However which way you’re envisioning music for your wedding reception—and we’re talking about four to five hours of music, which is around 80 to 100 songs if you’ve booked a DJ or 50-to-60+ songs with a live band—there's a huge amount of collaboration that goes into the planning stages. The beautiful thing about your wedding reception music is that it can be a little bit of everything: You’re welcome to skip around between a lot of genres and decades and styles that you both love.
“I always say that the wedding playlist is the soundtrack to the couple's love story. Couples should consider adding more songs that resonate with who they are,” says Keanna O’Quinn of Sonic Sommelier. “Any song that reminds them of why they love each other is a good place to start and incorporating songs that are tied to memories they have with loved ones is also super important. The music should be a culmination of songs that are linked to the best moments of their lives.” Whether you’re working with a band, a few musicians, or a DJ, after a couple of discussions everyone will have a crystal clear understanding of the overall roadmap for the day—including any asks for key moments during your wedding reception, such as first dance songs or must-play dance floor anthems. But at some point, you also have to trust the talent you’ve booked to read the room and make magic happen.
Meet the Expert
- Keanna O’Quinn is the founder of Sonic Sommelier. Her flagship band, Honey+Vinyl, has more than a decade of experience in the luxury events and wedding industry.
- Lea Palmieri is a Spotify Trend Expert and podcast host. For more inspiration from Spotify, check out the curated Wedding Songs and Wedding Party playlists.
- Andrea Smith is the founder of The Band Method, a New York City-based musician collective that caters to weddings and private events.
- Since Dart Collective was founded in 2013, the Austin, Texas-based Dart family of bands, DJs, and musicians have set the soundtrack for hundreds of events and weddings. Chris Bryne, COO, and Ruby Zuckerman, Event Producer, collaborated with Brides for this article.
- Jacqueline Vizcaino is the founder of Tinted Event Design, Production, and Planning in Atlanta, Georgia, which specializes in wedding celebrations.
“For key-moment song decisions, we tap into the couple’s personality and energy to try to get to know them a bit better,” says Andrea Smith, founder of The Band Method. For the overall set list, Smith looks for a little more creative freedom. Couples draft a list of favorites, based on Smith’s song lists, as well as their “do not play” list. After that, it’s in the band’s hands.
Before you hand your musical talent the keys, so to speak, take a deep dive into this wedding reception playlist inspiration, which ranges from gold-standard classics to more modern dance classics, and plenty of fresh takes. Just remember: This is your celebration. If the newlyweds are happy, it's guaranteed that everyone will have a good time.
“I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me),” Whitney Houston (1987)
There's a reason why Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)’ is the number one song added to user-generated wedding playlists on Spotify, says Lea Palmieri, Spotify trend expert and podcast host. “We've all sung our hearts out to that one on the dance floor.”
“It never fails—it’s a feel-good song that is literally about dancing with the people you love,” say Chris Bryne and Ruby Zuckerman of Dart Collective.
“September,” Earth, Wind & Fire (1978)
Dart Collective describes this ‘70s disco hit as a “bulletproof classic'' for the dance floor.
Lyrics of Love: “Say, do you remember? / Dancin’ in September / Never was a cloudy day…”
“Respect,” Aretha Franklin (1967)
It didn’t take Jennifer Hudson starring as Ms. Franklin in the 2021 biopic to elevate this Motown classic; “Respect” commands a dance floor every time.
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” Stevie Wonder (1977)
Songs by this Motown icon are always a good idea. A great opening, recognizable hook, and cross-generational appeal place this Stevie classic towards the top of Dart Collective’s requests.
“Higher Ground,” Stevie Wonder (1973)
“It’s a classic that mature guests can vibe to, but it is so musically funky that younger guests can't help but jam out too,” says O’Quinn.
“Sir Duke,” Stevie Wonder (1976)
Talk about unleashing the horns. “Sir Duke” is yet another Stevie classic that plays beautifully for any specific celebration moments, as well as a general call to action to get moving towards the dance floor.
“Dancing Queen,” Abba (1976)
You know the song. If the two of you vibe with this Euro-disco pop hit—you already know it will be a dance floor favorite.
“Let’s Dance,” David Bowie (1983)
Who can resist this call to action from Bowie himself, whose timeless cool has plenty of cross-generation cache?
“December, 1963 (Oh What a Night),” Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons (1974)
Another 70’s hit with a funky bass line, this is a classic that feels properly vintage, not outdated. “With ‘Shout' becoming less and less popular, this song gives that old-school vibe that couples are looking for,” adds Smith.
“Sweet Caroline,” Neil Diamond (1969)
The crescendo of “Sweet Caroline” should be reason enough to jog your memory; the sing-along charm of this ballad positions it among wedding reception classics.
“Dreams,” Fleetwood Mac (1977)
If somehow you don’t know Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” or Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” (next on this epic list) from the first notes, it might be time to rediscover a couple of moments of musical greatness. Tingles on the spine all but guaranteed.
“Jolene,” Dolly Parton (1974)
One of the great ballads of the 20th century, “Jolene” is a classic Dolly sing-along with high-tempo energy that’s bound to bring out the songstress in at least one of your wedding guests.
“Tell Me Something Good,” Rufus, Chaka Khan (1974)
Fantastic vocals, bass guitar will no doubt channel music-inclined wedding guests onto the dance floor. This classic took home the award for “Best R&B Performance by Duo a Group With Vocals” at the Grammy Awards.
“Move On Up,” Curtis Mayfield (1970)
Talk about an anthem. Drop this classic disco-soul track onto your reception playlist and dancing’s bound to ensue.
“(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher,” Jackie Wilson (1967)
This song works beautifully as a couple’s dance song as well as for a dance song to engage the entire dance floor.
“Feelin’ Alright,” Joe Cocker (1969)
A sing-along song for family members of a certain era—and perhaps you love the song, too—this early ‘70s hit has been tapped for more than a few TV/motion picture soundtracks and deserves recognition in its own right. “Feelin’ Alright” could certainly be a closeout song of the night.
“Modern Love,” David Bowie (1983)
From the opening guitar riffs straight through til Bowie sings “Modern love / modern love / modern love” for the nth time—with only a few references about getting to the church on time somewhere in between—this song’s upbeat tempo, big brass, jamming piano, all add up to a dance floor hit.
“You Make My Dreams (Come True),” Hall & Oates (1980)
An uptempo early 80s classic from the band that is best known today for its yacht rock hits, this gold standard ranks among Dart Collective’s most requested reception songs—often used for reception entrances—and also appears on Spotify’s curated Wedding Songs playlist.
“Kiss,” Prince (1986)
What’s not to love about this infectious, funky sing-along from Purple One? Bryne and Zuckerman describe “Kiss” as “a fun party-starter.”
Lyrics of Love: “You don't have to be rich to be my girl / You don't have to be cool to rule my world / Ain’t no particular sign I'm more compatible with / I just want your extra time and your kiss.”
“You Can Call Me Al,” Paul Simon (1986)
Big horn sections, a major bass guitar riff, Paul Simons’ iconic style all add up to a catchy little ditty that ranks among the songs most often saved to wedding-related playlists on Spotify.
Lyrics of Love: “If you'll be my bodyguard / I can be your long lost pal / I can call you Betty / And Betty, when you call me, you can call me Al.”
“Once in a Lifetime,” Talking Heads (1980)
Led by frontman David Byrne, the New Wave 80s band Talking Heads has more than a few hits still in circulation including this gem (perhaps more wedding-appropriate than “Psycho Killer”) that ranks among the songs most often saved to wedding-related playlists on Spotify.
“Come and Get Your Love,” Redbone (1973)
One of the classic songs of the 70s—which you might recall from a certain scene with Chris Pratt early in the first Guardians of the Galaxy—the song’s call-and-response lyrics, sing-along chorus (there are a lot of opportunities to “come and get your love”), and overall groovy vibe make it a fun choice for a wedding reception playlist.
"Time After Time,” Cyndi Lauper (1984)
You know how this one goes: “If you’re lost you can look and you will find me / Time after time / If you fall, I will catch you, I will be waiting / Time after time.” This ’80s soft rock hit works equally well as a softer-tempo sing-along/group dance type song, plus any guests who want to couple up can sway together more intimately, too.
“Rock Lobster,” The B-52’s (1978)
Really, when else do you have the chance to join in a full-on undersea adventure dance quest with your friends and fam of all ages? This time capsule treasure is easily one of the best group dance songs of all time—bonus points for teaching the young ones some of the classic “Rock Lobster” moves.
“Golden Years,” David Bowie
Another Bowie classic that’s as good as gold, pun intended. Bonus points for the funky bass line, which is highly danceable.
Lyrics of Love: “I’ll stick with you baby, for a thousand years / Nothing’s gonna touch you in these golden years.”
“Cha Cha Slide (Original Live Platinum Band Mix),” DJ Casper
This song’s brilliance is in its simplicity. It’s engaging, interactive, and easy enough that guests of all ages (kids, too) can follow the moves. Plus, it’s just fun!
“Lean On Me,” Bill Withers (1972)
“Just call on me brother when you need a hand / We all need somebody to lean on”—this ’70s sing-along leaves a lasting impression, which is why it makes for a great final song of the night. Grab your loved ones by the arm and sing it loud.
“Crazy in Love (feat. Jay-Z),” Beyoncé
“It’s always a crowd pleaser,” says O’Quinn. “The horns at the top of the song signal a ‘call to action’ and it's impossible to not dance.”
Lyrics of Love: “Looking so crazy, your love’s / Got me looking, got me looking so crazy in love.”
“We Found Love,” Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris
In this dance party hit from the 2010s, Rihanna’s soaring vocals and Calvin Harris’ beats come together for this infectious sing-along that’s perfect for post-dinner high-energy dance sets.
“Moves Like Jagger,” Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera
There likely isn’t a wedding guest who doesn’t wish they had “moo-oo-oo-ooves like Jagger.” Tempt them onto the dance floor to show off the moves the do have; this is another song with broad guest appeal.
“Happy,” Pharrell Williams
Another all-ages-appropriate dance-floor pleaser, Pharrell’s chart-topping hit from the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack landed him a Grammy for Best Solo Pop Performance in 2014. Go ahead, “clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth/clap along if you know what happiness is to you.” “‘Happy’ simply put everyone in a good mood,” says Jacqueline Vizcaino of Atlanta-based Tinted Events.
“Party in the U.S.A.,” Miley Cyrus
What’s a wedding reception dance party without a little Miley? This sing-along hit will have guests “noddin' [their] heads like, yeah, movin’ [their] hips like yeah,” which is why it ranks among the songs most often saved to wedding-related playlists on Spotify.
“Shape of You,” Ed Sheeran
Before he even starts singing, Sheeran’s pop hit inspires the urge to dance. “This is a catchy song that will have guests singing along with the lyrics,” says Vizcaino.
“Shake It Off,” Taylor Swift
This Swift classic is a great group dance floor song—especially if everyone can sing along.
Lyrics of Love: “‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play / And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate / Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake / Shake it off, I shake it off.”
“Rolling in the Deep,” Adele
From her Grammy Award-winning Record of the Year, this high-octane ballad by Adele is moody in all the right ways. Count on more than a few sing-along lines, and plenty of foot-tapping beats.
“You’ve Got the Love,” Florence + The Machine
While on the subject of powerful vocals, this indie-pop hit from the late aughts is a testament to love in all the IRL ways.
Lyrics of Love: “Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air / I know I can count on you / Sometimes I feel like saying ‘Lord I just don't care’ / But you've got the love I need to see me through /…”
“Beautiful,” Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell Williams and Charlie Wilson
Sing along now: “Beautiful, I just want you to know / You're my favorite girl.” This early aughts collab between the D-o-double–g and a young Pharrell is a super bouncy track and fun to dance to—don’t you think so, baby boo?
“Can’t Hold Us (feat. Ray Dalton),” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
This high-energy track from hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis is a party anthem from the early 2010s that’s guaranteed to have traction on the dance floor—it's best suited for later in the evening, when your reception’s transitioned to full-on dance party mode.
Lyrics of Love: “Raise those hands, this is our party / We came here to live life like nobody was watching / … So we put our hands up like the ceiling can't hold us.”
“Mr. Brightside,” The Killers
“It started out with a kiss / How did it end up like this?” An early aughts hit from indie-rock band The Killers, this track is guaranteed to get some traction on the dance floor. “This song speaks to several generations, plus, it's fun to jump around to,” says Smith.
“Ho Hey,” The Lumineers
With the catchy interlude of “I belong with you, you belong with me / You’re my sweet,” this hit from the Colorado-based alt-folk band The Lumineers found its way into the larger pop culture zeitgeist. More chill than energetic, it’s a great group sing-along on the dance floor nonetheless—everyone’s gotta catch their breath sometime!
Home,” Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
One of the sweetest duets in recent memory, the banter between frontman Edward Sharpe and his wife Jade in this indie hit from 2009 is pure joy. The song’s vibe is great for dancing all together as one big happy family, too.
“Cosmic Girl,” Jamiroquai
What’s not to love about Jamiroquai’s funky, uptempo, electro-pop hit?
Lyrics of Love: “She’s just a cosmic girl / From another galaxy / My heart’s at zero gravity / She’s from a cosmic world / Putting me in ecstasy / Transmitting my frequency / She’s cosmic.”
“Hey Ya!,” Outcast
Because sometimes you just have to “shake it, shake it, shake it like a Polaroid picture”—this seminal Outcast track has inspired dance-floor moves for decades now, and really, it only gets better with time.
“Valerie (feat. Amy Winehouse),” Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse
One of the songs most often saved to wedding-related playlists on Spotify, Ms. Winehouse shows off her full range of vocals in this soulful sing-along.
Ask your DJ to cue this one up when it’s time to really break out the dance moves. “Pony” is a great turning-point track to pivot to late night dance music, according to Dart Collective.
“In My Mind," Dyrono & Gigi D'Agostino
Whether or not your dance-happy guests recognize this slightly more down-tempo electro-pop hit from the first notes, they'll all be singing along by the time the catchy chorus repeats for the last time. It's a great song to drop in towards the wind-down of a reception's high-energy dance party set.
Lyrics of Love: “In my mind, in my head / This is where we all came from / The dreams we have, the love we share / This is what we're waiting for.”
“I Gotta Feeling,” Black Eyed Peas
Lyrics of Love: “I got a feeling / That tonight’s going to be a good night / That tonight’s going to be a good good night.” This anthem from the early aughts is instantly recognizable, infectious, and will absolutely energize the dance floor, because, “Tonight’s the night, let’s live it up / …Let’s do it, let’s do it, let’s do it, let’s do it.”
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Justin Timberlake
It’s all but impossible to resist this highly infectious dance track, which Vizcaino describes as “irresistibly catchy” and “a song that always has guests singing along.”
Lyrics of Love: “I got this feeling inside my bones / It goes electric, wavy when I turn it on / And if you want it, inside your soul / Just open up your heart, let music take control.”
“SexyBack,” Justin Timberlake feat. Timbaland
With will over a half billion plays on Spotify, it’s clear that JT and Timbaland’s early aughts hit is all sorts of popular. Save this one for a late-night dance floor rally (or the after-party).
“One More Time,” Daft Punk
Send your dance party besties out into the evening on a high note (or in the direction of the afterparty) with this classic from French dance-pop duo Daft Punk, which is a perfect final anthem: “One more time, we’re going to celebrate / Oh yeah, alright, don’t stop the dancing.”
“Something Just Like This,” The Chainsmokers & Coldplay
In this EDM-pop hit collab that’s as dance-worthy as it is endearing, Chris Martin sings: “I’m not looking for somebody / With some superhuman gifts / Some superhero / Some fairytale bliss / Just something I can turn to / Somebody I can kiss / I want something just like this.”
“Closer,” The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey
This catchy duet is a great add to the reception playlist as it’s plenty recognizable, has a great beat, and mixes well with high-energy dance party songs without quite as uptempo. (It’s good to mix up the pace of the songs, even later in the night.)
Lyrics of Love: “So, baby, pull me closer / In the back seat of your Rover / …We ain’t ever getting older.”
One Kiss (with Dua Lipa),” Calvin Harris
A massive summer hit in Europe, this 2018 dance-pop hit was made for the dance floor.
Lyrics of Love: “One kiss is all it takes / Fallin’ in love with me / The possibilities.”
“Shut Up and Dance,” Walk The Moon
Sometimes, less is more—especially when it’s time to hit the dance floor. This 2014 hit from the album “Talking Is Hard,” which is a popular song saved to wedding-related playlists on Spotify, just about sums it up. “It’s such an upbeat track that will have everyone on the dance floor,” says Vizcaino.
Spell it out now: “Do the D-A-N-C-E / One, two, three, four, fight / Stick ready to the B-E-A-T / Get ready to ignite.” This pop hit has been played on Spotify more than 90 million times and is a no-brainer add to a wedding playlist as it’s just so fun and dance-worthy.
“Break My Soul,” Beyoncé (2022)
A fresh track from Queen Bey’s latest album, the chart-topping song pays homage to old school House music beats while still being a massive radio hit, and a popular playlist ask at Dart Collective.
“About Damn Time,” Lizzo (2022)
Lizzo’s smash hit has been a hugely popular request for wedding receptions, too. “It’s a tongue-in-cheek reference to how long you’ve been waiting for this day!” say Bryne and Zuckerman.
“Cold Heart” (PNAU Remix), Elton John and Dua Lipa (2021)
The PNAU Remix gives a bouncy dance beat to this Elton John/Dua Lipa mash-up that weaves together recognizable stylings from two musical eras at once. “Who doesn't love Elton John? A little old and new mixed together is really fun,” says Smith.
“Blinding Lights,” The Weeknd (2020)
“This is one of the songs that has dominated playlists and wedding party entrances this year with their empowering lyrics and upbeat vibes,” says Vizcaino.
“Levitating,” Dua Lipa (2020)
“This hit has super high energy and it’s definitely in the zeitgeist currently,” say Bryne and Zuckerman.
Lyrics of Love: “I believe that you’re for me / I feel it in our energy / I see us written in the stars / We can go whenever, so let’s do it now or never, baby.”
“Kiss Me More,” Doja Cat (2021) feat. SZA
Dart Collective describes this Grammy Award-winning duet as “super bouncy, danceable, and “a fun sing-along as a duet”—all three great attributes for songs for your reception playlist.
Lyrics of Love: “We hug and yes, we make love / And always say ‘Goodnight’ / And we cuddle, sure, I do love it / But I need your lips on mine / Can you kiss me more?”
“Big Energy,” Latto (2021)
NSFW language aside (perhaps you can ask your DJ to find a radio edit version), Vizcaino has fielded tons of requests for this Latto hit, which was nominated for a Grammy and took home the BET Hip Hop Award for “Best Song of the Year.” “‘Big Energy’ has dominated reception playlists and wedding party entrances this year,” she says.
“Juice,” Lizzo (2019)
This pop hit from Lizzo is exactly the sort of fresh hit that you want to drop onto your reception playlist for an excuse to dance with all your besties.
Lyrics of Love: “Mirror, mirror on the wall / Don’t say it, ’cause I know I’m cute (ooh, baby) / …That’s how I roll.”
“Higher Love,” Kygo & Whitney Houston (2019)
With the blessing of Whitney Houston’s estate, which is managed by her family, Norwegian DJ Kygo samples the late great songstress’ cover of Steve Winwood’s 80’s hit (that was originally recorded in the early Nineties) to create this fresh rendition of “Higher Love” that became a number one hit in its own right.
“Gimme Gimme—Club Mix,” Lee Cabrera, Kevin McKay, Bleech, remixing ABBA
Thanks to the popularity of this year’s ABBA TikTok Challenge, this remixed classic is making its way onto dance floor request lists. “This was the summer European hit remix version that was played all over,” says Smith.
“Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God),” Kate Hill
The 80s track is back in the zeitgeist, thanks to its recent placement in “Stranger Things” — it was named the Top Song of Summer 2022 in the U.S. and second most-listened song on the platform globally, and it’s making its way onto wedding playlists and reception request lists.
“Love You Better,” Alex Preston (2021)
This upbeat single from the Sydney-based DJ and producer is a perfect dance song to throw into the mix later in the evening.
“Rasputin,” Boney M., Majestic Remix (2021)
You can thank TikTok for this hit, too. “TikTok videos have definitely made their way to weddings. People have seen these dances and want to have ‘a TikTok dance moment’ at their wedding reception,” says Smith.
“Havana (feat. Young Thug),” Camila Cabello (2018)
There’s an undercurrent of Latin vibes to this breakout hit single from Cuban-American singer Camila Cabello that’s incredibly danceable—think salsa dancing in the streets in Buenos Aires, or Cuba. It’s a fun one to partner-dance to without being formal.
“The Middle,” Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey (2018)
“This pop-dance song has an infectious beat and fun lyrics that will have everyone singing along,” says Vizcaino.
Lyrics of Love:: “Baby, why don’t you just meet me in the middle / I’m losing my mind just a little.”
“Let’s Stay Together,” Al Green
Motown tunes have a certain timeless appeal; this early ’70s hit from Al Green is never far from the zeitgeist, whether sampled for more recent songs or lending atmosphere to a Hollywood production (including, quite famously, Pulp Fiction). It’s also among the songs most often saved to wedding-related playlists on Spotify.
“How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” Marvin Gaye (original), also James Taylor (cover)
In both renditions—the Motown hit by Marvin Gaye, or the cover of the song by singer-songwriter James Taylor in the 1970s—this is one song that’s stood the test of time, and continues to be saved to wedding reception playlists on Spotify.
Lyrics of Love: “You brighten up for me all of my days / With a love so sweet in so many ways / I wanna stop and thank you, baby / I just wanna stop and thank you baby, oh yes / How sweet it is to be loved by you.”
“The Way You Look Tonight,” Frank Sinatra
Keep it classy with a couple’s dance by jazz standard Ole Blue Eyes that also appeared in a 30s film featuring a young Fred Astaire—a classic for the ages.
Lyrics of Love: “Lovely, don’t you ever change / Keep that breathless charm / …’Cause I love you / Just the way you look tonight.”
“Somewhere Beyond the Sea,” Bobby Darin
Everyone loves a love song that takes you on a journey lyrically, which is precisely what this vintage, jazzy gem accomplishes. It’s easy to dance to, as well, whether as a first dance song or somewhere in the repertoire for a couples’ dance with just the right amount of nostalgia.
“L-O-V-E,” Nat King Cole
The lyrics for this lovely jazz standard say it all: “‘L’ is for the way you look at me / ‘O’ is for the only one I see / ‘V’ is very, very extraordinary / ‘E’ is even more than anyone that you adore / Love is all I can give to you / Love is more than just a game for two / Two in love can make it / Take my heart and please don’t break it / Love was made for me and you.”
“I Only Have Eyes for You,” The Flamingos
The Flamingos’ smooth, doo-wop rendition of what’s easily one of the greatest love songs from the last century (Art Garfunkel also covered this hit in the 1970s) is pure reception magic.
Lyrics of Love: “My love must be a kind of blind love / I can’t see anyone but you / …The moon may be high / But I can’t see a think in the sky / I only have eyes for you.”
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World,” Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
A mashup of two well-known songs performed acoustically by Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and recorded on a whim, this lovely medley tugs at the heartstrings.
“Can't Help Falling in Love,” Elvis Presley
Innocuously tucked into the soundtrack for the 1961 Presley film “Blue Hawaii,” this love song for the ages is one of The King’s greatest legacies.
“You Send Me,” Sam Cooke
A gift of a song that lasts all of 2 minutes and 45 seconds, Cooke’s classic hit is a brilliant option for couples who might be a bit shy about being in the spotlight during a first dance; it’s also among the most requested songs at Dart Collective.
Lyrics of Love: “Darling, you send me / …Now I find myself wanting / To marry you and take you home (whoa-oh-oh-oh).”
“That's How Strong My Love Is,” Otis Redding
Redding takes to the cosmos to try to describe the enormity of his love in this soulful ’60s ballad: “If I was the sun way up there / I’d go with love most everywhere / I’ll be the moon when the sun goes down / Just to let you know that I'm still around / That’s how strong my love is.”
“The Best Is Yet to Come,” Frank Sinatra and Count Basie
The opening riffs to this Sinatra/Basie classic set the scene for just such a moment as this—the first dance you’ve been working on for weeks now, a la J-Law in Silver Linings Playbook.
“At Last,” Etta James
Sing it, Ms. James: “At last, my love has come along / My lonely days are over / And life is like a song.” Accompanied by sweeping orchestral music and Etta’s incredible vocals, your first dance is already perfection.
“This Will Be (An Everlasting Love),” Natalie Cole
“This song is such a heartwarming song that expresses love so beautifully,” says Smith.
Lyrics of Love: “Loving you, is some kind of wonderful / Because you show me, just how much you care / You’ve given me the thrill of a lifetime / And made me believe you’ve got more thrills to spare.”
“Your Song,” Elton John
This one’s a couple’s dance song for the ages; keep the footwork simple, or take a few artistic liberties—it’s your choice.
Lyrics of Love: “And you can tell everybody this is your song / It may be quite simple, but now that it’s done / I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words / How wonderful life is while you’re in the world.”
“Harvest Moon,” Neil Young
The tempo of this song is an easy one to dance to, while Neil Young’s honeyed vocals paint the picture of what it means to be in love for a lifetime—wedding goals, indeed.
“Perfect,” Ed Sheeran
With lyrics such as “When I saw you in that dress, looking so beautiful / I don't deserve this / Darling, you look perfect tonight,” Sheeran couldn’t have been more spot on describing a wedding day bride. This chart-topping hit is just about perfect itself, so long as the massive exposure isn’t a concern.
“Thinking Out Loud,” Ed Sheeran
Sheeran took home two Grammys for this swoon-worthy modern classic, including “Song of the Year” (2014) and “Best Pop Solo Performance,” and the hit continues to hold its reign. “‘Thinking out Loud’ and ‘Perfect’ remain some of the most-added tracks to user-generated first dance playlists for Gen Z and young Millennial fans on Spotify,” says Palmieri.
“Just the Way You Are,” Bruno Mars
Talk about an anthem we could all live for: “When I see your face / There's not a thing that I would change / ‘Cause you're amazing / Just the way you are / And when you smile / The whole world stops and stares for a while.”
“You Are The Best Thing,” Ray Lamontagne
A beautifully-composed song with plenty of gospel and blues underpinnings, Lamontagne croons “You are the best thing … that ever happened to me” no less than a couple of dozen times. Message delivered, loud and clear.
“Marry You,” Bruno Mars
This upbeat Bruno Mars track is no slow dance, but a popular choice nonetheless, with lyrics like, “Hey baby, I think I wanna marry you / Is it the look in your eyes or is it this dancing juice? / Who cares, baby, I think I wanna marry you.” “‘Marry You’ has become a classic wedding anthem with its upbeat and romantic lyrics,” says Vizcaino.
“Better Together,” Jack Johnson
Johnson’s acoustic singer-songwriter style is sweetly romantic in all the right ways, which in part is why this early aughts hit remains among the songs most saved to wedding-related playlists on Spotify.
Lyrics of Love: “Love is the answer, at least for most of the questions in my heart / … I'll tell you one thing, it's always better when we're together.”
“First Day of My Life,” Bright Eyes
This melodic indie rock ballad from the early aughts is among the songs most saved to wedding-related playlists on Spotify. Singer Conor Oberst croons, “Yours was the first face that I saw / I think I was blind before I met you / And I don't know where I am, I don't know where I've been / But I know where I want to go.”
“Lucky” Jason Mraz, feat. Colbie Caillat
This lovely duet from Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat took home a Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals in 2008, and continues to be among the songs most saved to wedding-related playlists on Spotify.
Lyrics of Love: “Lucky I'm in love with my best friend / Lucky to have been where I have been / Lucky to be coming home again / Lucky we're in love in every way.”
“All of Me,” John Legend
A lyrical love letter to his wife Chrissy Teigen, this Grammy Award-winning ballad is Legend at his finest. Have tissues at the ready, because your wedding guests will need them.
“You and Me,” Penny & the Quarters
There’s such a sweet innocence to this soulful track recorded in the late 1960s that only catapulted to fame after being featured on the soundtrack for the movie Blue Valentine (2010). It’s a popular first dance request for Dart Collective.
“Everywhere,” Fleetwood Mac
One of the most ethereal songs of the epic Fleetwood Mac catalog, with lovely, harmonized lyrics to match, this ’70s treasure is certainly having a moment. “This has to have been the most requested first dance song of 2022,” says Smith.
"Turn Your Lights Down Low," Bob Marley feat. Lauryn Hill
O’Quinn cites this Bob Marley remix featuring Lauryn Hill as one of her favorite first dance requests, and truly, it’s a beautiful rendition.
“Our Day Will Come,” Amy Winehouse
There’s plenty of rhythm to step to in this song from the late great Amy Winehouse, with vocals and lyrics to match: “Our day will come / And we'll have everything / We'll share the joy / Falling in love can bring / … Our dreams have magic because we'll always stay in love this way / Our day will come.”
“10,000 Hours,” Dan + Shay, Justin Bieber
This 2021 hit is a totally fresh take from the Biebs, whose collaboration with country-pop duo Dan + Shay took home a Grammy for “Best Country Duo/Group Performance.” Honeyed harmonies sail through lyrics such as: “I’d spend ten thousand hours and ten thousand more / If that’s what it takes to learn that sweet heart of yours / … If it’s ten thousand hours or the rest of my life / I’m gonna love you (ooh ohh ohh).”
“Moon River,” Frank Ocean
Lyrics of Love: “Two drifters off to see the world / There's such a crazy world to see / …Wherever you're goin', I'm goin' the same.” At Dart Collective, this dreamy, melodic R&B tune by Frank Ocean is a popular first dance request—sign us up.