Thank you for considering Porter Entertainment for your big day!  Hopefully you will find some of the information on this page useful in planning your wedding reception.

By choosing Porter Entertainment you’ll be getting over 10 years of wedding entertainment experience.  We’re fully insured and subscribe to Prime Cuts DJ service which provides weekly updates to our music library.  Most importantly when planning your event we allow you to choose the type of music you want played.  We’ll also work with the photographers and catering staff to ensure your event runs smoothly and encourage your guests to dance and enjoy themselves without any over the top antics.

Here are some excel spreadsheets with popular selections of music that people have requested at their weddings.  These are only suggestions to help you….you may have different tastes or ideas that we’d be happy to play to make your wedding reflect your style!

Popular Cocktail Dinner Music

Popular Dance Requests

Popular Slow Dance Requests

Father Daughter Dances

Mother Son Dances

Planning the Music for your Wedding

This article is designed to take you through a typical wedding  to give couples planning their event and idea of how they may want to plan their own wedding and reception.  Keep in mind however that there is no right or wrong when planning the music for your wedding.  Each couple that I’ve done entertainment for has had some aspect of their event that has been unique.  As you read this article you’ll have an idea of some of the most traditional aspects of a wedding and reception in order to make your own choices more easily.  Whether you choose a live band or a DJ to provide the musical entertainment at your wedding, you’ll find this overview of the flow of events helpful in planning your reception with your entertainment.


The Ceremony

If you are having your ceremony at a place of worship you may ask them about what type of music they may provide.  Some couples may hire a string quartet or a solo musician to provide the music.   When a couple is married at a reception hall or a location outside of a place of worship frequently couples will ask me as a DJ to provide music for the ceremony.  Usually couples choose classical music to provide an elegant touch to the ceremony.  The most traditional choices for walking down the isle are Pachelbel’s “Canon in D for the bridal party, then “the Wedding March” (Here Comes the Bride) by Wagner for the Bride and then after the couple is married “The Wedding March” from a Midsummer Night’s Dream by Mendelssohn for the recessional.  Many couples choose their own favorites instead of these traditional choices.  In addition, current classical music groups like the Vitamin String Quartet record classical versions of current hits that give a ceremony an elegant atmosphere with a hip twist.

Cocktail Hour

Most receptions begin with a cocktail hour serving drinks and appetizers.  There is not a lot of dancing at this point traditionally but there is usually some kind of background music.  There may be live music such as a jazz band or a piano player or a DJ may play music.  When hiring a DJ or musician for your event be sure to consider whether or not the cocktail hour is in the same place as the reception.  Often reception halls or restaurants will have a separate location for the cocktail hour so be sure to check with your entertainment that they are prepared to provide music in more than one spot if the cocktail hour is in a different spot than the rest of the reception.


As the bride and groom you may use the cocktail hour to take family pictures with the photographer or you may choose to mingle with your guests if there is enough time to get all your photos done before the cocktail hour starts.  Some reception halls will have a “Bridal Suite” where the wedding party has drinks and appetizers apart from the rest of the guests…which makes the introductions at the beginning of dinner a little more dramatic.



After the cocktail hour the guests traditionally sit down where dinner will be served and the master of ceremonies introduces the bridal party.   When choosing a song to be introduced to some couples will choose an upbeat dance song and some may choose something humorous (i.e. the James Bond theme, the Price is Right theme).  Most couples opt to introduce their parents, then the bridal party, and then themselves.  Some couples will introduce extended family members as well.  Other couples will not do introductions at all.


First Dances

After the introductions, the newly married traditionally does their first dance followed by the bride dancing with her father and then the groom dancing with his mother.  Some couples may opt out of the parent dances or add extra dances (i.e. a dance with a step parent or brother or sister, or a dance for the whole bridal party).  To keep things short other couples may combine the bride/father son/mother dance in one song.  Sometimes these dances are spread out over dinner, however I recommend doing these dances right at the beginning of the dinner since all the attention of the guests is on the dance floor and the photographer/videographer can make sure they capture everything and don’t miss it




After the first dances the microphone is handed over for the toasts.  Most weddings have both the maid of honor and the best man doing toasts.  I like this because most often the maid of honor and best man are longtime friends of the bride and groom and if only the best man toasts, a lot gets said about the groom and not enough about the bride.  Sometimes a parent may request to make a toast at this time as well.  After the toasts it is time to serve dinner, if the celebrant of your ceremony is also at the dinner they may give a blessing for the meal at this time.  Sometimes a family member gives a blessing for the meal if the celebrant from the ceremony is not at the dinner.



During dinner I recommend light romantic background music.  Most receptions people are not ready to dance until after dinner is over although sometimes the maitre d may request the entertainment play dance music if they need additional time to prepare the food.  You may find out some of your married guests what their wedding songs were and then have them played and dedicated to them during dinner.  I like this because usually the couple will go out on the dance floor while it is being played and “seeds” the dance floor.


Getting Everyone Dancing

Ok…so all the guests have been served and it’s time to get the party started!  When my clients ask me about how I will get their guests dancing one thing I like to let people know is that the best way to get people on the dance floor is for the bride and groom to get out there themselves!  The bride and groom are usually served dinner first and spend a lot of time during dinner walking around to all the tables to make sure they get a chance to talk to all their guests.  I recommend taking a break from doing this towards the end of dinner.  Pick out a few dance songs that you both like and get on the dance floor!  The guests love to dance with the newlyweds.  To change the mood from dinner to dancing, the volume of the music can go up, the lights can be lowered and any DJ lighting can be turned on.


Group dances are also a popular way to get people out on the dance floor.  This used to mean the Macarena and the Electric slide.  More popular current group dances are the Cupid Shuffle and the Cha Cha Slide.  Some couples don’t like these dances because they are so typical.  If you don’t like them let your DJ or band know and they will tell anyone who requests them they don’t have it or don’t know it.  If you’re not sure whether you want them or not, leave it up to whether the guests request it or not.


Right after dinner is the time for any traditional music you may want to play at your wedding. The Hora at a Jewish wedding is done at this time and is fantastic for getting people out of their seats and on the dance floor.  If grandma requests a polka, right after dinner is a good time to do it.


Mixing it up

As the evening goes on I like to mix up the music I play.  I like to start the dancing with some rock, disco, and 80’s dance music so the older guest have some songs they know and like to dance to.  Later I like to start mixing in the current dance floor hits.  Throughout the evening, I like to slow down the music and invite couples out on the dance floor for a couples dance.  This gives people who like to really dance to the fast songs a chance for a breather or a trip to the bar to freshen up their drinks and the people who never dance to fast songs a chance to get out on the floor with their significant other.  If the dance part of the evening is about 2 to 2 ½ hours after dinner, I usually take one or two slow song breaks of 2 or 3 songs.  These are simply suggestions.  As a DJ, I try to read the crowd as best as possible.  I’ve had weddings where the dancing crowd was in their 50’s and requesting mostly rock and disco classics and I never needed to pull out the current dance hits.  Consider the ages of your guests when you make song requests.


Cutting the Cake, Bouquet and Garter

About and hour after dinner it will be time to cut the cake.  You may want to choose a special song for the cake cutting or have the traditional “the Bride cuts the cake” song played.  Right after this is when the bouquet and garter are done.  First all the ladies who are not married come out on the dance floor and the bride turns around and blindly tosses the bouquet to them.  (Girls Just Wanna Have Fun or more recently Single Ladies are popular songs for this).  Next the bride sits on a chair and the groom removes her garter.  Then the non-married men are called to the dance floor and the groom tosses the garter to them.  Then the man who catches the garter puts it on the woman who caught the bouquet.  If a younger girl catches the bouquet I always skip the last part.  Some couples skip the garter part of this tradition altogether.


On the weddings page of my web site you’ll find lists of songs for fast dances, slow dances, parent dances and more.  Remember that these are simply ideas to get you started.  What one couple requested and was a big hit may not go over as well at your wedding.  Hope you enjoyed this article and found it helpful.  If you have any questions please contact me….I’d love to talk to you!