As the bandleader of Free Spirit and one of the owners of Entertainment Exchange, Mike Ostrow has selected songs for more than 1,500 weddings over his career. Here are his picks for a great wedding-reception playlist.
Bridal Party Entrance: “Crazy In Love” by Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z
“It’s fun and lively and easy to talk over,” says Ostrow. “People of all ages know this song so it’s keeps everyone excited and involved.”
Couple’s Entrance: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” by Stevie Wonder
“This is a really fun, upbeat choice that appeals to all generations,” Ostrow says.
First Dance: “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele as well as classics such as “At Last” by Etta James, “L-O-V-E” by Nat King Cole, or “Inseparable” by Natalie Cole
“Nothing’s worse that picking a first dance song that’s really hot at the moment but then everyone gets tired of,” says Ostrow. “You can’t go wrong with the classics, but I also like the Adele version of the Bob Dylan song—it’s classic, but still feels current.”
Father/Daughter and Mother/Son Dance: “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra or “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong
“I like combining the father/daughter and mother/son into one dance just for time’s sake,” says Ostrow. “Again, I’d choose classic, not trendy, songs that won’t ever feel old.”
Cake Cutting Song: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Eva Cassidy
“A beautiful choice,” Ostrow says.
Song to Play During Dinner: Songs from the Steve Tyrell album “A New Standard”
“These are updated versions of classic Sinatra-style tunes,” says Ostrow. “They sound great, are very recognizeable, and won’t overwhelm dinner conversation.”
Songs to Get Everyone on the Dance Floor: “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO, Lauren Bennett, and Goonrock and “Forget You” by Cee-Lo Green
“My picks for this category literally change from week to week, and depend on the age range of the crowd, but these are popular choices right now,” says Ostrow.
Slow Song: “Crazy Love” by Van Morrison
“I don’t like to include too many slow songs unless we’re using them for a specific reason,” says Ostrow. “If people need to catch their breath after a long dance set, I like this Van Morrison ballad.”
Last Dance: “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” by Natalie Cole, “Yeah 3x” by Chris Brown, or “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz
“Again, I’d tailor the last song to the age range of guests on the floor,” says Ostrow. “For a mixed-age crowd, I like the Natalie Cole song, but for a younger crowd, strong current dance music like Chris Brown or Taio Cruz works well.”
Did you have an amazing wedding reception playlist? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll share it on the blog!