Which Songs Would (or Did) You Choose For Your Wedding?

The best wedding songs

I have a confession…

I am obsessed with wedding music — you could say it makes me swoon. I love thinking about sentimental songs carefully chosen, by the couple getting married — it makes my heart flutter. Over the past five years, I’ve made five full wedding playlists for my future wedding and the current one is pretty fire. I’ve even helped friends choose songs for their own ceremonies and bangers for the reception! Here are six couples who shared their picks with us.

The best wedding songs

“We wanted our first dance song to feel like a sing along but weren’t sure if people would get into it that early in the night. But the dance floor was packed. Dancing to ‘Brown Eyed Girl,’ with 154 people singing along, will be a moment we will always remember.” — Briana (and Jonathan)

Briana photo by Sarah Murray Photo.

The best wedding songs

“The highlight of our wedding was singing ‘Friends In Low Places‘ with my grandma, Loretta, at our reception. She passed away two months later, and it was her favorite song. It’s my most cherished memory from that day.” — Bronwyn (and John)

Bronwyn photo by Brett Birdsong Photography.

The best wedding songs

The best wedding songs

“I was graced by my wife, Ashlee, who sang ‘For Good’ from the play Wicked. She is a huge broadway fan and Wicked is one of her favorite productions. The song shares how love comes in different forms and no matter what the future brings the love we share in the moment is worth it all.” — Lauren (and Ashlee)

Lauren photos by The Bere Collective.

The best wedding songs

The best wedding songs

“My husband’s family is from Guam, and I have a big Jewish family from California, so when we told our folks we were having a 30-person wedding in D.C., I think everyone was expecting a small dinner party. So, when we had our D.J. do the Horah, where we lifted both sets of parents in the air, his family was very confused. Jewish folks and Chamorro folks (native Guamanians) are both pretty solid party throwers, so they went with it, but whenever I look at these photos the shock on his parents’ faces always makes me laugh.” — Taylor (and Richard)

Taylor photos by Polyakov Photography.

The best wedding songs

“For our ceremony, it was all Beatles — ‘When I’m Sixty Four’ while family was being seated, ‘With a Little Help from my Friends’ when our bridal party walked down the aisle, and ‘Blackbird’ for my processional. Hearing it still makes me cry!” — Ellen (and Darrell)

Ellen photo by Sully Clemmer Photography.

The best wedding songs

“My closest girl friends and their husbands started off our ceremony with a lively and love-filled rendition of ‘Going to the Chapel.’ I could hear their gorgeous harmonies while I waited outside the church, and just as they finished the first verse I heard wild applause. I later learned the choir had set such a festive tone that when my handsome husband appeared at the back of the church with a big smile on his face, the congregation couldn’t help but burst into applause.” — Lee (and Tad)

What kind of music did you play at your wedding? I’d love to hear!

P.S. Couples share their favorite moments of their weddings, and 7 New York city hall weddings.

(Photo of Nat and Maria Cole, 1948.)

  1. Without a doubt I would choose Perfect – Ed Sheeran. Simply perfect!

  2. Joanna says...

    We did ‘Everlasting Light’ by the Black Keys and our groomspeople insisted on dancing down the aisle to it. My dad walked me in to ‘Crazy Love” by Van Morrison. We walked out to ‘Simple Song’ by the Shins followed up by ‘Everything is Awesome’ from the Lego Movie. We’re not the most sentimental people so I loved having less mushy more fun love songs.

  3. Y says...

    I walked down the aisle to ‘the rainbow connection’ sung by Kermit and we had our first dance to ‘Xanadu’ by Olivia Newton John.

  4. Chelsea says...

    We walked down the aisle to God Only Knows by the Beach Boys, played acoustically and sung by my cousin. When i had my baby a couple years later, i caught myself singing it to him constantly.

  5. Ashley D says...

    My husband and I got married last June, and we both come from extremely musical families, so the music for the ceremony and reception was extremely important to both of us. His brother played guitar and my sister sang “Songbird” by Fleetwood Mac during the entire processional and when I walked down the aisle. Our recessional was the most fun, and we walked out of the garden area to “Whole Wide World” by Wreckless Eric to start our party off. Our first dance was to “Our House” by Crosby Stills and Nash and it makes me tear up just thinking about it now. My husband and his mother danced to “I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton, and My dad and I danced to “Under the Boardwalk” by The Drifters, because he used to sing it as a duet with me when I got my first karaoke machine as a little kid (that was one of the only songs on the tape!).
    Our DJ was an amazing guy from Detroit that played a lot of really funky stuff and had an awesome taste in music, so there was no “Cupid Shuffle” or “YMCA” for us or things of that nature, and he was super on board with that. I am not saying those songs aren’t great, but they just definitely are not “us”, and he learned our tastes very quickly. I will say, if you are getting a DJ or a band, make sure you vibe with them and they actually understand who you are as a couple, not just going off of a song you hear them play!

  6. Nikki says...

    To save money, I made our playlists (dinner and dance party time) for our wedding and we rented a speaker/sound system and had friends push play at the right times. I’m so, so glad I did because 1. It was super fun to make the playlist (we asked for dance songs on our RSVPs, so seeing everyone’s responses was so much fun) and 2. I have the playlists forever now! Whenever I listen to our dance playlist, it instantly takes me right back.

    On a side note, our first dance was Get It Wrong, Get It Right by Feist and whenever it comes on Spotify or whenever we put on that record, my husband always stops whatever we’re doing so we can slow dance around the kitchen to our song.

  7. My favorite song played at our wedding was definitely Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s my 85 year old, cuban grandpa’s favorite song (he calls it “Mamma Mia, Mamma Mia” because those are the only words he knows). Everyone sang along and the joy on his face while dancing with his grandkids is something I’ll cherish forever.

  8. Lena says...

    My very amazing friend who has an unbelievable Cat Power-y voice sang I’ll be your mirror by Velvet Underground moments before our ceremony. Its hands down the best, most low key, authentic love song in the world and it still makes me tear up.

  9. Mina says...

    At our western ceremony, in a garden by a beach in Sardinia, with my manolos in my hand (we had to move the ceremony from a village piazza to a friend’s garden, and we walked into the garden together from the beach – hence shoes in hand), two good friends, accompanied by my brother-in-law sang Anywhere is Paradise, by Stefan Andersson. It was one of the single most beautiful moments of our entire wedding extravaganza – which included 3(!) ceremonies and I don’t know how many other celebrations.

    At our Indian wedding, we did our first dance to the Harry Connick Jr version of It had to be you (from When Harry met Sally) and then broke out into a choreographed Bollywood dance to Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire. Such fun memories!

  10. Katie says...

    The music was so important to me and I really wanted it to reflect our personalities and backgrounds. I grew up in Tennessee, and one song that my Dad used to play all the time was “Tennessee Waltz,” so that was the song we played when he walked me down the aisle. He and I danced to “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan, which he used to sing to me when I was a little girl.

    My husband and I danced to “Something” by the Beatles, which felt really special and even now we stop and dance to it when we hear it – even if no one else is dancing (such as when it was played at my best friend’s rehearsal dinner this past Friday night).

  11. My wedding music was really important to me and I thought about it a lot leading up to the days that I had to finalize it. We had a classical guitarist play at the ceremony and an 8 person band play the reception. I was having a really hard time choosing and also having my husband agree! There were several a-ha moments, though, where I thought, “This. This is perfect.”

    Parents’ processional: “God only knows” by the Beach Boys
    My Processional: “Moon River” by Henry Mancini
    Recessional: “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles
    Dance with my Dad “Isn’t she lovely” by Stevie Wonder (which he wrote for his daughter in 1977, the year I was born).
    Our first dance: “Some Kind of Wonderful” by the Drifters

    All of which still give me chills/bring tears to my eyes.

  12. Kiley says...

    My husband and I were just saying we wish we had asked our wedding DJ to give us the playlist of all the songs he played at our wedding in 2017, it was a good mix! We got married in New Orleans so we also had a second line band follow us from the ceremony to the reception. I’ll never forget our guests screaming “Heeeeey Baby! I wanna knooooow will you be my girl?” As we entered the reception venue. But for the bridal party processional we played Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Perpetuum Mobile, and for my walk down the aisle with my parents we played Lorn Huron, She Lit a Fire. Our first dance song was Dawes, If You Let Me Be Your Anchor, his first dance song with his mom was James Taylor, Sweet Baby James, and mine with my dad was a Johnny Cash cover of In My Life by the Beatles. Such good memories whenever I hear those songs!

  13. “Thank You” by Led Zeppelin but we used the cover by Chris Cornell.
    I knew in high school that one day I would dance to that song on my wedding day and luckily I met the perfect guy who agreed! :)

  14. maria says...

    what a great topic to take all our collective minds off the not so beautiful present!

    married in 1992 – and our wedding song for us was a total no-brainer:

    “you’re the best thing” by the style council

    if you don’t know it, google it now. if you do know it i’m sure you can hear it right now. lucky you!

    this song never ceases to fill my heart and soul with JOY.

    “you’re the best thing, that ever happened … to me or my world”

    thanks CoJ for the reminder. :)

  15. Shakirah says...

    I recently got married last November 2019 — in Italy no less. We missed this pandemic by a few months. Phew.

    I walked down the aisle to a soloist’s rendition of Anita Baker’s “Angel.” My family is West Indian and my husband’s family is Black American. Our first dance was the Corinne Bailey Rae version of a Bob Marley classic, “Is This Love.”

    Here are the links for anyone wanting to feel sappy and romantic.
    Is This Love:

    Thank you for these beautiful posts that are bringing much needed levity during these unpredictable times.

  16. Fiona says...

    We were long distance for 3+ years when we got married and so our song was “Wouldn’t it be nice” by the Beach Boys… it just spoke to everything that led up to that day of finally being together again – for good

  17. <3 awesome choice!

  18. Elke says...

    Like many cis, different-sex couples, putting together our wedding primarily fell to me, the woman in our relationship, and when my (now) husband expressed a significant interest in any aspect of its planning I tried to let him have it. So when he suggested Neil Young’s Harvest Moon for our first dance, I immediately agreed (helps that it’s such a gorgeous song!).

    Just over two years later I had to have an emergency c-section to deliver our daughter. Although not the birth I wanted or ‘planned’ (what birth ever is?!?), we had considered the possibility of a c-section ahead of time and my only real request was that we could play our own music. So my husband played a playlist of our wedding songs, held my hand, and whispered to me about his favorite parts of our wedding while my obstetrician cut me open – and our daughter was born to ‘Harvest Moon’ at 8:57am Christmas Eve. It wasn’t the birth I planned, but she was healthy and perfect and she came into the world feeling her parents’ love for each other and her.

    Thanks for giving me the chance to remember such a happy moment :). We really need those now.

    • Jeni says...

      This made me tear up. Such sweet memories to a sweet, sweet song.

  19. Nicolle Nordmann says...

    our wedding song was “I got you babe” by Sonny and Cher :) Still love it to this day.

  20. Maggie says...

    We had such fun picking wedding music! I walked down the aisle to “Come Rain or Come Shine” – family friends did instrumental music for the ceremony but I had them listen to the Norah Jones version for inspiration :) And our first dance was to Bob Dylan “Tonight I’ll be Staying Here with You,” our song.

  21. laura says...

    I really love it when before a wedding the bride and groom ask us for our wedding song and then play it at some point
    We are married 23 years and chose ‘It Had to be You’

  22. Lindy says...

    My husband and I eloped in Vegas so we didn’t have the option of choosing any music. If we had it to do over David Bowie’s Heroes, Billy Swan’s Don’t Be Cruel, or Marcus Mumford’s When I Get My Hands On You would have been our choices…but then again I wouldn’t have changed a moment of our ten minute wedding, it was perfect.

  23. Elena says...

    A few years ago we had a small wedding at SF City Hall so my grandmother could attend. Our honeymoon was a drive down the Pacific coast and I had packed a book of CDs to enjoy on the trip. But at our FIRST STOP at the Winchester Mystery House, the book of CDs vanished. We couldn’t find it anywhere. The one CD we were left with was the one in the player – a “best of” Sinatra album. So when we had a big party to celebrate our wedding in NYC a few months later, we easily chose “Devil’s Moon” by Sinatra. It was so perfectly us.

  24. Tshego B says...

    Roberta Flack – First time ever I saw your face

    It’s a stunning performance. I wouldn’t be mad if I walked down the isle to that. I cry though, like really hard so maybe not a good song for me :P

  25. Rachel says...

    My husband and I agonized over the playlist more than many other wedding related decisions! So tough to narrow it down.

    We finally went with:
    Processional-Stand by Me-Tracy Chapman
    Recessional- Let’s Stay Together-Al Green
    First Dances-
    Nothing Can Change This Love-Sam Cooke
    Little Trip To Heaven-Tom Waits

  26. Kat Simonyi says...

    Choosing songs for my wedding was one of my favorite parts – I love having a soundtrack that I can go back to and bring back that day. But my favorite part of the day (music wise) was something I didn’t plan at all.

    When I was about eight, I had a music box I got for Christmas that had a carousel horse inside it and was decorated all around the edges with roses and gold detail. It played “Unchained Melody” and to my eight year old self I didn’t think there was any more romantic song and I told my uncle that I would one day play the song at my wedding.

    Fast forward just about twenty years and my uncle was helping to arrange the music for my wedding ceremony. He hired a trumpet player to play the recessional and processional, but there was a point mid-ceremony that we needed a short bit of music for. We were doing a ring warming (everyone touches/blesses the rings and passes them up through the audience for the vows). My uncle said he would handle the minute or two of music needed so the audience could finish passing the rings.

    Anyway, I completely forgot about it at all until we’re mid-ceremony. I look up to see where the rings were and hear the trumpet player start playing again. It took me a few seconds to figure out the song – it was “Unchained Melody.” I looked to my uncle who was, as is the custom in our family, pretty much devolving into a puddle of tears. The look on his face though as he saw me realizing what he’d done was my favorite part of the day on a day full of some pretty incredible memories. The fact that he’d remembered, and the fact that he’d went out of his way to make a wish I’d made two decades ago come true – I’ll never forget it.

  27. m. says...

    A dear friend played piano versions of Feist’s “Mushaboom” [bridal party walking down], Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” [bride walking down], and Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” [couple walking out] for our wedding. We first danced to the Zombies’ “This Will be Our Year” as it’s light and cheery & short and sweet :)

  28. Karen D. says...

    I walked in to Tom Perry’s “Wildflowers” and we walked out to “I Believe in Miracles (where’d you go/you sexy thing)” by Hot Chocolate. We only used the short title, so it looked pretty religious on our very sectarian program!

    • Karen D. says...

      Oh, and our first dance was to “You Wreck Me” because we had literally been to high school dances together Heavy on the Tom Petty!

  29. Rachel Francisco says...

    My husbands mom passed away about 15 months before we got married. She sang “You are My Sunshine” to him, his older cousins and especially to my husbands 9 year old cousin, Cora Jo aka cricket. My husband wasn’t big on any of the ideas to include our passed parents ( my Dad died when I was six) but his big nod to her was this song as the bridal party, including flower girl cricket, walked down aisle. Later our first dance was to The Black Keys “You’re the One”, a song I distinctly remember listening to on his massive IPod 15 years ago when we were only 16.

  30. Annie says...

    Our first dance was to Ray Charles’ “Georgia on my mind.” We met in Georgia, fell in love there, lived there for many years and then moved away. We knew we probably would never be back, except to visit. So we wanted to honor the place where our partnership began.

  31. Ali says...

    “You’re My Best Friend” – we all walked down the aisle to a sweet acoustic cover of this Queen classic by The Once. I get teary and smiley whenever I hear the original on the radio.

    “Got to Get you Into My Life” – husband and I headed back up the aisle together at the end of the ceremony to this jaunty bluegrass cover of the Beatles classic by The Lonely Heartstring Band (hard to find everywhere but on Bandcamp now).

  32. Maddy Stamatescu says...

    I am in a string quartet, so for our wedding I walked down the aisle to an arrangement of Avalanche City’s ‘Love Love Love’. My husband is a jazz pianist and for our first dance, we did a slow Foxtrot to Dedicated to You- what was a complete surprise was that his piano teacher’s gig that night was our wedding! So special

  33. Elly says...

    I got married in December (summery – we’re in Australia) and I searched for this type of post all the time! I just love wedding music and had such fun choosing ours! I walked down the aisle to ‘Can’t help falling in love’ by Elvis (take my hand, take my whole life too)! Our first dance song was ‘Into the Mystic’ by Van Morrison. Our dance teacher had never used it for a first dance song but it was just so perfect. Ah wedding music, the best music!

    • Amelia says...

      Lost Together by the superlative band Blue Rodeo. “Strange and beautiful are the stars tonight that dance around your head…in your eyes I see that perfect world. I hope that doesn’t sound too weird…If we’re lost, then we are lost together…” such a beautiful and underappreciated love song!

  34. Jennifer Forshee says...

    I walked down the aisle to Jeff Mangum’s version of “I love how you love me.” We walked back up the aisle to the Del Vikings “Come and go with me.” We danced our first dance to “The Best is Yet to Come” by Frank. No regrets.

  35. Megan says...

    Our first dance was to “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole. But guess what… about a year after the wedding, I was telling that to someone and my mind blanked. I FORGOT THE NAME OF THE SONG “UNFORGETTABLE.” Total brain fart.

  36. Darla says...

    My family and I take music and parties very seriously. I worked on my own wedding playlists for months. My Dad had died 6 months prior so I knew I needed to keep it upbeat so I wouldn’t lose it.

    My big brother walked me down the aisle to Stevie Wonder’s fun and happy version of At Last and everyone clapping and smiling (probably because I was a first time bride at 45!). When done, we walked out to Teddy Pendergrass singing It’s So Good When Somebody Loves You Back.

    Our first dance the hubs insisted on our fave song by Charlie Rich- Behind Closed Doors. It was awesome. We had pretty much everyone on the dance floor most of the night. Caterer said he’d never seen so many folks dancing. Afterwards I got several emails wanting my lists. Music brings people so much closer!
    Part 1 is here:
    Part 2 is here:

  37. Anna says...

    *Opens Spotify* for the comments. Thanks Cup of Jo readers for the great ideas :)

  38. Zoe Sanchez says...

    YEEEESSS I LOVE playlist posts and thank you for sharing your playlists! I followed you :) I love hearing new music and sharing music is so fun. I’m not married yet and I so look forward to chatting about this with my future husband so fun

  39. Barbara Felton-Wilson says...

    We have been married 30 years (September,2020) but I remember our wedding as if it was happening today. We were new Christians at that time, (me-2 year and him 1 year). We had a church wedding and my husband had been a dj in a former life. I walked down the aisle on “Septembro” by Take 6. My best friend sang “You and I” (Stevie Wonder’s Version), our guest soloist sang one of her songs “I Choose Jesus” and my husband sprinkled “our songs” throughout the track “I Miss You Like Crazy”-Natalie Cole, “Love will Lead You Back”-Taylor Dayne and +All Around the World”-Lisa Stansfield. We still listen to our wedding track. We transferred it to CD and then a Spotify track.

  40. DEB says...

    I walked down the aisle to “Book of Love”, the Magnetic Fields version. I heard the Peter Gabriel one in Shall We Dance, and loved the lyrics, but loved the original version more.

    Our first dance was to “Wonderful World” by Sam Cooke because we were getting married in an Amish barn in Pennsylvania (I loved the scene from Witness and my husband remembered it from Animal House). And our long standing is joke is that I’m the smartypants and he was the underachiever in school.

    I lived in NYC for 15 years and was moving to be with my husband, so we also played Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York”, and had anyone who wanted to join us in a kickline. All my friends and family from New York did!

    • Melisa says...

      My husband and I walked down the aisle (him first, then me), on both our parents’ arms, to “Book of Love” too! But the Peter Gabriel version for us! I didn’t think my husband would go for it as we have very different tastes in music, but he loves it as much as I do :)

  41. Becca says...

    Newlywed swooning over here. Love this question. Good songs always have the sucker punch quality, don’t they?

    My husband’s mother passed away just as we first started dating and I got folded into his family very quickly (and sincerely). So it seemed very natural to choose “Stand By Me” as our first dance song. I still get chills whenever I hear it playing unexpectedly out in the world.

    • Lex says...

      I walked down the aisle to a Cranberries song called “ dreaming my dreams” and our first dance was to “ I’ll be there” the original Jackson 5 version.. such great memories and love hearing everyone’s picks!

  42. Catherine says...

    What a happy thread to stumble on today! Loving reading everyone’s comments.

    Our friends and family (and my husband) processed in to John Legend’s “Refuge (When It’s Cold Outside).” It took us to find a song that fit the mood we were going for: sentimental, but still upbeat.

    The choice for my processional was a lot easier: the acoustic version of “Latch” by Sam Smith. That was a meaningful song early in our relationship and was a no-brainer.

    After the ceremony, we walked back down the aisle to Beyonce’s “End of Time” — such a fun, celebratory song! And our first dance was to the short but sweet “Coming Home” by Leon Bridges. Still tear up whenever I hear that one.

  43. Sofia says...

    oh i love this!
    i have a few music memories from my wedding that i cherish so much. for our ceremony which was religious at a church (both my husband and i are catholic and while this was not important to us, it was for both of our moms) my aunt sang sea of love. then when we came out and got into the car, the driver randomly started blasting have you ever seen the rain. ccr was my dad’s favorite band. he had been dead for 7 years when we celebrated our wedding. it was so special for me to hear that song on that day! i cried all the way to the venue. then our first dance was wrapped up in you, which is my husband and my song because it was so popular when we first met in high school. to end the night the dj played pass this on and my closest friends and i let loose on the dance floor. it was a very special moment for us and has been repeated at 2 of my closest’s friends weddings. we just love to dance to the knife!

  44. Amy says...

    Our first dance was Jump in the Line by Harry Belafonte. We did like 32 bars of merengue to start off as a couple, but then we started pulling everyone into a conga line and everyone stayed dancing for a long time! Until we did the cake (which was actually a piñata, during which someone screamed SMASH THE PATRIARCHY while I was trying to break it). It was great.

  45. Linds says...

    Our friends and family walked down the aisle to When I’m With You by Ben Rector. It’s a happy song, but I tear up every time I recall it! I walked down the aisle to At Last by Etta James. Perfect. <3 Best day ever.

  46. Shauna Orton says...

    My husband (then fiance) was in a local “Big Band” band, they played at our wedding reception as a sweet gift! I told my future hubby that I really wanted, “At Last” as our wedding song but apparently was not in their repertoire and so instead they played “Unforgettable” which was beautiful but ironically I always FORGET which song they played!!!!!!

  47. My spouse and I walked each other down the aisle to “Ordinary” by Copeland. It’s a beautiful, soft, breezy song about how even the most ordinary days are special together.

    “Since you came along, my days are ordinary
    We laugh just like yesterday
    And I kiss you like the day before
    And I hold you just like ordinary
    Perhaps when the day is new
    We’ll find tomorrow is just ordinary too”

  48. Jessica says...

    Our friend circle is a pretty nerdy bunch, so when our buddy DJ’d for us he surprised us all with the “Make a Man out of You” song from Mulan towards the end of the night. It was the perfect song to give the party a second wind. All my dorky and beautiful friends rushed into a huddle to shout-sing the lyrics together. All of us punching the air and wearing these crazy nostalgic smiles. It was so unexpected! One of my favorite memories of the night.

  49. Roisin says...

    My wife and I took this decision very seriously!

    We knew we wanted to walk in to the instrumental version of Young Wonder – To You. Such a beautiful song from an Irish act. A friend of ours played Wallis Bird – The Circle and The Waterboys – The Whole of the Moon during the ceremony, followed by her own song, The Heathers – Waiter, as we walked out. We came back in to the dinner to The Human League – Together in Electric Dreams and our first dance was to Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place. Makes me smile to think of all of them!

  50. Katie says...

    Our first dance was John Legend: Stay with You – to this day it still makes me tear up thinking of our wedding day!

  51. Aileen Johnston says...

    Our first dance was to You Say it Best, When you Say Nothing it all by Ronan Keating as we watched a lot of Notting Hill when we started dating. Our friend played the guitar and sang, it was lovely.

    Our second dance was even more personal though. We are from Scotland and we had traditional ceilidh dancing for the most part for our Wedding Dance and had a live Scottish Dance Band (who had also played at my Mum and Dads Wedding, 12 years before). Anyway, my Dad had also had a Scottish Dance Band, loved writing tunes for dances and hated speaking at events. He had been really nervous about making a speech at our wedding so I had said that Mum could do the speech and requested he wrote a tune for us that he would play at our wedding. He delighted me by writing a 4/4 March called Aileen and Mikes Wedding March which was a tune you can do a Gay Gordons to (one of my fave ceilidh dances )

    Sadly my Dad passed away 5 months before my wedding but unbeknownst to me, my dads fiddler had passed the tune to my Wedding Band and played the tune for our first Gay Gordons as a married couple.

    On another note I also walked down the aisle to a tune my Dad wrote called Where The Findhorn Flows which my Mum had also walked down the aisle to when she had married him.

    Music and the reasons we choose certain tunes are so special :)

    • Aileen Johnston says...

      PS This is my dad playing Where The Findhorn Flows if anyone would like to hear it. It is named after the River that flows through his home town of Forres in North East Scotland.

    • Elif says...

      You can never hold back spring by Tom Waits

  52. Irene says...

    My husband has two daughters, at the time of our wedding, they were 5 and 7. After we did a formal dance with our parents, the music was interrupted and we danced “Ain´t no mountain high enough” by Martin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. We practiced for weeks a coreography that could include my two stepdaughters. All our guests went crazy!! It was one of the highlights of our party and I am so glad that our first dance was with them!

  53. Molly says...

    During our wedding planning process, we discovered that both sets of our parents had the same wedding song – I Can’t Help Falling in Love! We surprised them during the reception by having the DJ ask for both sets of parents to come to the dance floor for a special slow dance to their wedding song. It was a very special moment!

  54. At my daughter’s wedding, my son (he was also best man) escorted me down the aisle to a string version of “Kashmir”. I was surprised & when I quietly asked him “is this Kashmir, he said “Yes Mom – its meant for you”. I almost lost it. My son’s a musician & knows how much I loved the Brit Group. He, my daughter & son-in-law thought this would be a nice touch.

    My daughter’s wedding song was the same wedding song I had “Today I met the Boy I’m Gonna Marry”. Our family also loves Motown.

  55. valentina says...

    choosing the music was such a special part of the wedding planning process for us! every song that we heard during our engagement was a moment of ‘ooh! is THIS something we wanna hear?’ we ended up deciding that we just wanted all of our “moment” songs to be FUN because that’s really all we wanted for ourselves and our guests that day. we went with “love on top” by beyonce for the recessional “head over feet” by alanis for our first dance, and both moments just felt so *us* — happy, fun, and joy-filled.

  56. Daria says...

    Our First Dance song was “Cheek to Cheek” by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald – this has long been ‘our’ song and it felt extra-special to dance to it surrounded by smiling faces. I always ask the bride and groom at weddings whether there is a story to their song, I’m always curious :) Though it would probably also be nice to pick out a song, even a new one, and make it your Wedding song, thus making it special.

  57. Catherine N Schepp says...

    What a wonderful topic! Our first dance was to “If I Should Fall Behind” by Bruce Springsteen and the lyrics felt like a sincere continuation of our vows.
    “Now everyone dreams of a love lasting and true
    But you and I know what this world can do
    So let’s make our steps clear that the other may see
    And I’ll wait for you
    If I should fall behind
    Wait for me.”
    We also put a lot of thought into our cocktail hour music and it remains one of our favorite playlists to play on date nights and sunny days throughout our life.

  58. Katie says...

    We had official wedding songs, a first dance, etc. but when they played “Midnight Train to Georgia”, it was just me and my husband on the dance floor, dancing happily while everyone ate dinner. During our first dance it felt like we were on display, so this is the song I think about as “ours” for the wedding.

  59. Cora says...

    My wife and I had a camping themed wedding at the national park where we met (Great Sand Dunes, CO). Before buying our home we lived together in a community of artists and musicians. Our lovely former house-mates brought their instruments into the dunes and played ‘The Book of Love’ leading up to our ceremony (Magnetic Fields):

    This song is charming, sweet, and strikes a subtle balance of funny and dark <3

  60. Marcia says...

    Such a weird song for a wedding: All those years ago, by George Harrison. I don´t know but I love the vibe.

  61. Jules says...

    Our first dance at our wedding in 2009 was “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke. Years earlier in college, we had decided our song was “Cupid” by Sam Cooke, so we wanted a bit of a slower one and this fit the bill. Now they’re both our song. :)

  62. Jamie says...

    Our wedding was small and mostly (older) family members. Our reception was held at an old theatre in the downtown area of our town (think Stars Hollow but Texan). We played only rock and roll from the 1950’s and 60’s. Our first dance was to ‘Brown-Eyed Handsome Man’ – it was so fun and we still have relatives comment on how memorable the music was!

  63. Jessica says...

    My husband and I share a big love for Pearl Jam, so our first dance was to their song Thin Air.

    My favourite music moment though happened during the dance party part of the night. As a music lover myself, I wanted everyone to have fun and dance, so I spent a lot of time compiling songs from a range of genres I thought would work. I made it clear to my DJ that I wanted all my guests to hear something they enjoyed and that a range in music was important to me. So at one point in the night, I was talking to my husband’s younger cousin, and she was sulking about how the DJ refused to play a song by Tool she had requested. I knew the song, and like it, so I headed over to the DJ and requested it again for her. He was very stubborn and said he had it but it was a garbage song and he didn’t want to play it. As the bride, I insisted. So the first few very distinctive bars of the song start to play and all of a sudden a ton of wedding guests rushed the dance floor, shocked and thrilled that Tool was playing at a wedding! They loved it. At that moment, my mom (who would definitely not be described as your traditional Tool fan) danced over to me and said “I like the music the DJ is playing. Its fun!” Such sweet vindication. Guests still tell me our wedding was one of the most fun they’ve been too.

  64. Sophia says...

    Our reception was held at the New York aquarium so I asked my DJ for various ocean themed songs. He played Bobby Darin’s “Somewhere Beyond The Sea” during the evening and I loved it so much that he played it again for me. Three years later while I was hugely pregnant and watching “Finding Nemo” on cable, “Somewhere Beyond The Sea” (the Robbie WIlliams version) came on over the closing credits. It made me so happy to remember that song from our wedding as my baby kicked in my belly. I still get giddy when I hear that song.

  65. Sam says...

    As a lifelong singer marrying into a family of musicians, the music at our wedding was one of the most important and fun things we got to decide! On the (late!) trolly to the church my bridesmaids kept me calm with the loveliest rendition of going to the chapel. I’ve sung that song with a capella groups many times, but singing it literally on the way to the chapel was beyond beautiful. We processed to the Randall Thompson Alleluia, played on the organ, a personal favorite, that perfectly echoed the joy and anticipation we felt.

    However, the most fun part was entering into the reception. Our “song” has always been Hopeless Wanderer by Mumford and Sons. It starts off slow and then builds into a frenzy at the chorus. When the music got crazy, our whole bridal party rushed to join us on the dance floor. Dancing not just with my new, handsome husband, but all our beautiful new family was exactly how we wanted to start off our marriage. My heart fills just thinking about that perfect day. <3

  66. Emma says...

    The music was one of the first things I had figured out about my wedding!
    The ceremony opened with “Bron Yr Aur” by Led Zeppelin, I walked down the aisle to “Songbird” by Fleetwood Mac,” we recessed to “Little Martha” by the Allman Brothers and our first dance was “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison.

    Stuck in the 70’s but I got married in 2015 :)

  67. Elin says...

    I am a christian but my husband is an ateist. We decided to have a non religious wedding ’cause he he felt it would be wrong to promise something to a God that he didn’t believe in. I totally respect that but I decided to decorated my wedding bouquet with a rosario and we chose Beach Boys “God only knows” as our wedding theme song. It was played on an accordion as we entered the wedding venue, simple and beautiful. We celebrate ten years as married and when ever I hear the song I think about us. I later heard that Paul McCartney said that it was the most perfect song ever written. Agreed.

  68. Mandy says...

    The playlist was the first thing we worked on during our planning! We walked in to the theme of Cannibal Holocaust (RIP Riz Ortolani). I know it sounds most inauspicious but it’s an absolutely beautiful piece of music, and we’re both (horror) film fanatics.

    The rest of the playlist was just a mix of songs we both loved, and included songs by bands like Air, Silver Jews (RIP David Berman), Flaming Lips, Blondie, Yo La Tengo, Lemonheads, The Hollies, The Beach Boys, Velvet Underground (RIP Lou Reed), etc.

    Our anniversary happens to be coming up, and this post is bringing back them memories!

  69. Laura says...

    I LOVED picking my wedding music! I walked down the aisle to “Lauren Walking” from the Straight Story, which is achingly beautiful, then back up the aisle to “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes (it was 2012 after all). My father/daughter dance was Jimmy Buffett’s “Little Miss Magic”, which still makes me sob (also, my dad is a parrot head). Other than that, we tried to pick music we actually listened to, so we had Gorillaz During cocktail hour, and danced to the Fratellis and Santigold. Man, I need to listen to this stuff again…

  70. sania says...

    We had a really lovely traditional Pakistani wedding (both my husband and I are first generation and were amongst the first to get married in this country) and although pretty “American” we wanted to honor our culture by playing mostly south Asian music at our wedding. But I heard the song This is the first day of my life a few weeks before the wedding and I instantly knew I wanted to walk into the reception playing it. The words are so sweet and meaningful that everyone in our families teared up a little as it played.

  71. I walked down the aisle to Ho Hey, the version from the Nashville soundtrack. Instead of bouquets my bridesmaids had tambourines which they hit (mostly) in time to the song.
    We didn’t have a DJ for the reception, instead we put together a playlist to play through speakers. My husband spent ages putting it together, rearranging the songs so they flowed. Then it turned out we got married on one of the hottest days of the summer and hardly anybody wanted to be inside dancing so they missed the music as they were sat outside cooling down.
    They did stay inside long enough to see our first dance which was to Ray Lamontagne’s ‘You are the best thing’, which we had semi-choreographed, including a lift!

  72. Hannah says...

    I got a bit obsessed with my playlist and had one for the whole reception/celebration, starting with a little quieter background music during dinner to something more lively during drinks and talking afterwards. I even had one for dancing, even though we had an outdoor wedding (the kind where you finish by sitting around a big bonfire drinking wine instead of dancing) and no dancefloor.

    I had organised the playlist just so that, throughout the night, the song “La Vie en Rose” was played – it’s “our song” and I still get tears in my eyes when I hear it. I used different versions of it, too, and all were beautiful.

  73. Gwynne says...

    My husband and I chose “Into your arms” by Nick Cave for when I walked down the aisle, a song that is really meaningful to both of us. My husband’s best friend surprised us by singing it instead of just playing it on the piano, and when I heard his voice begin (I was waiting in the wings), I turned to my dad and said, “wait, is Nick Cave here?!!” I really thought he’d come to my wedding! But when I finally walked out and saw Mo singing I was incredibly touched. It’s still a moment the three of us talk about every time we get drunk together :)

  74. Christine says...

    We entered the reception to Magic by Olivia Newton-John and it was a great choice.

  75. Annie says...

    At HK weddings, grooms are put through a series of challenges to prove their love. My husband absolutely HATES singing and our friends made him sing this wonderful tune from kiwi comedy duo, flight of the concords ‘If that’s what you’re into’. My husband only sung 2 lines but that’s the only time we have ever heard him whisper a tune!

  76. C says...

    I know this post is supposed to be uplifting but bad timing for my fellow brides-to-be who have to consider cancelling or postponing due to coronavirus. My wedding is next weekend and I think we have to cancel. Really sad. Sending a virtual hug (no germs!) to anyone in this tough situation. Also any advice? Xo

    • Laine says...

      I agree, this post wasn’t considerate timing. I’m in the same boat as you- a spring bride. Will lose tens of thousands of dollars and will mourn the dream wedding that could have been. People will say, at least your loved ones have their lives. And they’re SO right. But I think it’s ok to mourn this too, no matter how frivolous (and we shouldn’t compare grief). Others will say, at least you have a partner. True. But there’s still an element of grief involved here. We will get through it, we have no choice. Hugs!

    • A says...

      So much love for you, C! That’s a really hard, selfless choice. I hope you’ll be able to celebrate with all of your people very soon! As to advice, being kind and understanding has always gotten me better refunds/credits/accommodations than yelling has. And your wedding is whatever you decide it is. We viewed ours as the first dinner party we would throw as an official couple, and for the people who couldn’t join us that night, we had subsequent dinner parties. Random smells/songs/sneakers remind me of how much I love my wife because of our wedding experience. Maybe hand sanitizer will always remind you of your love? I’m so sorry you’re having to cancel the wedding!

    • Lanae says...

      I’m so sorry to all those in your spot. Hoping you have a beautiful celebration, even if it’s not the one you planned. And yes, you absolutely have the right to mourn the plans you’ve already invested in, emotionally and financially.
      One of my best friends is set to marry after waiting a long time to find the right person. We are all hoping for the best as the date is 8 weeks away. She is already tempering her expectations and I am so sad that this is a worry for her too.

  77. Lizzy says...

    Honestly my biggest regret is not having “A Kiss to Build a Dream on” by Louis Armstrong be our first dance but my husband wasn’t feeling it (his vote, our song, was Lucky by Jason Mraz!) (very out of character) So my fave wedding songs were the guitarist playing “wouldn’t it be nice” by the beach boys as we left the ceremony, and dancing to “young at heart” (Sinatra) with my dad (also his pick.) <3

  78. Emily says...

    I walked down the aisle (in the pouring rain) to Here Comes the Sun. My husband is from Liverpool and we wanted a little nod to the Beatles.

    Our first dance was a Noel Gallagher cover of The Smiths song There is a Light and it Never Goes Out. It used to always come on our playlist when we were cooking dinner together and it isn’t really a dance song or overtly romantic, but we aren’t either!

  79. J says...

    I just went to the most FUN wedding that was a full blown costume party. The groom walked down the aisle with his parents to “Whatta Man” by Salt-n-Pepa and we all about died laughing.

  80. ashley says...

    My parent’s first dance in 1975 was to “We’ve Only Just Begun” by The Carpenters. Whenever I get married, I want to do that for my first dance with my husband, possibly sung live as a more modern rendition. Maybe it will bring me a little of their magic, as they’ve been married for 45 years this June. <3

  81. maeve says...

    my brother played ‘when i fall in love’ on trumpet as i walked down the aisle :) and an acoustic-y version of ‘lovely day’ by bill withers (one of my husbands favorite singers) was the recessional. our first dance was ‘get here’ by odetta adams (sung by one of my best friends) since our entire dating relationship was long distance.

  82. Mary says...

    I am still many years away from getting married, but I have a playlist on my phone for first dance songs that always make me smile:
    Till There Was You by the Beatles
    I Wanna Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston
    Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves
    Duo by Ben Rector
    Baby I’m Yours by the Arctic Monkeys
    Burning Love by Elvis
    This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) by Natalie Cole

    I flip back and forth on whether I want a sweet & slow song or a bouncy, feel-good JAM for my first dance. Maybe my future husband will be the one to decide ;)

  83. L says...

    Instrumental of “The Book of Love” by the Magnetic Fields – walk down the aisle.
    “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young – our first dance as hubs and wife.
    “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey – chosen by our awesome band, total surprise to us, and literally every person there LOVED it. I still adore the song for that reason.

  84. Sarah says...

    I walked down the aisle to “Here, There, and Everywhere” by the Beatles. We played classic r&b while we ate. Our first dance was “That’s How Strong My Love Is” by Otis Redding. My dance with my Dad was “King of the Road” by Roger Miller. After that, our friends passed around an ipod (it was that long ago) for the songs we wanted to dance to. One of my most favorite parts of the night was the music. :)

  85. Erin says...

    My husband and I chose each other songs that we’d walk down the aisle to, as surprises! It was so exciting to stand with my parents before stepping out, wondering what song would play. He chose “Come Live With Me” by Ray Charles for me. Perfect. For him, I picked “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” by Otis Redding. During the ceremony, we had a singalong of “Stand By Me.” Friends played the guitar and sang, and I pulled an egg shaker out of my bouquet. Our first dance was to “Lucky Loser” by James Carr, played by a live band. And one of my favorite memories of the night is dancing with my mom’s side of the family to “The Rock and Roll Waltz” by Kay Starr. My grandparents always sang that song when my siblings and I would spend the night with them. Now I just want to look through my wedding album and cry! So much fun!

  86. Madison B. says...

    Our ceremony was outdoors and our reception picnic style along the Puget Sound in Washington state. At the time we lived on Maui and flew to WA to accommodate our family members who couldn’t fly to us. AKA it was on a budget and we weren’t playing music for the entire ceremony or reception, very DIY (we did our own make up/hair/flowers/food!).

    My sister in law’s boyfriend is a talented musician and DJ and offered to play something for my walk down the aisle. It was a very sweet gesture, even sweeter she told me how much he practiced to make sure it was perfect!

    We landed on the melody to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” on the ukulele. I remember sitting in the living room finding a ukulele version on youtube to get an idea what it would sound like. It started playing, my husband, my mother in law, sister in law, and myself all started getting teary. In that moment we KNEW that was the melody of our wedding.

  87. Emily says...

    My husband and I are not great planners, but we spent a lot of time on our wedding music, and it really set the joyful mood we were going for. While people were being seated, we had a Motown-heavy mix going, which put people in a great mood. We walked down the aisle to “Do You Realize” by the Flaming Lips and walked back up to “Wouldn’t it be Nice” by The Beach Boys. Then, at our ceremony we were introduced with “This Must Be the Place” by the Talking Heads playing and had our first dance to “Strangers” by the Kinks (which we picked because it was short!). I don’t remember most of what was played at our reception, except for Shout (regular and Bills version). When in Buffalo, gotta support the Bills!

    • Grace says...

      Go Bills! We will be playing this at our wedding next January, too!

  88. Jenifer Higgins says...

    I danced to Have I Told You Lately That I Love You with my husband as our first dance and with my Dad it was Brown Eyed Girl.

  89. Laine says...

    Bad timing as so many bride-to-be’s have to cancel their spring weddings, myself included.

  90. Brittan Wieser says...

    Rather than doing separate father/daughter and mother/son dances (who wants to watch that many dances when people are ready to party), we all danced at the same time to Dancing in the Moonlight by King Harvest. Then, for our first dance, we wanted to do something fun and a little sexy so we picked Groove Me by King Floyd. It was playful, fun, and flirty…just like us!

  91. Alexandra Wolfe says...

    I love this happy thread!
    Processional – “Ending (an ascent)” by Brian Eno…gorgeous and ethereal and it just really feels like something special is happening. Filled with wonder.
    Recessional – “Needle in the Camel’s Eye” by Brian Eno…it felt so celebratory!
    First dance – “The Book of Love” by The Magnetic Fields, which speaks for itself…and we also secretly consider did a first dance to “Papa Was a Rodeo” (also by The Magnetic Fields)…it’s a love song, but so sad. and beautiful.
    Cocktail Hour – a mix of things, but I remember the mood was the perfect mix of “Idioteque” by Radiohead and “Can I Kick It?” by A Tribe Called Quest
    Thanks for an excuse to revisit all of this…and make an amazing playlist!

    • Katherine says...

      Our first dance was Magnetic Fields too! Nothing matters when we’re dancing. It will be 18 years this year and I still love hearing that song.

  92. ERICA says...

    Kitchen by the Lemonheads had always been our song because it practically told the story of how our relationship began 12 years before our wedding. It was neither wedding nor choreography friendly but somehow it had to be our first dance. We had a Latin jazz fusion band play the wedding so we asked them to do a cover of it and sing the lyrics in Spanish. A couple of our friends figured out what it was but most people didn’t know. We loved it so much. It was sort of like a secret in plain view.

  93. Emily Thompson says...

    Right now I’m all about lilac, so I would go for the Violet Milk Cardigan!

  94. There are two songs that I want in/at my wedding. The first is When You’re With Me by The Afters and from the moment I heard it I saw myself walking down the aisle to it, it’s just about how the world seems brighter when you’re with that special someone and it has the most beautiful tune.
    Then most recently I want the song Follow You by Echosmith – the lead singer actually wrote it for her husband 2 weeks before her wedding and performed it at her reception. It’s another beautiful song that I could imagine being played during the signing of the registry or during the first dance.

    • Jena says...

      This is timely as I just got married last weekend!
      We hired a string quartet because it was surprisingly so inexpensive! Cheaper than a DJ!

      We had a Sunday brunch wedding so there wasn’t any dancing and it was all very low key and informalities-ish.
      I walked down the aisle to Sigur Ros – Staralfur. Which I’ve always wanted to walk down the aisle to (the drama!!). I didn’t hear the music at all, I was so focused on seeing everyone I loved gathered in the chairs there.

      We recessed to Talking Heads – Naive Melody (this must be the place) which has special meaning to us.
      Both played on strings.
      The strings stayed for another hour and a half and played a bunch of contemporary music we had picked out (I actually have no idea what was played! I was so distracted).
      Right before their time was up, they played our first dance song, Neil Young — Harvest Moon.

      We switched to a shuffle playlist with a bunch of low key music that fit the vibe of the venue and I surprised my mom by adding Nick Lowe — I Knew the Bride when she used to Rock and Roll. Which she thinks should be played at every wedding, and is always disappointed when it isn’t played! The look on her face when the song started was priceless!! She was so happy! ?

  95. lena says...

    I love all these stories! Wedding music is the best.

    My now-husband composed an art song setting of Pablo Neruda’s Sonnet XVII for me when we were in college that we performed during recitals and such, and then made a guitar arrangement that a friend of ours played when I walked down the aisle. It was not only beautiful, but a moving reminder of all the ways that we had already come together as artists and people. Not everyone recognized it, but it meant the world to us.

  96. Meg says...

    Our 4-year-old nephew loves Bruno Mars, so we randomly chose a handful of his songs for our reception’s playlist, including “Marry You.” It hadn’t been a particularly special song to us, but ended up being one of the last songs played as we were wrapping up the dancing part of the night. It was dark by then, so the tent lights were twinkling and everyone had reached the thoroughly comfortable part of dancing. I almost exploded with joy yell-singing along to the (very cheesy) lyrics with the whole crowd surrounding us, directing the “I think I wanna marry you” line at my husband, and him at me. We were so excited we were married! Now it’s on my running playlist and I well up whenever it comes on.

  97. Lauren R. says...

    My husband and I wanted our wedding to feel fun and informal so we chose upbeat songs to create that vibe. We both love music from the 80s so a lot of 80s songs ended up in the line-up :)

    Processional – All Night Long by Lionel Richie
    Bride – I Can Hear Music by The Beach Boys
    Recessional – You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon
    Bride + Groom Reception Entrance – Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder
    First Dance – A cover of I Wanna Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston (this cover:

  98. Liz says...

    We did our first dance to Guy Clark and Emmylou Harris’ duet, “I don’t love you much.” The title is misleading; it’s such a sweet song. Still makes my misty when it comes on.

    Also when my first son was a few days old, fresh from the hospital, I was listening to “To make you feel my love” by Bob Dylan, sung by Adele and immediately knew I want to dance with him to that song at his wedding. Perhaps a little early to think about it, but that’s just how it’s going to be :)

    • Victoria says...

      So fun to share and reminisce!

      Processional – Heartbeats by José González
      Recessional – If I Were a Carpenter by Johnny Cash and June Carter-Cash
      First Dance – Harvest Moon by Neil Young AND This Must Be The Place by The Talking Heads with our friends and family

  99. Kamina says...

    I walked down the aisle to “All I Ask of You” from Phantom of the Opera. I chose it because my husband loves that soundtrack so much and used to sing it all the time when we were dating.

    During the signing of the register we played “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys. I grew up listening to a lot of 60s music and the Beach Boys in particular with my Dad. I caught his face as the song started and saw that he was happy and teary.

    Our recessional was “I Won’t Spend Another Night Alone” by the Ataris – another retro favourite of my husband’s. And fun! We were only 20 when we got married.

    Our first dance was “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds. I’d loved that song for a long time.

    I got married in 2009 and this was a fun walk down memory lane!