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How To Plan The Perfect Cocktail Hour Music For Your Charleston Wedding

26 October 2018

Part of creating the best and most memorable soundtrack for your Charleston wedding and all the guests you are inviting is making sure that all the parts of your big day are well-thought out and organized. From your wedding ceremony (if you should hire a DJ for this) to your wedding reception, I always tell my couples that since it's "their" day, and that they should make the music about "them". Your cocktail hour is an integral part of your wedding day and the right music for that time is a huge part of setting the vibe for the rest of your wedding day. While I let my clients know that this portion of their day has numerous options in terms of musical genre and feels, the vibe for a cocktail hour should be "feel-good" and relaxed, pleasant and smooth. After getting the big business done (your wedding ceremony) to make you a Mr & Mrs), your cocktail hour music should promote a chill vibe that allows you and your guests to relax and socialize with one another at some of the most beautiful wedding venues in Charleston.

Booking me as your Charleston Wedding DJ ensures you'll be hiring a DJ who is extremely passionate about music. After all, DJs are generally very rounded when it comes to music and their professional experiences allow them to create the perfect vibe for any wedding, party, corporate, or private event.   For the purpose of this post, I've collected some of my cocktail hour playlist ideas at Charleston weddings and put them in one post for you.  I still have numerous ideas planned for future posts.   If you have another even more diverse idea for your cocktail hour music, please feel free to let me know when we get together and discuss the music for your wedding. I am always very open to a couple's ideas and seeing their musical vision come to fruition.  Feel free to get lost in my musical and DJ world.


Ultimate 80s Cocktail Hour Charleston

The Ultimate 80s Cocktail Hour:  I don't believe I've ever DJ'ed a wedding here in Charleston without playing 80s music. As a product of an 80s lifestyle and upbringing,  the music from this decade is one of my specialties. The idea of your cocktail hour being filled with fun and upbeat songs from the 80s is the perfect way for you and your guests to  unwind and get ready for a really fun night of dancing. Earlier this spring, I did an 80s cocktail hour for one of my clients and noticed the music selections were just upbeat enough for people to loosen up a little over some of their favorite adult beverages.

Brat Pack Cocktail Hour Weddings

The Brat Pack Cocktail Hour: This particular cocktail hour theme is an extension of the Ultimate 80s Cocktail Hour, but tends to focus on those "coming of age" films that we all saw as we were growing (even if we didn't grow up in the 80s). Most of these movies had one thing in common; They were all directed by the late, great John Hughes. And if you must ask, I did have a major crush on Molly Ringwald. :)

The 90s Alternative Cocktail hour

90s Alternative Cocktail Hour: You know I'll still never forget that when I was a senior in high school and I turned on MTV that Fall and saw "Smells Like Teen Spirit" for the first time.  There was something about that video that told me a musical revolution was about ready to go mainstream. A revolution and movement that would sideline most of the 80s rock bands, and even remove Michael Jackson from the top of the Billboard charts. As we moved into 1992, things would never be the same and you can celebrate that time with this cocktail hour playlist.

The Reggae Cocktail Charleston Wedding Cocktail Hour

The Reggae Cocktail Hour:  Reggae music and it's vibe is probably one of the best ways to create a chill and laid back vibe at your Charleston wedding.   It's one of the most common genres of music that brides and grooms select for their cocktail hour. It's especially perfect if your wedding happens to be at a venue at or near the water.

The 80s Alternative Music Cocktail Hour

80s Alternative Cocktail Hour:  I know what you are saying! Mike is OBSESSED with 80s music. You would be correct :) The 80s had so many sub-genres of music. From bands like REM and The Smith, to Love & Rockets and the Psychadelic Furrs, you'll find this particular cocktail hour playlist to have a sound all it's own. 

70s Soft Rock Cocktail Hour Playlist Selections

70s Soft Rock Cocktail Hour:  Some people think that soft rock of the 70s was sleepy, and while the song selected for this cocktail hour are slower, they are selections that are familiar and very laid back. Perhaps I should change the name of this cocktail hour playlist to "Easy Listening 70s". From Elton John to Dobie Grey and the Commodores, this playlist is sure to excite those guests who long for the days of bell bottoms, lava lamps, and pet rocks.

The Feel Funky Cocktail Hour For Your Charleston Wedding

Feel Funky Cocktail Hour:  I'd have to say that funk music is probably up there with reggae in terms of getting you and your guests to loosen up during your cocktail hour. Funk music is the perfect choice for your cocktail hour playlist to get your guests in the mood for a long night of dancing. 

Southern rock Cocktail Hour Playlist

The Southern Rock Cocktail Hour: Weddings in the south sometimes demand the sounds of southern rock bands. Southern rock has it's roots back to the 1970s with bands like the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skyrnd, and continued into the 80s with 38 Special, and into the 90s with bands like the Black Crowes. 

Modern Indie Cocktail Hour Music Playlist

Modern Indie Cocktail Hour: Indie Music has grown in popularity over the past 10 years, and I like to say it's what "alternative" was back in the 90s.  This particular cocktail hour playlist touches upon the past 6 years and features artists like Vance Joy, Phantogram,  The Lumineers, and the Alabama Shakes.

The Yacht Rock Cocktail Hour Playlist

The Yacht Rock Cocktail Hour:  The perfect cocktail hour playlist for those who enjoy those easy listening songs from the late 70s and all the way into the mid 80s from the Doobie Brothers, Kenny Loggins, Toto, Steely Dan and so much more.

Be Sure To Take Back Your Cocktail Hour.
In the coming days, I will be adding even more of my favorite cocktail hour playlists ideas to this post, so be sure to bookmark this post when you are in the first stages of thinking about what songs you'd like to hear during this time. I know it sounds strange, but I've seen so many brides and grooms actually miss their cocktail hour all together. There are so many times I see brides and grooms walk away with their photographer and miss all those great songs they chose for their cocktail hour. When you sit down with your Charleston wedding planner for the first time, let him or her know what your vision is for your wedding day. If you have envisioned having your wedding ceremony and then kicking back with your friends and family, then let your planner know that you'd like to be there to enjoy it.  If my couples have put on their playlist, songs that they really want to hear, I don't want to play those songs unless they are nearby and can hear them.  

Want To Meet With One Of Charleston's Best Wedding DJs?
We're approaching November now and another fall wedding season here in Charleston is in full gear. Soon, we'll be beginning another engagement season and I'll be having lots of brides and grooms begin to hit me up for their weddings in 2019 and 2020. If you are interested in getting first dibs at prime wedding dates in 2019, it's better to book your wedding DJ, rather than later.  One of my favorite things to do is to sit down with newly engaged couples and talk about their favorite music. Click HERE to tell me a little more about your big day and we'll schedule a time to connect soon.