The 13 Best Wedding Reception Songs, Ranked

posted by Steve Wazz - 

Esquire has put together a list of songs that should be on every wedding reception playlist. It notes that Ed Sheeran shouldn't be played after the first hour and Meghan Trainor should be banned entirely because she's "the Tonya Harding of Wedding Music." It also warns couples against including songs like "Cha Cha Slide" that contain complicated dance instructions. Here are 10 better options (check the link for more): 

10. "Footloose" -- Kenny Loggins. This is a perfect example of the kind of song that feels like a dance anthem but actually has no understood dance that goes along with it. People hear "Footloose" and feel obligated to dance. At their core, that's what wedding playlist songs are supposed to do. 

9. "At Last" -- Etta James. This is an interesting choice because if the couple chooses it as their first dance, it's a big yawn. It's also the sign that the couple is super unoriginal and doesn't have a song. But if it comes on as a surprise interjection during the reception, it's the perfect slow song to share with someone you want to be a little closer to. 

8. "We Found Love" -- Rihanna, Calvin Harris. This is what gets the party started again after Etta makes her rounds. Rihanna comes to your wedding with no gimmicks, stupid dances, or singalongs. She just wants you to have a damn good time at this Sunday-Best-Fast-Casual-Creative-Black-Tie wedding. 

7. "Don't Stop Believin'" -- Journey. You can't mess with a classic. If there's a song at the reception that the whole crowd will know every word to, it's probably Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'." This isn't so much a dance anthem, but a song where everyone stands in place and offers glances of affirmation to those around them for being so passionate about "STREET LIGHTS! PEOPLE!" 

6. "Love On Top" -- BeyoncĂ©. If four key changes don't get wedding guests on their feet, you need to go to a different wedding. 

5. "Dancing In The Moonlight" -- King Harvest. This song is highly underrated. As the only successful single from French-American band King Harvest, it's also quite the legacy to leave behind. It's just one of those songs everyone knows as soon as they hear it. 

4. "Valerie" -- Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson. Weddings are complicated because if you play all oldies, then you lose a younger crowd. If you don't tip a hat to the old favorites, you alienate all the aunts and uncles in the room. Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson's "Valerie" is the perfect crossover. With one of the greatest voices of this generation set against a melody that sounds like a throwback to the late '60s, "Valerie" is wedding song prime rib. 

3. "You Make My Dreams" -- Hall & Oates. Always a banger, I blame (500) Days of Summer for this song's introduction to the wedding reception canon. With the danceability of "Footloose" and the lyric recognition of "YMCA," the Hall & Oates special is exactly the kind of song you're looking for after the drinks start hitting. 

2. "Kiss" -- Prince. "Kiss" is a total ringer. You don't have to know the lyrics particularly well to get behind the beat. It's a good entryway song because it's not so fast that you're intimidated, but it sets the scene: This a wedding where we're ready to say goodbye to these overly emotional father-daughter dances and get to what's important: '80s pop and rock music. 

1. "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" -- Whitney Houston. The understated crown jewel of every wedding reception. Weddings make even the strongest-willed among us a little soft, and by night's end, you want to feel the heat with somebody. Preferably someone who loves you. 

 Esquire

Photo: Getty

Steve Wazz

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