Wedding music 101: The ultimate wedding playlist

Jun 02, 2022 | Planning

The music you choose for your wedding will spark memories for the rest of your life. With so many different parts of the day needing a musical backdrop - your first dance, your walk down the aisle, the song to cut the cake to and some killer dancing tracks for starters - how do you choose the perfect soundtrack that sets the scene for your special day and reflects you as a couple?

We asked Charlotte Robertson from wedding entertainment experts, Entertainment Nation, for some top tips to create an awesome wedding day soundtrack. Whether you're looking for upbeat, romantic, fun or tearjerking music, these awesome wedding songs could be just what you're looking for. From Charlotte: "To help you sort through them, we've matched them to different parts of your wedding day - but of course you could use them whenever or however you wish!"

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Photo: Desiree A. North

Wedding getting ready songs

Your wedding day will of course begin with gathering all your besties and getting the party started as you get ready for the biggest day of your life. Exciting! The key to choosing the perfect getting ready playlist is to select a mixture of upbeat party tunes and calmer songs to help soothe those pre-wedding jitters. So grab the bubbly and start the wedding prep - you have a big day ahead of you!

  1. Juice - Lizzo
  2. How Will I Know - Whitney Houston
  3. Chapel Of Love - The Dixie Cups
  4. Run The World (Girls) - Beyoncé
  5. Love Is Easy - McFly
  6. Marry Me - Train
  7. Accidentally In Love - Counting Crows
  8. Hold On - Wilson Phillips
  9. Dreams - Fleetwood Mac
  10. I Say A Little Prayer - Aretha Franklin
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Planner: H&L Lovely Creations

The arrival of the guests

Guests normally start arriving around twenty minutes before your ceremony is about to start, so you'll need around six songs to play to help set the scene. Many couples choose romantic tracks for this point in the day but really anything goes. Film music, classical masterpieces, modern chart toppers - whatever you like! We'd always recommend hiring a live musician for your ceremony. Live music will bring the entire experience to life and provide a far more intimate feel to the whole occasion.

  1. Crazy Love - Van Morrison
  2. Real Love - The Beatles
  3. Baby Can I Hold You - Tracy Chapman
  4. 24 Hours - Shawn Mendes
  5. Love - Lana Del Ray
  6. Lover - Taylor Swift
  7. A Whole New World - Aladdin
  8. Babylon - David Gray
  9. Love In Slow Motion - Ed Sheeran
  10. River - Leon Bridges
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Walking down the aisle music

And so we come to the first biggie - your walk down the aisle. When choosing music for this momentous occasion, think about the mood you want to create. Do you want your guests reaching for the tissues or dancing in the aisles? Try to choose a song that means something to both you and your partner. Trust us, whenever you hear this song, you'll be transported back to this special moment so make sure it's a goodun!

  1. Speechless - Dan & Shay
  2. Can't Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley
  3. It Had To Be You - Frank Sinatra
  4. One Day Like This - Elbow
  5. All You Need Is Love - The Beatles
  6. Trumpet Voluntary In D Major - Jeremiah Clarke
  7. Hoppípola - Sigur Ros
  8. You Had Me From Hello - Bon Jovi
  9. Paradise - Coldplay
  10. Concerning Hobbits - Lord Of the Rings
​Signing the register music Pin it

Photo: Amy Mulder

Signing the register music

This is where a live musician will spark joy at your ceremony. While you and your new husband or wife sign the register, you guests can be treated to a mini concert! Romantic songs are the most popular choices for this part of the ceremony for obvious reasons, but you could also choose some of your favourite songs as a couple instead. Here are our favourites.

  1. Songbird - Eva Cassidy
  2. Little Things - One Direction
  3. The One - Kodaline
  4. Let There Be Love - Nat King Cole
  5. In Case You Didn't Know - Brett Young
  6. Everything - Michael Bublé
  7. In My Life - The Beatles
  8. You're My Best Friend - Queen
  9. You Do Something To Me - Paul Weller
  10. Today Was A Fairytale - Taylor Swift
​Walking back up the aisle music Pin it

Walking back up the aisle music

Now the real celebration can begin. It's great idea to choose an upbeat and triumphant song to play as you and your partner take your first steps as a married couple - something that matches your guests' cheering and smiles and indicates that it's time to get the party started! These cheerful tunes will do just that.

  1. Ain't No Stopping Us Now - McFadden And Whitehead
  2. Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now - Starship
  3. Signed Sealed Delivered - Stevie Wonder
  4. Best Day Of My Life - American Authors
  5. We Are Family - Sister Sledge
  6. This Kiss - Faith Hill
  7. We Go Together - John Travolta and Olivia Newton John
  8. Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen
  9. The Power Of Love - Huey Lewis And The News
  10. Walking On Sunshine - Katrina And The Waves
Wedding cocktail hour music Pin it

Planner: H&L Lovely Creations

Wedding cocktail hour music

While your guests mingle with a glass of bubbly or a fancy cocktail, some background music is a must. This is another pretty-much-anything-goes part of your day when it comes to the songs you choose to play. Mix up some romantic tracks with some summery tunes, add in a few country tracks as well as some modern chart hits and hey presto - the perfect cocktail hour soundtrack!

Hiring an acoustic singer or perhaps a saxophonist for this part of your day always goes down a treat. For a total wow-factor, a roaming band is absolutely ideal, as they can weave in and out of your guests as they play, providing a completely unforgettable experience. Alternatively you could book a jazz trio or string quartet if you want this part of your day to be extra sophisticated.

  1. Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay - Otis Redding
  2. Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys
  3. You Make My Dreams Come True - Hall & Oates
  4. Summer - Calvin Harris
  5. Island in The Sun - Weezer
  6. I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
  7. Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles
  8. Happy Together - The Turtles
  9. Nobody But You - Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani
  10. Havana - Camila Cabello
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Planner: H&L Lovely Creations

The grand entrance

It's time for you and your bridal party to shine. Whether you choose to perform funny dances, have indoor fireworks or have a sophisticated affair is up to you. But what you will need is a killer song (or more if you like!) for everyone to walk in to. We've chosen our top ten reception entrance songs - take a look and get inspired.

  1. Crazy In Love - Beyoncé ft. Jay Z
  2. Down - Jay Sean ft. Lil Wayne
  3. Thunderstruck - AC/DC
  4. Eye of the Tiger - Survivor
  5. Raise Your Glass - P!nk
  6. Celebration - Kool & The Gang
  7. It's Tricky - Run DMC
  8. Apache - The Sugarhill Gang
  9. Let's Get It Started - The Black Eyed Peas
  10. Let's Go Crazy - Prince
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Photo: George Liopetas

The wedding meal

You don't want anything too intrusive playing while your guests are eating and chatting away. Try to choose mellow songs that can easily bubble away in the background. If you fancy some live music we'd recommend a pianist or jazz trio, who can easily create a piano bar or jazz club feel while everyone enjoys their food. Here are some great suggestions for songs that will sound perfect.

  1. Banana Pancakes - Jack Johnson
  2. Hey There Delilah - Plain White T's
  3. The Scientist - Coldplay
  4. First Day Of My Life - Bright Eyes
  5. Unbroken - Tim McGraw
  6. California Dreamin’ – The Mamas & The Papas
  7. Orinoco Flow – Enya
  8. For Once In My Life - Stevie Wonder
  9. Ocean Drive - Lighthouse Family
  10. Beyond The Sea - Bobby Darin
wedding songs for cutting the cake Pin it

Cutting The Cake

Whether you're planning on serving up cake for dessert or not, you'll need a sweet tune to cut the cake to. You could choose a song that references sweetness or sugar for some added fun, but whatever you decide on, an upbeat song that will get your guests in the mood for dancing will always work best.

  1. Sugar - Maroon 5
  2. On Top Of the World - Imagine Dragons
  3. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - Marvin Gaye
  4. Lollipop - The Chordettes
  5. Pour Some Sugar On Me - Def Leppard
  6. You're My Best Friend - Queen
  7. Sweet Thing - Keith Urban
  8. Sugar Sugar - The Archies
  9. Love On Top - Beyoncé
  10. Cake By The Ocean - DNCE
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Photo: Vanessa Rose Photo

Your First Dance

Now for the biggest choice of all - what will your first dance be? Do you want a slow, romantic song to sway to, or does the thought of this fill you with dread? Maybe you want to be the centre of attention for the whole song or perhaps you'd prefer to be joined by your friends and family as soon as is humanly possible. If you're hiring a wedding band they'll nearly always learn whichever song you choose and make this special moment totally unique. Here are our top ten choices for first dance songs:

  1. Love Never Fails - Brandon Heath
  2. I'll Never Not Love You - Michael Bublé
  3. My Type - Saint Motel
  4. My Universe - Coldplay ft. BTS
  5. Maybe I'm Amazed - Paul McCartney
  6. The Way You Look Tonight - Frank Sinatra
  7. Love You Like I Used To - Russell Dickerson
  8. Reach Out I'll Be There - The Four Tops
  9. All My Life - K-Ci And JoJo
  10. Blessed - Thomas Rhett

​Father daughter dance songs Pin it

Photo: Amy Mulder

Father daughter dance songs

One of the most touching moments of the day, your father-daughter dance song should encapsulate the relationship between you and your dad and will no doubt help to create one of your most treasured memories of the day. Take a look at these cute songs that we think would make the perfect soundtrack to this special time with your father.

  1. My Girl - The Temptations
  2. Father and Daughter - Paul Simon
  3. When My Little Girl Is Smiling - The Drifters
  4. You Are The Sunshine Of My Life - Stevie Wonder
  5. Dance With My Father - Luther Vandross
  6. Hero - Mariah Carey
  7. Count On Me - Bruno Mars
  8. When You Need Me - Bruce Springsteen
  9. My Father's Eyes - Eric Clapton
  10. My Little Girl - Tim McGraw
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Photo: Vanessa Rose Photo

Wedding dance floor fillers

Hiring a wedding band will ensure your dance floor is filled all night, but if you're choosing the music yourself there are certain songs that are guaranteed to keep guests dancing and we've listed them below. Try to choose a selection of songs that are going to be popular with guests of all ages and steer clear of niche or super-modern songs unless you have an extremely young crowd. Motown music, classic rock and mega-hits like Uptown Funk are the way forward, even if they don't conform to your personal tastes. The last thing you want is an empty dance floor!

  1. Can't Stop The Feeling - Justin Timberlake
  2. Don't Stop Believing - Journey
  3. Shut Up And Dance - Walk The Moon
  4. Livin' On A Prayer - Bon Jovi
  5. I Wanna Dance With Somebody - Whitney Houston
  6. September - Earth, Wind & Fire
  7. Africa - Toto
  8. Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
  9. All Star - Smash Mouth
  10. Red Red Wine - UB40
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Photo: Photographer: Jainé Kershner Photography

Save the last dance

After a night of partying you'll want the night to build up to a huge crescendo and end with a whopper of a song. We'd suggest choosing five or six epic tunes to end the night with and here are our favourites!

  1. (I've Had) The Time Of My Life - Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
  2. One Love - Bob Marley
  3. New York New York - Frank Sinatra
  4. Everybody Needs Somebody - The Blues Brothers
  5. Superstition - Stevie Wonder
  6. Just The Two Of Us - Bill Withers
  7. Save The Last Dance For Me - Michael Bublé
  8. Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond
  9. Don't Stop Me Now - Queen
  10. All Night Long - Lionel Ritchie

So there you have it - music ideas for every part of your wedding day. We hope you've found some inspiration and that you have the wonderful day you deserve. Congratulations and enjoy every minute!


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