Music is a key ingredient to any successful celebration. And while our larger celebrations almost always feature amazing entertainment from 25 piece bands to some of the best DJs around and more; smaller celebrations are in equal need of amazing soundtracks as well. While you could always curate your own playlist or work virtually with your favorite DJ to create something perfect, I lean on Spotify for my dinner parties and at home gatherings. Below are a handful of my go to genres and the perfect occasions to use them:
When hosting an al fresco family style dinner, Gypsy Jazz is my absolute go to. It has a distinctly European vibe that puts guests instantly at ease. It’s the type of music that has just enough beat to keep the energy lively and encourage guests to drink way too much wine but it’s also subtle enough to allow for amazing flow and conversation. I love this French Gypsy Jazz playlist, myself, but there are many to choose from if you simply search for the genre.
HIGH ENERGY CUMBIA ALA GIPSY KINGS
If I’m serving Mezcal, Margaritas and a Mexican inspired feast, Cumbia is a must. But you have to be careful not to just select any ole Cumbia playlist because while always ultra romantic, it can get a little sleepy. Search for a playlist with high energy Cumbia that one might want to tap their toes to after a cocktail or two. Cumbia Para Bailar is my favorite. If you can’t find one, create a radio station inspired by Gipsy Kings.
BALI BEACH CLUB
If I’m hosting a summer cocktail party featuring vodka based cocktails and fresh seafood, I set the tone with a Bali beach club mix every time. I specifically love this one from Ku De Ta, a super amazing beach club in Simenyak, Bali. The result creates a chill atmosphere that guests can lean into and simply be present the entire night through.
When having my favorite friends over for a lovely brunch filled with bubbly, crepes and french omelettes, I opt for cafe inspired tunes that help take the guests to a dreamy place where they can sip their way through the afternoon. There are a ton of cafe and coffee shop playlists, but I’m obsessed with this one called Cafe Con Leche. It’s relaxing with just enough energy to keep the energy chill but fun.
BIG BAND OR SWING ERA JAZZ
If I’m hosting dinner for a true occasion with a bit more formal of a menu, I opt for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Etta James. The music feels special, nostalgic and intentional. It pairs perfectly for an evening of celebration where I want guests to dine on course after course and enjoy into the late evening. There are a ton of playlists curated on Spotify with this genre in mind, but my go to is linked here.
MUSIC FROM YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT OR LOUNGE
Some don’t realize this, but a lot of your favorite restaurants, clubs and lounges put their playlists on Spotify. I find this to be an incredible resource if I’m not feeling any of the above for whatever reason. I personally lean on the playlists curated by the Soho House’s around the world. They each have a different vibe and almost always deliver exactly what I’m looking for.
No matter what soundtrack you choose for your celebrations, the goal is to create an environment where guests can escape for a bit. For this reason, I typically choose world music or tunes that take guests to another era. Remember to choose something with a bit of a vibe without distracting lyrics. You want guests to relax and enjoy while barely noticing the music is even there.
And, just in case you’re in the market for a sound system to use in your home or for backyard entertaining, here are a few amazing options to consider.
I love a turntable. Not only is it nostalgic, but it’s a beautiful design piece to either keep in your home or bring out when you’re entertaining.
This portable Bose Speaker is streamlined and perfect for using in your backyard if you don’t have a full sound system installed. It’s also a great piece to take with you on the go.
Like an old school radio, this bluetooth speaker has amazing vintage style while giving you access to any song or playlist currently being streamed.
But my absolute favorite speaker is the Sonos SL. Aside from when I’m playing actual records, I truly don’t want to see electronics. The white speaker blends right in just about anywhere and it gives the same quality as a super expensive surround sound system.