Create Your Perfect Cocktail Hour Playlist

Each week, we'll feature wedding music recommendations from Scratch Weddings, the nation's leader with the best wedding DJs at affordable prices. This week's post comes from DJ Stefanie Nava, a native New Yorker who currently DJs at some of New York City's notable nightlife venues, such as APT and Le Poisson Rouge, and has residencies at 205 club and Sutra Lounge. At the heart of it all, Stefanie has a love for music, is a romantic, and enjoys combining these traits when spinning weddings. She feels it’s a privilege to be a part of what is such a tremendous event for the couple and their loved ones. Here, Stefanie's tips for choosing your cocktail hour music.

Photo Credit: Leigh Skaggs Photography

The key to creating the perfect soundtrack for cocktail hour is choosing feel-good songs with a relaxed, mellow vibe. This is the time to play any songs that you love that are not quite danceable.

My personal favorites to play at this time are from "legendary crooners" like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. You can't go wrong with classics like "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Unforgettable." Add into the mix some motown, doo-wop, and soul from the '50s and '60s, like Aretha Franklin, the Temptations, The Four Seasons, Sam Cooke, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

If you're a rock lover, there are plenty of great jams to get the night started from bands like Coldplay, U2, Radiohead, Florence and The Machine, and Arcade Fire.

If jazz is your thing, classics from Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Ronnie Foster, Ella Fitzgerald, Sara Vaughn and Billie Holiday are ideal picks.

For the soul/funk fan, Chaka Khan, The Brand New Heavies, Earth Wind & Fire, Al Green, Roy Ayers, and Curtis Mayfield are perfect artists to throw into the mix. Here's a sample cocktail hour playlist from all different genres.

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 "Just My Imagination" - The Temptations
 "I Second That Emotion" - Smokey Robinson and The Miracles
 "Luck Be A Lady" - Frank Sinatra
 "It's Love" - Jill Scott
 "Kiss Is On My List" - Hall & Oates
 "Peg" - Steely Dan
 "Better Together" - Jack Johnson
 "Outstanding" - The Gap Band
 "Yellow" - Coldplay
 "Sweetest Thing" - U2
 "That's Where It's At" - Sam Cooke
 "Is This Love" - Bob Marley
 "L-O-V-E" - Nat King Cole
 "By Your Side" - Sade
 "Alright" - Jamiroquai
 "I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)" - Stevie Wonder
 "Lost Without U" - Robin Thicke
 "Your Song" - Elton John
 "Wonderful Tonight" - Eric Clapton
 "Lowdown" - Boz Scaggs
 "The Very Thought Of You" - Billie Holiday
 "That's How Strong My Love Is" - Otis Redding
 "What a Fool Believes" - The Doobie Brothers
 "I Know You, I Live You" - Chaka Khan
 "You're All I Need to Get By" - Marvin Gaye
 "Cruisin" - D' Angelo
 "You Are the Best Thing" - Ray Lamontagne
 "That's the Way of the World" - Earth Wind & Fire
 ► "Here Comes The Sun" - The Beatles
 ► "Ain't That A Kick On The Head" - Dean Martin


I think upbeat jazz standards work best for the cocktail hour: "The Way You Look Tonight" & "The More I See You" are two of my favorites. But I do sprinkle in some pop/classic rock songs like "Knocks Me Off My Feet" (Stevie Wonder) or "Everything" (Michael Buble) - Johnny Herbert