The Best Wedding Reception Songs for Each Part of the Wedding Night

Last Updated on September 15, 2023 by Project Party

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! As you dive into the intricate details of wedding planning, one crucial element that should not be overlooked is selecting the ideal wedding reception songs. The right music has the power to set the mood and create a memorable ambience for your grand celebration.

Navigating the vast music industry for the perfect tunes can be an overwhelming task, especially with thousands of songs at your disposal. The sheer volume of choices often leaves many couples uncertain about where to begin.

5 Expert Tips for Choosing the Perfect Wedding Reception Songs

Selecting the ideal wedding reception songs can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are five expert tips to help you create a playlist that will make your special day even more memorable.

  1. Understand Your Audience: Your guest list is likely to include a diverse range of ages and musical tastes. Incorporate a mix of timeless classics and contemporary hits into your wedding reception song selection. This ensures that both your grandma and your college buddies will have something to enjoy.
  2. Set the Right Mood: The mood varies throughout a wedding reception, and your music should reflect this. Opt for soft, romantic tunes during intimate moments like the first dance or dinner. As the night progresses, transition to upbeat, danceable numbers that will get everyone on the dance floor.
  3. Personalize Your Playlist: Your wedding reception is a celebration of your unique love story. Choose wedding reception songs that hold special significance for you and your partner. This could be a song from your first date, the soundtrack of your favourite movie, or a tune that encapsulates your journey together.
  4. Create a Do-Not-Play List: While focusing on what to play, don’t forget about the songs you don’t want to hear. Make sure to communicate any specific song aversions to your DJ or band to avoid any musical mishaps.
  5. Consider Hiring a Professional: If selecting the right wedding reception songs feels overwhelming, think about hiring a professional DJ or band. They are seasoned in reading the crowd’s energy and can adapt the music accordingly, ensuring a fun and lively atmosphere throughout your reception.

Thankfully, we’ve taken the guesswork out of this process for you. We’ve carefully curated a comprehensive list of top wedding reception songs that will seamlessly blend into every part of your unforgettable night.

A DJ working the decks
By communicating your preferred song list to your DJ well in advance of your wedding reception, you can ensure that the music played aligns with your taste and sets the desired mood for your special day.

Ready to discover the melodies that could shape your special day? Let’s dive into our top picks below:

1. The Perfect Wedding Reception Songs for Your Grand Entrance

After the wedding ceremony, your guests will head to cocktail hour while the bridal party typically takes pictures. Your guests won’t see you again until you make your grand entrance to the reception. This entrance is when you’ll be introduced as a married couple to your guests at the party. Some couples transition right into their first dance from this grand march entrance, while others delay the first dance until after dinner.

Regardless of how you intend to structure your wedding entrance, typically the bridal party walks out to one song, and the married couple walks out to their own song. The music you choose will set a tone for how the rest of the night will proceed. Here are some classic walkout songs for the bridal party that will get the party going:

  • “I Gotta Feeling,” by the Black Eyed Peas
  • “Walk This Way,” by Aerosmith
  • “Forever,” by Chris Brown
  • “The Final Countdown,” by Europe
  • “Good Feeling,” by Flo Rida
  • “On Top of the World,” by Imagine Dragons
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling!,” by Justin Timberlake
  • “Celebration,” by Kool & The Gang
  • “This is How We Do It,” Montell Jordan
  • “Shut Up And Dance,” Walk The Moon

Here’s a list of classic walkout songs for the newlyweds to make their reception entrance to:

  • “Crazy in Love,” by Beyonce ft. Jay-Z
  • “Best Day of My Life,” by American Authors
  • “All You Need is Love,” by the Beatles
  • “Love on Top,” by Beyonce
  • “Sugar” by Maroon 5
  • “Say Hey (I Love You),” by Michael Franti & Spearhead
  • “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love),” by Natalie Cole
  • “Happy,” by Pharrell Williams
  • “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” by Queen
  • “It Takes Two,” by Rob Base & D.J. E-Z Rock

Our tip for choosing wedding entrance music? Consider what type of tone you want to set for the night. If you want your guests to be up on their feet and dancing from the start, choose an upbeat pop or hip-hop song. If you’re looking for something more classic and timeless, consider a ballad or love song.

A groom entering his wedding reception
Making your entrance at the reception with the right music not only ignites a sense of excitement and anticipation among your guests, but it also sets the tone for the evening, kickstarting the celebrations on a high note.

2. Choosing the Ideal First Dance Song for Your Wedding Reception

Arguably one of the most iconic dances you’ll have on your wedding night is your first dance as a married couple. As with your walkout music, there are a host of different options that you can choose from for your first dance song. Try to think of a song that means something to you and your future spouse.

If you need help coming up with a song, here are 10 top first dance songs from a variety of genres:

  • “Marry Me,” by Train
  • “Perfect,” by Ed Sheeran (there are also two other versions of this song, one featuring Beyonce and one featuring Andrea Bocelli)
  • “God Gave Me You,” by Blake Shelton
  • “All of Me,” by Ed Sheeran
  • “Everything,” by Michael Buble
  • “At Last,” by Etta James
  • “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” by Elvis Presley
  • “I Am Yours,” by Andy Grammar
  • “Speechless,” by Dan + Shay
  • “Die a Happy Man,” by Thomas Rhett

Our tip for choosing first dance music? Consider a song that has personal meaning to you and your spouse. This is a momentous occasion in your life, so choosing a song that is special to you will make the moment even more memorable.

One of the most important wedding receptions songs is the first dance
Selecting the song for your first dance at the wedding is a deeply personal choice, one that should encapsulate your relationship and evoke shared memories, setting a romantic and intimate tone for the evening.

3. Memorable Parent Dance Wedding Reception Songs

Other important dances that typically take place during the reception include the mother/son dance and the father/daughter dance. Here are some wedding reception songs for these two dances.
Mother/Son Dance:

  • “My Wish,” by Rascal Flats
  • “Home,” by Jack Johnson
  • “He Gets That From Me,” by Reba McEntire
  • “A Song for Mama,” by Boyz II Men
  • “Isn’t She Lovely,” by Stevie Wonder

Father/Daughter Dance:

  • “I Loved Her First,” by Heartland
  • “Dance With My Father,” by Luther Vandross
  • “My Little Girl,” by Tim McGraw
  • “There Goes My Life,” by Kenny Chesney
  • “Your Song,” by Elton John

Our tip for choosing parent dance music? If you’re having trouble finding songs that fit the bill, try thinking of songs that make you think of your parents. These will be songs that have personal meaning to you and will be songs that your parents can appreciate as well.

4. Top Bouquet Toss Songs to Liven Up Your Wedding Reception

At some point in the night, it’s traditional for the bride to throw a bouquet behind her back for the single ladies in attendance to try to catch. Of course, you’ll need to perfect tunes to have everyone gather on the dance floor. Here are five ideas:

  • “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It),” by Beyonce
  • “Ladies Night,” by Kool & The Gang
  • “Hey Ladies,” by the Beastie Boys
  • “Where Them Girls At,” by David Guetta, ft. Nicki Minaj, Flo Rida
  • “Only Girl in the World,” by Rihanna

Our tip for choosing bouquet toss music? Choose something fun and upbeat that will get all the single ladies on the dance floor. This is a great opportunity to play some of your favourite pop songs and get everyone moving.

Singers and a saxophone player in a band
Working with a seasoned wedding band for your music selection can be a wise decision, as their vast experience and understanding of the crowd can help curate a playlist that keeps your guests entertained and the atmosphere lively throughout the event.

5. Exciting Garter Toss Wedding Reception Songs

If you’re participating in the garter toss tradition, you’ll need to pick the perfect song for your groom to find the garter and then toss it to the single men in attendance. Here are some song ideas:

  • “Pony,” by Ginuwine
  • “Drunk in Love,” by Beyonce, ft. Jay-Z
  • “Hot in Herre,” by Nelly
  • “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” by Def Leppard
  • “Sexy Can I,” by Ray J ft. Yung Berg

Our tip for choosing garter toss music? Similar to the bouquet toss, you’ll want to choose a song that is fun and upbeat. This is also a great opportunity to play some of your favourite songs from the 90s.

6. The Best Wedding Reception Songs for a Joyous Exit

Finally, you’ll need to choose the perfect wedding exit song to play as you and your spouse make your way back up the aisle as newlyweds. This is a great opportunity to choose a fun, upbeat song that you and your spouse love. Here are some ideas:

  • “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours),” by Stevie Wonder
  • “I Do (Cherish You),” by 98 Degrees
  • “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love),” by Natalie Cole
  • “I Believe in a Thing Called Love,” by The Darkness
  • “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” by Queen

Our tip for choosing an exit song? Consider a song that has special meaning to you and your spouse. This can be a song that was playing when you first met, a song that was popular when you got engaged, or even a song that has been meaningful throughout your relationship.

Crafting Your Perfect Playlist: A Guide to Choosing Wedding Reception Songs

With knowledge in hand about the various wedding reception songs suitable for each part of your special night, you’re now ready to curate your perfect playlist.

Remember, the music you select should not only cater to the tastes of your guests but also reflect your unique personality as a couple. If your guest list includes a substantial number of children, perhaps consider the “clean” versions of your favourite tracks. Ultimately, your wedding reception songs should mirror your style and the vibe you wish to create on this joyous occasion. Here’s to creating a memorable soundtrack that will echo in the hearts of your loved ones long after the last dance. Happy planning!