Wedding Planning Guide

reception music

bride and groom dancing at wedding reception

Photo: Art de Vie

Now that the vows and rings have been exchanged, it’s time to party! If you’re hiring a band or DJ to handle the music for the wedding reception, provide them with a list of must-have songs you want to hear, as well as a do-not-play list for the songs you don’t. But most importantly, choose music you both love.

For cocktail hour and dinner, create a separate playlist of lighter music to play in the background as wedding guests mix and mingle (think: low-volume songs that won’t interfere with conversation). This is the perfect time to play your favorite love songs, acoustic covers, and romantic ballads--songs you love but may not be upbeat enough for the dance floor.

When choosing a wedding band or DJ, be sure to do your homework. Word of mouth is always the best endorsement: Think back to weddings you’ve attended that had jam-packed dance floors and ask for the vendor’s contact information. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a couple of potential vendors, try to attend a live performance. Recorded samples of mixes (for a DJ) or song samples (for a band) are helpful, but if you want to know exactly what your music might sound like in real life, it’s best to see them live. Also, make note of the name of the particular musicians or DJs you like, so you’ll be sure to book the same exact people for your wedding.

Whether you’re hiring a DJ or a band, or are DIY-ing your music with a playlist or an iPod on shuffle, there are a few things to consider when choosing wedding reception songs. Keep the age range of your guest list in mind when making your song selections. Pick songs all your guests can enjoy; you may need to blend genres and mix classics in with the latest hits to find the right balance.

To help, we’ve created this wedding reception playlist with great wedding songs to dance to in a range of genres and styles.


  • “Ours” by Taylor Swift
  • “Look At You” by Big and Rich
  • “Forever & Ever Amen” by Randy Travis
  • “It's A Love Thing” by Keith Urban
  • “True Believers” by Darius Rucker
  • “I Love You This Big” by Scotty McCreery
  • “You're Still the One” by Shania Twain
  • “God Gave Me You” by Blake Shelton
  • “Good Hearted Woman” by Willie Nelson
  • “Nobody But You” by Dolly Parton


  • “Brick House” by The Commodores
  • “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
  • “Super Freak” by Rick James
  • “Heart of Glass” by Blondie
  • “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams
  • “Stayin' Alive” by Bee Gees
  • “Groove Is In The Heart” by Deee-Lite
  • “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc.
  • “Got To Give It Up (Part 1)” by Marvin Gaye
  • “24K Magic” by Bruno Magic
  • “Funky Side of Town” by James Brown
  • “Give Up the Funk” by Parliament
  • “Adventure Of A Lifetime” by Coldplay
  • “Good Times Roll” by GRiZ
  • “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer
  • “He's The Greatest Dancer” by Sister Sledge
  • “Everybody Dance” by Chic
  • “Power Of Love” by Deee-Lite
  • “Inside and Out” by Feist
  • “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire


  • “California Dreamin'” by The Mamas and the Papas
  • “Go On Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac
  • “I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons
  • “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show
  • “Le Temps de l’Amour” by Francoise Hardy
  • “Love Minus Zero” by Bob Dylan
  • “Oh, It Is Love” by Hellogoodbye
  • “January Wedding” by The Avett Brothers

Hip Hop

  • “Ms. Jackson” by Outkast
  • “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • “U Can't Touch This” by MC Hammer
  • “Only Girl” by Rihanna
  • “Whatta Man” by Salt ‘N Pepa
  • “Push It” by Salt ‘N Pepa
  • “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton
  • “Cupid Shuffle” by Cupid
  • “California Love” by Tupac
  • “Hotline Bling” by Drake
  • “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida
  • “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX
  • “Starships” by Nicki Minaj
  • “Watch Me” by Silento
  • “The Way You Move” by OutKast ft. Sleepy Brown
  • “It Takes Two” by Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock
  • “Live Your Life” by T.I.
  • “Hey Ya!” by Outkast
  • “Yeah” by Usher


  • "Feel Good Inc." by Gorillaz
  • "Soul Meets Body" by Death Cab for Cutie"
  • "When I'm Small" by Phantogram
  • “Buddy Holly” by Weezer
  • "Here It Goes Again" by Ok GO
  • "Electric Feel" by MGMT
  • "Think I'm In Love" by Beck
  • "Walking on a Dream" by Empire of The Sun
  • "Five Years Time" by Noah And The Whale
  • "Sun Models" by ODESZA
  • "Eyes" by Rogue Wave
  • "Counting Stars" by One Republic
  • "Digital Love" by Daft Punk
  • "I Follow River" by Likke Li
  • "Heartbeats" by The Knife
  • "Play It Right" by Sylvan Esso
  • "Sleepyhead" by Passion Pit
  • "Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men
  • "My Girls" by Animal Collection


  • “Fever” by Peggy Lee
  • “Ain’t Misbehavin’” by Louis Armstrong
  • “Besame Mucho” by Dean Martin
  • “Fly Me To The Moon” by Frank Sinatra
  • “Moondance” by Van Morrison
  • “Save The Last Dance For Me” by Michael Buble
  • “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole & Natalie Cole
  • “You Stepped Out Of A Dream” by Sarah Vaughan


  • “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston
  • “Can’t Stop This Feeling!” by Justin Timberlake
  • “Suit & Tie” by Justin Timberlake
  • “Love Never Felt So Good” by Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake
  • “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson
  • “Rock With You” by Michael Jackson
  • “P.Y.T.” by Michael Jackson
  • “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson
  • “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul
  • “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift
  • “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé
  • “Bye Bye Bye” by N Sync
  • “These Boots Are Made For Walkin” by Nancy Sinatra
  • “Melt With You” by Nouvelle Vague
  • “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie
  • “Magic Dance” by David Bowie
  • “Golden Years” by David Bowie
  • “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin'” by Scissor Sisters
  • “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
  • “I Gotta Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas
  • “Oh My My” by OneRepublic ft. Cassius
  • “We Found Love” by Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris
  • “I Feel It Coming” by The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk
  • “Let Me Love You” by DJ Snake ft. Justin Bieber
  • “This Is What You Came For” by Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna
  • “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz
  • “The Walker” by Fitz and the Tantrums
  • “D.A.N.C.E.” by Justice
  • “Have Some Love” by Childish Gambino
  • “Levels” by Avicii
  • “Take On Me” by A-HA
  • “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode
  • “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
  • “Shut up and Dance” by Walk the Moon


  • “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder
  • “I Got You (I Feel Good)” by James Brown
  • “Build Me Up Buttercup” by The Foundations
  • “ABC” by Jackson 5
  • “I Want You Back” by Jackson 5
  • “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley
  • “Respect” by Aretha Franklin
  • “My Girl” by The Temptations
  • “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith
  • “Shout” by The Isley Brothers
  • “Forever Mine” by Andra Day
  • “This Is Love” by Kelly Rowland
  • “Sweet Life” by Frank Ocean
  • “Ignition (Remix)” by R. Kelly


  • “Don't Stop Believin'” by Journey
  • “Don't Stop” by Fleetwood Mac
  • “Twist And Shout” by The Beatles
  • “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond
  • “Rock This Town” by Stray Cats
  • “Fell In Love With A Girl” by The White Stripes
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen
  • “You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates
  • “Livin' On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi
  • “Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen
  • “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison
  • “My Generation” by The Who
  • “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith
  • “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” by The Clash
  • “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins
  • “Blister in the Sun” by Violent Femmes
  • “Lola” by The Kinks
  • “I've Just Seen A Face” by The Beatles
  • “Rich Girl” by Hall & Oates
  • “Love You Madly” by Cake
  • “I Want You To Want Me” by Cheap Trick
  • “Come On Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners
  • “I Love Rock And Roll” by Joan Jett
  • “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles
  • “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks
  • “Start Me Up” by The Rolling Stones
  • “This Charming Man” by The Smiths
  • “Lovesong” by The Cure
  • “Friday I’m In Love” by The Cure
  • “Love Is All Around” by The Troggs
  • “Have Love Will Travel” by The Sonics


  • “Wanna Be Loved” by John Legend
  • “I’ve Got a Woman” by Ray Charles
  • “Summertime” by Sam Cooke
  • “For Once In My Life” by Stevie Wonder
  • “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” by Stevie Wonder
  • “Soul With a Capital S” by Tower of Power
  • “Funnel of Love” by Wanda Jackson
  • “I Found You” by Alabama Shakes
  • “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green
  • “Shake” by Otis Redding