If you’re looking for the “most average” wedding songs 2023 has to offer, keep moving. If you want the best wedding songs, we’ve got you covered with playlists and song ideas.
When we first Googled “wedding songs 2023,” we saw list after list of the same 12 jams (that’s one fewer jam than LeBron had in his rookie season). You are not a rookie couple, and you deserve more wedding music choices. That’s why we created this complete guide to wedding music.
Whether you’re into soda-pop 50’s nostalgia or sticky 70’s funk, use our wedding song picks to set the right tone and put guests in a celebratory mood. Let’s boogie.
Just the Hits, Please.
There’s… a lot of wedding music below. If your time is precious—and if you’re planning a wedding, it is—this mix is for you. Share it with your DJ as inspo, or read on to customize your own playlist of the best wedding songs.
Table of Contents
Live Band vs. DJ (vs. Self-DJ / Playlist)
Best Wedding Ceremony Songs
Wedding Ceremony Music
Wedding Music Quick Lists
10 Songs You Must Play
10 Songs to Retire
9 Go-To Artists
10 Celebrity First Dances
Best Wedding Reception Music
The First Dance
Starting the Party
Live Band vs. DJ (vs. Wedding Song Playlist)
Before you load your playlist with the best wedding songs, you’ve got to decide how to deliver the music. Here’s how to achieve your desired party vibe, and what to consider.
Instruments and musicians beat a guy with a laptop any day, but booking live talent is more expensive. Also, bands are like restaurant menus—if they’re offering 50 pages worth of options, chances are all of it will be mediocre. Make sure the band can actually play the songs that are most important to you.
DJs have all the greats at their fingertips, and hiring one is cheaper than hiring a band. DJ’s are also less complicated: string quartets and Jimi Hendrix cover bands need more space and a larger power supply than a DJ, which can impact your venue options. But with so many “DJ’s” in the game, there’s a higher risk of hiring a total vibe-killer.
When you hire a DJ, you’re (hopefully) hiring experience. They can feel the crowd and give the party CPR when necessary—something that’s harder to do through a wedding playlist. Sure, you can stack the thing with all your favorite songs, but keeping your wedding party (and a lot of humans over the age of 50) on the dance floor requires sacrificing some of your faves.
Best Wedding Ceremony Songs
As traditional officiants tend to mention, your wedding ceremony is the reason friends and family have assembled. This is the heart of your wedding day, and the wedding music you choose for your ceremony should be an earnest reflection of you and your partner.
Best Wedding Processionals
This might be the one time in your life you can demand to be treated like royalty, so if that’s you, so go ahead and get your Pachelbel on. At the same time, a processional doesn’t always require trumpets.
Best Wedding Songs for the Ceremony
Without music, your wedding ceremony is going to be boring. Whether you’re trying to make your meaningful symbolic act extra meaningful, or just want to make sure your uncle awake, consider these songs the soundtrack to lighting that candle / pouring that sand / drinking that wine.
Best Wedding Recessionals
The recessional music should capture the excitement and optimism of the promise you’ve just made to your partner, yet not be so infectious as to make your guests leave their seats before they’ve been dismissed by an usher.
Best Wedding Music for the Reception
How do you avoid all the unavoidable post-nup chatter with random relatives? Make sure your reception is a 2-3 hour dance party that does not quit. Choose the best wedding songs possible (and have an open bar) to make this dream a reality.
If you’re still in the market for a personal love anthem, we have ideas. Or, kick off married life with your song (as in “that’s our song”).
The goal here is to get your parents to cry (they love that), so choose a song that makes them think of you as a newborn baby.
Not everyone is a dance robot sent back from the future to get the party started. Body-moving is an art. Jump-start those human boogie bones with this party fuel.
A few slower songs will bring stodgy wedding guests to the floor, but don’t turn it into a ghost town by going full-McLachlan. Here are best bets for slowish wedding reception music.
Every song is the best wedding song for a sing-along, and there is truly something magical about all of your guests slurring their way through a well-known tune. Don’t miss that magic.
The songs proven to get your grandma on the dance floor (or conjure their spirit). You need those photos (or those orb sightings), so you need at least a few of these songs.
Let your Pride flag fly with these wedding-ready bangers.
Best Wedding Songs by Genre
Each genre should get representation at your dance-a-thon. To get the best boogie bang for your buck, be sure you add the best wedding songs from each genre to your playlist.
Country is more than steel guitars and lonely cowboys (but it’s definitely also both of those things). In addition to the classics (e.g. Strait, Twain), we gave some love to modern country.Pop Music
Think you’re too good for Pop? The genre was sonically engineered to make everyone feel great. You need some feel-great wedding songs on your playlist.Rock Music
You don’t need hard rock to rock hard. These classic rock wedding songs will leave you sweaty without diminishing your guests’ auditory senses.R&B & Soul Music
This playlist pulls double duty: wedding reception music and also honeymoon music. Don’t skip the rhythm, blues, or soul.
You’re probably not trying to pull too many sexagenarians onto the dance floor with these wedding songs, but you’ll make up for it in kiddos—children love neon glow sticks.Disco Music
We do not offer rental bell-bottom tux pants or platform patent leather shoes. We do offer this boogie-licious disco playlist full of wedding songs guaranteed to burn the mother down.Funk Music
What’s the point of getting married if you can’t hear the dank thump of an electric bass guitar? Add these funkified wedding songs to your list.Hip-Hop & Rap Music
Passion is essential for a long, happy marriage. That’s why Ice Cube has been happily married for nearly 32 years.
Come for the “Cheap Thrills,” stay for the “Funky Kingston.” This is highly danceable wedding music.
Yes, that’s right—these are just dumb wedding songs that people love. We are people! We love this stupid playlist!
Best Wedding Songs by Decade
For best results, pick a handful of defining tracks from each era to bring balance to your dance floor. If you’re that couple whose inspiration board features a 45lb disco ball, don’t worry—an all-70’s playlist is fine, too.
You’d expect the perfect playlist for your saddle shoes and soda pop doo-wop-fest, when in fact, this is mostly Little Richard making you feel alive.
Honestly, not wildly different from the 50’s wedding music we’ve recommended, but with slightly better sound quality.
The 70’s saw a little glam, a little more electronic influence, and more of The Isley Brothers.
Bowie, Prince—the 80’s gave us so much incredible art and so many great wedding songs.
Are you more “MMMBop” or more “Doo Wop?” We aren’t here to judge.
We can sum up our wedding songs playlist for the oughts in three words: It’s Britney, bitch.
If you’re Gen Z or a Milennial, this could be the decade you’ll need the least coaching on.
We know, the 20’s just started (kind of), and we’ll be updating this as the decade progresses.
Wedding Music Quick Lists
10 Wedding Songs You Must Play
Ignore the greatest dance songs of all time at your own peril. These are the best of the best wedding songs, and you’ve gotta have them on your playlist.
10 Wedding Songs to Retire
Sir Mix-A-Lot has professed his love for juicy doubles at every wedding reception since the early 90’s, but that doesn’t mean he has to land on your playlist.
9 Go-To Artists for Wedding Songs
As long as you don’t dig down into the deep tracks, these artists have recorded some of the best wedding songs of all time. If you need to give your DJ or wedding band a little inspiration, these are the names to drop.
10 Celebrity First Dance Wedding Songs
Take inspiration from these glitter-covered humans’ first dances as married glitter-covered humans. Some are oldies, some are new tunes, and some songs were recorded by the couple (probably shy away from that last example).
Only the best for your big day.
You’re well on your way to creating a unique playlist filled with the best wedding songs of all time, from a variety of genres. You put in the time, and your efforts will absolutely pay off. But will you give the same level of attention to planning the rest of your wedding?
Outfitting your wedding party, your family, or yourself in a bad, outdated suit is like playing the first NOW album on repeat at your reception. I own that CD, and trust—you deserve better.
Whether you’re looking to buy or rent, we design better suits, crafted with fine Italian fabrics and a modern fit. Love the oldies? Check out our modern takes on classic tuxedos. Looking for the next trend? We do that, too.
Book an appointment to come see us in person at one of our showrooms (including at select Nordstrom stores nationwide. Much like your soon-to-be-inpsired DJ, your wedding photographer will thank you.