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Choosing Special Wedding Day Songs

Among the many (MANY) decisions you need to make for your wedding day, you’ll need to give some thought to the music that will be played for all the “special moments” of the day.  Some couples have “their song” which might be an obvious choice for a first dance or ceremony processional song.  But if you’re like a lot of people, you have no idea where to start with the many song choices you’ll be asked for by your DJ and/or wedding planner!  Here are some tips and suggestions to get you started, in a range of genres from very traditional to contemporary pop songs.  Your DJ is also a great resource for inspiration!  If all else fails and you really don’t care, just ask for “DJ’s choice” and have them pick something. But choosing your own songs is a great opportunity to keep your wedding unique, personal, and reflective of your styles. 


Ceremony Music Styles

For the reception, (almost) anything goes! (more on that below) For the ceremony, you have a few options: 

1. Traditional classical

- This is just what it sounds like: think Wagner’s “Here Comes The Bride”, Pachelbel’s “Canon in D”, or “The Wedding March” 

2. Instrumental versions of popular songs

- My favorite sources for these are Brooklyn Duo and The Piano Guys, but you can also do a Google search for “(name of a song you love) + instrumental version”. These type of songs are a great compromise if you want something a little more unique, but still elegant. 

3. Songs with lyrics

- People sometimes ask if their ceremony music can have lyrics and my answer is almost always yes!  The one caveat is that you’ll want to think about the style of your wedding and the mood you want to set.  If you have a very traditional, classic style to your wedding, you may want to stick to more traditional or at least instrumental music.  If you have a more relaxed or offbeat style, you probably want the music to be a little more contemporary and fun, and music with lyrics is perfect for that.  


Church Weddings

If you are having a church wedding, you may also be limited by the church’s approved song list. Many churches only allow traditional, classical, and/or instrumental songs. Always ask about their policies before you get your heart set on a particular song. 


Live Musicians

If you have hired live musicians for your ceremony and/or reception, you’ll likely be limited by the list of songs they already know and have practiced (their “repertoire”).  Some musicians are willing to learn a song or two for your big day if you want a particular song that is special to you.  Again, always ask, or check the policies stated in your contract. 


Reception Music

You’ve done the “I do’s”, you’ve taken the formal portraits, this is the time to party!  Even if you’ve kept it traditional up until now, feel free to get fun and funky with the reception music.  One thing to consider now is whether you want any explicit lyrics in your songs.  Even if the two of you prefer the explicit version to the censored version of your favorite party songs, remember that your grandma, conservative aunt, or the parents of your flower girl may feel differently. And while the day is about YOU, you are also hosting a party and want to be considerate of your guests.  Unless you know for sure that your crowd can handle it, maybe keep any explicit lyrics to at least the late-night hours and keep it a little cleaner for the first part of the evening. Make sure you have a chat with your DJ (BEFORE the wedding day!) to discuss what their standard practice is and what you prefer. 


Special Songs

Here are the types of song selections you’ll likely be asked for - keep scrolling for suggestions in each category!

**Remember that if you don’t want to include any/all of the “special moments” (announced entrances, cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc) or traditional dances listed below, you definitely don’t have to!  


  • Wedding Party / Family Processional 

    • To be played as your parents, grandparents, and/or wedding party - bridesmaids, groomsmen, ring bearer, flower girl - walk down the aisle

    • *Remember you may need two songs here depending on the number of people walking down the aisle, and the length of the songs

  • Bride’s Processional 

    • Traditionally, the bride walks down the aisle to her own song


  • Ceremony Recessional 

    • The “exit song” as you and your wedding party walk back up the aisle

  • Wedding Party and/or Couple’s Entrance 

    • To be played when the wedding party is introduced to the reception. The newlyweds can enter to the same song as the wedding party, or their own song, but remember you’ll usually only hear a short clip, not the whole song

  • Couple’s First Dance 

    • This one is self-explanatory, along with the next few!

  • Father-Daughter Dance

  • Mother-Son Dance

  • Mother-Daughter Dance

    • While not traditional, this dance is becoming more common for brides who were raised by a single mom or otherwise have a special relationship with their mother

  • Cake Cutting

    • It's nice to have some background music here while all eyes are on you! ​

  • Bouquet Toss

  • Garter Toss

Song Suggestions

Wedding Party Processional

“Canon in D” - Johann Pachelbel

“Canon in D” - Brooklyn Duo

“Butterfly Waltz” - Brian Crain

“Can’t Help Falling In Love” (instrumental) - Brooklyn Duo

“Perfect” (instrumental) - Brooklyn Duo

“A Thousand Years” (instrumental) - Brooklyn Duo

“Somewhere Over The Rainbow” - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole 

“What A Wonderful World” - Kina Grannis & Imaginary Future

“Ho Hey” - Lumineers

“Stand By Me” - Ben E. King

“Stand By Me” - Florence + The Machine


Bride Processional

“Bridal March (Bridal Chorus)” - Richard Wagner

“Canon in D” - Johann Pachelbel

“Canon in D” - Brooklyn Duo

“Can’t Help Falling In Love” (instrumental) - Brooklyn Duo

“Perfect” (instrumental) - Brooklyn Duo

“A Thousand Years” (instrumental) - Brooklyn Duo

“A Thousand Years” - Christina Perri

“Somewhere Over The Rainbow” - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

“What A Wonderful World” - Kina Grannis & Imaginary Future

“I Choose You” - Sara Bareilles

“Hold Onto Me” - Lauren Daigle

“Marry Me” - Train

“I Get To Love You” - Ruelle

“How Long Will I Love You” - Ellie Goulding

“Love Someone” - Jason Mraz

“Falling Like The Stars” - James Arthur



“Wedding March” - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

“This Will Be” - Natalie Cole

“Signed, Sealed, Delivered” - Stevie Wonder

“Marry You” - Bruno Mars

“Home” - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

“I Want Crazy” - Hunter Hayes

“Best Day Of My Life” - American Authors

“I Do” - Colbie Caillat

“I Choose You” - Sara Bareilles
“Love Never Felt So Good” - Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake

“(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher” - Jackie Wilson

“Love On Top” - Beyonce

“Everything” - Michael Buble

“On Top Of The World” - Imagine Dragons

“Brand New” - Ben Rector

“Remember This” - Jonas Brothers


Wedding Party Entrance

“Can’t Stop the Feeling” - Justin Timberlake

“I Gotta Feeling” - Black Eyed Peas

“Let’s Get It Started” - Black Eyed Peas

“Bring Em Out” - T.I. 

“This Is How We Do It” - Montell Jordan

“Raise Your Glass” - Pink

“Get The Party Started” - Pink

“24K Magic” - Bruno Mars

“Forever” - Chris Brown

“Shut Up And Dance” - Walk The Moon

“Thunderstruck” - AC/DC

“Sugar” - Maroon 5

“Marry You” - Bruno Mars

“Love Never Felt So Good” - Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake

“Remember This” - Jonas Brothers


First Dance

“Lovin You Easy” - Zac Brown Band

“You Are The Best Thing” - Ray LaMontagne

“Everything” - Michael Buble

“Lost In This Moment” - Big & Rich

“I Won’t Give Up” - Jason Mraz

“Lucky” - Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat

“One And Only” - Adele

“Remedy” - Adele

“Longing to Belong” - Eddie Vedder

“Marry Me” - Train

“Close Your Eyes” - Michael Buble

“Hold Onto Me” - Lauren Daigle

“I Get To Love You” - Ruelle

“How Long Will I Love You” - Ellie Goulding


Father-Daughter Dance

“My Girl” - Temptations

“It Won’t Be Like This For Long” - Darius Rucker

“My Wish” - Rascal Flatts

“I Loved Her First” - Heartland

“Walk With You” - Edwin McCain

“Butterfly Kisses” - Bob Carlisle

“Daddy Dance With Me” - Krystal Keith

“You’ve Got a Friend” - James Taylor

“Isn’t She Lovely” - Stevie Wonder

“What A Wonderful World” - Louis Armstrong


Mother-Son Dance

“My Wish” - Rascal Flatts

“Mom” - Garth Brooks

“He Gets That From Me” - Reba McEntire

“I Hope You Dance” - Lee Ann Womack

“Never Alone” - Jim Brickman / Lady A

“Simple Man” - Lynyrd Skynyrd

“93 Million Miles” - Jason Mraz

“What A Wonderful World” - Louis Armstrong

“The First Lady In My Life” - Paul Todd

“You’ve Got a Friend” - James Taylor

“Do I Make You Proud” - Taylor Hicks


Mother-Daughter Dance

“I Hope You Dance” - Lee Ann Womack

“Like My Mother Does” - Lauren Alaina

“In My Daughter’s Eyes” - Martina McBride

“Mom” - Meghan Trainor

“Mother Like Mine” - The Band Perry

“I Turn To You” - Christina Aguilera

“Mama’s Song” - Carrie Underwood

“Never Grow Up” - Taylor Swift


Cake Cutting

“Sugar” - Maroon 5

“Sugar Sugar” - The Archies

“Cake” - Flo Rida & 99 Percent

“Cut The Cake” - Average White Band

“Sweetest Thing” - U2

“How Sweet It Is” - James Taylor

“This Will Be” - Natalie Cole

“You’re My Best Friend” - Queen

“Everything” - Michael Buble

“Love On Top” - Beyonce


Bouquet Toss

“Single Ladies” - Beyonce

“Love On Top” - Beyonce

“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” - Cyndi Lauper

“Dear Future Husband” - Meghan Trainor

“Can’t Hurry Love” - The Supremes

“Where Them Girls At” - David Guetta

“Wannabe” - Spice Girls

“Ladies Night” - Kool and the Gang


Garter Toss

“Suit & Tie” - Justin Timberlake

“The Man” - Aloe Blacc

“Boombastic” - Shaggy

“Brick House” - Commodores

“Come And Get It” - Selena Gomez

“Danger Zone” - Kenny Loggins

“Sharp Dressed Man” - ZZ Top

“It’s Raining Men” - Weather Girls

“Oh Yeah” - Yello

“Slow Hands” - Niall Horan

“Mission Impossible” - Theme Song

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