There are many moving parts to a wedding and almost all of them require a song to go along with them. I don’t think that all of the music should necessarily be indie, but through my experience DJing many weddings, I have built up a bit of an arsenal of indie music for most parts of a wedding. Below you will find my thoughts on each part and a link to the list of songs that I love for that part of your wedding. I’d love it if you’d email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback.
How to Find the best DJ in your area for your music tastes
It can be frustrating trying to find excellent wedding vendors. There are so many wedding vendors out there and most of them claim the same thing:
– “We provide a personalized service”
– “We’ve worked with 100s of couples”
– “We’re wedding professionals!!!”
To find the best of the best, you can always ask for recommendations from friends that have recently been married. I think that this will likely lead you to great vendors however this isn’t foolproof though because:
1. Sometimes the style of a good vendor doesn’t match with the style that your looking for.
2. Companies have many employees and sometimes there is a varying degree of excellentness in the company.
To put this in perspective, one of my good friends hired a DJ based on a friend’s recommendation (I was a groomsman so he didn’t want me to have to DJ). The DJ was not the same guy who had played at his friend’s wedding and did not play most of the requests that my friend had made before the wedding and didn’t have the song for his mother son dance that he had asked for. Needless to say, my friend was pretty disappointed.
With that said, I think the most foolproof way to figure out if a vendor is great is to check out their online reviews. Here are the two best sites to find wedding vendor reviews:
Now keep in mind that one bad review doesn’t mean that the vendor is bad but, 10 excellent reviews means that the vendor will definitely try to make your wedding awesome.
Once you find some vendors with excellent ratings, check out their websites to make sure that they match your style. Contact your 3 favourite DJs and ask them for a quote.
How to know if you will be treated like royalty or dirt (before you sign a contract)
Once you’ve contacted your 3 favourite vendors, you should be able to get an idea from their responses as to the kind of service that you can expect. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- How quickly did each DJ respond to my inquiry?
- What was the tone of the response (helpful, personal, thoughtful, professional, etc.)?
- How much is their price (the least expensive isn’t necessarily the best)?
- What do past clients say about their service (is it just that they were good or satisfied, or do they have large testimonials where past clients talk about how the DJ made the night)?
You should be able to cut our at least one of the companies after going through this. Once you are down to 2, you can continue the conversation (via email, phone or an in person meeting) and see who seems to have the best personality for you.
*note – sometimes it is going to be difficult to find the perfect DJ. In cases where you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, it’s important to look for a company who will listen to your needs (even if they don’t necessarily specialize in what you want). Make sure there aren’t any red flags in reviews or that they aren’t promising you the world (because they likely won’t be able to deliver).
How to pick songs that you (and your guests) will love
It is very difficult to pick songs for weddings (if you don’t want Top 40 all night long). Your guests will likely have a huge variety in music tastes, but there are songs that will get your guests dancing (that aren’t super cheesy).
I always recommend to my clients to play music that they really like during the cocktail hour and dinner (because it isn’t as important to party). For my clients, that means that I include many indie and older rock songs that aren’t quite good for dancing.
You can find some of my favourite (non-indie) songs that you and your guests will love here: Amazing dancing songs.
Prelude (when guests are arriving before the ceremony)
I generally like instrumental music for the prelude. I think that something that has a lot of strings sounds great at this point.
Indie Prelude Music
I think that processional music should be soft and sweet and can have lyrics but traditionally it does not. The processional should always feel happy.
Processional Indie Music
Signing of the Registry / Unity Candle
The unity candle is not super popular with my couples (although some still do it), but everyone has to sign the registry. I think that a sweet love song with lyrics works great at this point in the ceremony. Keep in mind that a longer song (at least 4 min) is preferred as it will likely take this long to fill out the paperwork but not necessary.
Signing of the Registry / Unity Candle Indie Music
Congrats! You’re married. It’s time to celebrate with a loud and happy song. I personally like it when the songs have a bit of a build up at the begging to give your guests some clapping time but it isn’t necessary.
Indie Recessional Music
Cocktail Hour / Dinner
I feel that the cocktail hour and dinner music is usually pretty similar so I’ve lumped these two together. I personally like a little bit of jazz and slower soul to be incorporated into this time. Keep in mind that the cocktail hour and dinner help build the mood for dancing. I love the idea of incorporating slower indie songs into this time but too many of them might kill the mood for dancing. I always like to end my set of dinner music with some older medium speed love songs. It’s nostalgic and gets people in the mood for the floor.
Cocktail Hour / Dinner Music
Bridal Party Intro
Most of my customers don’t want to have a formal introduction at the beginning of the reception but for those of you that do, you obviously want this to be a fast paced, high energy song.
Indie Bridal Party Entrance Songs
I think that everyone should have a first dance at their wedding. If you don’t like being in the spotlight then you can ask your guests to join you for your first dance. I think that a first dance song should be one that you both really enjoy and is typically slower but could be medium speed as well.
Indie First Dance Songs
Father Daugther Dance
The father daughter dance is a tradition that many couples partake in but there are definitely those who want to get on with the party. These dances are sometime combined with the Mother Son song, which I think is a nice compromise if you’re trying to save time but think that your parents may be hurt if you skip this dance. Typically I wouldn’t suggest indie music for this as I think the song should be known by you and your dad (and most dads aren’t too into indie music) but I’ve come up with a few appropriate songs.
Indie Father Daughter Dance Songs
Mother Son Dance
The mother son dance is less popular than the father daughter dance however there are many couples that include this in their reception. Once again, I wouldn’t suggest indie music for this, as I think the song should be known by you and your mom, but I’ve come up with a few appropriate songs.
Indie Mother Son Dance Songs
In my opinion (as a DJ) this is the best part of the night. Most people have had a few drinks and are ready for some fun. One thing that I should note is that most people will not dance to songs that they are not familiar with. This is very important! It depends on the crowd at a wedding but I think keeping the indie music towards the end of the night is the best way to go. Your mom/aunt/cousin/work friend probably has no idea who LCD Soundsystem is. If it comes on too early in the night, the dance floor will empty.
I’ve actually put together two lists of indie music. The first is of songs that are at least familiar to people who aren’t into indie music. I suggest trying to stick to this list if you have a large proportion of guests that don’t love indie.
Familiar Indie Dance Tracks
The second is a list of awesome indie dance tracks that are a little more obscure (at least to those people who only love current pop). I would suggest only playing a few of these if most of your guests aren’t your friends.
More Obscure Indie Dance Tracks
My favourite popular and fun (but not overplayed) non-indie songs that you and your guests will love
You might think that some of these are on the overplayed side, but you’ll be sure to find a few songs that you AND your guests will love: Our favourite (non-cheesy) popular dancing songs
The full DO NOT PLAY list that you need to give to your DJ
Giving your DJ a strong DO NOT PLAY list is just as important as having an awesome must play list. Do you really want to here YMCA at your wedding? You can find some of my most DO NOT PLAYED songs/artists here: The Ultimate Do Not Play List.
The bouquet toss is fun although it does sometimes break up the party. I think 80% (at least) of all weddings these days use Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) for the toss but I’ve found a few other awesome indie suggestions that you won’t find anywhere else.
Indie Bouquet Toss Songs
The garter toss can be a fun part of the night but I don’t think that most indie guys have the personality to be fishing a garter from under his brides dress in front of all of his friends and family. However, if you do have a personality for this then I’ve put together some indie suggestions.
Indie Garter Toss Songs
Last Dance Song
It’s the end of the night. Make sure to end it on a high note. I think a slow song at the end of the night is lame. I always play the last slow song at least 20min before the end of the night. I then make sure that the guests leave on an extremely high note. Playing songs that people can sing along, stomp their feet or clap their hands usually is a great finale.
Indie Last Dance Songs
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