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August 2023

Things to Do If You’re Nervous for Your First Dance

Things to Do If You’re Nervous for Your First Dance 1260 840 adam Michaels

Planning and rehearsing for your first dance as a married couple is no easy feat. First thing first: Know that you’re certainly not alone in your struggles. Even if you aren’t a bad dancer, it’s possible you may not enjoy being the center of attention. After all, just because it’s your wedding day doesn’t mean you have to have all eyes on you, all the time, especially when it comes to your first dance.

Take Lessons or Hire a Teacher

Leading up to your nuptials, sign up for local lessons or hire a dance instructor. A teacher will customize lessons based on your skill level, so even if you think you’re the world’s worst dancer, you’ll still have some simple, tailor-made moves at your fingertips that you feel comfortable with. 

Pick a Song You Connect With

There’s no shortage of sweet, romantic dance songs at your disposal, but it’s important to find a song you connect with. Maybe it’s the pop tune that was playing in the car when you and your partner were driving to your first date or just a rock song you both happen to love. Regardless, you’ll feel a wave of comfort wash over you the moment it comes on, and at that point, you can do no wrong.

Make It Short and Sweet 

That said, it’s probably better for you to pick a two-minute anthem rather than a six-minute one when it comes down to it, or just ask your wedding band to simply shorten your song of choice. You might feel time dragging on forever when the spotlight’s on you, and this way, you’re guaranteed to get the awkwardness over with sooner rather than later.

Play Your Song on Repeat

You may think overplaying your first dance song will “ruin” the tune when it comes time for the big day, but we recommend listening to it many times beforehand. so you are familiar with not only the beat but also the length of the song. Songs can seem short when you’re just singing along in your car, but once you’re in front of an audience, songs can seem to go on for an eternity.

Let the Wedding Band Know Sooner Rather than Later

While you’ve probably got your hands full with wedding to-dos, try not to let your wedding band know at the last minute of your plans because they need to practice and learn the song too! We recommend starting to nail down a song and letting your wedding band know at least 1 month out from your big day so that you and the band are not scrambling to nail the dance routine down a few weeks before.

Stay On Theme

This isn’t the time to get fancy if you’re not fully comfortable on your feet. It’s totally up to you, but we suggest not trying to attempt an intricate salsa, hip-hop, or rumba routine if you’re already nervous to begin with. Go with a simple sway or slow-dance route.

Focus on Your Partner

Most importantly, just focus on the person you’re dancing with. There’s a good chance they’re just as nervous as you, and it’s crucial to remember that this day is about you two. As soon as you look into their eyes, you’ll remember you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.

Make a plan for when things go off track


Even those who love dancing can get tripped up in the spotlight. Whether you step on your partner’s feet, miss that dip, or forget what step is supposed to come next, not everything will likely go as planned.

Practice, practice, practice

The more you run through your dance, the more comfortable you will feel performing it at your reception. Even if you aren’t planning to pull out any fancy steps, it will help to get used to dancing together. We suggest making it fun. Get your groove on for a more active take on date night. You can even practice in the park if you have to.

Make it your own

No rule book says you can’t change the tradition. Maybe you only do 30 seconds of the first dance after a grand entrance. Maybe you invite the kids to the reception to dance with you. Heck, maybe you invite everyone to the dance floor so you’re not up there all by yourselves. Or, if neither of you is feeling the dancing vibes, maybe you replace a first dance together with something like a hula hoop contest or a slideshow set to your favorite song.

Focus on each other

Once you’re out there, all you have is whatever your plan was, and each other. Don’t lock eyes with anybody else. Be in your dance bubble together, and stay focused on each other. That’s what people want to see anyway—you dancing with your romance.

Dress for success

If you’re nervous about your big dance and wearing a dress to your big day, sky-high stilettos, a skin-tight mermaid silhouette that you can barely walk in and a ten-foot train probably won’t help. Even if that’s your chosen wedding day look, you can make your wedding’s first dance easier on yourself by exchanging your heels for dancing shoes. Even just one of these changes will make your first dance that much more drama-free. Dress to impress!

Music Mistakes to Avoid at Your Wedding

Music Mistakes to Avoid at Your Wedding 644 430 adam Michaels

Whether you consider yourselves a music person or not, the music at your wedding is super important, and a great band can be the difference between a pretty fun wedding and an unforgettable one. Avoid these mistakes and you’re guaranteed to have truly amazing wedding music.

Dismissing the idea of a band before doing some research.

This is your first music decision to make and it’ll narrow down your options by half. Love live music and have a bigger budget? A band might be your best choice here. 

Starting the ceremony in silence.

Most guests will arrive 15 to 30 minutes before the ceremony starts, but the wait will seem a lot longer if they have to wait around in silence. Don’t let this happen! Having music before and during the ceremony will also help signal to guests that it’s time to be seated or get quiet by upping the volume or tempo.

Skipping a sound check

Depending on your venue, there may be limitations to the type of music you can have. Even without regulations, it’s still a good idea to ask your venue manager what type of music typically works best for the space (for example, a soloist may feel tiny in a grand ballroom, but may work well for an intimate garden party). 

Plan for your band to do a walk-through if they haven’t worked in the space before. While you might not realize that crashing waves could easily drown out a string quartet or trio of flutes, professionals like Around Town Entertainment can help spot and solve any tricky music situations with a sound check.

Forgetting to talk through the must-play songs.

Don’t assume your band is going to play every one of your favorites. If it’s a band, make sure you talk through your plans about this list before you decide to book—they may have to learn a song or two and need enough time to prepare. 

Choosing long songs for the wrong times

Make sure to keep songs like the First Dance, Father/Daughter Dance, and Mother/Son Dance shortened to about 2 minutes. Do a run-through and you may realize four minutes can feel like forever if you’re just rocking back and forth. Yes, it’s about you two, but keep your guests in mind too!

A little choreography goes a long way, so make sure you decide to take a few lessons. Or if your heart is set on a certain ballad, work with our bands to cut your song down to a reasonable length, or talk with us about performing a shorter version.

Leaving out a do-not-play list.

Sit down with your soon-to-be spouse and go through your favorite songs together to create the must-play and do-not-play lists. Make sure you give your band plenty of time to review your picks, in case they have to add a song to their repertoire. Once you’ve handed over the lists, leave the rest up to the pros. And be careful not to micromanage (that’s why you hired them).

Playing explicit songs 

You won’t be able to please everyone, but ask that your band keep it at least PG-13 during the reception. When it’s just you, your college friends, and adult cousins at the after-party, feel free to play the songs that weren’t appropriate while your grandparents and baby nieces and nephews were around earlier in the night. Beyond blatant profanity, consider the song’s lyrics and meaning. There may be a very innocent inside joke behind your choice of a raunchy song, but most guests will be on the outside—including your cute little flower girl.

Sticking to one genre.

You both may truly love ’80s pop, but six full hours of Whitney Houston might drive some guests to leave early. You’re sharing this day with family and friends, so save your more obscure favorites for the honeymoon playlist and let your band play a mix of songs that everyone can enjoy.

Letting the Speeches and Toasts Run On

Making guests sit through speeches and formalities for the first 30 minutes to an hour can ruin the party atmosphere. We’ve seen so many brides, grooms, and guests roll their eyes and nearly doze off by the fifth wedding speech! There have been times when toasts took up to an hour to get through because so many people were allowed to say something. Give each toast-maker a specific time limit to help them stay on track.

Waiting Until the Last Minute to Select Spotlight Dance Songs

We see many couples that don’t think about their parents’ dances until a few weeks before the wedding and then they rush to select songs. They should have some sentimental significance but if not carefully selected, then they’ll have minimal meaning and proper time to prepare. Start the process at least ten weeks before the big day so it remains fun and productive.

Not Choosing a Cake-Cutting Song

Not having a cake-cutting ceremony? Bad idea! We always advise selecting the background song in advance. It takes some time for the cake to be brought out, for the couple to figure out how to cut it, eat it, kiss, take photos, etc. Those minutes tick by with your guests focused on the moment. And when you have no music, this can be very boring!

Not Scheduling Breaks or Feeding Your Vendors

Not only will your musical entertainment need to use the restroom but they’ll also need to eat and rest their vocal chords. If you’re using a live band, this is especially important. Discuss breaks with your band in advance so that you know what to expect and avoid any potential upsets!

5 Songs That Should Not Be Played for a Wedding

5 Songs That Should Not Be Played for a Wedding 1600 1067 adam Michaels

When it comes to choosing songs for your wedding, your wedding do-not-play list can be just as important as your absolutely-must-play list. Of course, there are cheesy songs that may make your guests groan, but there are also tunes that have lyrics that are inappropriate for a wedding—perhaps they’re about breaking up, death, or another subject that’s less than ideal for a joyful event. Some are cheesy. Some are inappropriate. Some are downright ugly. And none of them should be played at this moment!

Before picking any song, we suggest taking a good listen to the words. You want to keep your reception playlist upbeat and romantic rather than depressing and potentially offensive and vulgar. Of course, your wedding playlist should fit your style, so if you love a song and think your guests will have a sense of humor about the lyrics, by all means, use it! Your wedding playlist must be up to par. Your guests will have high expectations as they prepare to get off their seats and make their way out to the dance floor. The best way to achieve this is to avoid playing all those overplayed (and overrated) songs that everyone and their mother is tired of hearing. Instead, give them a refreshing new playlist with songs they never heard that will have them crying, laughing, and dancing the night away.

Then there are those songs that should just be skipped every time. Most songs that have to do with cheating are probably not the best way to start a wedding based on faithfulness. Songs with explicit lyrics are a no-go as weddings are filled with family.  Grandmas and grandpas are there and sometimes there are even little kids.  Your divorced parent’s first dance song is not what you want to hear and if you are in your second or third marriage, you might want to put that on the do not playlist too. You have to think about music that is not only appropriate for that varied audience but also what they’re going to like and get into.

A lot of people try to mix in certain songs because they hear them all the time at weddings.  And that’s understandable.  Songs get overplayed.  But remember, some people come to weddings to hear those songs.  They come to dance those dances because they don’t get to do them anywhere else.  That is the only place where they can do that stuff. So finding a balance is crucial in creating the perfect wedding playlist. There are so many songs out there, and everyone has their taste. Therefore, it can be difficult to find music that all of your guests will enjoy.   It’s all about what makes people happy and puts them in the mood to dance. It makes sense that you’re going to have the full spectrum

Regardless of personal taste, there are some songs out there that are objectively unsuitable for weddings. This can be down to lyrical content, song length, musical style, and more – so here are some examples of the worst offenders to help you avoid committing these wedding music mistakes.

That Don’t Impress Me Much – Shania Twain

Shania Twain’s vicious takedown of patronizing, vain, and car-obsessed men is admittedly a fun, danceable country-rock classic – but this will surely make your new husband suffer! 

Gold Digger – Kanye West ft. Jamie Foxx

The last thing you want to accuse your partner of is only being in it for the money, mere hours after you declare your undying love for one another. We want you to look forward to your future together, not chalk up each day on the wall!

I Knew You Were Trouble – Taylor Swift

Whenever you hear a Taylor tune come on, there’s a good chance it’s a breakup song – it’s kind of her whole deal. This song is no exception – the spoken word intro is a dead giveaway.

It’s catchy as anything – it’s impossible not to join in with the ‘trouble, trouble, trouble’ bit – but today isn’t about bad decisions made in the past; it’s about great decisions about your future.

Mambo No.5 – Lou Bega

From a purely musical point of view, this song really swings. Unfortunately, from the long list of ladies he mentions in the chorus, so does the songwriter!

‘Mambo No.5’ may well be a guaranteed floor filler at any given party, but a monogamist’s anthem it ain’t. Your brand new bride won’t want to hear that a little bit of Rita’s all you need (unless of course that’s her name).

Hey Ya! – Outkast

It’s easy to miss the unhappy message behind André 3000’s rapid-fire delivery and that oh-so-irresistible beat. André even acknowledges this himself in the song – after asking why he and his significant other are ‘so in denial when we know we’re not happy here?’, he shrugs it off with a ‘y’all don’t wanna hear me, you just wanna dance!’. He’s got a point!

If all of this has got you feeling down, don’t worry. We’ve also got advice on the best wedding songs, to ensure any big day ends happily ever after.

In conclusion, the worst wedding songs are those that are overplayed, overly suggestive, and lack variety. Music is a key part of any wedding celebration but it is important to carefully select songs that will set the right tone for your special day. By avoiding these worst wedding songs you can ensure that your guests have an enjoyable time at your special event!


What to Play and When: A 2023 Wedding Music Guide

What to Play and When: A 2023 Wedding Music Guide 800 1200 adam Michaels

Choosing wedding music may seem daunting, but pulling off the perfect setlist is easier than you think. From the walk down the aisle to the first kiss and more, when the day comes, it can feel like a romantic movie. And just like any good movie, the music sets the tone. We’re more than happy to work with you and can help you plan your music selections. Ultimately the decisions are up to you, but here is some guidance to get you started from ceremony to reception.


The prelude music will play while guests are entering and finding their seats. This music aims to welcome the guests to your wedding and sets the tone for the rest of the ceremony, so be sure to choose wisely. You can choose a beautiful mix of classics and love songs. Prelude music should be soft and with a formal touch, to let everyone know that the important event will start soon. Most brides and grooms today choose a mix of contemporary love songs, while some prefer traditional Handel, Mozart, and Bach

The processional song is the wedding ceremony music that is played while the wedding party (bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc.) is walking down the aisle. The number rule of thumb here is to choose music that’s neither too fast nor too slow. Make sure you select a song that has a rhythm that matches a natural walking pace. Most importantly, the processional songs should have meaning to you. Any song can work if it is played with a processional feeling (which we know how to do!).

The Bride Entrance Song/Processional is probably your most important music choice of all! You will want to pick something which has a build-up, so your grand entrance makes an impact. Have several rehearsals to ensure your timing is perfect. 

Last but not least, the exit song also known as the wedding recessional song tends to be a little more light-hearted and upbeat. Pick something triumphant and celebratory while you walk out of the building.

A few ceremony song options that are very popular with our clients include:

Pachelbel – Canon In D

A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri

Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis Presley

Your Song – Elton John

Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole Viva La Vida – Coldplay

All of Me – John Legend

Marry You – Bruno Mars 

You and Me – Lifehouse

Cocktail Hour

After the end of the ceremony is the most anticipated fun wedding cocktail hour. This is the time for guests to unwind, chat with other guests, and start up on the fun, food, and drinks. Don’t forget to add music to your cocktail hour! For this part of the wedding, you need a perfect playlist of appropriate wedding cocktail hour songs for background music.

These cocktail hour songs should be a mix of different genres and must shine through without drowning the guests’ conversations. To create the cocktail songs’ perfect lineup, see our list of wedding cocktail music genres to keep you inspired.

Having a nice playlist like the songs below is a little extra touch your guests will appreciate.

Paper Moon – Nat King Cole

The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra

At Last – Etta James

The Nearness of You – Norah Jones

Natural Woman – Aretha Franklin

Come Rain or Come Shine – Ray Charles




Choosing your wedding reception music can be a tricky process. You want to choose songs that you like, but you want your guests to like them too. You want to create a playlist that’s unique and noticeable, but you also want to deliver music that people are familiar with and can dance to. These concepts seem to contradict each other. It seems hard but with our guidance and a few samples, you’ll find that perfect balance.

We see it far too often when couples continuously put off making music choices. Some couples put it off because they feel it’s a quick “to do” and others because they don’t have a song and are struggling to make a decision. Whatever the case may be, we want to make it clear: There’s a lot more to wedding music than just choosing your first dance song! So let’s go through how many songs you will need to get through your wedding day!

You’ll likely make a grand entrance into the reception space with formal introductions of the parents, the wedding party, and the bride and groom.

You’ll want to consider how you’ll be making your big entrance. Are you dancing? Will your bridesmaids and groomsmen each do something unique for their entrances? Are you going for a choreographed dance? Or would you rather just walk in and head straight to your seats? It’s your day, so you get to choose! But don’t be afraid to have a little fun.

Choose one or two songs depending on how many people you have in your wedding party and what you plan to do. Usually, you’ll just play a little snippet of the song so that dinner can be served and you can keep the day flowing. 

Finally, it’s time to eat! Queue up the easy-listening music to have in the background as you and your guests enjoy your wedding dinner. Like the music for your cocktail hour, you’ll want to keep it light and soft to allow for conversation. But this time, you can slow things down. 

Now, we are getting close to party time! There are a few important moments that kick off the dance reception so you’ll want to choose a specific song for these dances:

Bride and Groom First Dance

Traditional Dance

Father-Daughter Dance

Mother-Son Dance

Cake Cutting 

Last Song

Finally, the time we’ve all been waiting for is here! It’s time to party! It’s time to dance! Your wedding guests will be of different generations: from grandparents to nephews and nieces to friends of your age. That is why both wedding planning experts and modern couples agree that today’s weddings should feature a good mix of new wedding songs, as well as the classics. Instead of listing out hundreds of songs to be played during your reception, choose a couple of genres that you’d like to hear and trust your wedding band to get the party started. 

It’s alright to list out a few of your must-play songs – but don’t go overboard. Your live band or DJ will be able to read the crowd and play songs that work for each moment, getting all of your guests out onto the dance floor. They’ll know how to weave in and out of different styles of music to keep the party going for all of your guests throughout the evening! We would, however, recommend listing a few songs or artists that you do not want to be played at your wedding reception. So let us know!

Our live wedding band can play most of the current popular songs of a different genre, which makes your job of picking songs for every stage of your wedding easier. These songs are fashionable for every type of real wedding style you would want to have. We are sure a lot of your favorites will fall within our list.

Check them out, select your best songs of all time, compile your wedding playlist, and select one of our wedding bands today!