Cocktail Hour through Dinner

Cocktail hour at your wedding reception

After your wedding ceremony is complete guests will move into your reception venue and will mingle during cocktail hour.  During this time the bridal party and families will be with the photographer finishing up photos.  Your wedding DJ will play light background music for people to listen to at this time.  Cocktail hour music should be lively and upbeat to start setting the tone for the wedding reception.  You can click here to read some advice about picking your cocktail and dinner music.  Once photos are finished up and cocktail hour comes to an end, guest will typically be asked to find their seats for dinner and preparations will be made for the Grand Entrance. 


The Grand Entrance

Once you have finished taking photos it is time for you to make your entrance into your reception. This is when we let guests know that you are now joining the reception and available to mingle with them.  For the grand entrance we can introduce only the bride and groom, or we can introduce the entire wedding party and families.  If you would like to introduce your parents, usually we recommend that we just have them stand up and be recognized at their tables (as usually they are already in the reception hall socializing with guests).  For the grand entrance your DJ will ask all of the guests to be seated at their tables and then will start the introductions by introducing themselves, and then they will introduce your parents if you have opted to do so.  After the parents, your DJ will then proceed with the bridal party introductions.  

For the bridal party, music is usually played while the introductions are made. You can have your bridal party dance their way into the room if you so choose (or if they are feeling extra sassy).  We will introduce each couple with a small pause in between each.  The order usually mirrors that of your ceremony, but you can also shuffle the couples around if you like.  Your DJ will go over final name pronunciations of each couple during your last planning meeting so that he gets everyone's names correct.  The final couple is usually your Maid or Matron of Honor and Best Man, followed by the bride and groom.  You can have one song for the bridal party and one for the Bride and Groom, or you can simply use the same song for each. The goal is to pump up the room and get everyone excited, so we recommend up beat popular music that most guests will know.  Here is a list of some ideas for introduction songs:

Hall & Oates, “You Make My Dreams Come True”
Shalamar, “A Night To Remember”
Natalie Cole, “This Will Be”
Jagged Edge, ft. Run DMC, “Let’s Get Married (Remix)”
Kanye West, “Good Life”
Michael Jackson, “The Way You Make Me Feel”
K. Michelle, “V.S.O.P.”
The Darkness, “I Believe In a Thing Called Love“

Bruno Mars, "Uptown Funk"

T.I., "Bring'em Out"

Chris Brown, "Forever"

Walk the Moon, "Shut Up and Dance"

U2, Beautiful Day

Heavy D & The Boyz, "Now That We Found Love"

Rihanna, "We Found Love"

Survivor, "Eye of the Tiger"

Pink, "Raise Your Glass"

DJ Snake ft. Lil John, "Turn Down For What"

Avicii, "Levels"

Stevie Wonder, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered"

Beyonce, Crazy in Love

American Authors, "Best Day of My Life"

Welcome and Blessing

Generally following the grand entrance comes a brief welcome by the host, typically the father of the bride.  It is not uncommon today for the bride and groom to be considered the hosts as a lot of times the bride and groom are footing the bill for the wedding. The host, whoever that may be will generally thank everyone for attending, may give a small toast, and will generally invite everyone to begin eating.  If a blessing is being given that may be done by the host, or the host may call up the minister or wedding officiant to say grace.


Toasts can take place at any point during the evening. Most often they happen before dinner or once dinner has been served (once everyone is through the buffet or after all entrees have been delivered to the tables). Toasts generally include the Father of the Bride, Maid/Matron of Honor, and the Best Man.  We suggest limiting the number of toast makers to three or four people.  A recent trend in wedding planning is to have most of the toasts take place at the rehearsal dinner, and only having a couple of toasts at the wedding reception itself.

The Cake Cutting

The cake cutting is one of the most iconic moments of a wedding reception.  Most of the time it is announced and guests will gather around to watch the bride and groom cut the cake.  If you plan to save the top of your cake, you will cut a slice from the tier just below the top.  You will remove the piece of cake and then feed each other a bite.  Usually a song is played during this activity.  The cake cutting doesn't have to be announced and some brides and grooms who prefer to not be the center of attention will opt for it to not be. Should you decide that you want it announced you will need to pick a song to be played during the cake cutting.  The song can be whatever you like and most people pick a love song, usually a song with the words sweet, sugar, or candy in it.  You certainly don't have to pick a song that has those words in it. 

A moment like this, Kelly Clarkson All my life, K-ci & Jojo Baby I need your loving, Four Tops Better together, Jack Johnson Build me up buttecup, Foundations Can’t help falling in love, Elvis Presley Chapel of love, Dixie Cups  

Crash into me, Dave Matthews Band  

Crazy for you, Adele  

Cruising together, Smokey Robinson  

Cupid, Amy Winehouse

Cut the cake, Average White Band  

December 1963, Four Seasons Every little thing she does, Sting From this moment on, Shania Twain  

Good life, One Republic Happy together, The Turtles Hit me with your best shot, Pat Benatar How sweet it is, James Taylor How sweet it is, Michael Buble I can’t help myself (sugar pie honey bunch), Four Tops I swear, All 4 One It had to be you, Harry Connick Jr.  

Just one look, Doris Troy

L-O-V-E, Nat King Cole Love and marriage, Frank Sinatra  

Love story, Taylor Swift Lucky, Jason Mraz / Colbie Caillat Marry Me, Train Pour some sugar on me, Def Leppard  

Safe and sound, Capital Cities  

Say hey, Michael Franti and Spearhead

Sugar, sugar, Archies  

Sugar, Maroon 5 Sweetest thing, U2 When I’m 64, The Beatles You are the best thing, Ray Lamontagne You’re my best friend, Queen


The First Dance at Your Wedding Reception

Your first dance is going to be the first time you and your new husband/wife will grace the dance floor together.  We will work together to decide when exactly you will have your first dance.  Generally we recommend doing the first dance when your first arrive to the reception.  If we are doing a grand entrance we recommend we move into the first dance right after the entrance.  There is a common held belief, especially among older generations, that no one should dance until after the Bride and Groom have had their first dance.  The first dance traditionally opens the dance floor for the evening.  It is best to go ahead and have your first dance early, so that guests can feel free to dance at any point during the rest of the evening.    

Below find some ideas of songs to use for your first dance.  If you want to use 2 songs, one slow and one fast, we can splice/mix them up so you can start more formal, then have a little fun with it.  We will work this out in the planning process.  Also consider the songs length.  For short songs you may want to dance to the whole song while for longer songs you may want me to fade the song out early (5 minutes can be along time to be dancing while everyone is staring at you).  Remember this list is just to give you some ideas of the different styles of music you could choose from.  If you are working with a dance instructor to choreograph your first dance you may want to see if they have any suggestions of songs fitting the style of dance you might be trying to learn.  Our advice is to not stress over finding the perfect song.  Find the song that speaks to you and go with it!  

First Dance Song Ideas (Some traditional, some not)  

Thinking Out Loud, Ed Sheeran

A Thousand Years, Christina Perri

Then, Brad Paisley

I Won't Give Up, Jason Mraz

I Don't Dance, Lee Brice

You and Me, Lifehouse

Everything, Michael Buble

Love Me Tender, Elvis Presley

Tenerife Sea, Ed Sheeran 

At Last, Etta James 

Unforgettable, Nat King Cole 

Wonderful World, Louise Armstrong 

Come Rain or Come Shine, Ray Charles 

Make You Feel My Love, Adele 

Marry Me, Train The Very 

Thought Of You-Billie Holiday 

Forever, Ben Harper 

Lovin in my Baby's Eyes, Taj Mahal 

God Gave Me You, Blake Shelton 

Better Together, Jack Johnson 

On the Sunny Side of the Street, Various Artists/versions 

Into the Mystic, Van Morrison 

She's Mine, Brett Dennen 

Your Song, Elton John 

Cheek to Cheek, Fred Astaire 

Faithfully, Journey 

Grow Old with Me, John Lennon 

I'm Yours, Jason Mraz 

In Your Eyes, Peter Gabriel 

No One, Alicia Keys 

You're Still the One, Shania Twain 

You've Got a Friend, James Taylor

All of Me, John Legend

The Father Daughter Dance

The Father daughter dance is as old a tradition as weddings themselves.  This is a very emotional moment during the wedding reception and is symbolic of the father letting his little girl go to start her on life with her new husband.  This dance usually follows the first dance at the wedding reception.  There is no right or wrong song for this dance, and I recommend picking a song that may be sentimental to you and your father.  As with the other dances, you do not actually have to dance to the whole song.  We can cut the song short if you like.  Usually 2 minutes is the length of time that most of our clients choose to dance.  Below find some suggestions and songs commonly used for the father daughter dance.

I Loved Her First, Heartland

Butterfly Kisses, Bob Carlisle  

Unforgettable, Natalie Cole 

Carolina in My Mind, James Taylor

My Wish, Rascall Flatts

Father and Daughter,  Paul Simon

Stealing Cinderella, Chuck Wicks 

The Way You Look Tonight, Frank Sinatra 

You Are So Beautiful, Joe Cocker 

Over the Rainbow, Eve Cassidy 

Daughters, John Mayer Isn't She Lovely, Stevie Wonder 

She's Mine, Brett Dennen 

My little Girl,  Tim Mcgraw 

Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World, Isreal "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole 

Father and Daughter, Paul Simon 

Lullabye, Billy Joel 

My Girl, The Temptations 

In My Life, The Beatles Landslide, Fleetwood Mac 

You Got a Friend, James Taylor 

Into the Mystic, Van Morrison 

Always, Frank Sinatra 

How Sweet it is, Marvin Gaye 

You Can Call Me Al, Paul Simon 

Just the Way You Are, Bruno Mars 

Stand By Me, Ben E. King 

Surfer Girls, The Beach Boys

The Mother Son Dance

The Mother Son dance is a more recent wedding tradition and has been a wedding reception staple for the last 20 years.  It is not as common as the Father Daughter, but it is done more often than not.  This dance usually follows the father daughter dance at the wedding reception.  Again when choosing music for this song pick something that feels good to you and maybe a song with sentimental meaning.  There is no right or wrong song.  Some song ideas:

A Song for My Son,  Mikki Verrick

Forever Young,  Rod Stewart

A Mother's Song, T Carter

The Man You've Become,  Molly Pasutti

Simple Man, Lynard Skynard/Shinedown

Landslide, Dixie Chicks

A Song For Mama, Boys II Men 

In My Life, The Beatles 

Bridge Over Troubled Water, Various Artists 

Let It Be, The Beatles 

He Gets That From Me, Reba Mcentire 

Then They Do, Trace Adkins 

What a Wonderful World, Louise Armstrong

You Raise Me Up,  Josh Groban 

You are the Sunshine of My Life, Stevie Wonder 

Boys Don't Cry, The Cure 

Through The Years, Kenny Rogers 

Take Your Mama, The Scissor Sisters 

I Hope You Dance, Lee Ann Womack 

Nothing Can Change This Love, Sam Cooke 

My Wish, Rascal Flatts 

Because You Loved Me, Celine Dion 

Wind Beneath My Wings, Bette Midler 

Mama's Song, Carrie Underwood 

God Only Knows, The Beach Boys 

Have I Told You Lately, Tod Stewart 

Never Alone, Jim Brickman w/Lady Antebellum 

People Get Ready, The Impressions 

Our House, Madness 

Til There Was You, The Beatles 

I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston 

I'll Stand By You, The Pretenders

Lunchmoney Lewis, Mama

The Kick Off Dance

Once dinner has wrapped up and we have gotten through toasts and the cake cutting, it is time to perform any last special dances that were not taken care of before dinner.  Usually that would include the Father-Daughter, Mother-Son, and an Anniversary Dance (if you decided that you wanted one to take place).  Once those dances are complete, it is time to start the dance party!  In order to get the party started we recommend doing what we call a Kick Off Dance.    

The way it works, we will ask the newly wed couple to take there place in the center of the dance floor, just like with the other special dances.  At that point we will announce to the guests that the bride and groom have one more special dance and that the newly weds would like all of the guests to join them on the dance floor for it.  Your mobile DJ will act like it is going to be a slow sentimental kind of dance, and will ask all of those in attendance to move to the dance floor.  Once we have all of the guests in place your mobile DJ will drop a very high energy song that you have pre-selected.  We suggest picking a song that will be familiar to everyone young and old, that will really get the crowd moving.  When the song starts, your DJ will turn up the volume, turn on the dance floor lighting, and the dance party will begin!  We have compiled a list of songs below that we find work well to kick off the dance party.  Songs especially from the 80's and 90's work great, as the older people and the younger people will both recognize them.

Wanna Be Startin Somethin', Michael Jackson

Like A Prayer, Madonna

Happy, Pharrell

Turn Down For What, DJ Snake Ft Little John

Footloose, Kenny Loggins

Don't Stop Believin', Journey

Timber, Pitbull ft. Kesha

Brick House, Commodores

Love Shack, The B-52's

Groove Is In The Heart, Dee Lite

Billie Jean, Micheal Jackson

I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Whitney Houston

Twist and Shout, The Beatles

This Is How We Do It, Montel Jordan

Let's Dance, David Bowie

Don't Stop Till You Get Enough, Michael Jackson

Shut Up and Dance, Walk The Moon

Let's Hear It For the Boy, Deniece Williams

Party In The USA, Miley Cyrus

My Girl, The Temptations

Low, Flo Rida

Yeah!, Usher

24K Magic, Bruno Mars