Prev Next

Playlist: Songs To Honor Your Friends


We get by with a little help from them, after all

by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Playlist: Songs To Honor Your Friends | A Practical Wedding

One of the all time great wedding traditions (if you ask me), is one of the most unofficial—the all-friend dance and sway circle… or the all-friend dance and scream lyrics circle. Whatever. But my point is, we spend a lot of time thinking about honoring family at weddings, and for many of us, the “friends” part of the “friends and loved ones” equation is equally important in our lives. Today we’re going about honoring friends at your wedding. I don’t mean “friends as wedding party,” because I’m pretty sure you have more people that are really important to you than the ladies and gents who may or may not stand up with you. Plus, I kinda think it’s EXTRA important to honor those friends who hauled their asses all the way across the country for you, who are not in the wedding party.

APW suggests… the Friend Dance Song. Chances are, you’re going to save a dance for your dad, or your mama, or your whole family. Why not consider saving a dance for your friends? There are various ways to pull this off, depending on what kind of party you’re throwing, and who your friends are. Here are some of the most common:

  • The Big Circle At The End. Call all your friends to the floor for the last dance, and let them make a circle around you. Love, love, love, my friends.
  • Directly after your first dance/parent dances. Announce a friend dance, after the other official dances. If your friends are all coupled (this was so not true at our wedding), you can pick a slow-ish dance to honor all of their relationships, before moving on to shaking your ass. If they’re not, pick a circle and sway.
  • The shout-the-lyrics song. This may come somewhere in the middle of the party, and might not be announced (because your ladies will know who you’re talking to). If all of your girlfriends, or high school friends, or college friends have a song that’s an anthem, play it! It’ll be an emotional moment for all of you, and once you fill the floor with lyric shouting and swaying, chances are good lots of other people will join in.

With that in mind, we’ve assembled a playlist to honor your friends, to get you started.

Songs to Honor Your Friends from practicalmaddie on 8tracks Radio.

1. “With A Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles
2. “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls
3. “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks
4. “We Are Young” by Fun
5. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
6. “Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey
7. “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen
8. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper
9. “I’ve Got A Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas

Let’s keep your suggestions going in the comments. What song would you play to honor those super important relationships in your life?

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

More in Playlists Recent Posts Staff Picks

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • http://blog.stephaniecourt.com/ stephanie court

    Great playlist! We really wanted our friends to feel like a part of the celebration/dance party so the now-husband and I emailed our closest friends to get their top 3 song choices and passed them along to the DJ for our dance party playlist. The dance floor was always full since there was a little something for everyone and Don’t Stop Believin’ ended up becoming our unofficial/unplanned friends-circle-up-and-sing-along song!

    • Laura C

      That’s definitely going to be the one for another group of our friends.

  • Laura C

    My fiance’s closest group of college friends have this thing about “The Weight.” At one wedding, they asked the band to play it and the band said they knew the music but weren’t sure about the words. The guys said no worries, we got this, and like four of them got up on the microphones and sang together while another one stood in front of them pointing as the harmony parts came in. It was pretty great. Anyway, that’s clearly one of ours.

    “I’ve Got a Feeling,” on the other hand, is Exhibit A on our Do Not Play Under Any Circumstances list.

    • NicoleT

      I’m there with you. I can’t stand that song, but my fiancé loves it for whatever reason. We’ll probably end up compromising on We Are Young.

    • K.

      “I’ve Got a Feeling” is totally going to top our Do Not Play list too. Actually it goes:

      1. “I’ve Got a Feeling” by The Black-Eyed Peas
      2. All other songs by The Black-Eyed Peas
      3. “I’ve Got a Feeling” by The Black-Eyed Peas (seriously)

      I think it’s a love-it or hate-it-with-the-passion-of-a-thousand-fiery-suns kind of song.

  • scw

    “all my friends” by lcd soundsystem will definitely be our big circle at the end song!

  • addiez

    For my friends, it’s Shout. Taken very, very seriously.

  • Stacie

    We are actually doing this within our ceremony. We’re having a Jew-ISH wedding, and we’ll have two glasses of wine instead of just one. The idea is that we have chosen to share the first glass of wine with the people who have brought us to this point, who have helped shape us into the people we are. We will share the wine with our immediate family and wedding party. One of my bridesmaids will sing The Beatles’ “In My Life” while we are doing it. I am SO excited about it!

    • Meg Keene

      SNIFFLE. I’m having a emotional day for no reason, but SNIFFLE.

      • Stacie

        ME TOO! I started tearing up just typing it out! :D

      • KEA1

        I’m not even all that big of a Beatles fan, but “In My Life” is pretty much guaranteed waterworks for me.

  • K.

    “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” by The Smiths. But we tend to be a morbid group of intellectual weirdos, so… ;)

    I think it would clear the dance floor pretty damn fast though. But maybe during cocktail hour! No better time to ponder your loved ones… and your mortality? Eh?

  • Laura

    Love Shack! (aka glitter on the highway)

  • Mezza

    Oh man. The stand-in-a-circle-with-friends song at my wedding was fun’s “We Are Young,” played last at the reception, and it’s the only time I cried that day. I don’t cry easily in general, but looking around the circle at so many friends from so many different parts of my life, all in the same place to celebrate with me, was the thing that finally got me. We didn’t even really plan to have a “friend song” and we didn’t call everyone to the floor; it just happened, and it’s possibly my favorite memory from the whole day.

  • emilyg25

    We had a couple spontaneous Friend Dance Songs at our wedding. One of my favorite memories is of dancing to “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” while everyone jumped up and down and yelled the lyrics. And of course, “Jane Fonda,” by Micky Avalon, but that’s just my weird friend group.

    • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

      Work it out, shake it little mama…

    • K.

      “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” is going to be our last dance of the night! Everyone jumping up and down and yelling the lyrics is EXACTLY how I hope it plays out. :)

      • Laura C

        Oh, yeah, that’s another big one for my fiance and a couple of his friends. At the wedding of one who really didn’t care much about dancing, two of them basically summoned everyone to the dance floor by stomping around shouting to that song. I believe this was the moment:

        • vegankitchendiaries

          YUP! I lived in Scotland for 8 years and it’s basically mandatory that this plays at every wedding ever.
          Was working on the playlist with Mr Groom just last night and said, ‘Well of COURSE we’ll have this song! All of the Scots will LOVE IT!’ and he was like… ‘I totally HATE that song.’

          So…. I guess the wedding’s off.

  • Gina

    I married a West Virginian, so “Take me Home, Country Roads” was played as our last song of the night. Definitely a circle-up and belt out the words kind of song!

    • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

      Not even remotely from WV, but that is an awesome sing-a-long song!

      • Gina

        I was happily surprised by how many people(from all over the place) knew all of the words!

        • sara

          When I went to oktoberfest in munich with my (now) fiance 6 years ago we learned that Germans LOVE that song! it’s a stand on the tables, belt it out loud song, and so so fun (even funnier with german accents and not knowing any other words other than the chours). it will definitely have a place at our reception!

  • http://www.smittenchickens.com/ Sarah Hoppes

    We shot a wedding in Maine last summer where they had a spontaneous last dance to Piano Man. The video of everyone in a big, swaying hug circle (just like SUMMER CAMP) screaming Billy Joel lyrics is so ridiculously sweet.

  • NicoleT

    I think another good song for the list would be “Don’t Stop Me Now”. Especially good if your friends have seen Shaun of the Dead!

  • http://werewritingabook.com/ Breck Winokur

    “Wagon Wheel,” for my college friends. We sang that WAY too much.

  • Nope.

    This is specific to a particular college continent, but we’ll be ending with “Sweet Caroline.”

    • http://www.etsy.com/shop/DIYIDo Laura

      Played at both our wedding and my sister-in-law’s last year. At both weddings it a magical moment.

    • Mallory2

      Go Eagles!! Or, wait, maybe it’s specific to other schools too?

    • EF

      Also good for ANYONE from Boston.

      Go Sox!

  • Sara

    My friends from college had ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ and ‘Sweet Caroline’ as our bar-sing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs song. Those were fun at their weddings, but the main stand out song at their weddings was ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Lights’. I don’t know if its an Ohio/Cleveland thing (I went to college in CLE where most of my extended family lives, but grew up in Chicagoland) – but that song has been a major part of any Cleveland wedding I’ve ever been to (both friends and family) but not even played at weddings outside of there. A lot of acting out, a lot of standing in circles singing, a lot of boys v girls. That is my number one must-have wedding reception song.

    • Lindsay Rae

      I was wondering when someone would suggest “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”!!! It’s so fun… our friends know all the words and it alwayssss breaks into a guys vs girls sing along :)

      • Sharon Gorbacz

        My brother did that song at his wedding last August and me and my fiance were both wondering why, because it’s the ULTIMATE regret song.

        And thusly, it’s going on our do not play list for our wedding in 24 days, along with Chicken Dance, My Sharona, Every Breath You Take, and other inappropriate songs.

    • http://www.housemadeblog.blogspot.com Corrie

      Say what!? That’s hilarious! I totally thought the “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” song/acting was something only my extended family did at weddings. However, we’re all in the Cleveland area so maybe it came from somewhere else? I’ve never been to a wedding of another Clevelander who had it at their wedding though. That is so funny! My boyfriend has been sufficiently prepared for the song after attending about 4 extended family weddings with me. When our other friends found out it’s our family wedding thing, they think it’s funny, but weird, because the song ends with the guy “praying for the end of time” so he can get out of being married to the girl. Despite that, it’s still a fun sing along!

  • MC

    I am determined to play “Don’t Stop Believin” even though my fiance thinks it is way too cheesy, and also recently told his parents that the song is actually about prostitutes (which I cannot verify anywhere on the internet, and it doesn’t even matter because it is an amazing song). So I’m not sure how psyched he/his parents will be about it, BUT they played it at my SIL’s wedding and EVERYONE danced.

  • Kara

    We definitely had a giant friend circle for “Don’t Stop Believin” for our last song, but we also had a huge crowd for Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer”, the Isley Brother’s “Shout!”, and Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”.

    For the gather toss, we had “Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC, which would have made another awesome friend song. Or maybe that’s just a great song for our crowd to sing as loud as we possibly can?

  • stina

    At a NYE party on high school we combined the dance in a circle with the scream the lyrics with Queen’s Bohemian Rapshody and the guys would mosh during the “heavy” party of the song. Somewhere along the line this went from NYE tradition to wedding tradition so we will definitely be including it! It’s one of those things that probably looks ridiculous from the outside (though the photographers always seen to love it!) but means so much to its as a group.

  • K.

    Oh, and also “The Safety Dance.” Always a big hit.

    ‘You can act real rude and totally removed
    And I can act like an imbecile’

  • jashshea

    We closed out with “One More Time” by Daft Punk, but interspersed the friend songs* throughout the night.

    *-Devil Went Down to Georgia – Charlie Daniel’s Band

    -Hip Hop Hooray – Naughty By Nature & Good Vibrations by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
    (these two are tied for “OMG this is my favorite song, like, ever!” so all the girls hit the floor for this to support my dancing habit)

    -Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show (I’m a northern girl living in the south and had never heard this until people went buckwild for it at another wedding. Apparently my country-loving city-dwelling college friends also love this song).

    – Laid – James (this one is an absolute killer for me & my college friends – lyrics screaming, acting everything out)

    Adding another dissenting vote for anything by Black Eyed Peas. :) Ain’t no mountain high enough would have torn the roof off, though (I blame ‘Stepmom’ for the scene with the hairbrush singing).

  • Beth R

    The surprise Friend Hit (at least it was a surprise to me) at our wedding was Tunak Tunak Tun by Daler Mehndi. I put it on the playlist as a small joke for my brother who used to play it all the time when we were in high school, but when it came on ALL our friends got up and started dancing/singing along to it (except, as it turned out, my brother who was caught talking with a relative at the time!). I guess it just shows our age, but it made me incredibly happy and amused.

    • ART

      i LOVE that song!!! high school memories for sure, and it’s still on my ipod :)

    • Caitlin_DD

      YES, amazing!

  • enfp

    Ooh great idea for playlist! I’m going to have to think about what to play to honour my friends. Especially when you have friends from different times in your life who don’t know each other. These are pretty specific to my weird friends, but options include: Le Tigre’s Deceptacon, Robyn’s Dancing on my Own, Bruce Springsteen, Dancing in the Dark, and Queen, Under Pressure, and Lauryn Hill, That Thing. Not exactly friend themed per se, but playing any of these would immediately result in friend circle dancing and shouting the lyrics out. Also, basically any Beyonce hit would work as a female friend rallying cry.

    Gotta admit we’re also putting Black Eyed Peas on the do not play under any circumstances list.

    • Gen

      Yes, another one for Deceptacon! I am glad to hear that my friends are not the only ones who enjoy stomping to this. We frighten people.

  • Sally Jo

    The guys in my group of friends from grad school days have a tradition of dancing like crazy to “It’s Raining Men”, a tradition that my fiance has now become part of and insists that we have at our wedding (which I’m quite happy about).

  • Erin

    No Sleep til Brooklyn. My Josh Groban loving mom will clutch her pearls if she hears any rap at the wedding but we are sneaking this one in towards the end.

  • ItsyBit

    I know it’s been said before, but…

    El Scorcho (Weezer).

    It is, to me, the ULTIMATE belting-lyrics-bonding song. The high school friends that I shared those moments with and I aren’t all that close any more, so they won’t be at the wedding. It honestly makes me a little sad that my closest girls and I don’t have something like that, but whatever. I’m playing that shit anyway and we’ll see who feels like singing along with me because gaddamn I’ll be singing.

    Oh, and Beyonce. Because thankfully everyone that I love also loves Beyonce, or at least enough to dance up a storm with me.

  • NB

    We met at Notre Dame, so our playlist was….Backer-tastic. We closed with “Take Me Home Country Roads”, which was a good circle-and-dance groove, and our playlist was heavy on songs-you-rock-out-to-embarassingly-loudly-in-traffic.

    We opened up the dance floor to “Don’t Stop Believing.” GUYS. Can I humbly recommend that you all do this? I was pretty nervous about it (what if we play The Best Song Ever too early, and no one dances?), but I clearly underestimated our friends’ enthusiasm for Journey. We cut the cake, the DJ announced that we wanted to invite everyone to join us on the dan…and that was about as far as he got, because the opening chords started playing, and BAM. Instant, fist-pumping, shout-singing, flash mob. This moment remains one of the most surprising and delightful memories I have ever known, period.

    Sigh. This thread/post makes me want to go dance my face off. Love.

    • Michelle

      Kind of late to the game here, but I’m an ND grad and I just wanted to say YES to Backer-tastic wedding playlists!!! (Our last song was “December 1963.”) :)

  • Emily

    I was recently at a wedding where the bride and groom did a “family dance” (with their extended families, as opposed to father/daughter mother/son dances) to PInk’s ‘Raise Your Glass.’ An idea I am totally stealing.

  • april

    Ha! We definitely threw in a couple of crazy techno songs for the entertainment of our college friends (we used to listent to them to get pumped up for ultimate frisbee games). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZK0GmiSMNGI

  • MrsFuzz

    This might be just for the Aussies, but You’re The Voice by John Farnham is guaranteed to have even the most shy up on the dance floor, singing their heart out! So using it for our friends :)

  • Jennifer

    So we’ve decided to skip a DJ or band and do our own music for the wedding. We’ve been picking out songs and noting how/when we plan to use them: cocktail hour/dinner, dancing, or sing-along dance. In my head, sing-along dances are exactly what you’ve described. Songs where all the friends get together at the end and dance/shout the lyrics. And now I feel totally validated that “Friends in Low Places” is on the list! If you’re not sure about a song, just ask yourself whether it would be awesome at karaoke.

    Other good choices are:
    “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen
    “Sweet
    Caroline” – Neil Diamond (which other people have mentioned)
    “Living on a Prayer” – Bon Jovi (other people have also mentioned it)
    “Blister in the Sun” – Violent Femmes
    Any song by Michael Jackson (how was MJ left off??)
    Any song by Mariah Carey (the earlier the better!)

  • Caitlin_DD

    Definitely “Bohemian Rhapsody” here! Not the most wedding appropriate perhaps, but the most scream-singing appropriate? Yes.

  • Jenette Sturges

    We’re from Aurora, Ill. So naturally, we’ll be making a big number out of “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen (as lip-synced in Wayne’s World). Every single person we know from our hometown knows that song (and will usually headbang to it).