Choosing your wedding reception music can seem like a daunting task. It’s time to party, but what music do you want to play? Wait… Actually, we’re not quite to the party yet. There are still so many big moments before we get there! First, the grand entrance. Then dinner and cutting the cake. What about the first dances? How could I forget? 

For each of these special moments (and so many more), you’ll want to select the music. But there’s no need to stress about it. This guide will help you with all of the wedding reception music you’ll need for the night.

Here I’ll go through the important moments of your reception that you’ll need to choose the music for while giving you some tips to make the process easier. I’ll even recommend some song choices for each moment. After all, music is such an essential part of the wedding day! So let’s jump right in, starting from the beginning of the reception.


Wedding Reception Music for The Grand Entrance

Before we get to dinner, you’ll make your grand entrance into the reception space with formal introductions of the parents, the wedding party, and the bride and groom.

Destination weddings are a little more casual about this, so you may decide to only have an introduction for the newlyweds – or you may introduce your parents and everyone in your wedding party individually. It’s totally up to you! 

Once you’ve decided, you’ll want to consider how you’ll be making your big entrance. Are you dancing in? Will your bridesmaids and groomsmen each do something unique for their entrances? Are you really going for it with a choreographed dance? Or would you rather just walk in and head straight to your seats? It’s your day, so you get to choose! But don’t be afraid to have a little fun.

Choose one or two songs depending on how many people you have in your wedding party and what you plan to do. Usually, you’ll just play a little snippet of the song so that dinner can be served and you can keep the day flowing. (Although there are some couples who decide to go straight into the first dances before dinner – so that will change the flow a little bit.)

Bonus Tip: Be sure to let your MC know how you’d like to be introduced for the first time as a married couple. Will you be “Mr. and Mrs. (insert his name last here)”? Or will you simply be introduced by your first names?

Here are some song ideas for your big reception entrance:


Grand Entrance Wedding Songs


Wedding Reception Music For Dinner

Finally, it’s time to eat! Queue up the easy-listening music to have in the background as you and your guests enjoy your wedding dinner. Like the music for your cocktail hour, you’ll want to keep it light and soft to allow for conversation. But this time, you can slow things down. 

Here’s where you can play some more romantic music. The classic love songs and all-around favorites. I’d recommend choosing a general genre of music for this portion of the day like:

  • Jazz
  • Classical
  • Modern Instrumental
  • Spanish Guitar
  • Chill Out Electronic

Your guests will be eating and chatting during this time so you don’t need to put too much effort into your music choice. Just some soft background music will be fine.


Cake Cutting Songs

Next, it’s time to cut the cake! This is a silly moment that you’ll get to enjoy with your partner so have some fun with it!

Go ahead. Get a little cheesy with your song choice.

Here are a couple of song options for your cake-cutting moment:


Wedding Reception Music

Now, we really are getting close to party time! There are a few important moments that kick off the dance reception so you’ll want to choose a specific song for these dances:

  1. Bride and Groom First Dance
  2. Father-Daughter Dance
  3. Mother-Son Dance

The wedding reception will usually start with the couple’s first dance. If you have “a song” then you’ll want to dance to that (if it’s appropriate, of course). If not, you can choose any romantic song you’d like. Here are a few ideas:


Bride and Groom First Dance Songs

There are also a ton of romantic songs for walking down the aisle that would work great for the first dance instead. If it doesn’t quite make the cut for walking down the aisle, it could be the perfect fit for your first dance.


Parent Dances

After the bride and groom’s first dance, the bride will dance with her father and the groom will dance with his mother. Choose a song for each special moment. I encourage you to chat with your parents to see if they already have a song in mind. They might surprise you.

If they don’t already have something in mind, listen to these songs together and decide which will be the perfect song for your dance:


Songs for the Father-Daughter Dance


Songs for the Mother-Son Dance


Wedding Reception Music for the Party

Finally, the time we’ve all been waiting for is here! It’s time to party! It’s time to dance! Instead of listing out hundreds of songs to be played during your reception, choose a couple of genres that you’d like to hear and trust your DJ to get the party started. 

It’s alright to list out a few of your must-play songs – but don’t go overboard. Your DJ will be able to read the crowd and play songs that work for each moment, getting all of your guests out onto the dance floor. They’ll know how to weave in and out of different styles of music to keep the party going all night long.

I would, however, recommend listing a few songs or artists that you absolutely do not want to be played at your wedding reception. I’m sure there are a few songs that are crowd-pleasers and/or wedding classics (YMCA, anyone?), but for whatever reason, you can’t stand them. So let your DJ know!


Final Wedding Reception Moments

The alcohol is flowing. Your guests are grooving. And the dance moves are getting… well, “interesting” may be the best word to describe them. (Is there such a thing as tasteful twerking?) It doesn’t matter. You and your guests are having a blast! But time sure does fly when you’re having fun. 

We’re getting toward the end of your wedding reception. There are three final moments that you’ll want to have music ready for. The first two are optional, the last one is not.

  1. The Bouquet Toss
  2. The Garter Toss
  3. The Last Song of the Night


Wedding Music for the Bouquet Toss

This is a tradition that many brides have decided to skip in recent years, but if you decide to toss your bouquet at the wedding reception, you’ll want to choose a fun song to get all the single ladies involved. Let’s get rowdy!

Bring all the single girls onto the dance floor with one of these songs:


Music for the Garter Toss

Here’s another wedding tradition that has gone out the window in recent years, but if you’re going the old-school route, you may not want to skip this funny moment. If you’re planning to do the garter toss, you’ll want to choose a sensual song to encourage your groom to embrace his sexy side. And of course, to get all the single guys out on the dance floor. 

Here are a few fun music options for the garter toss:


The Last Song of the Wedding Night

Say it isn’t so! The wedding day is coming to an end… So make this last song count! Do you want to end it with a bang? Or go out nice and smooth with a romantic slow dance? Are you calling all your guests to join you? Or are you saving the last dance just for you and your groom?

Choose a song that fits the moment – for you.

Here are a few crowd-pleasers for the last song of the night:


Wedding Reception Music

So there you have it. From the big entrance to the last song of the night, your wedding reception music playlist is complete. It feels pretty good, doesn’t it?

If you haven’t already figured out the music for the first half of the day, be sure to check out this post next.

Happy Planning 🙂