Create a Dinner-Party Playlist

Fail-safe music suggestions.

Photo by Maura McEvoy
A dinner-party playlist should include songs that flow well into one another, which is why movie soundtracks and best-of compilations often work well.

“You don’t want abrupt transitions, because you want the music to enhance the dinner, not distract from it,” say Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart, cohosts of the Eric and Kathy Morning Show on the MIX, 101.9 f.m., in Chicago.

And make sure the music isn’t too loud. Press Play and walk into another room ― if you can hear the music with the door closed, turn it down.

Here, suggestions from Ferguson, Hart, and Julie Pryor, a Los Angeles–based event planner.

Greatest Hits

  • Fields of Gold: The Best of Sting
  • The Very Best of Frank Sinatra
  • The Very Best of Louis Armstrong
  • The Best of Van Morrison


  • The Big Chill
  • Garden State
  • Love Actually (for the holidays)


For even more music ideas, head to, where you can download up to three Real Simple-generated iMixes, whether you're looking for something low-key, upbeat, or holiday-inspired: