Ultimate Guide to The Best Wedding Music Songs
For some people, picking their wedding music is really easy - they either know the perfect wedding song or just let the DJ do it.
If you’re having a hard time picking out the perfect wedding songs, here’s a little help to get you started.
Let’s start with the songs you’ll need to pick out and then look at some fun options.
Ceremony Prelude - This is the music that’s playing 1/2 hour before you come down the aisle while your guests are being seated. Some couples want nice instrumentals, others want classic love songs, and others want grand piano versions of Usher and Beyonce. This is a great way to set the tone, but we recommend making the instrumentation and styling DIFFERENT than the choices you’ll use for your actual ceremony music.
Vitamin String Quartet
Ceremony Processional - This is the song that plays when you come down the aisle. The most classic choice is the Dum, dum, da-dum, dum DUM da-dum…. (AKA Mendelsohn’s Wedding March from his incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream). The most popular modern song is “Thousand Years” by Christina Perri, but, you’re not limited to classical music or even instrumental music.
Some other great options include:
Train - Marry Me
Pachelbel - Canon in D
Haley Reinhart - Can’t Help Falling in Love
Brother Iz - Over the Rainbow
John Legend - All of Me
Etta James - At Last
Star Wars- Throne Room/End Titles
Ceremony Recessional - This is the song that exclaims “We’re Married Now!” and plays when you’re walking BACK down the aisle. I usually recommend picking something that expresses how you feel to be officially married to the LOVE of your life.
Jackie Wilson - Higher and Higher
Stevie Wonder - Signed Sealed Delivered
American Authors - Best Day Of My Life
Ray Lamontagne - You Are The Best Thing
Hall & Oates - You Make My Dreams come True
Big & Rich - Lost in This Moment
This is the moment when the wedding party (or just you two) enter the main reception area. We recommend picking something upbeat and energetic because it helps get everyone ready to party. If it’s just the two of you then the song won’t usually play very long. If you’ve doing a larger wedding party, just remember to pick a song that’s good for you the WHOLE way through.
Justin Timberlake - Can’t Stop the Feeling!
Bruno Mars - Marry You
Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feeling
T.I. & Jay-Z - Bring ‘Em Out
AC/DC - Back in Black
DJ Khaled - All I Do Is Win
Blue Swede - Hooked on a Feeling
First Dance Song
This is the song you’ll play when you and your partner take to the dance floor for the first time. In southern culture it’s considered inappropriate for anyone to dance before the VIP couple dances, which is why most couples do this dance right when they enter the reception area.
It’s great to pick something that makes you happy and fills you all the right feels, no matter what that song is for the two of you.
DON’T pick a song because you THINK it’s appropriate. Pick a song that’s just right for the two of you. This applies to your parent dances too, but it’s especially important to remember for this dance because you’ll have this as your first dance for the rest of your lives and every time you hear it it will be YOUR song.
Also, DON’T be afraid to pick a song that someone close to you has already used. Neither of you wrote the song and your cousin or friend from college doesn’t have a monopoly on the relationship YOU and your partner have with that song.
Here are some great wedding first dance songs to inspire you:
Dan & Shay - From the Ground Up
Ed Sheehan & Beyonce - Perfect Duet
Thomas Rhett - Die a Happy Man
Adele - Make You Feel My Love
Christ Stapleton - Tennessee Whiskey
Ben E King - Stand By Me
Here are some slightly more unconventional first dance songs:
Sam Smith - Latch (acoustic)
Outkast - Baby Take Off Your Cool
Steve Azar - Lay Your Heart Next To Mine
Bright Eyes - First Day Of My Life
Dave Matthews - Crush
Tamia & Eric Benet - Spend My Life with You
And here’s the songs my wife and I danced to:
Aphex Twin - Kick-Ass Violin Solo
The Flamingoes - Only Have Eyes For You
Parent Dance Wedding Songs
The parent dances can be one of the most poignant moments of a wedding, and the same rules apply - pick something that fits your relationship with your mother/father , whether it’s something unapologetically cliched but important in your lives or something out of left field. You’ll invite your parent (or someone you want to honor and recognize) out to the dance floor for a very special dance.
The thing many clients think is that they have to cut this dance short, which you can absolutely do. I would argue that you don’t have to though. This may be the most time you spend with them on your whole wedding day, and if your guests can’t sit down and shut up for 4 minutes out of respect while you share this special moment with one of the most important people in your life then their opinions on the matter are irrelevant.
Father Daughter Dance Song
Heartland - I Loved Her First
Tim McGraw - My Little Girl
Temptations - My Girl
Frank Sinatra/ Tony Bennet/ Maroon 5 - The Way You Look Tonight
Stevie Wonder - Isn’t She Lovely/ Ribbon in the Sky
Paul Simon - Father/Daughter
Beach Boys - God Only Knows
Mother Son Dance Song
Rascal Flatts - My Wish
Louis Armstrong - Wonderful World (it’s short!)
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Simple Man
Boyz II Men - Song for Mama
Beatles - In My Life
Phil Collins - You’ll Be in My Heart
Reba Mcentire - He Gets That From Me
Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell - Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Cake Cutting Song
You may be wondering why you have to pick out a cake cutting song, that’s because it’s going to take a few minutes for you to get over, have the photographer explain how to cut it and position you for the best pictures, and then actually cut the cake. Usually we recommend picking TWO cake cutting songs because it often takes longer than just one song. This is a good place to play around with whole sweet/sugar/cake/food thing because your guests can certainly appreciate a good song selection.
Maroon 5 - Sugar
James Taylor - How Sweet It Is
DNCE - Cake By The Ocean
Archies - Sugar Sugar
Def Leppard - Pour Some Sugar on Me
Four Tops - Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)
Flo Rida - Cake
Average White Band - Cut the Cake
This is where you invite all the single (read: unmarried) women to the dance floor and toss a bouquet to them. From the get go, it doesn’t have to be just the women. You can invite any guests who are looking for a partner. This tradition is one of the oldest and can give you some great photographs for your wedding album.
Some fun Bouquet Toss Songs are:
Beyonce - Single Ladies
Meghan Trainor - Dear Future Husband
Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Want To Have Fun
Shania Twain - Man! I Feel Like A Woman
David Guetta - Where Them Girls At
Spice Girls - Wannabe
Ludacris - Move B*tch
Pat Benatar - Hit Me With Your Best Shot
TLC - No Scrubs
This is the moment where your partner pulls your garter off your leg (if you’re wearing one) BEFORE he throws it to the assembled single men. There’s a lot to have fun with in this moment if you decide to include it and the right song can absolutely make the moment!
Georgia Satellites - Hands To Yourself
Mission Impossible Theme Song
Kenny Loggins - Danger Zone
Nelly - Hot in Herre
Justin Timberlake - Sexyback
Jimi Hendrix - Foxy Lady
Big Pimpin - Jay Z
Just like the bouquet toss but for the fellas. This is a great photo op and a lot of fun when you set the right tone. Some really fun Garter Toss songs include:
Queen - Another One Bites the Dust
Panic at the Disco - Death of a Bachelor
Killers - The Man
Jidenna - Classic Man
Inner Circle - Bad Boys (Theme from Cops)
Aloe Blacc - The Man
ZZ Top - Sharp Dressed Man
One of the most controversial wedding events, it’s great for some crowds but inappropriate for others. This is where the guy who caught the garter puts it back on the leg of the person who caught the bouquet. In reality, that’s just the set-up - the main event is the dance routine!
Garter Replacement Songs:
Ginuwine - Pony
Marvin Gaye - Let’s Get It On
Hot In Herre - Nelly
David Rose Orchestra - The Stripper
Warrant - Cherry Pie
AC/DC - You Shook Me All Night Long
R. Kelly - Bump & Grind
Weeknd - Earned It
Big & Rich - Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy
Niall Horan - Slow Hands
Last Dance Song
This is the final song you want played before you head off into the world as a married couple. There are three schools of thought about this dance - Romantic (either for everyone or just the two of you), Full Party Mode (wild it out!), and Sing Along. Any of these can be great, but what’s best for your wedding day?
Journey - Don’t Stop Believin’
Semisonic - Closing Time
Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes - (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life
Michael Buble - Save the Last Dance for Me
Donna Summer - Last Dance
Billy Joel - Piano Man
Old Crow Medicine Show - Wagon Wheel
’N Sync - Bye Bye Bye
Isley Brothers - Shout
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
Luke Bryan - I Don’t Want This Night To End
Fun - We Are Young
Other Song Choices
Groom’s Ceremony Entrance Song
Seating of the Mothers
Bridal Party Song
Unity Ceremony Song
Receiving Line Song
Anniversary Dance Songs
Newlywed Game Song