10 Best Wedding Songs

Kyle Koster
John Moore/GettyImages
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There is nothing like a wedding reception with an expert DJ. One never knows what they're going to get when they get all gussied up, pick some fish or chicken, and sizes up the technician as they set up their equipment. It can go terribly wrong but that just means it can also go terribly right. No variable is more important than song selection and savvy operators that know if it ain't broke, you don't fix it. Here are 10 songs that should always be in the rotation to get butts out of seats and the vibes flowing in the right direction.

10 Best Wedding Songs

Shout, Pts. 1 & 2 – The Isley Brothers

When Wedding Crashers needed a soundtrack to the weddingist scene in cinematic history, it was an easy choice. This classic never gets old. How a group reacts to hearing the first "wait a minute" is almost Pavlovian. Without thinking, they're out there on the makeshift dance floor, doing something they've done dozens of times before but feeling like it's the first time through. The only drawback is the deep knee-bending, which is responsible for 4 percent of all knee surgeries in America.

Crazy Love — Van Morrison

Let's slow it down a bit and get all the couples involved. Pure romance right here and the lyrics are timeless. Every generation can connect with the message and yeah, it's okay to get a bit emotional. So what that this was what my wife and I chose for our first dance? You're going to tell me I'm wrong?

Hey Ya! — Outkast

Is there a person walking this green Earth that does not love this song? If so, don't bother talking to them. It's not too fast, it's not too slow, it crosses all divides and, most importantly, serves as earned media for Polaroid.

Party Rock Anthem — LMFAO

Perhaps this is controversial. But it takes something special to re-energize a crowd slowed by too many gin and tonics and an unlimited cupcake table. LMFAO's ode to having a good time and shufflin' every single day always does the trick.

At Last — Etta James

Another oldie but a goodie, one would be hard-pressed to do better for a first dance or simply to give the blue-haired crowd one last chance to get in the action before their inevitable early departure. Just don't tell half of them about the Obama's thing.

Mr. Brightside — The Killers

One thing that may come as a surprise is that this song, one of the best to be made over the past 25 years by any metric, has become both a staple of receptions and the jam people love the most. It's an incredible development and yet makes all the sense in the world. Hell, play it twice.

Single Ladies — Beyonce

Scholars may one day maintain that a single song turned the tide away from an outdated bouquet toss to a much more fun vibe where the unencumbered people have their moment in the sun and bask in how much better we, as a society, are for it. Thank you, Bey.

I Gotta Feeling — Black Eyed Peas

It's probably a bit late in the game for such an editorial note, yet it must be stated that these are not the best songs. This is not a 300-level musical theory class. It's simply a reflection of what hits and what does not. This jam is instructive because a great wedding reception song must have a high floor more than it needs a high ceiling.

Cupid Shuffle — Cupid

Have you ever been in a packed house where everyone is fully committed to doing this routine? It's like staring into the face of God. Impossible to have a negative thought for those 3.5 minutes.

Perfect — Ed Sheeran

Look, I don't even like this one. That's how committed I am to making a good list, though, as this is inescapable. We could be looking back in 20 years and realize Ed Sheeran is the unofficial voice of weddings. What a world.

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