Wedding songs?
July 16, 2005 12:00 PM   Subscribe

Wedding filter: We're a couple getting married with good taste in music help us pick our wedding song...

Looking for something nice but not schlock or cheese or typical to use as a wedding song, Nick Cave's "Into My Arms" was in the running but just a bit too out there; "Dance me to the end of love" by Leonard Cohen is also a nice one but a bit dirgy and slow... any suggestions?
posted by Cosine to Human Relations (55 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
stairway to heaven.
posted by joelf at 12:12 PM on July 16, 2005

Whaddaya mean, "wedding song?"

You mean the song that Bridey McBride will walk down the aisle to?

I wish I could come up with a good one there... my first reactions are always the Imperial March, or the Star Trek fighting music. If you wanted something traditional-ish but not horribly overdone to replace HCTB, you could do worse than a nice arrangement of St. Patrick's Breastplate (it's got binding in it and so is good for marryin'); you can probably find one that's peppy and Celtic-sounding.

Or do you mean the obligatorily schmoopy song that Mr. and Mrs. Cosine have their first dance to?

I wouldn't overthink this one; just pick what you like. Really, hardly anyone but you (and the Mother of the Bride, maybe, if this is her chance to force someone to have the wedding she always dreamed of) will care what the song is, as long as it's not something utterly horrifying like "You're The Inspiration" by Chicago. Did you ever leave a wedding where the guests were saying to each other "Well, that would have been fun, but the first-dance song was dirgy and slow, so the whole night sucked ass."?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:14 PM on July 16, 2005

Lou Reed's cover of "This Magic Moment".

You're talking about the song you do your first dance to, right?

We had The Beach Boys 'Wouldn't It Be Nice", although GNR's "Sweet Child O' Mine" was also in the running.

Pick something that reminds you of the best date, the good times, everything you want to celebrate about getting married. And ignore your sister-in-law/ mother/best friend when she suggests "I Will Always Love You"
posted by slimslowslider at 12:20 PM on July 16, 2005

Response by poster: Yes, the first dance song, and WE care!
posted by Cosine at 12:22 PM on July 16, 2005

Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah or Louis Armstrong's We Have All The Time in the World (moderately cheesy).
posted by undertone at 12:39 PM on July 16, 2005

Built to Spill- Reasons ("You arrive and I'm on fire...")
Neil Young- Harvest Moon ("I want to see you dance again...")
posted by slimslowslider at 12:39 PM on July 16, 2005

Perhaps too cheesy, but I've always thought TMBG's She's an Angel would be pretty cool.
posted by Hlewagast at 12:42 PM on July 16, 2005

Our first dance was Holly Cole's cover of Tom Waits' "I Want You."

(I walked down the aisle to a string version of Nirvana's "All Apologies;" those who figured out what it was absolutely loved it.)
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 12:53 PM on July 16, 2005

Otis Redding's "These Arms of Mine" off In Person At The Whisky A Go Go. It's the perfect rendition; give it a listen before you write it off.
posted by aiko at 12:53 PM on July 16, 2005

Louis Armstrong's We Have All The Time in the World

Not to piss on your fire, but that song is used in the OHMSS, the film it was written for, when Bond's wife is killed in a botched drive-by hit. It also happens minutes after he is married to her.

Just pointing it out.

How about Let The Good Times Roll.
posted by Navek Rednam at 1:12 PM on July 16, 2005

How 'bout "You're The Best Thing" by the Style Council? Dreamily romantic and quite danceable, but neither too fast or too slow, and from the Style Council's early days before they really started to, um, suck. Speaking as a Weller geek, I infinitely prefer the original version on Cafe Bleu over the remixed version that's more readily available on their singles collection.
posted by scody at 1:19 PM on July 16, 2005

Someone I know used Björk's version of "It's Oh So Quiet" -- which is fun and hilarious, particularly if you choreographed ways of dancing to the bombastic parts that was different from how you danced to the slow parts.

Ooh -- are you in the NY area? If so, check out Matrimony Mony for one-of-a-kind first dance choreography.
posted by xo at 1:25 PM on July 16, 2005

Thank God I was not the first person to think of Leonard Cohen--but a different song--sensual, seductive and great for dancing --yes, Leonard Cohen--"Dance Me To The End Of "--lyrics are very appropriate for a wedding--A few of the lyrics:

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic 'til I'm gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
We're both of us beneath our love, we're both of us above
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
posted by rmhsinc at 1:34 PM on July 16, 2005

Dance Me To The End Of Love--sorry, whole title
posted by rmhsinc at 1:35 PM on July 16, 2005

Where My Heart Will Take Me by Russell Watson.

It's the theme song for Enterprise. Yeah. Oh yeah.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:44 PM on July 16, 2005

One of my favorite songs of all time (if not my favorite) is "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)" by Talking Heads. I think that'd be a dandy one. It's gorgeous. My favorite version is the one in Stop Making Sense (available on the soundtrack CD, too, of course), but if you, like, don't mind bringing a DVD, the one on the recent David Byrne Live At Union Chapel disc is also so beautiful I almost cried.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 1:47 PM on July 16, 2005 [1 favorite]

My sister-in-law used Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" and it was great.
posted by escabeche at 2:53 PM on July 16, 2005

Wouldn't It Be Nice, God Only Knows, or In My Life are probably best... or She's No Lady (She's My Wife) by Lyle Lovett, but odds are low that everyone at the wedding will have the proper sense of humor for that one.

Perfect Day is a pretty menacing song, I always thought. Will hafta re-listen. "You just keep me hanging on" "you made me forget myself, I thought I was someone else, someone good" "you're gonna reap just what you sew."
posted by ibmcginty at 3:09 PM on July 16, 2005

My best friend used The Verve's- Sonnet and it was lurvely---to this day I remember that and give him kudos because it kicked asssss.
here's the amazon page with a clip for the unititiated
posted by stavx at 3:14 PM on July 16, 2005

We used "What a Difference a Day Made." We had an orchestra, but if you're using a DJ, you can't beat the Tony Bennett version (you can get it on the One Fine Day soundtrack). We also considered "As Time Goes By" (from Casablanca), "At Last" (Etta James), "When I Fall In Love" (Nat King Cole), "The Way You Look Tonight" (Frank Sinatra), and "Isn't it Romantic" (Ella Fitzgerald). They're all classics, but some are less commonly used then others.
posted by roundrock at 3:37 PM on July 16, 2005

We went with "I've Found A Reason" by the Velvet Underground, but had been seriously considering "Northern Sky" by Nick Drake. I personally love "Beestung" by Kristen Hersh.
posted by echolalia67 at 3:40 PM on July 16, 2005

What about Cohen's "Suzanne"?

Some ideas I dunno:

"Girl From Ipanema"

Tom Waits "Better Off Without a Wife" (if you're cool like that)

Sun Ra "Rocket Number Nine"

Coltane's "Wise One"

Dylan "Peggy Day"

Beatles "She's So (Heavy)"

Man, I wonder what mine might be... Right now I feel like it might be D'Angelo's "The Line". Actually you might wanna check that out :)
posted by 31d1 at 3:52 PM on July 16, 2005

From the sound of it, the sense of "good taste in music" for this thread is skewing pretty heavily towards indie rock. If that's the case, I can't help but think that you might want to scour over Yo La Tengo's back catalogue: there's probably plenty in the last few records that might fit the bill. Some might skew a little cheesy, like "Center of Gravity," but hey, it is a wedding after all.

Alternatively, if you're looking for something a little classic, but also a little funny, and a little different, Blossom Dearie's version of Rodgers & Hart's "Ev'rything I've Got" is an interesting choice.
posted by .kobayashi. at 3:52 PM on July 16, 2005

Where or When by Ella Fitzgerald is a classic.
posted by roue at 3:53 PM on July 16, 2005

Hedningarna's Såglåten is a good dance, just off-kilter enough to be interesting, and lyrically apropos. Least I think.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:55 PM on July 16, 2005

If you like "Dance Me to the End of Love," Madeleine Peyroux has a version that's still a little slow, but not dirgey at all. It's danceable.

As for "who cares about the first dance song" -- we picked "Love Is Here To Stay," the Ella and Louis version, and I kind of regret not picking something more unique. Your guests may not remember it, but you'll always think of it as "your" song. It's not quite as much fun when it's everybody else's song too.
posted by chickenmagazine at 4:12 PM on July 16, 2005

For my wedding in 2001, I DJed these up to start the 1st mix disc:

1) Queen "Wedding March" (short fanfare)
2) Al Green "Let's Get Married"
3) Percy Sledge "When A Man Loves A Woman"

Nice intro set of 3, plus they can be cut together nicely.
You can't go wrong with an Al Green song.

Other tracks on the mix included:

Bryan Ferry "What A Wonderful World"
DeFranco family "Heartbeat, It's a Lovebeat"
Ivor Cutler "Darling Would You Marry Me Twice?"
Bo Diddley "Love Her Madly"
Campbell Brothers "Jump for Joy"
Wanda Jackson "Funnel of Love"

(on preview)

Wolfdog, since you're gettin' all Nordic, I'll also mention I used:

Hedningarna "Forest Maiden"
Rosenberg 7 "My Wedding Day"
plus some Värttinä & Hoven Droven
posted by omnidrew at 4:14 PM on July 16, 2005

I agree with .kobayashi.'s suggestion of Yo La Tengo (assuming it's up your alley) and I think that "You Can Have It All" is a good song to use.

If you're up for something goofy and fun, All Day and All of the Night by the Kinks is a good candidate.
posted by invitapriore at 4:45 PM on July 16, 2005

Ooooh, Al Green "Simply Beautiful"

posted by 31d1 at 5:09 PM on July 16, 2005

We had the Beatle's In My Life for our first dance and Nick Cave's Breathless for our final and both were wonderful. Walked down the aisle to the theme from True Romance (Hans Zimmer's update of the Badlands little theme) and had a bunch of music from the film Amelie splattered through the ceremony.

Good luck!
posted by xmutex at 5:15 PM on July 16, 2005

"The Book of Love" by Magnetic Fields
posted by dhoyt at 6:38 PM on July 16, 2005

BTW cosine: dunno if you've heard the song, but if you need an mp3, email me. It's kind of anti-schlock, but self-consciously/cleverly schlocky all the same. It was the theme to my best friends' wedding (to each other) this spring and they got a lot of compliments for their choice.
posted by dhoyt at 7:28 PM on July 16, 2005

and congrats!
posted by dhoyt at 7:28 PM on July 16, 2005

How about "Another one bites the dust"? J/K :)

I really like Lifehouse's song "Everything" It's more pop, but I think it would make a great wedding song, it has really heartfelt lyrics
go here for them

posted by bluehermit at 7:31 PM on July 16, 2005

sorry the link didn't work for some reason, here it is :)

"Everything" by Lifehouse
posted by bluehermit at 7:34 PM on July 16, 2005

we're going with Willie Nelson: I'd Have to Be Crazy. It's such a nice song.
posted by sfz at 8:39 PM on July 16, 2005

i dj'd a friend's wedding several years ago and picked "i go to pieces" by southern pacific for the first (slow) "dollar dance" song ... worked very well ... yes, they're a country group, but they do it acapella and quite well

after i got the freddy yankovic and soft songs out of the way for the older crowd i blasted the place with ac/dc ... that was awhile ago ...
posted by pyramid termite at 8:55 PM on July 16, 2005

Well... What do you want? I mean, you can do pretty much anything there, it just depends on you an' your spouse, y'know?
You can go for "Married Man's a Fool" by Ry Cooder or you can go for "Goin' to the Chapel." You can play something instrumental and gorgeous like A Love Supreme by Coltrane, or something sweet like "Walkin' After Midnight" by Patsy Klein. Up to you. Give me a little more info, and I can give you more suggestions. I mean, I just don't know if you're the types to think Velvet Underground's Heroin ("You're my life and you're my wife") is sly or creepy...
posted by klangklangston at 9:27 PM on July 16, 2005

Not all of these are sweet but the ones that aren't are intense, in one way or another. Some of them however are just sappy and none of them are mean.
Flaming Lips, Do You Realize (they did use this for a car commercial recently though)
Blur's, Your So Great
One by One or She Came Along to Me, by Billy Bragg and Wilco
Four Richard Buckner songs; Faithful Shooter, Goner, Brief and Boundless, and Once
Saint Etienne, Nothing Can Stop Us
Ride, Vapour Trail
Bretta Phillips and Dean Wareham, Night Nurse
Massive Attack, Protection
And if your feeling brave maybe one of these might work...
Magnetic Fields, Underwear
Pulp, Underwear
Smog, Dress Sexy at My Funeral
posted by iwouldificould at 11:20 PM on July 16, 2005

Some friends who got married last year danced to the Pixie's "Gigantic", which is their favorite song. At the wedding I went to last weekend, the bride and groom surprised and delighted everyone by coming out of nowhere with an awesome tango. Who knew they had it in them? Personally I'd probably pick Ray Charles' "Come Rain Or Come Shine", but only if the groom could really dance.
posted by cali at 12:02 AM on July 17, 2005

I have a hopeless romantic gal friend who recommends "One Boy One Girl" by Colin Raye and would like me to tell y'all that.
posted by madman at 12:25 AM on July 17, 2005

I love Patsy Cline's "Walkin' After Midnight", but I don't think it'd really apply -- it seems to be about a couple who have split apart, and the singer's still pining.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 12:56 AM on July 17, 2005

One of the most romantic songs I've ever heard is 'Don't Give Up" by Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush.

Alternately, there's "By Your Side" by Sade, off of her "Lover's Rock" album. It's lovely too.
posted by Radio7 at 2:20 AM on July 17, 2005

Randy Travis - Forever And Ever, Amen
Joan Armatrading - Heaven
posted by theora55 at 7:05 AM on July 17, 2005

We considered Ben Folds "The Luckiest" or Van Morrison's "Tupelo Honey" but are going with "More" by Bobby Darin. My best friend used "What the World Needs Now Is Love", the Burt Bacharach tune sung by I forgot who. At a wedding I went to recently they danced to "The Very Thought of You" by Billie Holiday, which I thought was a great choice too.
posted by JT at 7:49 AM on July 17, 2005

How about 'Happy Together' by the Turtles. A really fun, romantic song to start off the dancing.
posted by essexjan at 9:07 AM on July 17, 2005

Seconding "You're the Best Thing" by Style Council, Cafe Bleu version. And Dinah Washington's version of "What a Difference a Day Made" is my favorite.

For irreverence, I suggest "She's No Lady" by Lyle Lovett.
posted by whatnot at 9:49 AM on July 17, 2005

We're currently considering Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" and Lucinda Williams' cover of Nick Drake's "Which Will." I like "Which Will" better as a song, but I don't think it's very danceable. "Harvest Moon" is pretty, danceable, and appropriate ("I wanna see you dance again," "I'm still in love with you").
posted by UKnowForKids at 10:38 AM on July 17, 2005

Ooh! Two more suggestions that came on the iPod this morning at the gym that seemed like good contenders: "Truly, Truly" by Grant Lee Buffalo and "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" by the Jayhawks. Hell, if I ever get married again, I'd dance to either one of those!
posted by scody at 2:31 PM on July 17, 2005

I'd check out Sade, Michael Bublee and Jack Johnson. They worked for our wedding reception.
posted by JPowers at 3:59 PM on July 17, 2005

We're planning on playing "The Man in Me." Y'know, the song that plays over the credits of The Big Lebowsky.
I think it's by Bob Dylan...
posted by Jon-o at 10:17 PM on July 17, 2005

It's Only Time, by the Magnetic Fields.

It's a little slow, too, but about the right speed if you're going to dance to it, and the lyrics are perfect. It was our wedding song.
posted by schustafa at 7:39 AM on July 18, 2005

Ours was "Wonderful Tonight", the live version from Clapton's The Blues compilation. Slower tempo than the radio version, about six minutes long. Cliche? Maybe, but it was the first song I played for my wife on our first date.
posted by DakotaPaul at 2:35 PM on July 18, 2005

Our wedding song was David Bowie's Moonage Daydream, so anything goes.
posted by sluggo at 2:36 PM on July 18, 2005

FWIW, I think your original idea of Into My Arms beats all subsequent suggestions. Beautiful song, perfect sentiments expressed.

An alternative suggestion: some friends of mine played Love Hangover by Diana Ross. Shmaltzy for sure, but it had more than a few guests blubbing into their champagne flutes.
posted by jack_mo at 10:55 AM on July 19, 2005

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