Your wedding's cocktail hour is a magical time: The drinks are flowing, guests are mingling, and you're officially a newlywed! During this roughly hour-long break between your wedding ceremony and reception dinner, you'll likely be taking pictures with your new spouse and wedding party. Your guests, however, will be getting into party mode. Besides delicious signature cocktails and savory hors d'oeuvre, your cocktail hour would not be complete without a feel-good playlist to match the golden vibes.
Although music will play an important role in pretty much every part of your wedding, your cocktail hour shouldn't be overpowered by a high-energy DJ or live band (though we do love the idea of a solo acoustic guitarist or string quartet!). Instead, keep the tunes happy and uplifting while giving your guests a chance to make conversation. Ring in the merriment with forever classics like Etta James's "At Last" and contemporary hits like The Lumineers' "Stubborn Love" that will have everyone humming along and getting in the mood to celebrate.
To inspire you, here's our roundup of the 100 best wedding cocktail-hour songs in every genre.
"Stubborn Love," by The Lumineers
Lyrics of Love: "She'll tear a hole in you, the one you can't repair/But I still love her, I don't really care"
"Lucky," by Jason Mraz feat. Colbie Caillat
Lyrics of Love: "I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend/Lucky to have been where I have been/Lucky to be coming home again"
"Home," by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros
Lyrics of Love: "Ah, home, let me come home/Home is wherever I'm with you"
"Mountain Sound," by Of Monsters and Men
Lyrics of Love: "Hold your horses now (We sleep until the sun goes down)/Through the woods we ran (Deep into the mountain sound)"
"I Choose You," by Sara Bareilles
Lyrics of Love: "Tell the world that we finally got it all right/I choose you/I will become yours and you will become mine"
"You and I," by Ingrid Michaelson
Lyrics of Love: "Don't you worry, there my honey/We might not have any money/But we've got our love to pay the bills"
"Rhythm of Love," by Plain White T's
Lyrics of Love: "But till the morning sun you're mine all mine/Play the music low and sway to the rhythm of love"
"Valentine," by Kina Grannis
Lyrics of Love: "So won't you be my honey bee giving me sweet kisses all the time/Be mine, be my/Valentine"
"#Beautiful," by Mariah Carey feat. Miguel
Lyrics of Love: "But I don't care, take me anywhere/'Cause it's beautiful, ooh you make me feel undressable"
"Love Like This," by Natasha Bedingfield
Lyrics of Love: "Love it when you hold me/Never find a love like this"
"L-O-V-E," by Joss Stone
Lyrics of Love: "Take my heart and please don't break it/Love was made for me and you"
"Feel This Moment," by Pitbull feat. Christina Aguilera
Lyrics of Love: "Time is money/Only difference is I own it, like a stopwatch, let's stop time and enjoy this moment"
"It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over," Lenny Kravits
Lyrics of Love: "So many years we've tried/And kept our love alive/'Cause baby, it ain't over till it's over"
"Clocks," by Rhythm Del Mundo
Lyrics of Love: "The closing walls and the ticking clocks gonna/Come back and take you home"
"I Feel It Coming," by The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk
Lyrics of Love: "You've been scared of love and what it did to you/You don't have to run, I know what you've been through"
"22," by Taylor Swift
Lyrics of Love: "Everything will be alright, if/We just keep dancing like we're 22, 22"
"Good Life," by OneRepublic
Lyrics of Love: "Oh, this has gotta be the good life/This has gotta be the good life"
"Dancing in the Moonlight," by King Harvest
Lyrics of Love: "Dancing in the moonlight/Everybody's feeling warm and bright"
"This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)," by Natalie Cole
Lyrics of Love: "You've brought a lot of sunshine into my life/You've filled me with happiness I never knew"
"I Will Follow You Into the Dark," by Death Cab for Cutie
Lyrics of Love: "If there's no one beside you when your soul embarks/Then I'll follow you into the dark"
"Red Dirt Road," by Brooks & Dunn
Lyrics of Love: "Talk about what the future might hold/Down that red dirt road"
"Such Great Heights," by The Postal Service
Lyrics of Love: "They will see us waving from such great heights/Come down now, they'll say"
"Sweetest Thing," by U2
Lyrics of Love: "This is a blind kind of love/Oh oh oh, the sweetest thing"
"Message in a Bottle," by John Mayer
Lyrics of Love: "Only hope can keep me together/Love can mend your life but love can break your heart"
"Blackbird," by The Beatles
Lyrics of Love: "Blackbird singing in the dead of night/Take these sunken eyes and learn to see"
"Come Away With Me," by Norah Jones
Lyrics of Love: "Come away with me and we'll kiss/On a mountaintop/Come away with me/And I'll never stop loving you"
"By Your Side," by Sade
Lyrics of Love: "You think I'd leave your side baby/You know me better than that"
"Thinking Out Loud," by Ed Sheeran
Lyrics of Love: "So honey now/Take me into your loving arms/Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars"
"A Thousand Years," by Christina Perri
Lyrics of Love: "Darling don't be afraid I have loved you/For a thousand years/I'll love you for a thousand more"
"Better Together," by Jack Johnson
Lyrics of Love: "It's always better when we're together/Yeah, we'll look at the stars when we're together"
"Say You Won't Let Go," by Boyce Avenue
Lyrics of Love: "I knew I loved you then/But you'd never know/'Cause I played it cool when I was scared of letting go"
"Everything Has Changed," by Taylor Swift feat. Ed Sheeran
Lyrics of Love: "You'll be mine and I'll be yours/All I know since yesterday, yeah/Is everything has changed"
"All of Me," by John Legend
Lyrics of Love: "'Cause all of me/Loves all of you/Love your curves and all your edges/All your perfect imperfections"
"Stay With Me," by Sam Smith
Lyrics of Love: "Guess it's true/I'm not good at a one night stand/But I still need love 'cause I'm just a man"
"Luck Be a Lady," by Frank Sinatra
Lyrics of Love: "I know the way you've treated other guys you've been with/Luck be a lady with me"
"Ain't That a Kick in the Head," by Dean Martin
Lyrics of Love: "How lucky can one guy be?/I kissed her and she kissed me"
"I've Got the World on a String," by Louis Armstrong
Lyrics of Love: "What a world, what a life, I'm in love/Life is a beautiful thing, as long as I hold the string"
"Beyond the Sea," by Bobby Darin
Lyrics of Love: "Somewhere beyond the sea/She's there watching for me"
"At Last," by Etta James
Lyrics of Love: "At last my love has come along/My lonely days are over and life is like a song, oh yeah"
"Dream a Little Dream of Me," by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
Lyrics of Love: "Say nighty-night and kiss me/just hold me tight and tell me you'll miss me"
"Summertime," by Sarah Vaughan
Lyrics of Love: "Do come near and watch the rose I gave, you laugh, you cough, you may/in the summertime, drink a glass of wine"
"Come Fly With Me," by Frank Sinatra
Lyrics of Love: "There's a bar in far Bombay/Come on fly with me, we'll fly, we'll fly away"
"Can't Take My Eyes Off You," by Andy Williams
Lyrics of Love: "And I thank God I'm alive/You're just too good to be true/Can't take my eyes off you"
"My Maria," by Brooks & Dunn
Lyrics of Love: "She is the sunlight when skies are gray/She treats me so right lady take me away"
"My Funny Valentine," by Tony Bennett
Lyrics of Love: "My funny valentine/Sweet comic valentine/You make me smile with my heart"
"Let's Fall in Love," by Vic Damone
Lyrics of Love: "We might have been meant for each other/To be or not to be, let our hearts discover"
"Easy Living," by Billie Holiday
Lyrics of Love: "Living for you is easy living/It's easy to live when you're in love"
"Fever," by Peggy Lee
Lyrics of Love: "You give me fever (you give me fever) when you kiss me/Fever when you hold me tight (you give me fever)"
"Pennies From Heaven," by Paul Anka
Lyrics of Love: "Trade them for a package of sunshine and flowers/If you want the things you love, you've got to have showers"
"A Kiss to Build a Dream On," by Louis Armstrong
Lyrics of Love: "Sweetheart, I ask no more than this/A kiss to build a dream on"
"The Way You Do the Things You Do," by The Temptations
Lyrics of Love: "You got a smile so bright/You know you could have been a candle"
"Respect," by Aretha Franklin
Lyrics of Love: "All I'm askin'/Is for a little respect when you get home (just a little bit)"
"Soul Man," by Sam & Dave
Lyrics of Love: "Just grab the rope and I'll pull you in/Give you hope and be your only boyfriend"
"I Got You (I Feel Good)," by James Brown
Lyrics of Love: "I feel nice, like sugar and spice/So nice, so nice, I got you"
"Brick House," by The Commodores
Lyrics of Love: "She's a brick house/That lady's stacked and that's a fact/Ain't holding nothing back"
"Got to Give It Up (Part 1)," by Marvin Gaye
Lyrics of Love: "Move your body, ooo baby, you dance all night/To the groove and feel all right"
"ABC," by The Jackson 5
Lyrics of Love: "Now, now, now I'm gonna teach you/Teach you, teach you/All about love, dear, all about love"
"Do You Love Me," by The Contours
Lyrics of Love: "Do you love me? (I can really move)/Do you love me? (I'm in the groove)/Now do you love me?"
"Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)," by The Temptations
Lyrics of Love: "To have a girl like her is truly a dream come true/Out of all the fellows in the world she belongs to me"
"How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)," by Marvin Gaye
Lyrics of Love: "How sweet it is to be loved by you, yes, baby/How sweet it is to be loved by you"
"I Second That Emotion," by The Miracles
Lyrics of Love: "So, if you feel like giving me a lifetime of devotion/I second that emotion."
"I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)," by Four Tops
Lyrics of Love: "'Cause sugar pie, honey bunch (sugar pie, honey bunch)/I'm weaker than a man should be/I can't help myself"
"Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing," by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
Lyrics of Love: "This ain't livin', this ain't livin'/No, no baby, this ain't livin'"
"Baby Love," by The Supremes
Lyrics of Love: "'Cause baby love, my baby love, been missing ya, miss kissing ya/Instead of breaking up/Let's start some kissing and making up"
"Making Memories of Us," by Keith Urban
Lyrics of Love: "And I'm gonna love you like nobody loves you/And I'll earn your trust making memories of us"
"Love You From Here," by Jon Pardi
Lyrics of Love: "Just 'cause you're gone won't mean we've disappeared/I can still love you from here"
"Play Something Country," by Brooks & Dunn
Lyrics of Love: "'I'm a full-grown queen bee looking for honey/Ha oh ho, aw, play something country'"
"It's a Great Day to Be Alive," by Travis Tritt
Lyrics of Love: "And it's a great day to be alive/I know the sun's still shining/When I close my eyes"
"Two of a Kind (Workin' on a Full House)," by Garth Brooks
Lyrics of Love: "Hey, she's my little queen of the south/Yeah, we're two of a kind/Workin' on a full house"
"God Gave Me You," by Blake Shelton
Lyrics of Love: "There are no words here left to say, it's true/God gave me you, gave me you"
"Drink in My Hand," by Eric Church
Lyrics of Love: "Five, four, three, two, one I'm a rocket man/All you got to do it put a drink in my hand"
"Wanted," by Hunter Hayes
Lyrics of Love: "Wanna hold your hand forever/And never let you forget it/'Cause, baby, I, I wanna make you feel wanted"
"Run Away With You," by Big & Rich
Lyrics of Love: "I just wanna run, I just want to run away with you/And live wide open"
"She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy," by Kenny Chesney
Lyrics of Love: "She thinks my tractor's sexy/It really turns her on"
"Suds in the Bucket," by Sara Evans
Lyrics of Love: "She was in the back yard/Say it was a little past nine/When her prince pulled up"
"Have You Ever Seen The Rain?," Creedence Clearwater Revival
Lyrics of Love: "I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?/
Comin' down on a sunny day"
"Lucky Man," by Montgomery Gentry
Lyrics of Love: "But I know I'm a lucky man/God's given me a pretty fair hand"
"Stuck Like Glue," by Sugarland
Lyrics of Love: "Absolutely no one who knows me better/No one that can make me feel so good"
"Ladies Love Country Boys," by Trace Adkins
Lyrics of Love: "They raised her up a lady/But there's one thing they couldn't avoid/Ladies love country boys"
"Slow Burn," by Kacey Musgraves
Lyrics of Love: "You know the bar down the street don't close for an hour/
We should take a walk and look at all the flowers"
"I Do," by Colbie Caillat
Lyrics of Love: "Ooh, what did I get myself into/You make we wanna say I do, I do, I do, I do, I do, I do"
"Once in a Lifetime," by Keith Urban
Lyrics of Love: "It's a long way down, and it's a leap of faith/But I'm never giving up 'cause I know we got a once in a lifetime love"
"Love You for a Long Time," by Maggie Rogers
Lyrics of Love: "I feel it in my body, know it in my mind/Oh I, I'm gonna love you for a long time"
"Born to Fly," by Sara Evans
Lyrics of Love: "Is there a brown-eyed boy in my future, yeah/He says 'Girl, you got nothin' but time'"
"The Way You Look Tonight," by Frank Sinatra
Lyrics of Love: "I will feel a glow just thinking of you/And the way you look tonight"
"Heads Carolina, Tails California," by Jo Dee Messina
Lyrics of Love: "Baby what do you say we just get lost/Leave this one-horse town like two rebels without a cause"
"We Danced Anyway," by Deana Carter
Lyrics of Love: "They say you can't go back, baby I don't believe that/Come along with me, come on and dance with me"
“Way with Words,” by Bahamas
Lyrics of Love: “I am one man/I can do anything/We are not far/We can do anything”
“Beast of Burden,” by The Rolling Stones
Lyrics of Love: “I've walked for miles, my feet are hurting/All I want is for you to make love to me”
“Do It Again,” by Steely Dan
Lyrics of Love: “Then you love a little wild one/And she brings you only sorrow/All the time you know she's smilin'”
“Ain't Too Proud to Beg,” by The Temptations
Lyrics of Love: “Now I've got a love so deep in the pit of my heart/And each day it grows more and more”
“UMI Says,” by Mos Def
Lyrics of Love: “Put my heart and soul into this song (yes yes)/I hope you feel me”
“Talk It Out,” by Tash Sultana, Matt Corby
Lyrics of Love: “I guess we didn't think this through/We were too in love to think about tomorrow”
“Alaska,” by Maggie Rogers
Lyrics of Love: “And I walked off you/And I walked off an old me/Oh me, oh my, I thought it was a dream/So it seemed”
“I Wish,” by Stevie Wonder
Lyrics of Love: “Even though we sometimes/Would not get a thing/We were happy with the/Joy the day would bring”
“Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” by The Police
Lyrics of Love: “Every little thing she does is magic/Everything she do just turns me on”
“Dance Hall Days,” by Wang Chung
Lyrics of Love: “And take your baby by the heel/And do the next thing that you feel”
“California Soul,” by Marlena Shaw
Lyrics of Love: “They had the melody and the beat/But it still didn't seem complete/Until they saw two lovers kissin'/They knew just what was missin'”
“Uptight,” by Stevie Wonder
Lyrics of Love: “Can't give her the things that money can buy/But I'll never, never, never make my baby cry”
“Holding On,” by Gregory Porter
Lyrics of Love: “I found my heart had grown colder/But the warmth of your kiss, I can't dismiss”
How many songs should I choose for my cocktail hour?
What kind of songs should I play during my cocktail hour?
The songs played at your cocktail hour can be determined by who you are as a couple and the guests you invite. Keep your audience in mind by selecting songs that can be enjoyed by all age ranges as well as by the types of family and friends in attendance.
Should my venue influence the type of music I play at my cocktail hour?
While there are no rules, it may be beneficial to consider the formality of your wedding. For instance, a glamorous ballroom will pair well with a soundtrack of classics, like Frank Sinatra, while a barn wedding may be more suitable for your favorite country songs.