Mixing It Up: Expert Playlist

Need help narrowing down your song selections for the wedding reception? Each week, Bridal Party asks a local music pro to whip up a genius playlist to get your guests’ feet on the dance floor. This week’s expert: Ed Witles of the Elegant DJ in DC.

Want to keep your guests rocking on the dance floor? Pick a mix of classic favorites and new hits. Photograph by SOTA Dzine

“I approach selecting music for a wedding the way a chef creates a meal,” says Ed Witles of the Elegant DJ in DC. Picking a selection old and new songs, tunes that are uniquely personal and those that are universal favorites help create the right mix.

To create his playlist, Witles tapped into his more playful side, and thought about if he were creating a song list for his young daughter’s wedding.

Listen to Witles’s playlist on Spotify (if you don’t have Spotify, download it here).

Bridal Party Entrance: “Children of the Sandstorm” by Darude/Robert Miles
“In my opinion, the Black Eyed Peas have been overplayed and overused. Since I first heard the mashup of ‘Sandstorm’ and ‘Children,’ it’s become a favorite,” Witles says.

Couple’s Entrance: An instrumental of “Jump Around” by House of Pain
“This song just evokes fun to me.”

First Dance: “I’ll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes)” by Steelheart
“There are so many first dance song ideas, and many are rather inappropriate if you look at the lyrics. I heard this song in 1990 and still love it. It has such a powerful yet simple message,” Witles says.

Father/Daughter Dance: A medley of “Witchdoctor,” “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus, “I Loved Her First” by Heartland
“If I had my way, my dance with my daughter would be 30 minutes long. We listen to a lot of silly music together, so I picked some tunes that we enjoy,” Witles says.

Mother/Son Dance: “Playmates” by Saxie Dowell or “Tennessee Waltz” by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King
“While there are some nice songs about mothers and sons, I prefer to think of special tunes that are playful, yet meaningful,” Witles says.

Cake Cutting Song: “Candy Man” by Sammy Davis Jr.
“My approach to picking a cake-cutting song is something upbeat, but not too tacky, something that can resonate across all generations,” Witles says.

Song to Play During Dinner: “It’s Been A Long, Long Time” by Bing Crosby
“You just can’t go wrong with Bing.”

Song to Get Everyone on the Dance Floor: “Proud Mary (Live)” by Ike and Tina Turner.
“Not Credence Clearwater Revival, not the short radio version, but only the live Ike and Tina works here. From here, the opportunities I can take the dance floor anywhere,” Witles says.

Slow Song: “Special Angel” by Bobby Helms
“ ‘Unchained Melody’ is nice, but I like those buried gems that never get played,” Witles says.

Last Dance: “Hit The Road Jack” by Ray Charles
“ ‘Closing Time’ by Semisonic is overplayed and I’m not one for slow, sappy songs either. So my sense of humor selected this timeless classic,” Witles says.

Did you have a wedding playlist that kept the dance floor packed all night? Send it to us at and we’ll put it up on the blog.

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Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.