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The Essential Guide To The Best Charleston Wedding Playlist

30 December 2017

Today's post gets into the meat of creating the perfect wedding reception playlist for your upcoming Charleston wedding reception. It's a step-by-step approach and advice from a DJ himself. You are about to task your DJ with a pretty lofty goal; keeping your dance floor nice and full all night long. What makes this goal rather lofty is the fact that this DJ has not met any of your guests, so they don't know their likes and dislikes. It also is a lofty goal because no two weddings are the same. Each wedding has a wide variety of people of all ages, musical tastes, and etc. As a result, the playlist that gets created must incorporate a wider variety of dance-able and "familiar" music that spans multiples generations and satisfies multiple ages. For instance, if today I DJ a wedding and the bride is for instance, 25 years old, and her mom and dad are 50, it's a pretty safe bet that throwing some 80s classics are going to get them out on the dance floor. And, if her grandparents are also there, and they are 70, the DJ should be able to find some music so that they can also get a few dances in as well. These are all things that a professional wedding DJ needs to take into consideration. For me personally, the playlist should be mixed so that all guests get a chance to be dancing on the dance floor. If you are ready to begin planning your wedding reception dance music, then you are already halfway done if you have hired the right Charleston wedding DJ.

Tried And True Hits At Your Charleston Wedding
I know what you are about to say. Well, I just read your blog and you have been showcasing all these different types of cocktail hour wedding playlists that feature Indie, Jazz, and Alternative music etc., so why is it not a good idea to make my whole wedding about those genres of music." Well the answer to that question is quite simple. Your guests are not really there to enjoy your time growing up in the 90s when you went through your grunge phase and listened to Nirvana all the time.  This is why you can create a special themed cocktail hour for that if you like. Your guests have travelled (in some cases) from all over the country to see you on the happiest day of your life and they want to have the most fun possible. So, in order to do that, it's best to throw on some of the best tried and true hits that you've heard at other weddings, but just don't cheesy, but keep it classy and fun. Here are some of the tried and true classics that are able to get your guests moving onto the dance floor.
"Billie Jean" | Michael Jackson
"Yeah" | Usher Featuring Ludacris & Lil' Jon
"Hey Ya" | Outkast
"September" | Earth, Wind & Fire
"Brown Eyed Girl" | Van Morrison
"Uptown Funk" | Bruno Marrs
"Shut Up And Dance" | Walk The Moon
"Can't Stop The Feeling" | Justin Timberlake
"Despacito" | Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee / Justin Bieber

Keep It UpBeat With A Few Slow Songs Sprinkled In
In recent months and years, the best Charleston wedding playlists are comprised of an excellent mix of upbeat songs and slow dance songs. These slow ballads or jams can offer a bit of a break and a time to cool off, so they are good to add in at maybe every 10-12 songs. Often times you'll have guests at your wedding reception who might only be interested in dancing to a slower tempo song with their significant other and these types of songs might be the only way to get them out on the dance floor. You should add in some slow songs, but not too many.

Consider Throwing In The Best Current Songs On The Radio
Check out to see what songs are in the Top 5 on the Top 40 and Urban charts, and if they sound like they'd be good dance songs, throw those into your playlist too.  Mixing in some of the current music is an excellent way to keep the music at your Charleston wedding really balanced. See below for the current Top 5 at the time of this blog post (December 30, 2017)
TOP 40 Charts
1. "Havana" | Camila Cabello
2. "Perfect" | Ed Sheeran
3. "Bad At Love" | Halsey
4. "Thunder" | Imagine Dragons
5. "Rockstar" | Post Malone
Urban Charts
1. "Love" | Kendrick Lamar
2. "No Limit" | G-Eazy
3. "Motorsport" | Migos
4. "Tone It Down" | Gucci Mane
5. "Pills & Automobiles" | Chris Brown

The standard wedding reception length at most Charleston weddings is generally about 4 hours. This includes any cocktail hours as well.  Listed down below are samples of how your hours can be set up. As I stated up above, it's best to keep the tempo moving, but sprinkle in some slower ballads too. 
Hour 1
"I Wanna Dance With Somebody" (Who Loves Me) | Whitney Houston
"No Diggity" | Blackstreet
"Love Shack" | The B-52s
"Get Down Tonight" | KC & The Sunshine Band
"Brickhouse" | The Commodores
"Sexy And I Know It" | LMFAO
"Footloose" | Kenny Loggins
"Get Lucky" | Daft Punk 
"Jessie's Girl" | Rick Springfield
"Thriller" | Michael Jackson
"Sugar" | Maroon 5
"Pour Some Sugar On Me" | Def Leppard
Hour 2
"Blurred Lines" | robin Thicke / TI / Pharrell Williams
"Gettin Jiggy With It" | Will Smith
"Party In The USA" | Miley Cyrus
"U Can't Touch This" | MC Hammer
"Ignition" (Remix) | R Kelly
"Just Dance" | Lady Gaga
"Shape Of You" | Ed Sheeran
"Fancy" | Iggy Azalea & Charli XCX
"Drop It Like It's Hot" | Snoop Dog
"Shout" | The Isley Brothers
Hour 3 
"Baby One More Time' | Britney Spears
"Dancing Queen" | ABBA
"Everybody" (Backstreet's Back) | The Backstreet Boys
"Forget You" | Cee Lo Green
"Respect" | Aretha Franklin
"Club Can't Handle Me" | Flo Rida Featuring David Guetta
"Boom Boom Pow" | Black Eyed Peas
"Locked Out Of Heaven" | Bruno Marrs
"Livin On A Prayer" | Bon Jovi
Hour 4
"Sexyback" | Justin Timberlake
"Oops I Did It Again" | Britney Spears
"DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love" | Usher & pitbull
"SOS" | Rihanna
"Like A G6" | Far East Movement
"Teach Me How To dougie" | Cal Swag District
"Trap Queen" | Fetty Wap
"Cake By The Ocean" | DNCE
"All About That Bass" | Meghan Trainor
Just In Case Folks Don't Respond
The above layout of the hours are just an example of how your dance party might go at your Charleston wedding. These playlist samples don't include cocktail and dinner music selections, just dancing.  If you've spent anytime on my website, you know that I have blogged a lot about leaving the line dances off your playlist and keeping things more classy and less cheesy. You can get through a wedding without going down the line dance route, but in the event you want to get everyone on the dance floor when maybe some folks aren't responding. Here's a couple more songs that folks tend to respond to as well:
1. "Sweet Caroline" | Neil Diamond
2. "I Want It That Way" | Backstreet Boys

This blog post should get you started in the right direction of creating the best playlist for your wedding. There are numerous other websites online, as well as The Knot and Weddingwire that can also provide helpful tips in making sure you pick the best songs that offer the best chance for a full dance floor. But you should have a great rapport with the wedding DJ you choose and have an excellent line of communication and be comfortable to talk to them and tell them what you need.  Thank you for finding this blog. We're almost in 2018 and if you are just recently engaged, congratulations! I love talking to newly engaged brides and grooms about the music for their weddings and I would love to talk to you. Click HERE to tell me a little about your big day.