NON-WEDDING Dinner Playlist Suggestions?

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Jim Davis

Professional "Craigslist DJ"
Hey guys! So it occurred to me as I prepared for a private Christmas party last month that I didn't have a non-wedding standby dinner list. My wedding dinner list is chock full of love-related, unobtrusive dinner music fitting for the mood of a wedding. However it just doesn't seem to work for a run-of-the-mill party with a sit down dinner.

I managed to put something acceptable together (I think), but I'd love to hear your suggestions on dinner-worthy songs that won't put anyone to sleep, but don't impede on conversations either*... and ones that don't scream "YOU'RE AT A WEDDING!" (think Micheal Buble - Just Haven't Met you yet...).

* Obviously I know that volume has quite a bit to do with whether or not people can comfortably converse, but I think we all know that some songs just seem to cut into conversations more than others.


DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 20, 2013
A few of my must plays for dinner regardless of the type of event:


This one shows people dancing and is a little faster tempo than the original recording but I like the song (the original) for dinner because it kind of changes it up a bit from piano music.

This was my parents album and was my first real exposure to horns.

I was mostly exposed to adult contemporary at an early age and some songs just make great background or dinner music.

Any slow Steely Dan would be good as well.

Jeff Romard

Staff member
ODJT Supporter
Sep 4, 2006
Sydney, Nova Scotia


DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 17, 2015
Western Pennsylvania
Lots of options...
I'd ask about the age of the people in attendance and work from there.

i've done picnics and banquets for my gun club - based on age 60s and 70s songs work best - top 40 but also general rock stuff (since it's mostly guys). And I toss in a few older and newer songs as well.

for cocktail hours I have a long list of 'themes' and keep expanding it. 50s (think car cruise), 80s is popular, overall pop songs (think top 10 or 20 for the past 40 years), R&B/Motown, jazz and classical of course, easy listening (not as easy as a wedding perhaps).

I make lists for HS reunions so it's not hard to mix a few lists together to cover any 10 year period.

DJ Bobcat

DJ Extraordinerror
Nov 8, 2014
Oklahoma City
Nearly all my events have NOT been weddings, and most don't include dinners. However, in the rare cases I am able to play music prior to the dance segment, I like to play upbeat instrumental music... stuff like The Rippingtons, Keiko Matsui, John Adorney, Michael Gettel, and many others. I like original music performed by the original artists, so unless they typically listen to that type of music, the music is new to many of the guests. I love it, when guests come up to me and say; "I love the music; who was that last artist?" I have thousands of CD's with original instrumental music, which I collected for my personal listening pleasure long before thinking about being a DJ.

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