Welcome to my 10-part series “Planning the perfect Spanish theme party”. I’m covering party planning, food, drink, entertainment, activities, music, decorations, birthday parties, dance parties, and invitations and favours.
This is part 6: Music ideas for your Spanish fiesta.
Your party will broadly fall into these different phases: arrival, dinner and dancing. You may mix things up to suit your personal style and taste, but on the whole you need something to start with, something that allows for and encourages conversation and something infectious that entices everyone onto the dancefloor.
Music on arrival
Do you want your party to start with a spectacular bang? Or do you prefer a gentler approach that gives your guests time to acclimatise? Or maybe you want to combine the two?
Those are questions worth thinking about. The more typical thing to do, would be to start with background music that allows for conversations and those all-important reconnections between friends and family members who haven’t seen each other in a while.
A surprising idea for the beginning of your party
An alternative approach could be to start off with a highlight to garner everyone’s attention and excite your guests. And then to settle into conversation. This could be particularly helpful if lots of your guests don’t know each other, because setting a highlight will make for a helpful conversation starter.
There’s a time for everything and I’m a fervent believer in not overloading the dining experience. Food should be savoured in all its glory and nothing should distract from it. Also, hungry people won’t really enjoy anything else very much 😉
So give your guests time, showcase the food and let everyone enter the happy place of a pleasantly filled tummy. Use this time to create atmosphere. Are you going for an elegant, smoky speakeasy atmosphere? Do you want to evoke the spirit of light and carefree summer? Choose your music accordingly and set the volume so that it encourages plenty of conversation, i.e. not so loud people have to shout, but not so quiet that it feels like speaking in a waiting room.
Now it’s time for the music to take center stage! Your favourite songs are a great starting point. It’s your party afterall and if you enjoy yourself, it will be infectious and your guests will have a fabulous time too.
Some party hosts ask their guests for their favourite songs and incorporate them into the playlist. It’s a nice idea, but ensure that the flow works well and doesn’t lead to jarring moments on the dance floor. At this point I should make a confession.
Should I book a DJ or create my own playlist?
For my own wedding party, my partner and I had decided to make a playlist. We weren’t going to book a DJ because we had financial concerns and also we worried the DJ wouldn’t fit in. Afterall it’s a day you spend just with your nearest and dearest. And we thought we knew best what music we loved.
On the big day, we and our guests were so out of breath from dancing so much we had to take breaks even though the music kept compelling us onto the dance floor. It was exhilirating. We hadn’t danced so much in ages and it was wonderful to share this with everyone. Why?
Because in the very last minute, we panicked and realised we needed a DJ to gauge the mood, to create peaks and troughs, high-intensity dancing and gentler moments. We were soooo lucky, because despite the short notice we found a wonderful DJ who totally got us, took our ideas on board and transformed them into the most addictive and irresistible playlist ever. If you’re celebrating in Berlin, let me know and I’ll happily pass on details 😉
I say all this, because a good DJ is worth every penny of the investment, and because it still fills me with relief and happiness that we made the right decision up until today.
Should I book a live band or musician or play recorded music?
Two main factors will determine your personal answer to this questions: How big, important and once-in-a-lifetime is the occasion and what is your budget?
Beautiful, stunning parties can be had with recorded music. My own performances all take place to recorded music and my clients have always been enthralled. I want to perform for people from all backgrounds and so want to keep my pricing accessible to a wide range of people. For the grandest of occasions and if you can afford it, why not splash out and make dreams come true?!
I hope this post has inspired you and given you ideas for your own Spanish fiesta! Let me know in the comments what choices you’re making or if you have any questions. Next week, I will write about decorations. I’ve already written about party planning, food and drink, and entertainment and party activities, so have look at all the posts written so far, too.
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