The Evolution of (new?) Music at your wedding dance

The Evolution of (new?) Music at Your Wedding Dance


I’ve thought about this a lot more over the last year, as I’ve noticed just how much the music I play at weddings has changed in my 15 years (15!). In general, it’s meant fewer slow songs and more top 40 style hip-hop.

Then it hit me: do you realize how old “Yeah” by Usher is? It’s a great example of a song with wide appeal and it’s 10 years old this month. 10. That’s probably why it can get anyone from teens to 30-somethings out on the dance floor.  It still sounds new, but has actually been around for a while.

Usher was part of a new era of hip-hop in the Top 40 (good riddance to the rap-metal of the late 90’s).  Also 10 years old are “Hey, Yah” by Outkast and “Milkshake” by Kelis.  For fans of cheese, NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, and Spice Girls’ hits are now 15 years old, so kids born when they were hits are entering high school.

Part of that change is that the parents of my brides and grooms were more likely to have grown up listening to disco or 80’s music rather than oldies like the Beatles. Heck, in a few more years, the parents will be the right age to have grown up partying to Vanilla Ice and Sir Mix-a-Lot (my age) and that will be a bit weird as they get played on oldies radio.

Of course, the music played at wedding dances will keep changing. Younger folks will occasionally get reminded of great older songs – movies like Guardians of the Galaxy are great for that – and more and more older guests know new songs; keeping the mix varied and fun.

Compare these lists of the Top 10 wedding dance songs from 2003 and 2013:

Top 10 songs for wedding dances

2003 only had 2 newer songs and NONE from were even from the 90’s.  The other 8 were all at least 15 years old.  2013’s list has six out of ten newer songs and only one song from from 2003 list (Brown Eyed Girl).  2013 is a much stronger mix of newer and classic songs and I like it better that way.

I just hope I’ll still be DJ’ing when Usher becomes oldies music.