You have the tablecloth laid out, place card ready, and the candles lit—the only thing left to do before your guests arrive is create the perfect playlist to set the mood for your dinner party. The only problem? It’s not as simple as it seems. While designing your menu or making sure your home was spotlessly clean may have taken hours as it is, creating the perfect playlist for a dinner party—especially one you’re eager to turn into an elegant celebration—can take hours more. In fact, one wrong song coming over your Spotify station can ruin the sophisticated mood you’ve tried to cultivate—even if you love Drake, hearing “In My Feelings” between classical numbers certainly has a jarring effect. So, what should make the cut for your playlist? We’ve rounded up the perfect songs to set the mood for your special evening, each more charming than the last:
“They Can’t Take That Away From Me” by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong: If you’re aiming for elegance, you can’t go wrong with the classic duo of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Written by George and Ira Gershwin in 1937 and recorded by Fitzgerald and Armstrong in 1956, this beautiful song about all the things a person fondly remembers about their former significant other long after a relationship has come and gone is both charming and sophisticated, setting the perfect mood for your guests at the table.
“Gymnopédie 1” by Erik Satie: While Erik Satie has been dead for the better part of a century, his compositions are every bit as timeless today as they were when they were first written. Among his most notable—and eminently dinner-party-worthy—is “Gymnopédie 1,” an 1888 piano piece that is an elegant alternative to compositions with lyrics, allowing your sparkling conversation to remain the focus of your gathering.
“God Bless the Child” by Billie Holiday: Lady Day’s contributions to the world of music are timeless, making them sound as fresh to new listeners as they did when they first played half a century ago. And while songs like “Strange Fruit” and “What a Little Moonlight Can Do” certainly have their place, if you’re looking for the perfect relaxed composition to play at your dinner party, “God Bless the Child” is, without a doubt, it.
“The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra: Sometimes, setting the right mood for a dinner party can mean infusing the evening with a few romantic ditties. If you want to add a little extra charm to your playlist, Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight” is the perfect tune for you, a charming and refined, yet entirely romantic song that’s sure to make everyone at your table a little misty-eyed.
“A Sunday Kind of Love” by Etta James: Of course, what elegant playlist would be complete without a song by Etta James? The Matriarch of R&B’s “A Sunday Kind of Love” is the perfect addition to your dinner party playlist—the kind of song that’s as welcome when you’re sitting down to a great meal as it is when you’re feeling ready to slow dance after the dishes have been put away.
Building the ideal playlist to set the tone for your dinner party isn’t as easy as it seems, but getting the right songs on your mix can help you create the ambiance you’re going for in no time. Don’t get stuck with a questionable list of songs again—these tried and true favorites will turn any gathering into an elegant affair in no time.