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There’s a whole lot of stuff to take into account when planning your wedding, ranging from the right catering options to the reception, to the perfect dress for you and your bridesmaids, and the decision about who will be photographer in chief for the event, with the job of immortalising one of the happiest and most meaningful days of your life for posterity.
But for all of that “big” stuff, there’s a host of relatively minor considerations that will have a seriously disproportionate impact on the day itself, the degree to which you and your guests enjoy it, and the way you remember it in the years to come.
One such “little thing” is the choice of music you use for your wedding reception. Whether you plan to hire a live band from AliveNetwork.com, or whether you plan to go with a DJ service, the kinds of tunes that get played can all but make or break the celebrations.
Well, maybe that’s a bit much, but the music really is important.
Here are a few reasons why your wedding music is a big deal and why you should invest some serious time and attention in getting it up to scratch.
Songs act as triggers for emotion and memory
Songs aren’t just things that people casually listen to for a bit of fun, they are in fact powerful triggers for emotion and memory, and we anchor many of our most powerful or poignant life experiences to the music we were listening to at the time — even if only in a general sense, such as that we heard a particular song on the day of a particular event.
Think about it for a moment, and you’re sure to realise that there are at least a few songs from your childhood or adolescence that just come saturated with memories. Maybe when you listen to a particular summer hit from back in the day, you remember your first kiss, or maybe an edgy rock track brings you back to rebel days spent chasing the adrenaline rush to end all adrenaline rushes.
Whatever the case may be, songs act as powerful triggers for emotions and our memories. For this reason it’s very important to choose music for your wedding playlist that puts you in the right mood and gets you feeling as good as you possibly can, and also to choose music which either has good memories associated with it already, or which you’re mentally primed to form good memories in relation to.
Music is the fuel for dancing and partying
You could just about argue that food and alcohol are the fuel for dancing and partying, but when was the last time you saw a room full of well-fed, intoxicated people, dancing to their heart’s content with no music whatsoever?
People will dance sober, and even hungry, once they’ve loosened up a bit, but very few people will dance without music.
Music is the true fuel for the party. It’s the thing that allows everyone to forget themselves for a moment, to latch onto the rhythm of the song, and to move their bodies in ways that feel good.
Choosing the right kind of soundtrack for your wedding reception isn’t just key to ensuring that you, personally, have a good time, but also that your guests are able to get in the zone, and that the party is given all the “fuel” it needs to really kick off and become a joyous and memorable event for all involved.
Music can be a great tool for promoting audience participation
The best wedding receptions tend to be those when not only is everyone dancing, eating, drinking and having fun, but where everyone is actively getting to know each other, breaking out of their comfort zones, playing games, and having a more interactive and group-friendly experience overall.
It may be worth your while to hire professional performers and to arrange party games for the sake of getting everyone involved in shared activities. A caricaturist can do a great job of making people laugh and blush in equal measure, and depending on the theme you’d like to base your party around — if any — it might even be appropriate to run a raffle or a pub-style quiz.
Whatever game or event you plan to have going at your wedding reception, including the right soundtrack can be an excellent way of encouraging people to get involved.
Music, of course, tends to set a particular mood — as just discussed above. So when it’s time for an energetic group game, let there be some energetic music. Or why not have a karaoke competition at some point in the night, focused around musical classics that everyone is likely to know?
When it’s time for you and your significant other to have your first dance as a married couple, the time is right for a slower, more emotional track.
Use music as a tool to boost audience participation.
Familiar songs make everyone feel more comfortable and engaged
If you choose music for your wedding reception which most people are likely to know at least some of, you give your guests the best possible chance of feeling comfortable and engaged with the festivities, rather than hanging back on the wall like nervous high school kids, wondering what’s going on, and struggling to get into the vibe of things.
Your guests will always contribute significantly to the way your party turns out, so it’s best to make sure that they’re put in the right frame of mind for a fun, lively party, rather than being left scratching their heads and wondering what’s going on as you hit them with obscure niche artist after obscure niche artist.
By all means, it’s your wedding, so fit in a couple of those more off-the-wall tracks that you really enjoy, but remember to be a good host as well and to give everyone else something relatable to enjoy, too.
Try to focus on party and dance-friendly tracks that most people will know, rather than exploring all the weirdest and most niche corners of your encyclopedic and avant-garde music taste.