How to Crowdsource a Reception Playlist from Your Wedding Guests

Wedding guests on a reception dance floor with blurry lights above.

A reception is the after party for a wedding ceremony, providing a fun atmosphere for people to kick back, enjoy themselves, dance, and celebrate love. And when it comes to planning logistics for the reception, there’s no shortage of work to go around.

In addition to planning the timing, food, decor, and seating, you’ve also got to make sure that the music for the reception is on point. You will typically provide a list of songs for your DJ or band in advance (as well as a list of any songs you don’t want). They will certainly have recommendations to provide, but will be looking to you to make sure that the list of songs is to your liking.

You may already have some songs in mind for the big moments in your reception like your grand entrance as newlyweds, your first dance, the bouquet toss, the cake-cutting, and so on. But what about “filler” music—the songs for the in-between moments, when you want your guests to get up and rock the dance floor? This can be a roadblock for many couples. How can you build a song list for your DJ or band that is fun and upbeat, yet meaningful for this special party?

Here’s an easy way to lighten the workload on you and your soon-to-be spouse: get your wedding guests involved with planning the wedding reception music!

By soliciting song requests in advance of the reception, you can build a wish list for your band or DJ and make sure that you’re including people’s favorite songs—songs that will get them up and dancing. Just imagine your guests’ delight when they hear their requested selection playing!

Use Your Save-the-Dates or Wedding Website

A couple dancing at a wedding reception.

When you send your wedding invitations or save-the-date cards, add a section on the RSVP card for guests to request a song. If you have a wedding website that has an RSVP functionality or some type of similar form, you can also have people submit song requests that way as well.

If you want to add more pointed instructions, you could even say something like “Please request your favorite love song,” “Please request a song that reminds you of [insert you and your partner’s names],” or “What is your favorite song to dance to?”

If your wedding or reception has a specific theme or if there is a genre you want to stick to, note that. If you’re having a Christmas-themed wedding, you might ask guests to list their favorite holiday songs. If you’re having a barn wedding and are going for a country chic vibe, you might ask guests to stick to folk and country songs.

Whether you want to narrow it down to a specific theme or you want to give your guests the freedom to choose from any genre, collecting song requests before the big day has several benefits.

What Are the Benefits to Taking Songs in Advance?

A woman dancing at a wedding reception.

Aside from the clear benefit of saving you some time in building out a song list, using this approach ensures that guests hear songs that they like. It also will provide some cool diversity in your list of songs. Because everyone has different tastes, you’re likely to get a wide variety of requests, from ABBA to Usher.

Your DJ or band will certainly appreciate the advance notice as well. Not all wedding musicians are open to taking song requests on the fly, so this will give them some time to prepare before the performance and will lessen the number of people approaching the sound booth or stage during the reception to shout out their song requests.

Here’s a Couple Things to Remember

If your wedding reception is intended to be a family-friendly affair—i.e., if you expect that young children will be present—you may want to remind your guests of that on the RSVP card. After all, there are plenty of crowd-pleasing songs that are great for a party, but not so much so for little ears.

Finally, remember that you and your partner have the right of first refusal. As you review the RSVP cards and song requests that are sent back to you, if you see a song request that you don’t like, just toss it. It’s your big day, and you should thoroughly enjoy the music that your DJ or band plays!

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