Playlist: Tradition

Hey APW!

It’s the time of month where we round up all your soundtrack songs from May’s Wordless Weddings, and give you a little playlist for your afternoon desk dance party. Back when I was doing fancy-secretary work, I used to put on earphones and listen to playlists while I did piles of expenses. I mostly listened to old school hip-hop, and I particularly enjoyed when “Mo Money Mo Problems” came on. This playlist is not of the “Mo Money Mo Problems” variety, but it is one of my favorite APW playlists in a long time. Plus, it gave me a chance to reuse favorite-picture-ever of Aimee drinking out of the bottle. Funnily enough, for a month themed around Tradition, this playlist isn’t traditional at all.

And! In other news! Everyone always talks about first dance songs, but what about LAST dance songs? I’m kind of a sucker for our last dance song, to be frank. It’s that moment where all of the emotions of the wedding came crashing down on me, and I remember it far more vicerally than our first dance. So dish. What was your last song of the night? Share, and we’ll round them up. This is going to be a damn fun roundup.


Tradition from practicalmaddie on 8tracks Radio.

  1. “All I Want Is You” by Barry Louis Polisar from Amanda & Tim’s Wedding at Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet
  2. “Love & Some Verses” by Iron & Wine from Aimee & Patrick’s Bodega Bay Elopement
  3. “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes from Katie & Roei’s Wedding in a Friend’s Field
  4. “5 Years Time” by Noah and the Whale from Katie & Roei’s Wedding in a Friend’s Field
  5. “The Way You Do the Things You Do” by The Temptations from Rachel & Jelmer’s Instagram Wedding
  6. “Say Hey (I Love You)” by Michael Franti w/ Spearhead from Christina & Matthew’s Self-DJed Dance Party
  7. “Just the Way You Are” by Billy Joel from Alison & Ken’s Jewish-Italian Lancaster Wedding
  8. “Weapon of Choice” by Fatboy Slim from Alison & Ken’s Jewish-Italian Acoustic-Ska Love-Fest Wedding
Photo by APW Sponsor Little Bat Photography
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  • Last dance song was “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds.

    • That was my friends’ cake-cutting song at their recent wedding, and their last song of the night! A favorite.

    • carrie

      This song makes me cry! David put it on a CD for me early in the relationship and it was one of the songs that made us realize that this was it for us. So it will always be a very, very special song. :-)

  • One More Sara

    This was actually the easiest song to choose… we are going to do Lean On Me. 1) It’s a fun song to sing when you’re drunk (a qualifier for any last dance song) but moreso 2) it was always the song that we sang Friday mornings at camp (where we met) before campers left. All summer it makes campers cry, and then the last week, staffers also turn into blubbering messes when we sing it.

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      Yes to the last song of camp=blubbering mess. I did not meet my person at camp, but Friends and You’ve Got a Friend are bringing tears to my eyes as I write this.

  • carrie

    “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. I was actually worried that it was going to be too cheesy, but then just left it alone. Everybody formed a circle around us and we were all singing. Hands down, the best pictures of the night. The song will FOREVER make me smile.

    • Brianne

      Yep, that was ours too, although it was technically the penultimate song. They used to play it at the end of every house party so it felt like tradition. We also played U2’s “All I Want Is You” as our last, last song.

  • Jean

    Our last song of the night was Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd. We had our first kiss to that song and we felt it wasn’t the best choice for a first dance, but we couldn’t NOT have it at some point. It was an awesome last song – all 10 minutes of it! :-)

  • Jen

    Meg- I took a sheet from your playbook (pun intended, ha!) and we also went with Sam Cooke for our last song. But we did Nothing Can Change this Love. It was awesome, though the showing wasn’t as good as we had expected because right before the DJ had just made the last call for the bar. Oops.

  • Jashshea

    That indeed IS the best picture ever. Badass alert!

    Our last song was “One More Time” by Daft Punk. Husband hates dancing but loves techno, so this was my musical plea to get him on the dance floor with me for a few minutes.

    • Oh, NICE. My partner is a huge Daft Punk fan- great choice :-)

    • Aileen

      This was ours too! Everyone loved it!

  • Cynth

    Our last song was “In My Life” by the Beatles. Classic. A really sweet quieter note to end on, after we were done with the jumping around singalong part of the evening.

    • Megan-E

      Instant tears!

  • I am really pushing for Manamana – The Muppets closing number.

    • Another Kate

      Do it!

  • Amanda

    “Do you love me” by The Contours. Great intro, and makes everyone want to bust a move, especially after a few (several) drinks!

  • Lindsey

    We chose “Faithfully” by Journey. I was in a Journey cover band with a few friends, and we all love that song, so it was an excellent choice. The wedding ended with a 30 person group hug/sway/sing along.

  • Stephanie

    Hey Ya – Outkast was our last song. And it was awesome.

    • Kate

      We used that as our wedding party song. Love it!

  • Laurel

    “Anything Could Happen” by Ellie Goulding. Our guests and wedding party formed a circle around us and we all just jumped around and sang at the top of our lungs. It was awesome (and spur of the moment — we had planned on doing “The Will Be Our Year” by the Zombies but changed it literally right before they played it).

  • Linnea

    Last Dance by Donna Summer. I insisted.

  • Sarah

    Our last song was Take Care by Beach House. It felt perfect.

  • Kate

    We used Making Plans by Miranda Lambert. It was a perfect romantic song for us to leave after. It was a toss-up between that and our first dance song Face to Call Home by John Mayer.

  • Our planned last dance was to At Last. What we ended up with as our last dance was I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz. My father took one of my favorite guest photos while we had our little moment together. He is using it for his FB pic, I have it as my lock screen photo.

  • Ours was “I’m Gonna Be” by the Proclaimers. It was, of course, awesome, and then our videographer used it in part of the wedding video, too, so we’ll always get to remember it.

  • Katie

    I was seriously tempted to try to make our last “song” the medley from Abbey Road, but we ended up going with “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen. It was great – the sentiment/feel of it was perfect and people didn’t feel like they had to be great dancers to bounce around & sing along. And there may have been some air guitar…

  • Moe

    Last Dance: The Night Time Is The Right Time (to be with the one you love) by Aretha Franklin.

    Our soundtrack ended up being a mash-up of classic rock (his Beatles) and classic soul (my Stevie Wonder).

    Two styles of music mixed together would also be a great playlist!

  • Mallory

    “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. Epic sing-a-long in a circle!

    • Caroline

      Okay, this would be really funny to play at our wedding. My name is Caroline, which is pronounced differently from the song (Care-o-l-inn), but I get people singing it to me all the time when it comes on the radio/music in any context, and sometimes not. Sometimes it’s fun, and sometimes it’s creepy (depends on whose singing. I wasn’t thrilled when a coworker would sing it sometimes. I know he was teasing/a jokester, but I wasn’t super comfortable with that.), but it would be funny to play it.

  • Meghan

    “Refuge”, by John Legend. Sort of thematically weird for an August wedding, but hey! We loved it!

  • Alissa

    “Kiss” by Prince. It was all kinds of awesome.

  • Dawn

    The good, ol’ Midwestern Farm Kid (or the kid of a farm kid) Just Got Married Last Dance Song: “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks. I’m pretty sure the tipsy/drunk circle singalong is required…

    When my California City Kid then-fiance and I attended my cousin’s wedding a few months before ours, he was so disappointed that the DJ played it at my cousin’s wedding because he thought that meant we couldn’t end our reception with it. He was so excited when I told him that is was Tradition! and *of course* it would still be our last dance song!

    The pictures from our last dance are some of my favorite for the whole damn day. I still remember the crazy amount of sheer joy I felt as everyone circled around us and we all sang every word at the top of our lungs. Honestly, I don’t thinks it’s a feeling I could ever forget–and if I ever do, all I have to do is look at those pictures and see it beaming out of me.

  • Hils

    I told our DJ I wanted it to be Velvet Underground’s “After Hours” (“If we closed the door, the night could last forever!”) and he agreed, but only if he could say to everyone that the last song was something else and was dance-able, so it was “Rolling in the Deep.” So “After Hours” played after it, as the lights came up and the hugging commenced. Worked great.

  • Bee

    Our last song was Piano Man by Billy Joel.. it’s a song my family always belts out together, so my brother suggested it as the last song. Everyone still there at that point (I think around 1:30am, about 150 people) got in a big swaying circle singing the song- I’m pretty sure everyone knew at least the chorus. It was a really fun way to find closure for the crazy dance party that was our reception.

    • Mary

      We did the same song. It was great and I remember looking around the circle at everyone and feeling the love so so so much. Awesome way to end the day :)

    • This was ours too! A good drunken, arms-around-each-other singalong song. Plus it has meaning for us from college.

  • Time of My Life from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. Yes, it was beyond cheeseball, we didn’t pick it, but people loved it and he even lifted me up just like in the movie. And in true cheeseball form it made my whole night!

  • CPM

    We’re doing “Islands in the Stream.” It’s super cheesy, and I’ve always loved it! I’m hoping we get some linking arms and swaying and singing along action going on… depends on how drunk my crowd gets…

    The other contenders were “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” (not really a linking-arms-and-swaying song) and “Wonderwall,” (not quite on-topic for a wedding, though super fun to scream-sing with a crowd).

    • Jashshea

      Islands in the Stream is the best song ever. That is all.

  • Krystal

    “Cathedrals” by Jump, Little Children. My husband plays this for me on the guitar sometimes and I love it. :)

  • Colorado Laurel

    “The Weight” by The Band. We met in college and The Last Waltz was pretty much the soundtrack to those years. It was a surprise from my best friend who also made our iPod playlist. Swaying in a giant group hug and singing along with all of our friends to that song is one of the best memories from our wedding, and every time I hear the song I think about it. Love this comment thread!

  • Vicky

    Our last dance song is going to be “Love is More Than a Wedding Day” by Cody Chesnutt. It’s such a great song, I think it’ll be the perfect way to end the night. I’m more excited for this one than our first dance song (my fiance really wanted to do “At Last” because our wedding marks the end of 4 years long distance and we love soul music but it’s a little too overdone for me to be super excited about it. we did get a live version with the Roots as the band to change it up a little though).

  • Lindsey

    “At Last,” by Etta James. An oldie and a goodie. Honestly by the end of the night, my feet were in so much pain and I was so tired from dancing my tushy off, I don’t think I could’ve danced to anything else. Everyone paired off, couples, friends, even 2 of the single groomsmen danced together.

  • Jenn

    Ours was “Stand By Me,” but I think so many of the choices in the comments are great. It’s all about choosing something people know the lyrics to, because there will be singing.

  • Our last song was Heavenly Day by Patty Griffin. Listen to it.
    “No one on my shoulder
    Bringing me fears
    Got no clouds up above me
    Bringing me tears
    Got nothing to tell you
    I got nothing much to say
    Only I’m glad to be here with you
    On this heavenly heavenly heavenly heavenly heavenly day
    Oh all the troubles gone away
    Oh for awhile anyway
    For awhile anyway
    Heavenly day”

    • I’m just enamored with this song. My mom is going to sing this song as the processional; I NEVER would have found it without APW!

  • jlseldon7

    We had Temptacion (sung by Cote de Palo) for our first dance. It was a song we could swing dance to, but only romantic for us. So for our last dance we played Book of Love by Peter Gabriel (from Shall We Dance.) It was a perfect culmination of our day.

    Can I just say that the Spotify playlist of APW first dance songs, has gotten SO MUCH playtime in my house? I love it!

  • Our last song was “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. We had so much fun do-si-do-ing around the dance floor with everyone, and I still tear up thinking the lyric “Home is wherever I’m with you.” It was a truly perfect way to end the evening.

  • Amanda L.

    Our last dance was ‘Raise Your Glass’ by P!nk. Our last slow dance song (right before P!nk) was ‘God Bless the Broken Road’ by Rascal Flatts. It was perfect…

  • Amy

    I wanted a sweet, quiet song to dance to at the end of the night so we did “The Nearness of You,” Norah Jones. Of course, I didn’t realize I’d be shoving my overnight bag at my new brother in law to take to the waiting town car outside. “What car?” “The only one waiting for us!!”

  • Cass

    The Jose Gonzalez cover of Heartbeats. I loved the last dance much more than the first.

  • Lauren

    We are still hashing out the playlist, but I am pushing for “Shout” by the Isley Brothers. I heard it at a wedding a few years back and the image of everyone – mom, dad, grandma, cousins, friends, strangers, venue staff – EVERYONE – jumping up and down with joy (and more than a few happy tears) is so beautiful, I would like to recreate it. Still convincing the fella, though.

  • macincolorado

    Our very last song was “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones.

  • Sakura

    We’ll be having ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ by Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone. It’s one my favourite songs and by far my favourite version of the song and I think it’s the perfect echo of the sentiment at the end of a wedding where everyone is exhausted and needs to go home but nobody wants to finish the night!

  • We had a busy dance floor and when the DJ came up to me to ask what we wanted for our last song of the night I said something by Britney Spears. He gave me a weird look and I didn’t get it at the time. I distinctly remember saying, “Don’t judge me,” but it was more in response to me thinking he didn’t like Britney. It didn’t occur to me until the next day that the last dance of the night is usually a slow song. We had so much fun dancing that it’s never bothered me.

    • fermi

      I always thought last dances were fast? At least they are here :) (Desert Southwest)

  • Another Kate

    Agreed on the last song being much more emotional than the first. It was the only time I cried all day! We got married in January, so our last song was, naturally, January Wedding by the Avett Brothers.

  • Ali

    We didn´t choose the Last Song, but the DJ put on Don´t Stop Believing by Journey and it was PERFECT!!!! I loved it so much and we all did like a group dance that I have great pictures of!

    In my drunken state I was like YEAH – Im a small town girl who married a city boy!!!! Wooooohoooooo!!!!!

  • We still haven’t settled on a first dance song but one of the first decisions we made about our wedding was that the last song will be Reel Big Fish’s cover of “New York, New York.”

  • Lara Asher

    Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash. :-)

  • We did Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton as our last song but skipped a final dance and did a hug circle instead- invited everyone up to a circle and walked around hugging everyone and thanking them for coming.
    I was torn between that song and Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Glad I went with this though, its the perfect end of party song in my mind. Happy, but sad too.

  • Athena

    “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by Chantal Kreviazuk. My husband is Air Force and we got married between deployments. He had just come home and would be flying off again soon.

  • Teresa

    We used “That’s How Strong My Love Is” by Otis Redding, which was our original choice for our first dance song–we switched to “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys, which was our original last dance song!

  • We’re still hashing out what songs will go where throughout the “big parts” of the evening. Everlong by Foo Fighters came on this morning though and I thought it might be the perfect last dance or exit ditty until I saw someone who’d mentioned Kiss by Prince. Life is full of tough decisions ;)

  • Kara

    Our last song was “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. It’s a tradition for us because my husband and I started dating after a night of singing/screaming along with the Spazmatics (awesome 80’s cover band from Texas). Interestingly enough, even though I was a child of the 80’s, I didn’t know any real 80’s music until I met my husband. He introduced me to hair metal, Bon Jovi, and so many others!

    Our “get out of here / closing” song was “Goodnight Irene” by Leon Russell. One of our favorite bars always played it as their closing song, so it was fitting.

  • Laura

    We were pretty non-traditional with most of our music and included a lot of classic rock throughout the wedding. Our last song was AC/DC “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” – we thought it was an upbeat, fun way to send off our friends that were headed out to the afterparty and playfully tongue in cheek before we left for the hotel for our own, ahem, afterparty :) I can still see our friends huddled around in a circle belting out the words, playing air guitar, and fist pumping when the cannons in the song go off. Can’t go wrong with rock and roll!

  • emily

    Our last song was “If You Want To Be Happy” by Jimmy Soul. When I put it on the list the DJ emailed me to asked who had added it and if I knew the lyrics. I did and just thought it was funny. It made me very happy at the end of the party.

  • Meghen

    Our last dance song was “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers. It was perfect for the small crowd left at the end – we all danced in a big circle and sang along. :)

  • I always thought Journey “Don’t Stop Believing” was the way to go, but we haven’t actually discussed it.

  • Julie

    “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong

  • Kelsey

    It hadn’t occurred to me yet that choosing a last dance was a thing, but I think we’ll do “Starting Forever” by Corey Crowder if I want raw emotion at the end, or “Must Have Done Something Right” by Relient K if I want it to be upbeat.

  • alyssa

    Our last dance song was Ain’t No Mountain High :) Such great memories of that!

  • Christine

    Was anyone concerned about the size of the crowd by the time the last song came around? I think I’m going to just tell my DJ to wing it because I have NO idea what the vibe’s gonna be like. Either everyone will still be raging into the night, or it will be a small sleepy group left over. Maybe I should move the end of the wedding up to avoid the concern? We’re starting at 4:30 and right now scheduled to go until 11, which is a VERY long wedding.

  • Rachel

    Our last song of the night was Livin’ on a Prayer and it was sooo fun! Everyone was happy and jumping around and like Meg, its a moment I will never forget- I remember how I felt during that song more than our first dance.

  • Lucy

    Very late to the party here, but wanted to share one of my favourite moments of our wedding.

    We didn’t have a ‘last song’ picked out (I would say this isn’t a big thing in the UK, although that may be over generalising) and I can’t remember what the final song our DJ played was. But all our guests were shouting for more despite him saying that the venue wouldn’t let him go on any later. Someone, I think my teenage brother, started singing Bohemian Rhapsody, and suddenly everyone was in a huge circle belting it out at the top of their lungs. It was a brilliant end to a brilliant day. And led to some pretty funny photographs!

  • Our last dance was to “I’ll Be Seeing You” sung by Jimmy Durante. Even more than our first dance, the memory of that moment of dancing to a slow song while the room cleared out stands out as one of the best parts of the night.