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How to Create an Awesome Engagement-Party Playlist

Set the scene for your first fête as to-be-weds with a mix of songs that sound as celebratory as you feel.

Photography by: Kate Headley

A good playlist knows its audience and the occasion. For your engagement party, your "audience" very well might span generations, with Mom and Dad mixing and mingling alongside your sorority sisters or his frat bros. You'll want to play music that both groups either know or can appreciate. And because the whole purpose of this get-together is to celebrate your big news with friends and family, you'll probably want to stick to tunes that neither distract from conversation nor overpower it (i.e., save the big, dance-floor-filling jams for the reception).


What type of music to play at your engagement party comes down to personal preference, of course. The key to making the evening feel cohesive, though, is highlighting a single musical style and more or less sticking with it throughout portions of the evening. (American standards and jazz may kick off the cocktail hour, for example, with folksy indie providing the soundtrack for dinner and dessert). To get you started, we've created a playlist of 15 songs drawing from Motown, Stax, and soul traditions.

1. "Can I Get a Witness," by Marvin Gaye

2. "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved You)," by Junior Walker & the All Stars

3. "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)," by Natalie Cole

4. "Hallelujah I Love Her So," by Ray Charles

5. "Love Man," by Otis Redding

6. "Sure Hope You Mean It," by Raphael Saadiq


7. "Oogum Boogum Song," by Brenton Wood

8. "Hey Ya," by Booker T. Jones

9. "Better Man," by Leon Bridges

10. "Medley: Rockin' Pneumonia/Something You Got/I Know You/Everybody Loves a Lover," by The Meters

11. "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher," by Jackie Wilson


12. "I'll Take You There," by The Staple Singers


13. "I Second That Emotion," by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles


14. "Heat Wave," by Martha Reeves & The Vandellas


15. "For Once in My Life," by Stevie Wonder


Listen to the Playlist on Spotify


About the Author

Jaime Buerger

A senior editor at MSW, Jaime edits the planning section of the magazine and writes stories on flowers, home décor, stationery, and more. Since she started, she's learned the difference between buttercream and fondant, what the 4Cs of diamonds really measure, and how to properly address both the outer and inner envelopes of an invitation. She also eats more than her fair share of...


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