70 Underrated Love Songs That Will Make You Teary at Your Wedding


Bring on the heart eyes

by Stephanie Kaloi

Love Weddings for Wedding

If you’re playing music at your wedding, chances are you’re going to want the best love songs to set the tone—I mean, right? There are stories of people who gtet so obsessive about their wedding playlist that they scour every song for its meaning, and cut anything about broken or bad relationships—which, you know, cuts out a lot of great music. But even assuming you’re not doing that (don’t do that—it will drive you mad), you still probably want to pack your playlists with love songs about LUV, because… that’s kinda what the day is about, right? And lucky for you, love songs come in all forms, from slow and romantic to energetic and frenetic.

When I started pulling this list together, I knew I wanted to make something a little different—I didn’t want to pull together seventy of the top one hundred wedding love songs and call it a day. Instead, I came up with five love songs that aren’t obviously love songs. Maybe they’re about love, kind of, but they’re also about melancholy, about sadness, and about… the mountains in West Virginia. Listen: As a wedding photographer, I spend a lot of time at weddings. What I’ve seen, time and time again, is that people will react to any music that makes them love anything. Your goal? To find music that makes them love everything. These five songs are perfect for the last thirty minutes, when like thirty of your guests are still there and everyone is a little wine-soaked and love-drunk and doesn’t want the good vibes to end.

With that in mind, here are seventy nonobvious, underrated love songs for your wedding. You’ve probably heard some of them way more than you’d ever care to, but you might not have ever thought they could work for a wedding. Trust me: they do.

20 vintage love songs

“Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel

Why it works: Sure, this one slayed us all when Paul Simon sang it at the DNC (and we all waited with bated breath to see if Art would come out), but at its heart, this is a true-blue love song that can bring you to your knees… if you let it.

“So Long, Marianne” by Leonard Cohen

Why it works: So yes, this is a song about a break up… but it’s also a song about love, and it has a place at most weddings, trust.

“Bold as Love” by Jimi Hendrix

Why it works: This isn’t exactly the album version, but it’s so close (Jimi is hard to find online). Either way, I one hundred percent recommend you procure the album version and slow dance to this not exactly slow, not exactly fast song. It’s the best.

“Lay Lady Lay” by Bob Dylan

Why it works: If you’ve heard it, you already know, but if you haven’t… it’s lush, ultra-romantic heaven. Those words don’t always pair well with “Bob Dylan,” but this? This is a yes.

“My One and Only Love” by John Coltrane

Why it works: You are immediately transported to some faraway, tender, rain-filled night, and it’s heaven.

“All I Really Want to Do” by The Byrds

Why it works: Okay, so I really like the Bob Dylan version of this song better. But if I had my way, this whole list would just be Bob Dylan songs, so I’m trying really hard here. (Give it a listen, though!)

“What Is and What Should Never Be” by Led Zeppelin

Why it works: You choose this song if you want to go sweet-fast-sweet-fast, because it’s one half ultra-sweet crooner and one half ultra-rock.

“I Hear a Symphony” by The Supremes

Why it works: This one is just a super classic, and it’s perfect for your first dance, your reception, your life in general.

“Somebody to Love” by Jefferson Airplane

Why it works: Well, don’t you?

“Hold Me” by Stevie Wonder

Why it works: I don’t know how many people ever move past “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” when adding Stevie to their wedding playlist, but allow me to heartily encourage you to do so.

“Your Love is Amazing” by the Four Tops

Why it works: Yes, it’s basically all about patriarchal gender roles and how he’s been saved by a good woman, but also? It’s really nice to dance to.

“This Guy’s in Love with You” by Herb Alpert

Why it works: That video is cheesy as hell (maybe as cheesy as the song), but it’s still a winner. P.S. Noel Gallagher also covers it and it’s my fave.

“Wild Horses” by The Rolling Stones

Why it works: I can’t think of a single reason why it doesn’t. (Check out this actual rock star wedding where they walked down the aisle to a string quartet version of this. SOBS.)

“I Got Everything I Need” by Sam & Dave

Why it works: This is one of the songs you save for the end of the night, when only a few guests remain and everyone wants to hold someone. Trust.

“I Want to Take You Higher” by Sly & The Family Stone

Why it works: If you want to kick off your dance party with a funky love jam, this is the one to do it with.

“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” by The Shirelles

Why it works: I’m a big Carole King fan, but this version of one of her tunes is sweet.

“The Tide Is High” by The Paragons

Why it works: This is one of those songs that a lot of people know but don’t really know who sings it, so boom: educate!

“I Want to Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles

Why it works: I know we’re all supposed to be too cool to like the early Beatles, but this track is consistently on my list of top twenty love songs ever. Yep, I said it.

“Bonnie and Clyde” by Brigette Bardot and Serge Gainsbourg

Why it works: Before Bey and Jay ever touched it, this song was already a masterpiece.

“Be My Wife” by David Bowie

Why it works: You’ll probably want to save it for the reception, but this is three minutes and thirteen seconds of truth and fun.

10 love songs that should be on every list

“In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel

Why it works: Have you heard it? If your heart is not made of stone, this song will make you feel something. At least a little bit. This is the perfect song for embracing that “something” and turning it into everything, without a hint of irony.

“Higher Love” by Steve Winwood

Why it works: Guys, I can’t even explain this one. I just love it.

“Stand By Me” by Ben E King

Why it works: A friend of mine once told me that this song is really about friendship more than anything else, and that kind of makes it the perfect wedding song, no?

“Take on Me” by A-ha

Why it works: Every single person you know can nail that chorus. Which also leads me to…

“Got My Mind Set on You” by George Harrison

Why it works: TELL ME WHY IT DOES NOT. IT IS THE BEST. I mean, you know. It’s good. It’s solid. IT’S AMAZING.

“Africa” by Toto

Why it works: I feel compelled to note that I loved this song way before Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard made their video—my husband is unabashedly a huge Toto fan, guys. Celeb videos aside, I shot a wedding where they closed it out with this song and it ended in a gigantic group hug. That’s worth it! Plus: that chorus.

“I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner

Why it works: This song is a special treat for you, because I wasn’t planning to use it until it showed up in related songs for another tune. Now let’s just all enjoy this one, okay?

“Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers

Why it works: This is another song that everyone will want to dance to and sing along with because they can’t stop themselves, and you’ll love every single second of it.

“Only You” by The Platters

Why it works: I’m probably overusing “it makes you ache” as a reason, but this one does and that’s good enough.

“The Luckiest” by Ben Folds

Why it works: You can reliably count on this song to bring the heart-eyed softies to the dance floor, because you know what? We all love it.

5 love songs by beyoncé that don’t need an explanation

“XO”

“Drunk in Love” (ft. Jay Z)

“Halo”

“Love on Top”

“Flaws and All”

5 love songs we couldn’t classify but love anyway

“Kiss from a Rose” by Seal

Why it works: I never would have thought of this song as an ideal first dance song until this summer, when I shot a wedding and the bride and groom chose it for their first dance. The dance culminated in a gigantic group dance/sing-along (and yes: it was unreal and amazing and all the good things).

“Phone Down” by Erykah Badu

Why it works: Because when she says it, you believe her.

“Never Let Me Go” by Florence + The Machine

Why it works: It doesn’t matter if you have eight people at your wedding or eight hundred; this song will make you (and your fellow coupled guests) feel like the only two people there.

“Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry

Why it works: I went through a phase where I thought this song was kind of juvenile, but one day realized, you know what? That’s fine. We all need a tune (or three) that makes us feel happy to just be in love, and this one does that.

“I Was Made For You” by She & Him

Why it works: It’s upbeat, catchy, and so damn good.

10 millennial long songs, because of course

“Green Eyes” by Coldplay

Why it works: I will never not be a hundred percent here for this song, so I can’t understand it when someone doesn’t love it. It’s basically… everything. Excuse me for a sec, because I’m going to have to sing along and have a mini concert in my office before I can move on to the next one.

“Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé (ft Jay Z)

Why it works: Because you want to begin your first dance like a queen and exit it a goddess.

“I Can Love You Like That” by All-4-One

Why it works: Why doesn’t it? You know you danced to this at middle school dances… you just didn’t know you have to dance to it at your wedding.

“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith

Why it works: Okay, so here’s the deal—this one only works if you do it without a hint of irony. No joking, no nothing. Either you feel these words or you do your very best “OMG, what if that asteroid kills us all?!” impression and pretend.

“I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain

Why it works: Those opening lines are killer.

“Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls

Why it works: “I’d give up forever to touch you/Cause I know that you feel me somehow.” GUYYYYSSSZZZZZ I’m not sure if middle school me realized all the mega feelings that are happening in this song the same way that thirty-one-year-old me does, but I’m here for it and I’m not ashamed.

“You’re Still the One” by Shania Twain

Why it works: I wasn’t the biggest fan of this one the first eighteen hundred times I heard it (and honestly, I’m still not), but it seems to resonate with basically everyone else I know, so here you go.

“Angel of Mine” by Monica

Why it works: Guys, what was the true gift of the ’90s? Do we all realize how excellent our music choices were? This song is ultra-sweetened perfection.

“I’m Kissing You” by Des’Ree

Why it works: Yes, everyone will immediately be like “OMG THE ROMEO + JULIET SONG” but also? It slays. This is truly just a really beautiful take on love, and something you should give serious consideration to.

“I’ll Stand by You” by The Pretenders

Why it works: “Nothing you confess could make me love you less.” Yep, I’m into it.

5 britpop love songs, because why not?

“Slide Away” by Oasis

Why it works: Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to the one song that can cut through me like none other.

“You’re So Great” by Blur

Why it works: I always felt guilty about owning this CD because I’m such an Oasis girl, but this song will make you hurt. You know, in a good way.

“Yellow” by Coldplay

Why it works: Once upon a time, this song was everything I ever wanted someone to say to me… and I bet that’s true for some of you, too. Play it at your wedding after you’re about halfway through the wine and watch everyone melt.

“Patio Song” by Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci

Why it works: If you’re in the US, I’m not sure how many people at your wedding will actually know this song, but isn’t it a lovely day for love?

“Getting Better” by Shed Seven

Why it works: Bust this one out when you just need to like, jump up and down and be fucking in love. Ahh, Britpop. ♥

10 modern love songs you’ll need

“All of Me” by John Legend

Why it works: People go gaga for this song!

“She Keeps Me Warm” by Mary Lambert

Why it works: It’s a super sweet shoutout to couples looking for LGBTQ representation in their love jams.

“400 Lux” by Lorde

Why it works: It’s moody, it’s glam, it’s a little dark, but super on point. Yesssssss.

“Somebody to Love You” by The Vamps (ft. Demi Lovato)

Why it works: This song is an upbeat foot-stomper that a lot of your guests will recognize—well, at least the same ones who will also recognize Demi Lovato.

“I Found You” by The Alabama Shakes

Why it works: Guys, you’ve probably heard this song at every wedding you’ve been to in the last two years… and you’re going to hear it at even more. Just embrace it.

“Thinking out Loud” by Ed Sheeran

Why it works: Um, ditto the above.

“Marry Me” by Train

Why it works: There are few things as spot-on as playing a song about getting married on the day you’re actually getting married. Yes to this!

“Closer” by Tegan and Sara

Why it works: This song isn’t actually about hooking up, but it kind of makes you want to.

“One and Only” by Adele

Why it works: Adele slays around the world.

“Story of My Life” by One Direction

Why it works: This song always surprises me because it’s kind of… good? But it’s worth noting that my first concert was the Backstreet Boys, so I always kind of have a soft spot for boy bands.

“The Lavishments of Light Looking” by Flying Lotus (WOKE) (ft. George Clinton)

Why it works: HOLY COW do I love this song! It’s definitely a funky departure from a lot of this list, but it’s well worth your time.

5 not-exactly-love-song love songs

“Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver

Why it works: Okay, first, I am totally from the South. I was born in Louisiana and grew up in Alabama and I spent six years living in the PNW and loved it, but we’re back in Tennessee and I am so hardcore in love with Appalachia and the grit that wafts throughout the southern US that a song like this? It knocks me off my feet. Maybe “Country Roads” doesn’t scream “love song” to you, but I would cry the happiest tears while dancing to this one with my favorite guy.

“People Get Ready” by The Impressions

Why it works: Yep, totally a song about God. Like, it’s not even hiding it… and yet it’s also a song about slow, cautious optimism, which makes it work for any couple looking for a love song that also speaks to their spirituality. Plus, guys: Curtis.

“Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley

Why it works: Look, here’s the thing about this song. No matter which version you love the most, nothing about this song makes you go all heart eyes after the age of like, twenty-five. At that point, you realize it’s actually about aching, powerful, adult love… and strangely, that makes it an even more acutely profound love song.

“Skinny Love” by Bon Iver

Why it works: I used to be the first person who would rail against it when people used this as their first dance, because if you read the lyrics, it’s clearly about a relationship that isn’t what most people would gush about. But then, I don’t know, time caught up with me, and I realized that maybe the reason people use it for their first dance song is because they’ve been through the skinny part of love and didn’t think it would last and holy wow: it did, and now they’re getting married. Or, I don’t know, maybe they just like his voice.

“All I Want Is You” by U2

Why it works: Because it will get into the very fiber of your being and you’ll realize all those years you spent denying the almighty power of Bono were wasted and that every U2 song ever is brilliant. Don’t look at me, I’ve always loved them. Plus, that “YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU” at the end? That is the stuff of love song dreams, whether or not the rest of the song is really that… peppy.

Stephanie Kaloi

Stephanie is a photographer, writer, and Ravenclaw living in California with her family. She is super into reading, road trips, and adopting animals on a whim. Forewarning: all correspondence will probably include a lot of punctuation and emoji (!!! ? ? ?).

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  • Ella

    So many excellent picks here! Excellent curation!
    But because I am one of those obsessive people who focus on the sad parts of really beautiful songs… Isn’t “So Long Marianne” about a breakup?

    • stephanie

      It is, but it’s still also about… love. These aren’t necessarily first dance songs or super lovey moment songs, they’re just… love songs. Quite a few of these aren’t necessarily happy.

      • Ella

        Ah fair enough! Sorry for jumping straight into my critical brain. and thanks for the list :)

  • LydiaB

    Yay for 400 Lux – love that song and a bit of Gorky’s!

    My first dance was In the Aeroplane over the Sea which could easily be one of those dismissed for having… questionable subject matter but all the other songs we considered were even worse! I feel our generation are surrounded by a lot more songs about heartbreak and unhealthy relationships than love!

  • Katelyn

    Can I throw a couple more hats into the ring?

    “How Long Will I Love You” from the About Time soundtrack – I like this peppier version but Ellie Goulding does a slower sappier version as well.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSgU0gNL2Ac

    “Make You Feel My Love” – I like the Adele version but it’s a Bob Dylan classic so like, every artist ever has covered it.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0put0_a–Ng

    • Kat

      About Time is sooo good!

      • Katelyn

        It’s funny and sad and romantic and now I’m tearing up thinking about it. Such a beautiful, heartfelt movie. Now I want to watch it for the hundredth time…

  • Alyssa Andrews

    Okay, so now I want it to rain on our wedding day in Paris just so I can play the John Coltrane song on repeat while we walk the streets. So good.

    • stephanie

      Riiiiiiiiiiiiight? I listened to that one a few times in a row.

  • Brianne Archer

    “All I want is you” was our last dance, played right after “time of my life” from Dirty Dancing. It was the perfect end to a perfect night. I love how the U2 song is used in “Reality Bites”. I’m not sure there’s been a good U2 song since that one.

    • stephanie

      I ALMOST ADDED “Time Of My Life”!! I shot a wedding where they ended it with that song and i twas so great. I double agree on the U2 song as well.

  • Eenie

    I nominate “Hey thanks” by The Wonder Years. Bonus points for being a short first dance song.

    https://youtu.be/QCSp20dnrxg

    • Parekh

      There are many romantic songs which can be played in the background for a wedding. But, classic songs are always that touch hearts. I was so happy to find such a beautiful collection of romantic songs on this site. I am saving the play list and shall make everybody swing at the wedding occasion.

  • Erica Klein

    We used “The Luckiest” as the processional for our unity ceremony and it was so perfect. I would also like to suggest “Built to last” by Tom Petty (our first dance song!) and “Thank You” by Led Zeppelin (last song of the night at our reception) as additions to this list because they are relatively unknown but seriously romantic tracks. “Thank you” especially is a great emotional song to close out the party on.

    • Erica Klein

      Also someone needs to make a Spotify playlist of these, stat – would be great for those sentimental days.

    • Katelyn

      I love, love “Thank You”!!! Such a great rock love song.

  • Sosuli

    All the hearts for Blur’s ‘You’re so Great’. That’s definitely in my top five love songs. For our first dance we went for something more recent and very indie – Wild Beasts, A Simple Beautiful Truth. Pretty much no one had ever heard it (my MIL even complained the no one knew what it was) but for us that was kind of the point, to have something that was ours. That was immediately followed by Crazy in Love which got pretty much everyone on the dance floor.

    • Katharine Parker

      Love that song!

  • ART

    We’re supposed to be too cool for early Beatles? Whoever made that rule doesn’t know how to live.

    • Shawna

      I’m very happy someone else had this as their #1 reaction :)

  • Kelsey

    Stephanie, you have my heart forever with Edwin McCain. That was always my dream first dance song and then I totally fucking forgot it existed until I heard it on the radio again, like last year, and was briefly devastated by my own oversight. No love at my wedding Edwin, but you’re always in my heart

    • Lindsay

      I’ll be was also my dream first dance song for forever… but then it was “our song” with my college boyfriend and I just couldn’t bring myself to use it with my husband. He doesn’t know the back story but just felt wrong. Sigh… always and forever Edwin

    • JC

      That was my sister and brother-in-law’s first dance at their wedding this year, and it just made bawl because it’s such a good song on it’s own, but it’s also a middle school dance song from my past that’s delightfully cheesy now, but they also dated in high school and so probably DID dance to it when it was released, and omg ALL THE FEELS.

  • revooca

    More suggestions:

    Our first dance was to “Waste” by Phish (my husband’s favorite band after The Beatles). To the non-Phish lovers (i.e., most people): this is not a typical Phish song. If you get the album version, it’s a surprisingly sweet song, although the vocals are a bit underwhelming. I also love that I’m not likely to hear it, like, ever, which makes it almost like a secret song.

    We walked down the aisle (I didn’t think it was fair that only I got to walk!) to I’ve Just Seen a Face by The Beatles, which really put people in a festive mood. My favorite, however, was our recessional song: What Is Life by George Harrison. GAWD do I love that song! It captures the I’m-so-happy-I-must-dance-right-now joy of getting married.

    • Shawna

      Gaww! I’ve Just Seen a Face is the song I would nominate as “our song” if he were into such a thing. He finally sang it to me at our The Night Before karaoke party. :)

      We also used What is Life as our recessional and it was the best (and everybody was blowing bubbles!! My idea of heaven). Processional was If Not for You (also George and follows What is Life on the album All Things Must Pass, but for wedding felt better in this order). Everybody evidently started bawling happy tears when “If Not for You” started and I nearly followed, but my mom had just broken into spontaneous boy band dancing (I cannot express how out of character this is for her) to keep me smiling before the processional started.

  • automaticdoor

    As long as we’re going for Tegan and Sara (and I would play every song off every album of theirs if I were allowed to at my wedding), I think “BWU” from their latest album is perfect for a non-traditional wedding–or even a traditional wedding if you want to make light of it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEFWES1hn1M

  • Preengaged Chi

    It’s a little different because I’m not exactly sure WHAT it’s about… But I love Death Cab “Soul Meets Body. ” So many parts of the lyrics are love-y.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uizQVriWp8M

    PS. I think an acoustic version would be so great as a processional! (Actually listening to the acoustic version makes me cry..!)

  • Cozmo1138

    A lot of these are super NOT underrated (which doesn’t mean they aren’t good…just not underrated). “Crazy In Love,” “Thinking Out Loud,” etc. I hear songs like that at weddings all the time. But I NEVER hear “I Only Have Eyes For You” by the Flamingos, which in my opinion is THE most underrated classic love song. Practically brings me to tears every time I hear it.