You know music is a big deal for your wedding reception, but how do you choose music that you and your guests will both love? It’s easy to list what to avoid – sad and depressing music – but what else do you need to consider? This can be exceptionally challenging when you consider the age range of guests, from tunes appropriate for kids to songs that won’t embarrass grandma. Here are tips to guide you on choosing music that will keep your guests moving.

Keep your Guests in Mind. When thinking about the songs for your wedding reception, consider the age and personality of your guests. While much of your play list will include Top 40 and dance hits, remember that guests have some favorite songs that they like to dance to at weddings as well. If you’re getting married near a particular holiday or season, consider adding music for that time of year as well.

Create Playlists to Guide Your DJ. When thinking about the songs for your wedding reception, it is helpful to think of them in three groups; “Must Play”, “Try To Play” and “Do Not Play”. These lists are very helpful in letting your wedding DJ know the types of music you do and don’t want to hear at your wedding reception.

Trust your DJ. While you will likely attend a few weddings this year, your wedding DJ will be performing at numerous events. Allow him to use his professional skills to guide you towards songs that he knows will pack your dance floor. After all, you do want guests to dance.

Let your DJ take Requests. Talk with your wedding DJ about the type of party you are hoping for. Do you want music as the background for visiting or do you want a dance party? Allow the DJ to take requests and suggest alternatives that will keep the party flowing. A professional DJ can read the crowd and play the best song next.

You can Ignore Some Guest Requests. While it’s become trendy to ask guests to submit songs in advance, it is highly suggested that you avoid this. If you do collect requests, make sure that you discuss with your DJ to make sure he is screening requests to make sure they match your vision. You don’t want to create a party for one person. If you receive 100 requests of songs averaging 3 minutes, that is 5 hours of music programming.

Music Sets The Tone. The music for your wedding reception gives your guests a cue on what kind of event you will have. This starts with your Grand Entrance to the wedding reception. Choosing a fun song for bridal party introductions can help get the crowd ready for your big moment and give your guests a preview of what is to follow.

Cocktail Hours Can Rock! The formality of the ceremony is over and guests are ready to have a good time. The music for your cocktail hour is a great way to share your personal tastes so anything goes. Consider acoustic artists, crooners, reggae, love songs through the ages or any other genres that fit with your wedding theme.

Keep Dinner Upbeat. There is no rule that says you must play soft jazz during dinner service. Coldplay, Mumford and Sons, Dave Matthews Band, Radiohead, Mat Kearney and artists of similar nature translate well to the dinner hour. Your wedding DJ can also play songs that pickup the tempo as you get closer to the dancing portion of the evening.

Keep It Flowing. Nothing kills the flow of a dance floor more than constant interruptions. Work with your wedding DJ to establish a timeline that takes care of the traditional wedding events early in the reception and allows you to open the dance floor.

End It On The Right Note. Ending your reception on a high note gives your guests a final, lasting impression. Whether a special slow song for the romantics, or a sing-a-long for friends, give some consideration to your last song of the evening.