Wedding playlists aren’t an exact science. Different crowds, cultures, and vibes can all be heightened by the perfect song choice, and it isn’t always intuitive. A middle-of-the-road wedding DJ will simply run through the same handful of hits — danceable, recognizable pop and a few slow and romantic ones — regardless of the context.
Your wedding deserves better than generic. You want songs people recognize, that bring up strong feelings for all generations present at your reception. With a little extra thought, you can deploy the right songs and the right times to enhance your special day in the best way possible.
You’ll find a lot to love among these 10 crowd-pleasing wedding hits. Whether you want to choose a brass band or a DJ for the special night, this playlist can be adapted or played in its own right. You’re guaranteed to have a beautiful evening that your guests will remember forever.
Wedding entrances can and should be a splashy, huge moment. “Crazy In Love” is a great way to set that tone. It’s instantly recognizable to all ages. It’s upbeat and uptempo, but not a gimmick song that would distract from the moment. This modern classic from Beyoncé sets the tone just right.
Once the reception gets going, how does one set the tone? With a classic, danceable song that people can get their blood moving with, of course. The Mama Mia musical has long kept ABBA in the public consciousness, so they have fans across all generations. And the infectious chorus here will have even those a bit shy about the dance floor coming out to sing.
Speaking of singing along, “Don’t Stop Believin'” is a must to get a crowd belting along with its iconic hook. The song is well-known to anybody who made it through the 1980s, of course. But it also continues to be a regular presence in film and TV soundtracks, so even the youngest kids might be apt to sing along.
This garage rock hit had throwback vibes when it originally dropped in 2003. But these days, this White Stripes mega hit is a constant presence at sporting events. Whether it’s impromptu football chants or the song blaring as entrance music when teams enter, the song always seems to pop up to get the blood pumping. At the height of a wedding reception, when the pop songs are wearing a little thin, “Seven Nation Army” adds a heavy pinch of rock ‘n roll to the proceedings.
This 2009 single put Miley Cyrus on the map as a pop hitmaker. It’s certain to please the millennials at any wedding reception. And while they may not know all the lyrics, the titular chorus is one of the great earworms of the 2000s. After one go around, everybody will end up belting it out.
The older crowd deserves their moment, and there’s no better way to appeal than having them on the dance floor for this wedding crooner classic. Frank Sinatra songs are a must for most live wedding bands, so before letting the DJ play the pop hits, consider asking for them to play a tune by Old Blue Eyes himself.
This Ed Sheeran song is instantly recognizable to somewhat younger crowds. Its cascading guitar work and Sheeran’s pleasant singing make for a unique way to start bringing the evening down towards the waning hours of the reception. The soulful guest vocals by singer/songwriter YEBBA add a unique layer to the song, sure to bring joy to the music aficionados.
Modern country music is stacked with smooth, romantic slow-dance songs. Blake Shelton is the master of this particular pop country niche. “God Gave Me You” might just be an all-around wedding reception hit, even for weddings that aren’t stacked with fans of the genre.
Elvis Presley songs have always been a wedding mainstay. DJs know he’ll please the crowd, especially older guests. And wedding bands tend to have at least a few of his iconic hits ready to go on request. But the rock ‘n roll master is even more relevant lately, with the hit film Elvis still on many people’s minds. “Can’t Help Falling In Love” is one of the best ways to add a shot of nostalgia to the waning minutes of a wedding reception.
Every wedding needs a graceful way to definitively send people home. Nobody likes seeing a party end, of course, but with the perfect song choice people can wind down and go home happy. You bring up the tempo and excitement a bit, but not too much. Everybody gets their last bit of fun, without a major adrenaline shot. “You’ve Got the Love” is perfect for crystallizing that moment. Its slow build-up brings people’s heart rates back up smoothly, and the reverb-laden chorus will have people smiling as their night wraps up.
Post written by Simone Davidson with the Brass Animals band.