When it comes to choosing the music your wedding band or DJ will play at the reception, the selections often range from classic tunes to today's hits. Most couples want to satisfy their close friends, who likely prefer songs by Beyoncé or the latest pop sensation, as well as appeal to the older generation of attendees with tunes by Frank Sinatra or The Temptations.
The ultimate goal of planning a wedding playlist is to ensure all of your loved ones stay on the dance floor. To do this, a mix of high-energy tracks and slightly slower songs to sway to is necessary. Keep the dance floor packed all night long and be sure to play music that is personal to you as a couple – the first song you danced to together on a night on the town, your favorite tracks to sing in the car on roadtrips, and even your group of friends' beloved guilty-pleasure tunes. Don't forget to throw in some oldies but goodies, and guests of all ages are sure to have a great time!
To help give us some ideas, we asked Danny Chaimson of The Golden Coast All Stars in Los Angeles and The Gold Coast All Stars in Chicago what wedding songs he thought needed to make a comeback. Here are 10 of his favorites and why:
1. "Tell Me Something Good" - Rufus (feat. Chaka Khan)
I once was at a private seated dinner with about 40 people for Ludacris' birthday. I happened to be seated next to the DJ and requested this song in the middle of dinner – a minute later people were dancing on top of their chairs... enough said!
2. "It's Your Thing" - Isley Brothers
Something about this song is contagious. For some reason, it just brings out the funkiest, funniest dance moves in your arsenal. It's hardly played at weddings, even though it's instantly recognizable and is a true feel-good jam.
3. "You Never Can Tell" - Chuck Berry
Young and old can agree that it's just plain fun to dance to this early rock 'n roll gem, which lives on in infamy from the famous John Travolta/Uma Thurman scene in Pulp Fiction. Let your guests get their twist on and rock out!
4. "Night Time Is the Right Time" - Ray Charles
This mid-tempo, soul-drenched duet is great to dance and sing along too. When the Raelettes come in with the "Baby!" part, it will inspire some seriously fun lip sync battles on the dance floor.
5. "Sex Machine" - James Brown
The King of Soul's high-energy classic sometimes gets axed from wedding playlists stricly based on the title. Those lyrics in the song are actually easily glossed over, and the much more prevalent choruses of "Get on Up" will serve as a great call to your guests to do just that.
6. "Rapper's Delight" - The Sugarhill Gang
One of the first popularized rap songs ever, the funky bass line serves as the perfect backdrop to get a soul train line started and let your guests get wild.
7. "Cherry, Cherry" - Neil Diamond
While "Sweet Caroline" has become a tried and true wedding staple, this classic Neil Diamond track has a contagious, fun, hand-clapping groove that really pumps everyone up.
8. "You're the One That I Want" - from Grease
I got the idea to have my band start playing this after seeing Beck cover it a while back. If it's cool enough for Beck, it's cool enough for your guests. It has lit up the dance floor every single time since, even if it's with a winking, slightly ironic, nostalgic nod.
9. "Tequila" - The Champs
It's impossible not to imitate Pee Wee Herman's famous dance to this instrumental classic. Awesome for bands with great horn sections, and super fun for all of your guests to join in on the one lyric of the whole song... "Tequila".
10. "Be My Baby" - The Ronettes
A great romantic, female-led slow dance, that doesn't feel "slow". The Dirty Dancing correlation provides lasting relevance to guests of all ages.
Listen to the entire playlist below!
For more wedding song ideas, check out 100 of the most popular tunes, the top 25 first dance songs, and these beloved tracks for the reception! Find additional wedding entertainment advice here, and get expert tips on how to keep the dance floor packed all night long.
Opening photo by Melissa Musgrove Photography