Music my wedding metafilter!
September 1, 2018 2:03 PM   Subscribe

I'm getting married next Saturday; we're having a tiny wedding in our backyard with basically a potluck dinner and a small-ish number of people (about 30.) We're going to be running music on a couple of speakers over the wifi but we're both kind of useless musically. We could really use suggestions of good wedding songs, playlists, whatever.

Apart from general music-y goodness we're also specifically looking for something to "walk away" to once the ceremony is over. Future Mrs. Sleight is walking down the Aisle to "Head over feet" by Alanis Morissette (long story) so we're not necessarily looking for "traditional" music choices here. Neither of us are religious if that matters though we're not against religious music provided it's good music first.

Feel free to label any suggestions by when they're good for: mingling/drinks, dinner, dancing, etc. Or not if you don't feel like it, it's all good.

If you have any other last minute backyard wedding tips feel free to give me those as well!
posted by Mister_Sleight_of_Hand to Society & Culture (27 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
If either of you are big nostalgia TV fans, you can get copies of any of your favorite TV show scores from That can be fun. Johnny Quest or the Jetsons for example are good songs to get people's attention for something else. Audio quality might be poor so maybe cleaner versions are on YouTube. Also, Seasons of Love from RENT would be a good, non traditional, I love you song. Good luck, good life/
posted by CollectiveMind at 2:18 PM on September 1, 2018

The Book of Love, Magnetic Fields
Going to the Chapel, this version is Bette Midler
posted by theora55 at 2:19 PM on September 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Some stuff that went over well at our wedding:

La Vie en Rose by Edith Piaf to walk away from the ceremony-it has a kind of expansive, happy, triumphant sound to it.

Josephine Baker during the cocktail hour-she has a really lovely, happy-sounding voice.

We had our first dance to a cover of Can't Help Falling in Love by Ingrid Michaelson. She would also be great for cocktail/dinner/etc background music (she does have lots of songs about breakups though, so maybe look for playlists that avoid those lol.)

Congratulations, and good luck!!
posted by LadyNibbler at 2:22 PM on September 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is something that you can ask your guests to help you with, if you want - you can put out a call for each of them to name a favorite song or two and base a playlist on that. It may not be optimal if you're into blackmetal and all your friends love jazz, but it's often a fun way to do a playlist for an event like this.
posted by bile and syntax at 2:25 PM on September 1, 2018

Previously, Previously, Previously, Previously, Previously, Previously
Ask each friend who is attending to send you songs.
and, Mazel tov.
posted by theora55 at 2:31 PM on September 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

At Last, by Etta James. Could be good for a bride and groom dance, not sure about walking away... ymmv.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:24 PM on September 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

My husband is a professional wedding musician. His top two ‘walk away’ (recessional) recommendations are ‘Kiss Me’ by Sixpence None the Richer and ‘Here Comes the Sun’.

If he weren’t playing a wedding right now, I’d ask him for some more recommendations.

My personal backyard wedding tip is to make sure there is enough seating for everyone. We had a DIY party-like wedding and the older people did not have enough seating.
posted by hellogoodbye at 3:34 PM on September 1, 2018

For a recessional, I think it should be joyful, e.g.,
Joy to the World (Jeremiah was a Bullfrog)
Here Comes the Sun
posted by carmicha at 3:37 PM on September 1, 2018

The favourite of almost every vaguely alternative gen x Melbourne couple is The ship song by Nick Cave and the bad seeds, and for very good reason. It's like it was deliberately written for weddings. More maudlin than joyful though, it'd have to suit who you are.
posted by deadwax at 3:50 PM on September 1, 2018

Pure Imagination
From “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory “
posted by calgirl at 4:01 PM on September 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

My wife and I made our own wedding playlist broken up into three sections. Cocktails, Dinner, and Dancing.
I didn't want to clog up the thread here with a long list so I made a Pastebin.
It was also a backyard wedding but at a friends place with a nice backyard.

There's a real variety to the songs here to be honest. 14 year age difference between my wife and I so there's some newer stuff that you would not expect to hear at a wedding in there while at the same time some nice classics along the lines of Nat King Cole, Etta James, etc.

Who expects Frank Ocean at a wedding though? Or Caravan Palace? Willow Smith?

Hope it helps you out. All our guests loved the music.

More booze is better than running out
Same goes for food
Keep it small (which you've nailed)
The rest is just peanuts
posted by MNMCSOJGPFTAATMOTTSOITATTMSFMVOOW at 4:19 PM on September 1, 2018

Our first two songs were Let's Stay Together (went with Tina Turner's version, should've stuck with Al Green) and You Make Me So Very Happy by Blood Sweat and Tears. Feel free to use them too. Your wedding is ever so slightly larger than ours. Hope you enjoy it as much. It's still my favourite ever.
posted by kate4914 at 5:15 PM on September 1, 2018

Vulfpeck: feel-good danceable modern funk with a timeless appeal.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:29 PM on September 1, 2018

My nephew and his bride were married earlier this summer and they used Three Rounds and a Sound by Blind Pilot as their theme song. I don't know if the link will work since it's to their FB video, but for me the song perfectly captured the simple beauty of their wedding.
posted by kbar1 at 6:09 PM on September 1, 2018

Not particularly conventional, but we walked into our reception with the Cure's Love Cats playing. A close friend went for Halo (also the Cure) instead.
posted by BlueBlueElectricBlue at 7:16 PM on September 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Our recessional was Lovely Allen by Holy Fuck. I modified it to start about 20 seconds in so there was a little less of the build-up. It sounds happy and triumphant to me without the bother of having to have words that fit just right. Congrats!!
posted by just_ducky at 7:48 PM on September 1, 2018

I did this recently (a year ago next week!!) and while we had a DJ, I was very picky about the ceremony and cocktail hour/dinner music. I felt like it should be a reflection of us as a couple, so I put together playlists for everything, and the DJ took over for the dancing. I'll link to the playlists I made on Apple Music, which should be viewable in a browser (I think).

Pre-Ceremony - I tried to pick Vitamin String Quartet versions of some of our favorite songs.
Recessional was You're My Best Friend by Queen
Cocktail Hour/Dinner

I hope that helps or gives you some ideas. I got many compliments, especially on the cocktail hour music. I felt like it was a good mix of standards and things that were specific to our taste. Congratulations!
posted by bluloo at 8:41 PM on September 1, 2018

This Will Be Our Year by The Zombies.
posted by Constance Mirabella at 9:55 PM on September 1, 2018

I just did two playlists for my friend’s wedding. This one is for the cocktail hour and dinner, and this one was designed to keep everybody dancing. They’re in a specific order for flow. Some of the songs were ones they requested because they had special significance to them, but overall, both playlists worked very well. Both likely are way longer than you’ll need.
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:15 PM on September 1, 2018

Congratulations! We're doing something very similar next Sunday! We plan to walk away to Never In My Wildest Dreams, by Dan Auerbach, with probably Book of Love and First Aid Kit's Emmylou at other strategic locations.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:16 PM on September 1, 2018

Our wedding songs were

Open Window, Sarah Harmer
Into My Arms, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

They're good anytime songs. All the best to you guys!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:32 AM on September 2, 2018

I get married the day before you - so its been weighing on my mind too!

A couple of other walking away ("recessional") songs haven't seen mentioned: I'm a Believer, Boum!.

Tie the Knot have a huge selection of suggested wedding playlists for every part of a wedding day. Would recommend if you are looking for something to browse through.

Choosing music can take a while - and you are going to have a million other things to do. So delegate in all or part to a friend would be a suggestion.
posted by rongorongo at 1:53 AM on September 2, 2018

Recessional ideas:
Happy Together by The Turtles
As Time Goes By from Casablanca
I’m Yours by Jason Mraz
This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) by Natalie Cole
From This Moment on by Cole Porter (I like Sinatra's recording)
Love is Here to Stay, by Geo. Gershwin (again, Sinatra)
'Swonderful, also Gershwin (Ella Fitzgerald rocks it)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:19 AM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Here are three playlists I made for my recent wedding-ish party that you're welcome to use or crib from. I tend to find songs through music blogs and AskMes. (I'll probably put the tracks mentioned in this AskMe in a playlist and edit my favorites into the lists below, for instance.)
I. Cocktails & Mingling
II. Dinner with Friends
III. Dancing

Funk, indie, chart toppers, rock, autotune, jazz, rap, "world," nostalgic, pop, punk, alt-folk, disco....there's a little of everything.

There's also an "Alt Ceremony" list I've been adding to over the last few months, if you're looking for something unconventional for the ceremony itself.
posted by cocoagirl at 4:35 AM on September 2, 2018

I nominate "Beyond" by Leon Bridges.
posted by coldhotel at 5:47 AM on September 2, 2018

Feel free to steal anything from our wedding playlist.
posted by vespabelle at 8:52 PM on September 2, 2018

Thanks for all the responses everyone! I'm hesitant to mark any of the answers as "best" because I'd have to mark them all which kinda defeats the purpose but they've all been helpful and greatly appreciated! Thanks for taking the time to help make our wedding a success!

Now as long as the weather cooperates...
posted by Mister_Sleight_of_Hand at 3:50 AM on September 4, 2018

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