Our wedding reception music

Our wedding reception music


A friend of my sister-in-law dropped me an email the other day. She’s getting married and wanted some advice. She knows that Melanie and I eschewed the traditional DJ for our reception and instead went with a series of playlists on my iPod hooked up to a speaker system.

Yes, horrifying and terribly gauche, I know, but we were trying to be economical and neither us liked the idea of a disc jockey imposing his personality on our reception. It went mostly well, after we decided not to use the expensive performance monitors I borrowed from a friend and just ran it through the hall’s stereo system. (Unfortunately the expensive speaker system made horrible feedback and we couldn’t figure out why.)

So my s-i-l’s friend said she didn’t think her fiancé’s taste in music was right for a reception and, based on what she’d heard, thought mine might be a better fit. I’m flattered, of course, and so I told her I’d share the playlist from our wedding reception. I should mention that these songs come from both me and Melanie. Can you guess which music comes from each of us?

There are three playlists: Before and during dinner; after dinner; and other. Dinner and mingling music has a distinctly different flavor from dancing music and I wanted the dinner music to start quiet and light and build up throughout the meal to something more festive in preparation for the energetic party music. Keep in mind, however, that our idea of party music is not just dance music. Neither of us have ever been much into clubbing and dancing, so our taste there could be considered … eclectic. The “other” playlist are songs that I wanted to have available to toss in here and there. Some are fun, some have special meaning.

The Lists, after the jump:

Before and During Dinner:

  • At Last (Single), Etta James
  • The Wedding Song, Kenny G
  • It Happened in Monterey, Frank Sinatra
  • La Vie en Rose (Single Version), Louis Armstrong
  • Some Enchanted Evening, Frank Sinatra
  • Come Dance With Me, Frank Sinatra
  • Innamorata (Sweetheart), Dean Martin
  • All the Way, Frank Sinatra
  • Return to Me (Ritona-Me), Dean Martin
  • Unforgettable, Nat "King" Cole
  • Volare (Nel Blu, Di Pinto Di Blu), Dean Martin
  • You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You, Dean Martin
  • Ain't That a Kick in the Head, Dean Martin
  • That's Amore, Dean Martin
  • Mambo, Italiano, Dean Martin
  • Too Marvelous For Words, Frank Sinatra
  • (Love Is) The Tender Trap, Frank Sinatra
  • The Best Is Yet To Come, Frank Sinatra,
  • I Get A Kick Out Of You, Frank Sinatra,
  • On The Sunny Side Of The Street, Louis Armstrong,
  • A Kiss to Build a Dream On (Single), Louis Armstrong
  • All I Want is You, U2
  • Buona Sera, Louis Prima
  • Memories Of You, Benny Goodman,
  • Rhapsody In Blue, Glenn Miller

After Dinner:

  • Somewhere Over The Rainbow / What A Wonderful World, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
  • Walking on Sunshine, Katrina & the Waves
  • Me and Julio Down By the School Yard, Paul Simon
  • Should've Been a Cowboy, Toby Keith
  • You Are My Number One (Radio Mix No. 2/Album Version), Smash Mouth & Ranking Roger
  • Stuck in the Middle with You, Stealers Wheel
  • Beyond The Sea, Royal Crown Revue
  • Haunted, The Popes
  • More Today Than Yesterday, Compilations
  • Nineteen Somethin', Mark Wills
  • It's Five O'Clock Somewhere, Alan Jackson & Jimmy Buffett
  • This Love, Maroon 5
  • Get the Picture? (Non-LP Version), Smash Mouth
  • Accidentally In Love, Counting Crows
  • Funkytown (Single Version), Lipps, Inc.
  • Holla!, Baha Men
  • Summer Sunshine (Fernando Garibay Remix), The Corrs
  • Rigoletto: "La Donna È Mobile", Aldo Sisilli, Brian May, Luciano Pavarotti, Lucio Dalla, Orchestra da Camera Arcangelo Corelli, Sting & Zucchero
  • Get Me to the Church On Time, The Brian Setzer Orchestra
  • Excursion Around the Bay, Great Big Sea
  • Voyage au Mariage (My True Love), Beausoleil
  • Mari-Mac, Great Big Sea
  • Love Train, The O'Jays
  • Sunday Morning, Maroon 5
  • You Can Call Me Al, Paul Simon
  • Follow Me Up To Carlow, Young Dubliners
  • Great Balls Of Fire, Jerry Lee Lewis
  • I'm A Believer (Reprise), Eddie Murphy
  • Sweetest Thing (The Single Mix), U2
  • Kiss Me, Sixpence None The Richer
  • Anniversary, The Pogues
  • Fortune Set, Great Big Sea
  • Soak Up The Sun (Radio Edit), Sheryl Crow
  • A Man Is in Love, The Waterboys
  • You're The First, The Last, My Everything, Barry White
  • I Won't Dance, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
  • Sing, Sing, Sing, Benny Goodman
  • The Boogie Bumper, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
  • I Love You, Barenaked Ladies
  • Donkey Riding, Great Big Sea
  • Tubthumping, Chumbawamba
  • Istanbul (Not Constantinople), They Might Be Giants
  • The Obvious Child, Paul Simon
  • Parlez-Nous à Boire (Let's Talk About Drinking), Beausoleil
  • Steal My Kisses, Ben Harper
  • Sunshine On Leith, The Proclaimers
  • All I Want is You, U2
  • I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), The Proclaimers
  • Then I Met You, The Proclaimers
  • How Long Will I love you, The Waterboys
  • Let's Get Married, The Proclaimers
  • Did You Ever Look So Nice, The Samples
  • The River, Garth Brooks
  • The Last Dance, Frank Sinatra
  • The Parting Glass, The Clancy Brothers
  • Texas Medley: The Yellow Rose of Texas / Deep In the Heart of Texas, Kate Smith
  • Don't Fence Me In, Ella Fitzgerald
  • When The Saints Go Marching In, Louis Armstrong
  • We Are Family, Sister Sledge
  • Main Title Theme, Artie Kane
  • Sharp Dressed Man, ZZ Top
  • Peter Gunn Theme, Compilations
  • Arisha, Kips Bay
  • Bodhran, Young Dubliners

Other Songs (unique or special purpose):

  • Texas Medley: The Yellow Rose of Texas / Deep In the Heart of Texas, Kate Smith
  • Don't Fence Me In, Ella Fitzgerald
  • When The Saints Go Marching In, Louis Armstrong
  • We Are Family, Sister Sledge
  • Main Title Theme, "Mission Impossible", Artie Kane
  • Sharp Dressed Man, ZZ Top
  • Peter Gunn Theme, Compilations
  • Arisha, Kips Bay
  • Bodhran, Young Dubliners

Image Credit

  • weddingdance.jpg: Own photo
  • These songs are all great, and if I wanted to be an Italianist, I’d opine that all Dino, Prima and Ol’ Blue Eyes tunes were yours, but I won’t.

    What I do want to say is congrats to the one who picked the Ella version of “Don’t Fence Me In.”

    I’m betting it was Melanie.

    Kelly <——-no relation to “Wild Cat” wink

  • I’d add that one of the great unforeseen perks of this is that we still have the play lists on the computer and can listen to them whenever we want. Some evenings when I’m cooking dinner I’ll put them on and have a party in the kitchen. We dance with the girls and remember our wedding day.

    Somewhere Over The Rainbow / What A Wonderful World by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole was supposed to be our first dance but for some reason it didn’t play so we actually danced to A Kiss to Build a Dream On by Louis Armstrong. I think it might have been the first song we danced to together before the wedding.

  • Oh and we didn’t really get through all the playlists. What actually happened was that once the dancing started, several of my friends played dj, skipping past the songs they thought were too slow (including some of my favorites!). But at least every song that was played was one that we’d chosen.

  • I think this list has to be the most beautiful, perfect list of songs I’ve ever seen for a wedding.    You two did a wonderful job – just the right mix of fun and romantic.  I’m pretty sure if we had gotten married during the age of mp3’s we’d have foregone the DJ as well.  We did have a DJ, but we’d given him strict instructions not to talk.  Seriously.    He did a good job of it too and our niece ended up using him for exactly that reason (well, that and his cheap price) a couple of years later. 
    At our wedding we had 22 nieces and nephews under 12 (and another dozen or so older than that) and the kids definitely set the mood.  And it was far from a romantic one, since minor children were about a third of our guests.  So every time I hear the Unicorn, the Hokey Pokey, the Electric Slide or any other song on one of Drew’s Famous kids’ party CDs I’m reminded of our wedding.  smile

  • Kelly,

    You’re right on. All the Dino, Prima and Ol’ Blue Eyes tunes were Dom’s. But he’s won me over. I find myself singing “When the moon hits your eye…” to the girls all the time—Sophia laughs and laughs, it’s a sure way to get her to stop fussing while I’‘m getting dressed and making the bed, Bella chimes in on the chorus with, “That’s Amore,” which in my humble opinion is the cutest thing ever. I also sing Volare but change the words, “Sophia, oh oh, My ‘Fia, oh oh oh oh….”

    I am a huge Ella fan, but I think the Don’t Fence me in was Dom’s as well.

  • “That’s Amore,” which in my humble opinion is the cutest thing ever.

    In one of my earliest puzzles published by the New York Times, I used the following theme:



    Always loved that song!