The Ultimate Playlist for Your Wedding Cocktail Hour: What Type of Music Should You Have?

The perfect wedding cocktail hour should be an enjoyable and memorable experience for you and your guests. When designing your cocktail hour playlist, you should consider the type of atmosphere you want to create. Whether you’re looking for a chill, lounge-like vibe or a more upbeat, energized atmosphere, the type of music you choose can make all the difference. From classic jazz standards to modern hits, there’s no shortage of great music for you to choose from. Read on to get inspired and create the ultimate playlist for your wedding cocktail hour to ensure a great time for everyone.

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Why you should have a cocktail hour at your Oregon wedding

Cocktail hours are a great way to transition from the wedding reception to the rest of the day. They also allow you to serve hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and/or a light dinner to your guests, while allowing you to take some time to get some rest and relax. For those who might have wanted to go out to dinner or a late snack with their wedding party or other loved ones after a long day of celebrating, a cocktail hour is perfect. 

At the end of the day, cocktail hours are whatever you want them to be. They can be a formal affair with a sit-down dinner, an informal affair with drinks and finger foods, or any combination in between. What’s important is to make sure that you and your guests are having an enjoyable experience during the cocktail hour.

What type of atmosphere do you want to create during your cocktail hour?

Every couple is different, and what type of atmosphere you and your guests are searching for will depend on your own personalities, how many people you want to invite, and what you are trying to accomplish with the cocktail hour. If you want to leave the cocktail hour open for mingling, for example, a chilled, lounge-like atmosphere that is less energetic is ideal. If, however, you want to serve appetizers, drinks, and dinner, you’ll want to energize your cocktail hour playlist.

Below, we’ll go over a few options to set the mood for your wedding’s cocktail hour.

Classic jazz standards for your wedding cocktail hour

Jazz is a genre that is commonly associated with the dinner hour, and there are many great musical picks that can complement the ambiance of a classic, formal dinner party. From earlier jazz standards to more recent tunes, a compilation of classic jazz standards is a great pick for your wedding cocktail hour. These tunes are great for setting the tone for your cocktail hour, as well as for creating a more relaxed mood. They are also perfect for helping to transition from the dinner party to the reception, since they’re less energetic than many popular wedding songs. 

Classic jazz standards are songs that are highly unlikely to become outdated. This means they are likely to be chosen by many different couples and have been played at many weddings over the years. This makes them great picks for a wedding cocktail hour because they’re guaranteed crowd-pleasers.

Classic Jazz Standards:

  • Never Quit Loving You - Jill Barber
  • LOVE – Nat King Cole
  • At Last - Etta James
  • Cheek To Cheek - Ella Fitzgerald
  • Girl From Ipanema – Gilberto & Getz
  • Beyond The Sea - Bobby Darin
  • The Way You Look Tonight - Frank Sinatra
  • Dream A Little Dream Of Me - Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

Modern hits for your wedding cocktail hour

If you’re looking for something a little more energetic for your wedding cocktail hour, you can’t go wrong with modern hits. These songs can help to energize your guests and keep them feeling excited and ready for the rest of the night, while also being perfect for transitioning from the dinner party to the reception. As the evening progresses and the dancing gets more energetic, these songs will keep your guests feeling inspired and ready to move. 

Using Top 40 hits for your wedding cocktail hour is especially beneficial for outdoor receptions, since outdoor parties often tend to be a lot more energetic than indoor receptions. If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, this is an especially important consideration.

Modern Hits:

  • I'm Yours – Jason Mraz
  • Marry Me – Train
  • Perfect Duet – Ed Sheeran 
  • Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars 
  • Speechless – Dan + Shay
  • Wildfire – John Mayer
  • Butterflies – Kacey Musgraves 
  • Green Eyes – Coldplay

Top evergreen songs for your wedding cocktail hour

When thinking about what songs to play at your wedding, people are often focused on very personal choices that have meaning for them. While this is the perfect approach for certain key moments of your wedding, such as the first dances, the rest of your music selection should cater more to your guests. 

We’ve found it’s easy for couples to overlook some of the most popular and classic wedding songs of all time. Classic rock staples like The Beatles’ “Love Me Tender,” The Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday,” and The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” are some of the most popular and classic songs in the history of weddings, and the best part is that no one, no matter what their age, are going to be upset about hearing them. That’s what makes these classic tunes a great choice for your wedding’s cocktail hour.

Evergreen Songs:

  • Papa Loves Mambo - Perry Como
  • Beyond the Sea - by Bobby Darin
  • Misty - by Johnny Mathis
  • Yes Sir, That's My Baby - Frank Sinatra
  • At Last - Etta James
  • Fever – Peggy Lee
  • Summertime - Sarah Vaughan
  • Feelin’ Good – Nina Simone

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Is instrumental music better for your wedding cocktail hour?

When it comes to wedding cocktail hour music, there are many factors to consider. But one of the most important choices you'll make is whether to have instrumental or vocal music. There are pros and cons to both choices, but ultimately it's up to you to decide what's best for your wedding. If you're looking for some guidance, here are a few things to keep in mind when making your decision.

Instrumental music can be a great choice for your cocktail hour because it sets a more relaxed and romantic mood. It will be less distracting, especially in smaller, interior spaces, and won’t compete with people’s conversation. It can also be a good choice if you're having a more formal wedding. On the other hand, vocal music can also be a great choice for cocktail hour. It can add energy and excitement to the room, and it's a good choice if you want your guests to be able to sing along. It probably works best in outdoor settings or larger venues.

Ultimately, the choice is up you, and comes down to what type of atmosphere you’re trying to create.

Why you should choose DJ Cutt Entertainment for your Oregon wedding

Choosing the right music for your wedding is crucial, and it can make or break your reception. You want to make sure that the music you choose is appropriate for the theme of your reception, your guests, and your budget. While it’s possible to simply browse through some playlists to get inspiration, the best way to ensure the perfect playlist for your wedding cocktail hour is to work closely with an experienced wedding DJ. 

A professional wedding DJ can make all the difference when it comes to your wedding reception music. A professional DJ will know how to choose the perfect music for your wedding, and will be experienced enough to know how to keep your guests excited and on the dance floor. Moreover, a professional wedding DJ can provide you with some much-needed guidance and advice, ensuring that you have the best wedding reception possible, including your cocktail hour.

Get in touch with us today to schedule a free consultation.

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We are a full-service entertainment company in Portland that provides its clients with top-quality service and leaves them feeling like they made the right decision in choosing us. With our wide range of services, we strive to meet your needs and exceed your expectations. We have extensive experience in DJing, videography, and live streaming, as well as other aspects of live events such as lighting design, sound engineering, and more!

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