By Talia Ghazal
My biggest takeaway from a wedding isn’t the food, the favors, the flowers or the cake. I always remember whether the reception was entertaining (and what the bride and bridesmaids wore, but that’s for another blog). Instead of picking standards like “Macarena” or “Shake Your Booty,” and having your DJ or band perform generic dance music, put together a playlist that matches your taste and is meaningful to you. It will make your special day that much more memorable. Short on inspiration? Here are some ideas:
Instead of: “Celebration,” by Kool and the Gang
Consider: “Get Lucky,” by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell
“Get Lucky” has all the makings of a classic — a memorable hook, a ’70s disco track and ’80s electro sound. And who can resist that slick guitar riff by Nile Rogers? It’s fresh out of the recording studio this year, but with its retro sound “Get Lucky” will have Baby Boomers reminiscing about over-sized bell bottoms and peace medallions.
Instead of: “Cotton-Eyed Joe,” by Rednex
Consider: “1, 2 Step,” by Ciara featuring Missy Elliott
“Cotton-Eyed Joe” isn’t the only overplayed line-dance song (although it’s arguably the worst). Who wants to get all dressed up for a wedding and then do the Chicken Dance? Instead, go with Ciara and Missy Elliott’s “1, 2 Step.” The song has its own dance moves, but it isn’t as silly as flapping your arms like wings. “1, 2 Step” will get friends and family groovin’ with its catchy lyrics and infectious dance/hip hop beat.
Instead of: “I Will Survive,” by Gloria Gaynor
Consider: “We Found Love,” by Rihanna
After thirty-five years, “I Will Survive” is still a colossal hit. It will always be remembered as an anthem of female empowerment (or that song your friends force you sing on karaoke night). Maybe you find the song to be too iconic and wouldn’t want to substitute it completely…understandable. But “We Found Love” is also a great choice to keep the party going. The 2011 hit has the same edge as it wisps between a punching beat and soulful melody.
Instead of: “Dancing Queen,” by Abba
Consider: “Love Like This,” by Faith Evans
To most Gen Y’s, “Love Like This” is an iconic ’90s R-and-B hit. With it an upbeat, smooth and funky sound, it contains all the right ingredients to make it irresistible. The bass line is so magnetic, all your guests will cling to the dance floor.
Instead of: “We Are Family,” by Sister Sledge
Consider: “Family Affair,” by Mary J. Blige
“We Are Family” repeatedly reminds everyone that they’re with the family at a family event. You know that — do you need a song to say it over and over (and over) again? Mary J’s unique lyrics and vocal style in “Family Affair” will glue guests to the floor, making it the perfect jam to get your reception started.
Instead of: “Love Shack,” by the B52’s
Consider: “Rock With You,” by Michael Jackson
If you still love the oldies, substituting a song like “Love Shack” with another, more sophisticated disco tune is ideal. “Rock With You” is probably one of MJ’s most underappreciated hits. This mid-tempo disco track highlights the late singer’s velvety pipes.
“Seven Nation Army,” by The White Stripes
“Light My Fire,” by The Doors
“You Rock My World,” by Michael Jackson
“I Wanna Be Your Lover,” by Prince
“Honey (Remix),” by Mariah Carey
“Could You Be Loved,” by Bob Marley
“Come Together,” by The Beatles (Aerosmith and Michael Jackson covers, too)
“I Want to Hold Your Hand,” by The Beatles