The 115 Best Songs for Your Wedding Reception

Discover the perfect songs for your big day from Jenna in White!

Written by Brittany Poppen

INTRODUCTION

Are you looking for songs that you love and that your guests are familiar with and will dance to? At Jenna in White, we know how important tunes are for your big day. Choosing songs for your wedding reception can be a tricky process. Wedding after wedding, there are some tried and true songs to make the final list. So, we conducted some *enjoyable* research to create the perfect playlists for your wedding.

MUSIC SETS THE TONE

When planning a wedding, there are many choices to make for the big day. Jenna in White has you covered when it comes to selecting the perfect dress, but we also want to help you find the best soundtrack for your big day.

Most likely, your favorite weddings had terrific music and dancing. Music is the least tangible component of a wedding day, it doesn’t show up in photos, but it does contribute to the success of an event. Great music = happy guests.

Your wedding guests will be from different generations. Grandparents, aunts, nephews, and friends your own age… they all want to enjoy the fun! That’s why it is important to feature a good mix of new wedding songs and classics. Make sure to sprinkle in some wedding standards and a few classics to the songs you love.

BAND OR DJ?

How to decide between a band or a DJ? Begin with your budget. DJs charge a lot less than musicians. The most talented band cannot provide the range that a DJ can.

Although, live music is very memorable. The two most memorable weddings had live music involved in parts of their wedding. One wedding I attended had an 8-piece band with 4 singers that sang live music for 3-4 hours during the reception, it was the liveliest reception I have ever been to! Another wedding I attended had a small choir sing during the prelude of the ceremony and a small orchestra play during cocktail hour. The whole musical experience was very upbeat and relaxing.

SONGS FOR EVERY PART OF YOUR WEDDING RECEPTION

There are plenty of opportunities to listen to specific songs during the various parts of your wedding reception. The songs in Jenna in White’s playlist are suitable for all the following parts of the reception:

  1. The Cocktail Hour: A great way to elevate the ambiance is with light background music while your guests mingle and sip. Go for the instrumental versions of your favorite songs.
  2. Wedding Reception Songs: Overall, most Ed Sheeran songs will add some love and romance. Bruno Mars songs will get it popping!
  3. Wedding Party Entrance Song: Your bridesmaids and groomsman will get the party started with something upbeat, and sometimes silly.
  4. Grand Entrance Song: It’s time to begin your journey in style. Pick a song that lights up the whole venue and gets people excited to celebrate your love story.
  5. First Dance Wedding Song: Whatever your taste, select something that you and your partner will both love for years, this song should be very personal to you. My personal favorite is “When I Get My Hands On You” by The New Basement Tapes. Look for lyrics that speak to your relationship together and a beat you can dance to.
  6. Father-Daughter Wedding Song: There are classics like “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole or “My Girl” by the Temptations. Country singers have some great current popular options like “My Little Girl” by Tim McGraw.
  7. Mother-Son Wedding Song: There are not as many mother-son songs that translate to the wedding day, in comparison to father-daughter wedding songs, but there are still SO many fantastic options. I’m personally drawn to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of “Over the Rainbow.”
  8. Wedding Cake Cutting Song: Pick a *sweet* song that is either romantic or passionate (or both) like “How Sweet It Is” by James Taylor. The tempo of the wedding cake cutting song can be varied – have fun with it!
  9. Last Dance Song: End your night on a sentimental note with “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, an upbeat one, “Last Dance” by Donna Summer, or the ever-classic bar-closing song “Closing Time” by Semisonic.

WHAT THIS PLAYLIST DOES NOT INCLUDE: Ceremony Playlist

Your selections for the ceremony will probably look a bit different than the music included on Jenna in White’s list. You’ll need to pick selections for the prelude, processional, bride’s entrance, and recessional. Think about whether those selections will stand the test of time. There are plenty of classic choices that will become a part of your romantic wedding day soundtrack!

MOST POPULAR WEDDING SONGS RIGHT NOW

Spotify released a playlist titled, “Most Popular Wedding Songs Globally” that includes 50 songs analyzed from more than 400,000 wedding-themed playlists from users around the globe. The top three included “All of Me” by John Legend, “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran, and “Marry You” by Bruno Mars. We should note that the playlist came out in 2015, and they have yet to analyze new data. But it’s still likely that if you attended a wedding this year, you’ve probably heard one (or all three) of those songs played!

Personally, I’m partial to any songs Ed Sheeran writes. He sings a lot about how much he loves his wife, so you do not need to go searching far for the perfect wedding reception songs anymore! I’ve heard him in concert, and he spoke of how “Tenerife Sea” was written while he was staying in Nashville, Tennessee.

Lyrics of Love: “You look so wonderful in your dress / I love your hair like that / The way it falls down the side of your neck / Down your shoulders and back / I’m so in love / So in love”

THE ULTIMATE MUSIC PLAYLIST FOR YOUR WEDDING RECEPTION

For some ideas, here’s our roundup of the 115 best wedding songs to include in your reception.

POPULAR POP WEDDING SONGS

This list includes music from more contemporary artists in the past decade. They are all full of love and romance.

  1. “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran
  2. “All of You” by John Legend
  3. “Marry You” by Bruno Mars
  4. “Coming Home” by Leon Bridges
  5. “Everything” by Michael Bublé
  6. “Lover” by Taylor Swift
  7. “Crazy in Love” By Beyonce Feat. Jay-Z
  8. “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
  9. “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Ray
  10. “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran
  11. “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele
  12. “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran
  13. “One Kiss” by Dua Lipa, Calvin Harris
  14. “Beyond” by Leon Bridges
  15. “How Long Will I Love You” by Ellie Goulding
  16. “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” by Justin Timberlake
  17. “Adore You” by Harry Styles
  18. “Tenerife Sea” by Ed Sheeran
  19. “Marry Me” by Train
  20. “Golden Hour” by Kacey Musgraves

POPULAR PAST POP WEDDING SONGS

These songs are a combination of fun and emotion to keep you high-spirited, happy, and dancing! If you love 80s and 90s vibes, these songs are for you.

  1. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston
  2. “Believe” by Cher
  3. “I Love You Always Forever” by Donna Lewis
  4. “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion
  5. “Dancing Queen” by Abba
  6. “Your Song” by Elton John
  7. “For Sentimental Reasons” by Rod Stewart
  8. “You’ll Be In My Heart” by Phil Collins
  9. “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams
  10. “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin
  11. “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel
  12. “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley
  13. “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme!” by ABBA
  14. “You’ll Be In My Heart” by Phil Collins
  15. “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire
  16. “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel
  17. “When You Love a Woman” by Journey
  18. “Someone Like You” by Van Morrison
  19. “Night Moves” by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
  20. “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

BEST CLASSIC WEDDING SONGS

Who doesn’t love a classic? These are some of the most requested wedding songs in the industry and have maintained their popularity for decades.

  1. “At Last” by Etta James
  2. “Stand By Me” by Otis Redding
  3. “My Girl” by The Temptations
  4. “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley
  5. “Fly Me To The Moon” by Frank Sinatra
  6. “If I Can Dream” by Elvis Presley
  7. “The Last Waltz” by Englebert Humperdinck
  8. “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers
  9. “Let’s Do It” by Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong
  10. “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher” by Jackie Wilson
  11. “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Frankie Valli
  12. “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King
  13. “(What A) Wonderful World” by Sam Cooke
  14. “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong
  15. “Moon River” by Andy Williams
  16. “What’d I Say” by Ray Charles
  17. “La Vie En Rose” by Edith Piaf
  18. “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder
  19. “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin
  20. “Everybody Loves Somebody” by Dean Martin

TOP COUNTRY WEDDING SONGS

Country artists have a way of writing songs that are perfect for many specific occasions, and weddings are no exception. These songs are full of strong and deep messages of love, oftentimes plucking at your heartstrings! Country music has everything from dance tunes to ballads.

  1. “Yours” by Russell Dickerson
  2. “Hey Pretty Girl” by Kip Moore
  3. “Making Memories of Us” by Keith Urban
  4. “From This Moment On” by Shania Twain
  5. “Then” by Brad Paisley
  6. “Prayed for You” by Matt Stell
  7. “You Save Me” by Kenny Chesney
  8. “Good Things Happen” by Dierks Bentley
  9. “Beautiful Crazy” by Luke Combs
  10. “You’re Still the One” by Shania Twain
  11. “In Case You Didn’t Know” by Brett Young
  12. “Making Memories of Us” by Keith Urban
  13. “Your Man” by Josh Turner
  14. “God Gave Me You” by Blake Shelton
  15. “Hey Pretty Girl” Kip Moore
  16. “Rockin’ Years” by Dolly Parton
  17. “Tuesdays” by Jake Scott
  18. “Yours” by Russell Dickerson
  19. “Who I Am With You” by Brett Young
  20. “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton
  21. “To The Moon and Back” by Luke Bryan
  22. “Speechless” by Dan + Shay
  23. “Nobody But You” by Blake Shelton
  24. “I Hope You Dance” by Leann Womack
  25. “I Loved Her First” by Heartland

ALTERNATIVE, INDIE & FOLK WEDDING SONGS

Okay, hear me out. Alternative, Indie & Folk are my favorite music genres… so this list is the longest. It’s full of quirky and nontraditional tunes that might just be perfect for your big day!

  1. “Shut Up and Dance With Me” by Walk the Moon
  2. “Home” by Edith Whiskers
  3. “Tell Her You Love Her” by Echosmith
  4. “Love is All Around” by Sleeping At Last
  5. “New Life” by Lovkn
  6. “Beautiful Thing” by Grace VanderWaal
  7. “You Are The Reason” by Callum Scott
  8. “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur
  9. “Turning Page” by Sydney Rose
  10. “Northern Wind” by City and Colour
  11. “Kiss Me” by Sixpense None the Richer
  12. “You Are The Best Thing” by Ray LaMantagne
  13. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
  14. “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay
  15. “Everlong” by Foo Fighters
  16. “Free Fallin’” by John Mayer
  17. “You And I Always” by Jake Isaac
  18. “Wherever You Will Go” by The Calling
  19. “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers
  20. “A Thousand Years” by Christian Perri
  21. “Wonderwall” by Oasis
  22. “The One” by Kodaline
  23. “Echo” by Incubus
  24. “Maps” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  25. “First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes
  26. “Baby, I’m Yours” by Arctic Monkeys
  27. “You & Me” by Dave Matthews Band
  28. “XO” by John Mayer
  29. “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan
  30. “Better Together” by Jack Johnson

CONCLUSION

Music is important because it translates emotions and feelings into words. At weddings, it is a great way to bring people together and dance the night away. We love pop (current and past), classics, country, and alternative tunes.

What songs are you planning to include on your big day? Let us know in the comments!

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