Bride and groom slow dancing

Bride and groom slow dancing (Photo by Edward Eyer on Pexels)

Whether it’s all you’ve been dreaming about since you were five years old or you’ve thought about it once or twice, we’ve all envisioned what our wedding day would be like in some capacity. The first dance between a couple who have just vowed themselves to one another is one of the most emotional and beautiful things to witness. Whether you’re the one in the dance or watching from afar, one must admit the beauty in the act. But the cherry on top is always the beautiful song the newlyweds sway away to, and today we will be sharing with you the best wedding songs of all time. 

But what makes a song worthy of being played at such a pinnacle moment in two people’s lives? How does one even go about picking such an important song? A recent study showed that certain songs bring up certain emotions in people. For instance, “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys tops the charts as the song that makes people happiest. The songs on this list undoubtedly bring up all the feels that make it a perfect pick for that first sway on the dance floor. 

Another study similarly studied the effect of songs but this time on a range of 13 different emotions. According to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, they found that people can experience amusement, joy, eroticism, beauty, relaxation, sadness, dreaminess, triumph, anxiety, scariness, annoyance, defiance, and energizing all while listening to a song. Music, to most, is a way of speaking when words are no longer enough. It’s easy to take advantage of something we are surrounded by every day, but when it comes down to picking a song you want to dedicate to the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, identifying these key emotions is something to keep in mind for two soon-to-be newlyweds.

Looking for the perfect song to match your special moment on the dance floor? Here at StudyFinds we have researched across multiple platforms to bring you the top five best wedding songs of all time. Did we miss one? We would love to hear from you in the comments below about what you and your love danced the night away to. 

Bride and groom dancing at their wedding
Bride and groom dancing at their wedding (Photo by Luwadlin Bosman on Unsplash)

The List: Best Wedding Songs, According to Experts

1. “At Last” by Etta James (1960)

What do you think the number one thought is in newlyweds’ minds once they finally tie the knot? Our pick is these two tiny words: “‘At Last,’ sung by Etta James, is about as wedding as you get. Any time you hear this song, it conjures up beautiful wedding days full of love, life, laughter, and joy. Perfect for practically any part of your wedding day, but especially first and last dances, ‘At Last’ is a truly timeless and stunning wedding song,” says Seventh Second.

“Released in 1960 – The soulful Etta James captures the emotion of finding your forever love in song. ‘At Last’ has stood the test of time. It’s amazing to think that this song came from her very first album,” raves My Wedding Songs.

“This timeless tune was originally written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren for the 1941 musical film, ‘Sun Valley Serenade’. A year later, Glen Miller & His Orchestra scored a No.2 hit with the song. In 1960, however, singer Etta James delivered a particularly soulful performance of the song, securing it as a wedding staple – and her signature tune,” describes UDiscoverMusic.

2. “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran (2017)

The song that is like a guide to the perfect love story with Sheeran’s voice melodically singing “darling, you look perfect” and “I see my future in your eyes” was bound to be in the top five. The lyrics immediately transport you and make you feel like you’re the only two in the room. “This song is about wanting to spend the rest of your life with someone. Ed brings out the emotions perfectly with his strong vocals. It’s got a good beat and is one that people will be able to dance to,” writes MusicGrotto.

“Released in 2017 – Although this song is the newest song on the list, I believe it will be played for years to come. Sheeran is a global superstar, and this song has the perfect love story,” My Wedding Songs adds. 

“Ed Sheeran is a popular choice for first dances, and it’s easy to see why. This track is a modern classic, with lyrics all about finding ‘The One’ – very wedding-appropriate,” claims Hitched. “Thinking Out Loud,” another track by the artist, was another popular choice among first dance songs, but “Perfect” outranked it making it to the top of our list.

3. “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri (2011)

Written specifically as a song to be told from the point of view of Bella from “The Twilight Saga,” this song took the world by storm in 2011. Even those who aren’t fans of “Twilight” however felt its impact. “The song’s soundtrack is wedding themed, making it great for wedding songs. The words express and bring out that full of love feeling. It became an international hit and reached number one on multiple charts. It also reached the top ten in many other countries, making it a worldwide sensation,” explains MusicGrotto.

“Nobody knows more about love than vampires. When they say forever, they mean forever. Pop singer-songwriter Christina Perri skillfully puts herself in the shoes of the undead on this epic ballad from 2011’s ​​’ The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1’ soundtrack. As more Twihards get hitched, ‘A Thousand Years’ is bound to become immortal on the wedding scene,” adds Billboard

Midder Music goes on to explain Perri’s writing process further, saying she “wrote this song as someone who had waited for love her entire life, finally found it, and is full of confessions of love to that special someone. It’s also a perfect song if you’ve waited and gone through a heartbreak or two; now, you can pour all your love on that special one. This song fits into that couple dance moment when all is still, and all lights are on the newly wedded couple.”

4. “All of Me” by John Legend (2013)

Known for his romantic and powerful piano ballads, it would be a crime not to have a John Legend song on the list. One of the more unique singer-songwriters of his generation, Legend delivers a beautiful melody coupled with breathtaking lyrics in “All Of Me.” “The sound of a piano at a wedding gives a rather romantic feeling. The song is heartfelt, with John Legend pouring all his emotions into adoring his wife. It has been one of the top wedding songs ever since its release, and it focuses on couples being the best together regardless of their imperfections,” writes Midder Music.

“John Legend really knows how to nail a romantic lyric – passionate but with a bit of edge to keep it interesting,” describes Hitched. The song, which is a love letter to Legend’s wife, Chrissy Teigen, became his first number-one single in the United States and knocked off “Happy” by Pharell Williams, which had steadily been number one for ten weeks. 

“John Legend’s beautiful song tops the list of first dance songs with its heartfelt lyrics and gorgeous piano music,” raves WeddingWire. The song, which now came out a decade ago, remains a favorite for those first steps around the dance floor

5. “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” by Elvis Presley (1961)

Though this song has been traveling around the wedding circuit for six decades, it remains one of the most romantic songs on the list. With so many renditions existing, the story of not being able to resist the great fall of love is a tale as old as time. “‘Take my hand, take my whole life, too,’ Elvis Presley serenades. We can’t help but fall in love with this heartwarming classic,” adds Today.

“Released in 1961 – Elvis, the king of Rock and Roll, slowed the tempo way down for this sensual love ballad. In 2017, Haley Reinhart’s cover of the song became extremely popular in the wedding circuit. Other popular covers include Kina Grannis, which was featured in the movie ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and a personal favorite by Music Travel Love,” describes My Wedding Songs.

It’s difficult to go wrong with the king of rock n roll. Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore, and George David Weiss wrote ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ for the Elvis Presley film ‘Blue Hawaii.’ A perennial favorite for a couple’s first dance, this one is bound to get everyone out on the dance floor at the reception,” writes Music In Minnesota

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.


About Jilly Hite

Janelle is a freelance writer from New York. Her writing focuses on parenting, tech, business, interior design, education, and telling people’s inspiring stories. Janelle has written for Mustela and Newton Baby and has bylines in Pregnant Chicken, Syracuse Woman Magazine, the Baldwinsville Messenger, and Family Times Magazine. She holds a master’s degree in literacy from the State University of New York at Oswego.

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