45 of the Greatest Mother Son Songs for Your Reception

Tell your mom thank you, with music

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

It’s no secret that moms don’t traditionally get a lot of love at weddings. (Hey, patriarchy!) They don’t even get mother son songs. Dads walk daughters down the aisle. Dads get to give toasts. Dads get special dances. And moms… well, they get to help set up and clean up, and if they gave birth to the groom, not much more. It’s not exactly like they get a whole ton of public recognition.

Black and white photo of a mother and son dancing to mother son songs at a wedding

But just because the wedding industry hasn’t built in special recognition for your mama, doesn’t mean you can’t give it anyway. Or really, if you have a good relationship with her, that you SHOULDN’T shower your mom with some public love and respect.

One way to do that is with a special dance (you know, kind of like the one dads of daughters just get by default), to one of many great mother son songs. All mothers totally qualify for a dance, whether their son or daughter is getting married. But since we’ve covered Mama-Daughter dances, today we thought we’d take a timeout to discuss Mama-Son song choices.

Related: The Definitive List of 350 Songs (For Every Part Of Your Wedding)

When searching for mother son dance songs, so many of the options are of the very cheesy, borderline Motherboy variety. So today, instead of the standard my baby is all grown up songs that you usually get with parent dances, we’ve plumbed our archives and racked our brains to come up with a big list of songs that serve as a gift to mom. A way to thank her for, well, all of it. So if you’ve been thinking you maybe want to give your mom a special recognition at your wedding, well, here’s one less thing standing in your way. (And obviously we want to hear your picks in the comments. Meet you there!)

Related: Perfect Father Daughter Dance Songs For Every Kind of Relationship

20 Awesome Mother Son Songs

Take Your Mama” by Scissor Sisters

Loves Me Like a Rock” by Paul Simon

Hey Mama” by Kanye West

Up Over the Mountain” by Iron and Wine

Forever Young (Fast Version)” by Bob Dylan

I’ll Be There” by Mac Miller

Glory of Love” by Otis Redding

Thank You Mom” by Good Charlotte

A Song for Mama” by Boyz II Men

You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor

In My Life” by The Beatles

The Best Day” by Taylor Swift

I’ll Always Love My Momma” by The Intruders

If I Fall Behind” by Bruce Springsteen

Wildflowers” by Tom Petty

The Baby” by Blake Shelton

Carry Me” by Crosby & Nash

My Girl” by The Temptations

Child of Mine” by Carole King

Bonus Track:

Treat Your Mother Right” by Mr. T

25 more mother son songs for your wedding reception

Bon Jovi: “Thank You for Loving Me”

Patti LaBelle: “You Are My Friend”

Etta Jones: “My Mother’s Eyes”

Pink Floyd: “Mother”

Boys II Men: “The Color of Love”

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes: “Home”

George Harrison: “All Those Years Ago”

Beach Boys: “God Only Knows”

Rascal Flatts: “My Wish”

The Beatles: “In My Life”

Phil Collins: “You’ll Be In My Heart”

Chicago: “Colour My World”

Bob Dylan: “Forever Young”

Paul Simon: “Loves Me Like a Rock”

Ane Brune: “True Colors”

Simon and Garfunkel: “Bridge Over Troubled Water”

The Byrds: “Turn, Turn, Turn”

Keith Urban: “God’s Been Good to Me”

The Commodores: “Three Times a Lady”

Atlantic Starr: “Always”

Louis Armstrong: “What a Wonderful World”

Manhattans: “Shining Star”

Jim Cocker: “Up Where We Belong”

Natalie Cole: “I Wish You Love”

Vanessa Williams: “Oh How the Years Go By”

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, she currently lives on a pony farm in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband Michael, their son Lincoln, and an obnoxious mastiff named Gaia. Current hair color: Natural (gasp!)

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  • Nope.

    My mom and I danced to “You are the Sunshine of my Life” for a minute or two, and then we gestured for everyone to come join us on the dance floor. It was a great way for us to have a special moment and provide a nice transition to group dancing with a crowd-pleaser. Also they are the BEST photos I’ve ever had of my mom and me.

    ETA that I’m a girl. More mother/daughter dancing! My husband danced with his mom to “What a Wonderful World,” which I found corny, but I am not the boss of them.

    • Steph

      We did a parent-child dance to You are the Sunshine of my Life too! It was a great song for that purpose. Also a great song in general (crowd pleaser as you noted). I liked having it be not the cheesiest and not a slow dance.

    • Meg Keene


      It’s not an accident we did that playlist a year before this one. Just because… people do remember mother son dances (even if mom’s of the groom are otherwise kinda shoved aside by tradition). I donno, I can’t think too much about how mom’s are traditionally sidelined at weddings, after society expects EVERYTHING of them up until that point, or I just start to tear up.

    • qj

      Yes! More mom/daughter dancing!

      My mom said she did not want to dance, BUT she ended up dancing around anyhow holding up a Rolling Stone magazine while my dad and I danced/sang/karoaked “Cover of the Rolling Stones” and then she, my sis + bro in law, and husband joined in and we had a big ol’ 6-person dance party/singalong that mostly confused everyone else at the wedding but was extra-perfect for those family members.

      My in-laws do NOT dance, so that wasn’t an option, but we did have an impromptu brothers’ dance-off with my husband and his 5 brothers + a niece and nephew who were there too, which resulted in hilarity, sore muscles, and epic photos. :)

  • Ashlah

    We had a shared moms dance at our wedding (the four of us all danced at once). We chose In My Life because it was his mom’s favorite Beatles song, and my mom had a lot more involvement in the wedding, so we wanted his mom to have something. Plus we fell in love to The Beatles, so it seemed appropriate!

    Looking back, his Dad was the one parent who got the least recognition. Or maybe my step mom. Or his bonus parents. Oh, there are too many special people to give everyone special moments, but I think the ones who cared the most got what they wanted, and the others got more private special moments.

    • Meg Keene

      We had our father of the groom lead all the toasts (which isn’t too far off tradition anyway) so that gave him plenty of air time. He MCed and passed the mic around and such.

      Of course, we handled everything pretty down the middle, egalitarian wise, so it wasn’t a huge issue. Both parents walked both of us down the aisle. Both sets parents participated in a special parent blessing over us. Both sets of parents handed us the Ketubah. We opted for a general family dance instead of mother/son father/daughter dances. Etc. But still! We tried to carve out a little time for people in ways we thought they’d enjoy.

      • Ashlah

        That seems like a great way to involve the father of the groom! Both sets of bio parents walked us down the aisle, but that left out step and bonus parents. We didn’t have formal toasts or speeches, just a brief open mic where my step mom spoke, but his dad and bonus parents didn’t. I don’t think any of them are big on being in the spotlight, so I like to think (hope!) everyone felt the love in other ways throughout the day.

  • Lawyerette510

    I danced with my dad and he danced with his mom, at the same time to Tom Petty’s Wildflowers. I asked my mom if she wanted to have a dance with me or with my husband because I wanted her to feel included but she said as long as we danced together during the night on the dance floor she’d be happy. It was only around 50 adults total at the wedding and we did our own play list and we were outside in a garden, so it felt very much like an at-home-dance party (in the best way possible). I picked a few songs for the playlist that I know she loves to dance to, and when the first one came on (can’t remember now which Rolling Stones song it was, but one of them) a whole bunch of us who are close with my mom surrounded her and all really went for it. Similarly, I picked songs for the playlist that I had fond memories of dancing and singing with my aunt, uncle and cousins. Basically 70% of our playlist was songs that we had awesome memories to with our guests before the wedding and then just went on and made more memories too.

  • EK

    I am always surprised that Days Like This by Van Morrison never makes Mother-Son Dance song list! It’s a beautiful song, not sappy, and perfect to dance to!

  • laddibugg

    Question: We’ve talked about this and my partner doesn’t really want to dance with his mom. He wants to dance with me, I really want to dance with my dad (god willing), but he and his mom aren’t close and he’s said he feels uncomfortable dancing that close with her. I don’t want to do anything that makes him feel awkward, but HE’S said that he thinks it would look awkward (I think he would dance with her to please me but I don’t know how I feel about that).
    Trying to think of some alternatives, keeping in mind that we still want to dance together and that dancing with my dad is a must.

    • Has he asked HER if she wants to dance? If it were me, I would just ask her and see what she says. It might mean a lot to her without him realizing, or she might not care. Either way, that way if they don’t dance it won’t hurt anyone’s feelings, and if they do, it’ll just be like 2 1/2 minutes of awkward and then it’s over.

      • laddibugg

        Hm, I don’t know for sure, but I’d bet anything he hasn’t asked. And while you’re right it would probably mean a lot to her, I don’t know if that’s enough to push him into doing it. I know he has an ‘interesting’ relationship with his mom, but he does a lot of things for her. I just don’t know if this something that he could just put in the ‘well, she’s my mom’ side of things and just suck it up and do it.

    • Lawyerette510

      Lots of people still don’t expect a mother/son dance, if your partner doesn’t want to and he is good with any potential emotional fall out with his mom of not doing it, then I wouldn’t worry about it “looking awkward” to guests that it’s not happening.

    • MTM

      My partner’s mom doesn’t dance for religious reasons. No one batted an eye when there wasn’t a son/mother dance…we just went from the father daughter dance and each grabbed someone from the sidelines and started a new dance to open up the dance floor.

      • laddibugg

        That sounds like a good plan.

  • I always get very frustrated at weddings when everyone stops to watch the father-daughter dance and then talk and mill around during the mother-son dance. I mean, I have a son so that might be part of it, but it hurts me. I love this post and mother-son dances and mother-daughter dances and moms.

  • HannahB

    My husband, named James, chose to dance with his mom to “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor. We weren’t sure if the subject of the song was exactly fitting, but it was meaningful to them. My husband was born very premature and while his parents sat with him terrified of what the future held, they played that song for him every day. So, my mother-in-law explained that right before they danced. Needless to say, they brought the whole room to tears. It was a very special, sweet moment.

  • InHK

    I danced to an Allman Brothers song with my dad – was his favourite band for a long time, I grew up loving them. We laughed the whole time. Then my husband gets up for the mother/son dance. His paternal grandfather – who had passed away – was also a trumpet player. He’d made a bunch of recordings before he died, including “What a Wonderful World” (which I also think is corny, but less so when it’s instrumental.)

    Anyway, he surprised his mom/entire family by having it played. They ALL cried. His mama especially, but it was really, really sweet. They sort of ended the dance just hugging and loving on each other.

  • disqus_shjxil52yw

    I’m not sure I want to have a father/daughter dance because we just don’t have that kind of relationship and I’ve already been guilted by my mother into letting him walk me down the aisle. But I’m pretty sure that FH’s mom will want to dance with him. I don’t want to rob them of that if that’s what he and she want, but…I think that it might also make my family and the rest of our guests feel uncomfortable. I feel like its a lose-lose situation either way. I’d thought that a “family dance” where us, our parents and our siblings would all dance together at the same time would be a better approach (and then people only need to watch one dance) but I’m not sure how that will go over with people. Has anyone else had this problem? What did you do to resolve it?

  • Another one – my guy and his mom will be dancing to “My Best Friend” by Queen! It’s one of her favorite songs and I think will be so dang sweet.

  • I have a mother, step-father, and father. Without getting into the details, my mom did most of my raising. I decided to have my mom walk me down the aisle. After the speeches and before my first dance with my husband I went up and made a speech dedicated to my mom and had my brother start playing this song. We danced for a couple of minutes and then my husband and I had our first dance. The pics are priceless. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uu4h_LFHR2g

  • Mandi P

    Mr. T!

  • michael reagen

    girls i just said yes to my partner and i am trying to find mother and son songs and father and son song but i am gonna be in a dress and doing the whole women thing having daddy walk me down i need advise

  • Rachael Gregoire Creech

    I want to say thanks for this list. I was panicking a little over picking a song (I know it’s just a little thing) and there were several on this list that were some of my favorite musicians and songs I liked. Thanks!

  • lynne

    My son just married the love of his life this past weekend, we danced to My Wish, Rascal Flats. It was a moment in my life that I’ll never forget. He and I had the whole floor and as he sang to me, I balled my eyes out. After the song ended he hugged me tight, gave me a sweet kiss and said “I love you so much mom”…..thank Heaven my daughter got the whole 4 minutes in video.