How to Choose the Perfect Playlist Name Based on Your Occasion

published Dec 30, 2022
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A woman putting on a record on a wooden turntable inside a bright apartment

You spend hours working on the playlist for your holiday party. It’s a mix of old school crooners, setting the stage for fancy cocktails in colorful vintage glasses, and instrumentals to play as conversation heats up, so your guests don’t have to scream over one another, and fan favorite pop ditties that will definitely lead to a late night singalong. 

But now comes the hard part: Naming the playlist just right, so perfectly titled that you’ll confidently offer to share it with guests each time they tell you, “What a great playlist!” Luckily, this foolproof guide is packed with perfect playlist name ideas for every occasion. 

Tips for Choosing Perfect Playlist Names

As you’re planning your song list, keep these pointers in mind to help steer your thinking. If the perfect name doesn’t come to you right now, that’s okay. Just don’t forget to write it down when it does! 

  • What is the specific occasion? It’s best to be descriptive and straightforward here. Include the actual name of when you’re listening to this.
  • Is there a mood you want to evoke? Happy? Sad? Angsty?
  • Are there any adjectives or specific items that bring to mind the occasion? Party-Ready? Pump-Up? Slow down? Burgers? Beer?
  • Use some combination of the first (occasion) and one or both of the second two (mood, adjectives/specific items) and play around with the order until you arrive on the perfect playlist name.

And, if all else fails, go for a pun that plays on either the occasion or one of the songs.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Stylist: Stephanie Yeh

Occasion: A Dinner Party

You want to evoke moody, candlelit vibes with this playlist. This is the one you put on when you’re feeling oh-so grown-up. You might even decant your wine for this party. And you want the music to fit the mood. You choose jazzy standards or low fi instrumentals. 

Playlist names: 

  • Swanky Dinner Party Vibes
  • Candlelit Dinner Party Jazz
  • Moody Dinner Vibes
Credit: AleksandarNakic/Getty Images

Occasion: Rockin’ New Year’s Eve

The tiaras and tinsel are out. The sequins are on. The champagne is flowing. You’re ready to kick off your best year yet. And the music is a rundown of the biggest hits of the past year. 

Playlist names: 

  • Sparkling NYE Hits
  • Solid Gold NYE Top 40
  • Countdown to the New Year
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Pearl Jones; Prop Styling: Vanessa Vazquez

Occasion: A Daytime Brunch 

Whether it’s a bridal shower or a few friends getting together to catch up at home, this is an occasion where you want a quiet, upbeat soundtrack in the background. No one is really listening to it, but it provides a lovely ambiance. 

Playlist names: 

  • Peaceful Classical Brunch
  • Upbeat Boozy Brunch
  • Breakfast Club Beats 
Credit: Getty Images | 10'000 Hours

Occasion: An Afternoon Barbecue

The sun is shining and, whether it’s a summer barbecue or a fall football afternoon, you’ve gathered a group together for good food and drinks. The playlist is filled with some of your favorite oldies, ’80s hits, and summer anthems.

Playlist names: 

  • Burgers, Beers, and Bangers
  • Sunny Afternoon Anthems
  • Grill & Chill 
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Stylist: Stephanie Yeh

Occasion: The House Party

Sometimes you want to put on a house party playlist that makes everyone feel like they’re 18 again. You pull together all of your favorite hits, the songs that always made this group hit the dance floor. You know every word — and so does everyone else at the party.

Playlist names: 

  • House Party Hip Hop
  • Throwback House Party
  • Party Bangers 
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Stylist: Stephanie Yeh

Occasion: A ‘Cooking Dinner at Home’ Evening

A Friday night at home with an elaborate recipe and a homemade cocktail is one of the best ways to spend a few leisurely hours after a long week. You put on a calming background playlist, light some candles, and cook your favorite meal without the pressure of a reservation. 

Playlist names: 

  • What’s for Dinner?
  • Moody At-Home Cocktail Hour
  • Classy Supper Club
Credit: MNStudio/Shutterstock

Occasion: The Memory-Making Road Trip 

It could be two hours or it could be 12 hours, a road trip is one of those special kinds of vacations you’ll never forget. And you want nostalgic, golden hour tunes to go along with it. A playlist filled with main character moment songs is just right for the occasion.

Playlist names: 

  • Forever Memories and Nostalgic Melodies
  • Retro Road Trip Tunes
  • A Drive Down Memory Lane