The perfect reception playlist

Sure, you could leave the wedding reception playlist up to the DJ, but helping handpick the songs makes it a little more personal and a lot more fun.

Here are our top tips for choosing a wedding reception playlist… and 40 great tunes to include.

Songs That Are Special

Select songs that remind you (the bride or groom) about your spouse and your relationship. Perhaps you remember what was crooning during your first kiss, first dance, or a memorable moment, such as a vacation or at a baseball game. They don’t have to be romantic and filled with heartfelt words; instead, it might be a great performance by the Black Eyed Peas when you hit their concert years ago.

Songs That Are Romantic

Given it’s a wedding, romantic songs are key–even if there are just a few of them. Choose a few classic favourites to appeal to the older crowd (or those who just love a good voice). Think Frank Sinatra and other Rat Pack tunes. Sift through some recent loves, too, for a well-rounded list of romance that is sure to be loved from every angle.

Songs That Are Fun

You’re at a wedding and the last thing you want is your wedding guests just sitting around. But you don’t have to play YMCA to get everyone involved! Select loads of upbeat songs, mixing old favourites with current pop tunes so your great grandma, your two year old nephew, the handful of teenagers, and everyone in between will be dancing around.

Songs That Are Timeless

Think about who you are inviting, and choose some songs dedicated to them. If your dad loves the Beach Boys, add a few of those to the mix. If your mom digs Phil Collins, through those in, too. Have some unruly pre-teen cousins? Add some Ke$ha, too. And some young ones? A couple Wiggles tunes won’t hurt.

Mix and Match

Once you have them all selected, mix and match them to make the perfect flow, with a great balance of new and old to appeal to everyone.

It might take some extra time to make a killer wedding soundtrack, but you’ll be glad you did — and, if you nix the DJ and run it all yourself, your wallet will agree.

Once you’ve picked your favourites, here are our top 40 must-haves for every reception.

1. I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing – Aerosmith
2. (Everything I Do) I Do it for You – Bryan Adams
3. Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton
4. Because You Loved Me – Celine Dion
5. Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis Presley
6. Unchained Melodies – Righteous Brothers
7. I Honestly Love You – Olivia Newton John
8. These Arms of Mine – Otis Redding
9. Sometimes When We Touch – Dan Hill
10. Breathe – Faith Hill
11. Your Song – Elton John
12. Home – Michael Buble
13. This Year’s Love – David Gray
14. Amazed – Lonestar
15. Just the Way You Are – Billy Joel
16. Whatever It Is – Zac Brown Band
17. I Hope You Dance – Lee Anne Womack
18. Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
19. You Are So Beautiful – Joe Cocker
20. When You Say Nothing At All – Alison Krauss
21. Beat It – Michael Jackson
22. Hey Baby – Bruce Channel
23. I Got A Feeling – Black Eyed Peas
24. Friday, I’m in Love – The Cure
25. Marry You – Bruno Mars
26. Love Shack – B-52’s
27. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
28. Celebration – Kool and the Gang
29. Oh, What A Feeling – Crowbar
30. Kiss – Prince
31. Start Me Up – Rolling Stones
32. Billy Jean – Michael Jackson
33. Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours) – Stevie Wonder
34. Hound Dog – Elvis Presley
35. I Saw Her Standing There – The Beatles
36. Dancing in the Dark – Bruce Springsteen
37. I Feel Good – James Brown
38. Bad Case of Loving You – Robert Palmer
39. You Can Dance – Michael Buble
40. Johnnie B. Goode – Chuck Berry

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