The Beatles, Sade, and Dirty Dancing: 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: Steve Hoffman of Good Note DJ’s.

Hoffman’s pick for a first-dance tune is a rarely-heard favorite. Photograph by Amy Raab Photography

Good Note DJs’ Steve Hoffman’s philosophy is to customize and personalize the playlist for each couple. “It’s really about the bride and groom’s taste, not the DJ’s,” he says. “But I do help the client pick songs by providing them with suggestions.” Here are a few of his favorites:

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

Bridal Party Entrance: “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas

“A sure-fire, high-energy way to kick off a reception,” says Hoffman. “Sometimes, for extra fun, I encourage my couples to pick out individual songs for each member of the wedding party.”

Couple’s Entrance: “Say Hey (I Love You)” by Michael Franti or “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles

“The Franti song is so euphoric,” says Hoffman. “For the Beatles song, I start with the horn flourish, then cut right into the anthem-like chorus.”

First Dance: “Open Window (The Wedding Song)” by Sarah Harmer

“Without a doubt, the most beautiful wedding song that no one knows,” says Hoffman

Father/Daughter Dance: “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder

“If you listen to the lyrics, you’ll hear that this song’s about a father admiring his baby daughter,” says Hoffman. “How sweet is that?”

Mother/Son Dance: “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack

“This song’s message is such great advice from parent to child,” says Hoffman. “It’s also a good gender-neutral song if you want just one song for both the father/daughter and mother/son to dance to simultaneously.”

Cake Cutting Song: “When I’m 64” by The Beatles

“A happy, silly, wonderful song and ‘will you still need me, will you still feed me’ is perfect as the newlyweds feed each other the first slice,” says Hoffman.

Song to Play During Dinner: Instrumental jazz classics from albums like Miles Davis “Kind of Blue” and Dave Brubeck’s “Time Out.”

“Instrumentals are less intrusive than vocals, and guests do not want background music that interferes with their dinner conversations,” says Hoffman.

Song to Get Everyone on the Dance Floor: “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison or “Raise Your Glass” by Pink

“My picks here are somewhat arbitrary, since as a veteran DJ I know many songs likely to get everyone on the dance floor!” says Hoffman.

Slow Song: “By Your Side” by Sade

“A slow, romantic song that all generations can dance to,” says Hoffman.

Last Dance: “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes (from Dirty Dancing)

“I like this one because it starts out slow, then speeds up a notch,” says Hoffman. “This song ended the movie Dirty Dancing, and it makes a great closing number for a wedding, too.”

Did you have a great wedding playlist? E-mail and we’ll share it on the blog!

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