Receptions and after parties aren’t quite what we’re used to in 2020—but please don’t stop the music. The songs you choose to play throughout your wedding day, from the ceremony to your first dance and beyond, are creating memories for you as a couple (and for your guests) for years to come. Music emotionally guides each person in attendance through the wedding day with you. The tells them when it’s time to be joyful, when it’s time to enjoy their meal, and—perhaps most importantly—when it’s time to dance. Regardless of how many guests you have, a wedding is a wedding plain and simple; it should be filled with joy, love, and all of your favorite tunes.
And when it comes to selecting songs for your wedding reception, be it this year, next, or one day in the future, start a running list of your favorite jams. Work on it together and with your family, and share it with your entertainment experts, band, or DJ when the time comes. Think about songs you’ve enjoyed together over the course of your relationship, what you like to dance to, and consider which songs are family-approved, and which are most likely to get your friends out of their seats. Here, we asked the best in the business of luxury entertainment what their most requested reception songs were, and which songs they love playing or performing once it’s time to let loose. Here, the top 30 wedding reception songs to play during your wedding day celebration according to the experts—be it in-person on the socially distanced dance floor, on Zoom, or at your party next year.
“September” by Earth, Wind, & Fire
Whether you’re getting married in September or any other month of the year, this Earth, Wind, & Fire favorite is the top pick for Keanna O’Quinn of Honey & Vinyl. After all, who doesn’t love singing along to that “Ba duda, ba duda, ba duda, badu” chorus?
“This Is How We Do It” by Montpellier Jordan
This song just tells you what to do: “All hands are in the air / And wave them from here to there”—it’s a classic, and makes for a foolproof dance floor favorite.
“Sugar” by Maroon 5
Maroon 5’s “Sugar” is upbeat, salty, and of course, a little sweet, for any post ceremony celebration.
“Shout” by The Isley Brothers
The Isley Brothers, whose members once included a young Jimi Hendrix, have one of the most notably lasting imprints on music of all time—and this song is case in point. It’s ideal for capping off the night—giving the older crowd the chance to make their exit while the younget set gets geared up for a roaring after hours bash.
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder
The most requested reception song for Chris Byrne of Dart Collective, this classic Stevie Wonder hit has one of the most iconic lyric phrases at its center and is an upbeat banger about a long-awaited commitment to love.
“Kiss” by Prince
A sexy bop worthy of any celebratory get-together, Prince’s “Kiss” is a funky song with lyrics like “You don’t have to rich to be my girl / You don’t have to be cool to rule my world” that makes guests of all ages get on their feet and head to the dance floor.
“Higher Love” by Kygo & Whitney Houston
The Kygo x Whitney Houston collaboration is one that we would have never expected or thought possible—until it happened. When Houston’s estate decided to release this never-before-released version, they teamed up with Kygo to produce it. What resulted is a party song for the ages, and one that we highly recommend you put on blast while guests are in a dancing mood, or sipping cocktails.
“Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd
The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” took TikTok by storm earlier this year—and it’s now a dance floor favorite.
“Nice For What” by Drake
Rapping about how life is short, “Nice For What” will get all the heads in the room bobbing, and get people primed for a fun evening.
“We Found Love” by Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris
Lyrics such as “We found love in a hopeless place” are only one of the reasons this pop x EDM mix lights up a room. You’ve heard it before, and we know you’ll love it again; the beat alone makes us want to jump around in celebration.
“I Wanna Be Your Lover” by Prince
Lead by Prince’s inimitable falsetto, “I Wanna Be Your Lover” is a love song that keeps its funk throughout its romanticism.
“Love On Top” by Beyonce
With its key changes alone, “Love on Top” is a wildly impressive vocal performance. But it’s the song’s breeziness and sass that makes it one of Beyonce’s best odes to Jay-Z—and a must at any party celebrating a partnership.
“Modern Love” by David Bowie
Considered one of Bowie’s greatest hits, this rock favorite’s purpose on a reception song list is all in its song title.
“Burning Down the House” by Talking Heads
This funk, jam-inspired, new age song of the ’80s is always a crowd pleaser.
“Love” by Kendrick Lamar
“Love” by Kendrick Lamar is an ode to falling in love and with lyrics like “Living lovely / Just love me” its romantic vibe can’t be denied.
“Groove Is In the Heart” by Deee-Lite
A top wedding pick by DJ Hannah Bronfman for BAZAAR Bride, this dance band ditty is unconventional and unexpected for the couple that’s just looking to have a good time.
“Dancing In the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen
If you want a song about living life to the fullest, opt for a Springsteen classic, like “Dancing In the Dark.”
“Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac
A song about the highs and lows of any relationship, “Dreams” is a powerful melody that your guests will undoubtedly enjoy when it’s time to slow things down.
“Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye
“Sexual Healing” is one of the most iconic, sexual tracks of its time—and it’s great to include for a nostalgic element that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
“If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys
“If I Ain’t Got You” is one of the greatest love songs of all time, and is a consistent top choice for Alex Le Roux of ALR Music. Alicia Keys’s staggering vocal stylings build as the track progresses, and then quietly and sweetly descend before she exits completely.
“Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles
Elan Artists’ most popular contemporary pick? The song of summer 2020: “Watermelon Sugar”—it’s a pop cut that etches itself deep into memory, and that by now everyone knows to sing along to.
“Juice” by Lizzo
An anthem for power and self-respect, it’s no wonder this Lizzo bop is so wildly loved. This will get your friends and the younger set on to the dance floor when nothing else can.
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” is a groovy tune that gets everyone—from your older guests to your youngest—moving and shaking.
“I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5
The Jackson 5—enough said.
“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen
From “fat bottomed girls” to friendship, Queen is king when it comes to turning some of life’s simplest pleasures into stadium-level hits. “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” is a perfect example, as Freddie Mercury reluctantly, yet happily, sings about falling in love.
“Brand New” by Ben Rector
A reception song favorite from Ray Jarrell of Jarrell Entertainment, Ben Rector’s “Brand New” is a lighthearted pop rock rendition about being in love. What better way to ring in your post-ceremony celebrations.
“24K Magic” by Bruno Mars
“24K Magic” offers a feel-good moment that livens up any dance floor, at any time.
“Safe & Sound” by Capital Cities
File under: feelings we could all use a bit more of right now. Capital Cities’ “Safe & Sound” is an indie pop song with lyrics like, “You could be my luck / Even if the sky is falling down / I know that we’ll be safe and sound / We’re safe and sound” that will turn up any party in the best way.
“Body” by Loud Luxury
Start or end your dance party with this upbeat pick, and you won’t regret it. Trust us: this tune is fresh and dance party-approved.
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