Picking the Perfect Wedding Songs – Wedding Music Guide

Stylus SE Wedding

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

Piano Guys

Mark Magnusen

David Sides

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

Bouquet Toss 

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


Garter Removal 

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

Garter Toss 

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

Garter Replacement 

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

There are lots of other songs you can pick out for your event (short list below) but these are the most popular moments to pick songs for. If you’ve got questions or are looking for more song options, feel free to reach out to us at info@styusweddings.com or call us anytime at 919-346-4669.

Other Song Choices

Groom’s Ceremony Entrance Song

Seating of the Mothers

Bridal Party Song

Unity Ceremony Song

Receiving Line Song

Cocktail Music 

Dinner Music

Toast Songs

Anniversary Dance Songs

Newlywed Game Song