Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life, so choosing the perfect songs for your exchange of vows is up there with sending out the invitations and remembering the rings. Whether you’re soundtracking the ceremony, the wedding reception, or the first dance, we’ll help you celebrate all of the important moments of your special day with this list of the best wedding songs.
Getting Ready for the Big Day
Preparation is key when it comes to weddings. By the morning of the big day, all of the hard work of planning is behind you. Now, as you gather with your closest friends and family, all you have to do is get dressed, enjoy the excitement, and maybe dance your way through a few nervous jitters.
Kacey Musgraves – Butterflies
Kacey Musgraves conjures up the excitement that comes with the beginning of a relationship in this bouncy track off 2018’s Golden Hour. While you might be feeling similar “Butterflies” on the morning of your big day, just take a deep breath, and remember how amazing your fiancé makes you feel.
Shawn Mendes – Fallin’ All in You
This gem of a ballad (from 2018’s Shawn Mendes) speaks to the unexpected nature of relationships – and how love often takes us by surprise. Co-written by Ed Sheeran, “Fallin’ All in You” finds the narrator reflecting on how his new partner brings out “a different kind of me/There’s no safety net that’s underneath, I’m free.”
The Beatles – I Will
Love doesn’t need to be complicated. The Beatles prove that in this sweet, simple, and timeless tune, off 1968’s The Beatles (aka The White Album).
George Strait – I Cross My Heart
If you’re still trying to find the words for your wedding vows, you’ll definitely be inspired by this chart-topping 1992 hit from George Strait. Filled with lyrics straight out of a romance novel, “I Cross My Heart” finds the country star promising to give everything he has to make his significant other’s dreams come true.
Beach Boys – Chapel of Love
In 1976, the Beach Boys put their signature touch on this wedding day classic, first made famous in 1964 by The Dixie Cups. Filled with vintage charm – and a bit of sweet, naïveté – the song encapsulates all of the deliciously gooey daydreams that one might have about marriage.
Below are a few more songs to add to your playlist as you get revved up for your impending nuptials:
Dan + Shay, Justin Bieber – 10,000 Hours
Darlene Love – (Today I Met) The Boy I’m Gonna Marry
Beyoncé – Countdown
Ella Mai – Boo’d Up
Aretha Franklin – Say a Little Prayer
Mariah Carey – Dreamlover
Ben Folds – The Luckiest
American Authors – Best Day of My Life
Sylvester – You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)
Sam Hunt – Body Like a Back Road
Jhené Aiko – LOVE
Diana Ross – Love Hangover
The Wedding Processional
As the doors of the venue fling open, and guests turn to watch the wedding party make their grand entrance, the processional sets the scene for the ceremony—as does the music. Whether you’re looking for formal, flirty, or sweet vibes for this moment of the wedding, we’ve got you covered with the songs below:
Johann Pachelbel – Canon in D (Pachelbel’s Canon)
Perhaps one of the most popular classical processional pieces (other than Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March”), Johann Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” delivers an instantly recognizable chord progression that can be effectively performed by one instrument, a trio, or an orchestra. Likely written in the late 17th century or early 18th century by the German composer, this Baroque classic was rediscovered in the 1920s and, by the 80s, had risen to become one of the most widely performed (and interpolated) pieces of classical music in history.
Norah Jones – Come Away with Me
Since its release in 2002, the titular song from Norah Jones’s multi-platinum debut has since gone on to shine at weddings across the world. Intimate, classy, and deeply romantic, “Come Away with Me” is guaranteed to set the perfect tone for the ceremony.
Train – Marry Me
This sweet, acoustic ballad from Train has been embraced by couples since its release in 2009, thanks in part to its poetic lyricism: “Forever can never be long enough for me/To feel like I’ve had long enough with you.” Couples can also find a duet version with Martina McBride, as featured on the country artist’s album, Eleven.
Adele – Make You Feel My Love
In 1997, Bob Dylan wrote “Make You Feel My Love” for his 30th studio album, Time Out of Mind. Since then, the song has become a modern classic and a wedding staple, covered by everyone from Billy Joel, Kelly Clarkson, and Garth Brooks. In 2008, however, Adele introduced the song to a new generation, scoring a hit with this achingly beautiful, stripped-down rendition.
Jason Mraz (Vitamin String Quartet version) – I’m Yours
Los Angeles’ Vitamin String Quartet (a revolving group of musicians, arrangers, and producers) is known for delivering classical covers of modern-day hits, including hip-hop, rock, and pop songs. This particular recording, of Jason Mraz’s multi-platinum single, “I’m Yours,” is ideal for those seeking to include a pop favorite in a more traditional setting.
Need more inspiration? Check out these selections below:
Ben E. King – Stand by Me
Weezer – Island in the Sun
Natalie Cole – This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)
Ben Howard – Only Love
Lenny Kravitz – I Belong to You
Guns ‘N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Wedding Song
Tegan and Sara – I Was Married
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Is This Love
Blake Shelton – God Gave Me You
Songs to Walk Down the Aisle To
The walk down the aisle is one of the most dramatic – and beautiful – moments in the ceremony. While some couples prefer to go the traditional route with their music, others may choose a more recent favorite to set the mood. Below are a few ideas from both spectrums that will make you, and your guests, feel the love:
Richard Wagner – Bridal Chorus
Richard Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” is, undisputedly, the most famous wedding march in the Western world. (It’s otherwise known as “Here Comes The Bride,” after all.) Composed in 1850 for the opera Lohengrin, the piece originally featured lyrics performed in Wagner’s native German, and grew in popularity after Queen Victoria’s eldest child (Victoria, Princess Royal) incorporated it into her ceremony when she married German Emperor and King of Prussia, Frederick III.
The Piano Guys – A Thousand Years
In 2011, singer-songwriter Christina Perri recorded “A Thousand Years” for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1. The multi-platinum hit, which details the love affair between characters Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, spawned several cover versions, including a viral (and particularly wedding-friendly) instrumental duet of the song.
James Taylor – My Heart Stood Still
Grammy-winning singer-songwriter James Taylor offers a warm, modern take on this 1927 standard from Rogers & Hart. Originally written for the London revue One Dam Thing After Another and later featured in the film A Connecticut Yankee, the romantic tune has been covered by everyone from Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald to The Mamas & the Papas and Rod Stewart.
The Beatles – All You Need Is Love
Written during the “Summer of Love” (aka 1967), this classic Beatles single will make your walk down the aisle dramatic and memorable, thanks to its grand orchestral arrangements, stunning vocal harmonies, and simple – yet powerful – message that all you really need is love.
Taylor Swift ft. Ed Sheeran – Everything Has Changed
If you’re looking for a more pop-forward entrance, look no further than “Everything Has Changed,” a sweet duet from Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. The ballad, which appears on Swift’s 2012 album, Red, is all about the magic of meeting that special someone.
Below are just a few more songs to consider for your walk down the aisle:
Elton John – Your Song
Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – Somewhere Over the Rainbow
John Legend – All of Me
Bright Eyes – First Day of My Life
Keith Urban – Your Everything
Jack Johnson – Better Together
Cat Power – Sea of Love
Beyoncé – Halo
Jeremiah Clarke – Trumpet Voluntary
Alicia Keys – If I Ain’t Got You
Songs for the Wedding Ceremony
The wedding ceremony offers plenty of opportunities for songs in all forms, whether performed by a musician, played during part of the service, or recited like a poem by a loved one. Here are a few ideas that you can incorporate at the altar.
Elvis Presley – Can’t Help Falling In Love
A wedding soundtrack without a song from The King? Unthinkable! Elvis’ extensive catalog contains numerous romantic contenders, but this legendary song from 1961’s Blue Hawaii is a must-have.
The Carpenters – We’ve Only Just Begun
This sweet, soft rock hit (off 1970’s Close to You) is about newlyweds starting their journey together and features such on-the-nose lyrics as “White lace and promises/A kiss for luck and we’re on our way.” A Grammy Hall of Fame inductee, this song marked the Carpenters’ second gold-certified single and became one of their signature tunes.
George Harrison – If Not for You
In 1970, Bob Dylan wrote this romantic ode for his then-wife, Sara. That spring, he joined his friend George Harrison in the studio to record an alternate version of the song (long sought-after by Beatles fans and eventually released in 1991). Harrison, meanwhile, went on to release his own rendition of the song for his solo masterpiece, All Things Must Pass, released at the end of that year.
Stevie Wonder – Ribbon in the Sky
This jazzy, 1982 ballad from Stevie Wonder (dubbed by Essence as one of the “25 Best Slow Jams of All Time”) is about feeling like you and your significant other were always destined to meet.
Ellie Goulding – How Long Will I Love You
This moving Waterboys cover by Ellie Goulding, which appeared on 2013’s Halcyon Days, speaks to the eternity of one’s love. You’ll likely have some misty-eyed guests when you play this song during your ceremony.
Need more inspiration? Below are some other great songs to consider:
Alison Krauss – When You Say Nothing at All
Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass – This Guy’s in Love with You
The Chicks – Cowboy Take Me Away
John Coltrane – My Favorite Things
Franz Schubert – Ave Maria
Harry Styles – Sweet Creature
Daniel Caesar ft. H.E.R. – Best Part
Ed Sheeran – Perfect
Randy Travis – Forever and Ever, Amen
Queen – You Take My Breath Away
You’ve exchanged your vows, had your first kiss as a married couple, and likely shed a few joyful tears along the way. Now it’s time to face your friends and family members, and savor your first few moments of matrimony. Here are a few songs to kick off your recessional:
U2 – All I Want Is You
U2’s emotional denouement to 1988’s Rattle & Hum feels especially resonant on any wedding day (particularly with the lyrics “all the promises we make, from the cradle to the grave”). It’s an unexpected – yet thoughtful – addition to your ceremony.
Ella Fitzgerald – From This Moment On
This jaunty jazz standard (penned by the great Cole Porter in 1950) will set a classy and flirty tone for your first few minutes as a married couple. If you’re a fan of the golden era of musicals, you’ll also recognize this song from 1953’s Kiss Me Kate.
KISS – I Was Made for Lovin’ You
Top off your first kiss with this little number from KISS! Released in 1979 (off Dynasty), the legendary group paired disco with hard rock for an opulent – and infectious – ode to love. You’ll definitely want this on your wedding playlist.
Stevie Wonder – Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)
A must-have for any wedding, this enduring hit from Stevie Wonder (off 1970’s Signed, Sealed & Delivered) perfectly encapsulates the elation that comes with meeting that special someone.
Elton John – Can You Feel The Love Tonight?
Add a touch of Disney magic to your wedding with this Elton John-penned ballad from 1994’s The Lion King.
Looking for more recessional songs? Below are more ideas for any style of ceremony:
Florence + The Machine – Dog Days Are Over
Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Lady Gaga – Yoü and I
Jon Batiste – I NEED YOU
Hall & Oates – You Make My Dreams Come True
Ludwig van Beethoven – Ode to Joy
The Turtles – Happy Together
Beach Boys – Good Vibrations
Frank Sinatra – Get Happy
Sonny and Cher – I Got You Babe
The Wedding Party Entrance Songs
After the photos have been taken and the hors d’ oeuvres have been served, it’s time to kick off the reception. Here are a few songs to get the party started!
Ray LaMontagne – You Are the Best Thing
This emotive song from Ray LaMontagne’s 2008 LP, Gossip in the Grain, has gained traction as a matrimonial favorite since it featured in I Love You, Man – a 2009 rom-com about a friendless guy seeking a best man for his forthcoming wedding.
Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling
This enduring hit from the Black Eyed Peas has soundtracked celebrations of all kinds for more than a decade. It’s a perfect song for this particular moment of the wedding, though. When it was released in 2009, the Grammy-single broke a variety of global records and became the year’s longest-running No.1 single (14 consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100) in the US.
James Brown – I Got You (I Feel Good)
This funky classic from the Godfather of Soul will hype up every guest in the room – from grandparents and ring bearers and everyone in between. The song, which originally appeared on Brown’s 1964 LP, Out of Sight, became his signature (and highest-charting) hit. A must-have for your wedding playlist.
U2 – Beautiful Day
One of U2’s biggest hits ever, “Beautiful Day” will set the tone for your reception with its dramatic, yet joyful intensity. The song, off the band’s multi-platinum selling All That You Can’t Leave Behind, topped the charts in more than ten countries, including the US, the UK, Australia, and the band’s native Ireland.
Katy Perry – Firework
Looking for something more pop forward? Katy Perry’s “Firework” is sure to light up the party. Released in 2010, this No.1 hit has a rarified diamond certification from the RIAA, while globally, it peaked in the Top 5 in more than 20 countries.
Below are a few more tracks that will ensure a memorable entrance for you and your wedding party:
Kanye West ft. T-Pain – Good Life
Pharrell Williams – Happy
Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris – We Found Love
Walk the Moon – Shut Up and Dance
Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance with Somebody
Beyonce – Crazy in Love
Bruno Mars – Marry You
Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight
Rascal Flatts – Me and My Gang
Scorpions – Rock You Like a Hurricane
First Dance Song
Your first dance as a married couple will be a highlight of the reception and marks a particularly personal moment for both of you. Whether you’re swaying to a meaningful tune or delivering a well-rehearsed dance sequence, here are a few ideas to get you moving:
Etta James – At Last
This timeless tune was originally written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren for the 1941 musical film, Sun Valley Serenade. A year later, Glen Miller & His Orchestra scored a No.2 hit with the song. In 1960, however, singer Etta James delivered a particularly soulful performance of the song, securing it as a wedding staple – and her signature tune.
Frank Sinatra – The Way You Look Tonight
Originally featured in the movie Swing Time, the exquisite “The Way You Look Tonight” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1936. Six years later, it was used in Once Upon A Honeymoon, starring Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers. Since then, it’s been synonymous with weddings and will most definitely remain that way for generations to come.
Diana Ross and Lionel Richie – Endless Love
Originally written by Richie as the theme to 1981’s Endless Love, the eponymous duet dwarfed the film’s commercial performance, topping the charts and becoming Diana Ross’ best-selling single. Since then, it has remained a wedding day staple.
Paul McCartney – Maybe I’m Amazed
One of the standout tracks on Paul McCartney’s 1970 solo debut, “Maybe I’m Amazed” has long been a fan favorite. Simple yet emotive, this piano-driven ballad was written as a tribute to Paul’s wife, Linda, for her support during the Beatles’ final days as a band.
Shania Twain – From This Moment On
First recorded for Shania Twain’s 1997 LP, Come On Over, this glorious country-pop ballad is still a staple in her live set – and it regularly soundtracks weddings around the globe. Nothing will have you saying, “I’m Yours” like this deftly-sung ballad.
Below are a few more songs to make your first dance extra special:
Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight
Jason Mraz feat. Colbie Caillat – Lucky
Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
Keith Urban – Making Memories of Us
Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes – (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life
Chris Stapleton – Tennessee Whiskey
Justin Bieber – Holy
Luther Vandross – Here and Now
H.E.R. – Every Kind of Way
The Lumineers – Ho Hey
Cake Cutting Songs
Whether you’re revving up your arm for a cake fight or aiming for a sweetly intimate moment with your husband or wife, the cutting of the cake is an anticipated part of the reception. Below are a few songs that will make this tradition even more delicious:
Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar on Me
If you’re a fan of hair metal, then this 1987 hair metal classic from Def Leppard is a must-have for the cake cutting. The fourth single off Hysteria, “Pour Some Sugar on Me” has since become a signature hit for the band and one of the decade’s most iconic hits.
Maroon 5 – Sugar
Almost as irresistible as sugar itself, this pop hit from Maroon 5 delivers plenty of delectable harmonies and an infectious beat. The inspired video for the song, which appeared on the group’s 2014 LP, V, features the band crashing several real-life weddings.
Marvin Gaye – How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)
Inspired by actor/comedian Jackie Gleason’s signature phrase, “How Sweet It Is!,” this upbeat tune was an early triumph for Marvin Gaye. Released as a single in the fall of 1964 (and appearing on Gaye’s 1965 LP of the same name) the song landed at No.6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No.3 on the R&B chart. Fun Fact: after the initial success of the single, Gaye recorded a German-language version, “Wie Schön Das Ist.”
The Four Tops – I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)
This toothsome Motown classic from the Four Tops went straight to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and was the second-biggest single of 1965. Five years later, it became a Top Ten hit in the UK.
U2 – Sweetest Thing
“Ain’t love the sweetest thing,” sings Bono in this emotive track, written for his wife. Originally released as a Joshua Tree B-side in 1987, the song was re-recorded for a 1998 compilation and re-released as a single, eventually becoming a Top Ten hit in dozens of countries.
Here are a few more ideas to add extra sugar – or spice – to the cake cutting:
Dean Martin – That’s Amore
Harry Connick Jr. – Recipe for Love
DNCE – Cake by the Ocean
The Archies – Sugar, Sugar
Echo & the Bunnymen – Lips Like Sugar
Frank Sinatra – Love and Marriage
Thomas Rhett – Sweetheart
Weird Al Yankovic – Eat It
Taylor Swift – Today Was a Fairytale
Norah Jones – Those Sweet Words
The Father-Daughter Dance
It’s pretty tough not to get a little verklempt during the father-daughter dance. Whether you’re dancing with your dad, another father figure in your life, or even your mom, this moment honors the special bond we have with our parents.
The Temptations – My Girl
Co-written and co-produced by labelmate Smokey Robinson, this 1964 Motown classic became the Temptations’ first No.1 hit (topping both the pop and R&B charts). Decades later, the Library of Congress added “My Girl” to their National Recording Registry. Today, the song remains a staple on TV, film and, of course, at weddings.
Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World
In 1968, Louis Armstrong scored a No.1 hit in the UK with this wistful tune (and, in his late 60s, broke records as the oldest artist to top the chart at the time). Two decades later, after the song appeared in the film Good Morning, Vietnam, it reentered the charts, landing in the US Top 40. No matter which side of the Atlantic you’re on, it’s a winner for any wedding.
Beach Boys – God Only Knows
Long considered to be among history’s greatest songs, the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” is a pop masterpiece, filled with lush harmonies and touching sentiments. The tune, which appeared on the band’s groundbreaking 1966 LP, Pet Sounds, is a standout choice for the father-daughter dance and will deliver all of sweetness without the sappiness.
Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole – Unforgettable
In 1951, legendary singer Nat King Cole landed a Top 20 single with this now-classic ballad. 40 years later, thanks to a bit of digital magic, Cole’s talented daughter Natalie recorded a virtual duet with her late father. The latter version of “Unforgettable” earned multiple Grammy Awards and was a best-selling hit for the father-daughter duo.
Stevie Wonder – Isn’t She Lovely
Stevie Wonder wrote this upbeat track to celebrate the birth of his daughter, Aisha. The recording, which opened 1976’s Songs in the Key of Life, featured audio of Wonder bathing Aisha, as well as the sound of a baby’s first cries after being born. Today, the song has become a standard, covered by a wide range of jazz and pop artists.
Here are a few more heartwarming songs that will deliver all the feels during the father-daughter dance:
Bruce Springsteen – When You Need Me
Loudon Wainwright III – Daughter
Nancy Sinatra – It’s for My Dad
Rascal Flatts – My Wish
Stevie Wonder – You Are the Sunshine of My Life
Bill Withers – Lean on Me
Elvis Presley – The Wonder of You
The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun
Van Morrison – Have I Told You Lately
Lionel Richie – Ballerina Girl
Bouquet Toss Songs
While the bouquet toss’ origins are a bit outdated, it gives the bride – and all of her unmarried friends – a chance to have a playful moment during the reception. Below are a few cheeky songs to consider for this moment of your wedding:
Pat Benatar – Hit Me with Your Best Shot
Wind up your arm to this 1981 power-pop hit from Pat Benatar. But try not to actually hit any of your guests.
The Spice Girls – Wannabe
Put a little “zigazig ah” into your bouquet toss with this unforgettable tune from the Spice Girls.
Beyonce – Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)
We guarantee that all of the single ladies (and maybe some of the men) will jump onto the floor for this iconic hit.
Beastie Boys – Girls
Want to pair the non-traditional with the traditional? Coming in at just over two minutes, this fast-paced 1986 track from the Beastie Boys will add a bit of humor to the evening.
Donna Summer – Hot Stuff
Show off your sexy single friends to this cheeky little disco number from Donna Summer.
Dance Floor Songs
After dinner is served and the cake is cut, it’s time to let loose and hit the dance floor with your loved ones. Whether you’re setting up a wedding playlist or hiring a DJ, the key to a great wedding dance party is to find a broad variety of hits that attendees of all ages can appreciate (and maybe show off some impressive moves to). Below are a few ideas that everyone can get down to:
Taylor Swift – Shake It Off
This deliriously catchy – and highly danceable – 2014 hit from Taylor Swift (off 1989) will get everyone moving, grooving, and shaking off any hesitancy to let loose.
Drake – Hold On, We’re Going Home
It’s important to mix slower tracks into your playlist to give guests a breather and a chance to connect with their dates (or, if they’re single, to meet someone new!). This sultry hit from Drake (off 2013’s Nothing Was the Same) is an ideal modern cut to get everyone in the mood.
Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Add some rockabilly flair to your dancefloor with Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” The swinging tune gave the rockers their first US No.1 in 1980. A perfect addition to any wedding playlist.
Al Green – Let’s Stay Together
While we can’t guarantee that this soulful hit from Al Green actually has the power to keep a couple together forever, we can definitely promise that it will bring couples together on the dancefloor.
Beach Boys – Kokomo
Looking for a perfect song to wrap up the evening? This 1988 hit from the Beach Boys sends its listeners on a romantic trip through every tropical island (including the fictional “Kokomo”). Whether you’re honeymooning in Aruba, Jamaica, Bermuda, or the Bahamas, this track will leave your guests with a smile on their faces.
Here are a few more songs that you might want to add to your wedding playlist or suggest to your DJ:
The Isley Brothers – Shout
The Killers – Mr. Brightside
The Rolling Stones – Let’s Spend the Night Together
AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long
Outkast – Hey Ya
ABBA – Dancing Queen
Bon Jovi – Livin’ on a Prayer
Disclosure ft. Sam Smith – Latch
Earth, Wind & Fire – September
Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’
Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop the Feeling!
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline
Usher – Yeah!
Rihanna – Umbrella
Cupid – Cupid Shuffle