash Into Me
Christina Perri – A Thousand Years
The Lumineers – Ho Hey
Adele – Make You Feel My Love (album)
Norah Jones – Come Away With Me
James Morrison – Man in The Mirror – Acoustic
Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat – Lucky
Phillip Phillips – Home
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Home
Emeli Sandé – Next to Me
Plain White T’s – Rhythm Of Love
Darius Rucker – Wagon Wheel
Bruno Mars – Just The Way You Are
Coldplay – Yellow
Magic! – Rude (Acoustic)
Aloe Blacc – Wake Me Up – Acoustic

Rat Pack-y Dinner

Paolo Conte – Via Con Me
Stan Getz – The Girl From Ipanema
Sidney Bechet – Si tu vois ma mère – From ”Midnight In Paris”
Mélanie Laurent – Je connais
Dean Martin – Sway (Quien Sera) – 1997 – Remastered
The New Stan Getz Quartet – Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars)
Peggy Lee – Fever – 1998 – Remaster
Mel Torme – Comin’ Home Baby
Beth Rowley – You’ve Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger
Ray Charles – Night Time Is The Right Time
Floyd Cramer – On The Rebound
Brenda Lee – Sweet Nothin’s
Beth Rowley – A Sunday Kind Of Love
Melody Gardot – Your Heart Is As Black As Night
Madeleine Peyroux – J’Ai Deux Amours
Doris Day – Que Sera Sera
Ella Fitzgerald – They Can’t Take That Away From Me
Nat King Cole – L-O-V-E – 2000 Digital Remaster
Louis Armstrong – A Kiss To Build A Dream On
Michael Bublé – Home
Bobby Darin – Beyond The Sea
Frank Sinatra – Fly Me To The Moon
Michael Bublé – Feeling Good


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