How to Choose Cocktail Hour & Dinner Music

How to Choose Cocktail Hour & Dinner Music

We at DuJour Catering are the Food experts! Sure we love music, but let’s leave that to the Music experts. And we couldn’t think of a more qualified group of music experts than the DJs at ProVolve Entertainment! They’ve been DJ’ing weddings since 2009 and are 6-time winners of The Knot’s Best of Wedding DJs Award – they’re even in The Knot’s Hall of Fame! If you’re engaged and looking for a DJ, contact ProVolve!

We asked them to help us give couples information about how to choose Cocktail Hour & Dinner music! Check out their recommendations below!

First, what is Cocktail Hour?
Cocktail Hour is when your guests begin their arrival at the reception site. Usually this happens within 30–60 minutes of the end of your ceremony. Example: if your ceremony ends at 3:00, count on cocktail hour to start around 3:30 – 4:00. In addition, as its name states, Cocktail Hour usually lasts about an hour.

Well, what’s the purpose?
The purpose of cocktail hour is to occupy your guests while you are getting photographs taken (at either the church or some other location nearby). Its other purpose is to buy you and your Bridal Party time while you arrive at the reception site to get ready before the big dinner/big party.

What will my guests do?
During Cocktail Hour, your guests will find their dinner seating, sign your guestbook, drop off gifts/cards; they will be able to enjoy drinks and hors’dourves, and catch up with family and friends. With this in mind, you want music playing during the Cocktail Hour to set the mood for the rest of the evening.

Ok, what music do you recommend?
Anything can qualify as a good Cocktail Hour song, but it is recommended that your Cocktail Hour music should reflect your tastes and personalities.

If you typically enjoy listening to folky/bluegrass music, then we recommend incorporating that in to your reception’s soundtrack. If you enjoy musicals, we could work together to sneak some musical numbers during your evening. You get the idea.

What actually works?
Remember, when it comes to music during Cocktail Hour, Dinner and/or Dance time, you are in complete control. We can recommend what typically works and what does not work (we will probably tell you that certain genres should NEVER be played during any portion of a wedding reception).

We are the experts, but keep in mind that this is your once-in-a-lifetime event and we are here to make sure your evening is a memorable one.

Here’s a great start to a playlist that we use as a building block for our weddings whenever we can. We think it blends a great mix of classic and contemporary, while preserving an upscale feel.

Now what about Dinner Music?
Occasionally a couple will say to us, “Just play what you typically play during dinner.” Other couples will say that they do not have anything in mind for dinner songs. Sometimes the couple gives us a few artists or genres and says play stuff like that. We usually recommend or suggest certain things before we just go ahead and come up with a generic playlist:

  • Are there any favorite bands you have? If so, what are some of your favorite songs by them? It may be that the band (let us say Coldplay) does not produce ‘danceable’ songs. Dinner may be a good time to play these types of songs.
  • Are there any songs you had considered before finalizing your First Dance? For example, my fiancée and I came up with a list of about six potential songs that could have been our first dance. We finally narrowed it down to one song but the other five songs still have meaning for us. We had those songs played during dinner. So think about some first dance songs you may have tossed around; those may be perfect options for dinner songs (also might be good options for slow dances).
  • What if you and your fiancée’s relationship were made in to a movie? Think of it for a second. All of the ups and downs, first kiss, the fun dates, hanging out with friends and family, the day you became engaged. What would the soundtrack be? Most soundtracks have around 12 songs. This might be a fun activity for you and your fiancée as you prepare for your wedding. Keep in mind however, that dinner is usually a time where grandparents and others who might have sensitive hearing are around. You do not want to blow them away or cause them to mute their hearing aids! Keep it mellow (but not boring).

There you have it! Hopefully that gives you a better idea on how to choose Cocktail Hour & Dinner Music!

Again, thanks to the DJs at ProVolve Entertainment! If you’re engaged and haven’t booked your DJ yet, contact ProVolve Entertainment ASAP!
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