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Editors’ Picks: Our Favorite Wedding Songs and the Songs We Never Want to Hear Again

Make sure to add these to your must-play and do-not-play lists.

After a sentimental vow exchange, the party can finally begin—and what’s a party without music? There’s truly no better way to celebrate your newlywed status than dancing along to a killer playlist with your favorite people. From classic oldies to current chart-topping hits, music sets the tone for your reception, so the songs you select have the potential to either make or break the occasion. Since the goal is to get everyone out on the dance floor, the tunes you select are largely responsible for bringing the energy.

Over the years, the editors at Brides have been to quite a few weddings (and some of us have even planned our own nuptials!), so we tapped their expertise and asked them to share one song they love hearing at a wedding and one that they aren’t the biggest fans of. At the top of the list are tracks with upbeat melodies or joyful messages of love, while overplayed tunes and ballads with trite lyrics rank at the bottom. Based on individual experiences and personal preferences, here are our editors’ favorite and least favorite songs to hear at a wedding reception.

Groom holding the bride on the dance floor

Photo by Ryan Ray Photography / Design by Tiana Crispino

Our Favorite Wedding Songs

Whether the tune appeals to all generations or has a melody that no one can resist dancing along to, these are the tracks we always gravitate towards.

“Forever Young” by Rod Stewart

“This is my husband's favorite song to dance to at weddings, and seeing how much fun he has every time it comes on during a reception has quickly led to it becoming my favorite wedding song, too. It's generation-less, which means guests both young and old will hit the dance floor when the band starts performing it, and it's one of the few songs that works well for either a fast or a slow dance. An all-around winner!” — Gabriella Rello Duffy, Editorial Director

“Dancing Queen” by ABBA

“One of my favorite parts of a wedding is how they become a big multi-generational dance party. Thanks to disco's major revival right now, ‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA is my current favorite to get everyone on the dance floor and singing along to all the words.” — Shelby Wax, Senior Editor

“At Last” by Beyoncé

“High among the ranks of truly classic love songs, for me, is ‘At Last.’ Of course, I love the original by Etta James (it just doesn't get better than this), but I also love the version by Beyoncé. It's so sweet seeing the newlyweds dance to this song, or if it comes on later in the night when everyone is dancing, it just makes the room feel alive with the best energy.” — Ellie Nan Storck, Senior Editor

Bride dancing beneath confetti

Photo by Stanlo Photography / Design by Tiana Crispino

“Swag Surfin'” by Fast Life Yungstaz

“I believe group/line dances are the most memorable moments on the dance floor, and each time ‘Swag Surfin'’ by F.L.Y. comes on at a wedding, the energy in the room completely shifts. No matter how exhausted a guest might be, everyone will immediately get up and collectively swag surf with the couple. I personally wait for this song to play at most weddings I attend.” — Corinne Pierre-Louis, Editor

“I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas

“Whenever ‘I Gotta Feeling’ comes on, everyone always hits the dance floor. It’s such a feel-good song with a simple message that’s especially fitting for a wedding night. Guests of all ages won’t be able to resist dancing along to this hit track.” — Lilly Blomquist, Editorial Assistant

“Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé

“‘Crazy in Love’ is one of those songs that always gets the party started. If you don’t rush to the dance floor when the band or DJ plays this song, I simply can’t relate. The sentiment of this song *screams* wedding, and I may or may not have been going with this hit as my entrance song for my upcoming wedding.” — Jessica Chassin, Senior Social Media Editor

“Find Someone Like You” by Snoh Aalegra

“This song oozes modern romance and soul that gives you a warm fuzzy feeling every time you listen to it. It makes the perfect recessional or first-dance song. Just picture it: holding hands, filled with newlywed bliss, while the words ‘I've been waiting my whole life to find someone like you’ plays in the background. It's absolutely romantic.” — Araziel Jackson, Associate Social Media Editor

Our Least Favorite Wedding Songs

The ballads at the bottom of our list are ones with negative messages about love or ones that feel stale at the moment. Here's why our editors chose them.

“Don’t Stop the Party” by Pitbull

“This was one of the few songs I gave my band as part of my own wedding's do-not-play list, and I stand very firmly behind that decision over a year later. I think this song is incredibly overplayed, and I don't think the lyrics lend themselves to this type of celebration. For me, this song coming on during the reception will always be a sign to visit the photo booth or to take a water break!” — Gabriella Rello Duffy, Editorial Director

“Rude” by MAGIC!

“One song I have never thought was appropriate for a wedding is ‘Rude’ by MAGIC! The whole point of the song is that a man doesn't get family approval to marry a woman, but he plans to do it anyway. While it does have some Romeo and Juliet vibes, I feel like it would be super awkward to play at a wedding in case there is any family tension.” — Shelby Wax, Senior Editor

Couple dancing with their guests

Photo by Stanlo Photography / Design by Tiana Crispino

“Hey Ya!” by OutKast

“I'm pretty over hearing ‘Hey Ya!’ by Outkast. It had its place in the early 2000s, but it's just tired!” — Ellie Nan Storck, Senior Editor

“Wobble” by V.I.C

“While on the topic of group/line dances, one song I'd prefer to never hear again is ‘Wobble’ by V.I.C. While it was popular in the early 2000s, I think there are better songs to play at a wedding that'll get guests up and dancing.” — Corinne Pierre-Louis, Editor

“Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars

“Although ‘Uptown Funk’ does have the potential to create an energetic atmosphere, it’s just way too overplayed. Not to mention, the lyrics don’t really say anything about a loving relationship. In my opinion, there are plenty of other upbeat songs that will create the right mood for your reception or after-party.” — Lilly Blomquist, Editorial Assistant

“Shout” by the Isley Brothers

“‘Shout’ is a controversial choice, and the people who love it, love it, and the people who don’t love it, really can’t stand it. Personally, I find it cheesy and tend to leave the dance floor when this song plays.” — Jessica Chassin, Senior Social Media Editor

“Marry You” by Bruno Mars

“There's no denying this would be a fun wedding song as it's literally an upbeat song about marriage. However, I’m all about breaking tradition and clichés on your big day, and this one feels like I've heard it one too many times.” — Araziel Jackson, Associate Social Media Editor

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