Playlist: Cocktail Hour Songs

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There are some parts of weddings worth all of that time you spend thinking about symbolism and meaning and details, and other parts that are not. The trick is to know the difference. Cocktail hour playlists firmly falls into the “don’t stress too much” category, and for sure the “don’t worry about the symbolism” category. If your cocktail hour is going as planned, everyone will be cocktailing and chatting, not carefully analyzing the order of songs and lyrics. With the cocktail hour playlist, you’re looking just looking to get a vibe going. Maybe you’re going for “soulful” maybe it’s “luxurious” maybe it’s “funky and fun.” But once you’ve figured out the general mood, don’t worry about it too much.

For our cocktail hour, we went with whole albums. Our idea was that if we picked a couple of all-time great albums and played them on random, you couldn’t miss. We played Nina Simone’s Forever Young Gifted and Black, George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, and Paul Simon’s Graceland. The mood was set, the music was good, and at one point I pulled David away for a secret first dance. Bonus? Pulling together the playlist was 100% painless.

All that said, we’ve pulled together some of the coolest reader favorites, plus some staff favorites, for cocktail hour playlists. This particular list is curated by me (with Maddie as my accomplice) so it leans on a mix of jazz standards, soul, classics, and some funky new stuff. I’d call its vibe “eclectic.” Use them to inspire you, not to stress you out. I’m pretty sure Etta James and JT want you to feel nice and relaxed. Happy drinking (and listening)!

Cocktail Hour Wedding Playlist from practicalmaddie on 8tracks Radio.

1. “Águas de Março” by Elis Regina & Tom Jobim

2. “Give Him a Great Big Kiss” by The Shangri-Las

3. “In The Mood” by Glen Miller

4. “You’ve Got Time” by Regina Spektor

5. “You Are The Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne

6. “Fresh Feeling” by Eels

7. “For Once in My Life” by Stevie Wonder

8. “I Just Want to Make Love to You” by Etta James

9. “Dream a Little Dream of Me” by Louis Armsrong & Ella Fitzgerald

10. “Suit and Tie” by Justin Timberlake*

11. “Me and Julio” by Paul Simon

12. “Jackson” by Johnny Cash & June Carter

13. “One Foot” by Fun.

14. “22” by Lily Allen

15. “If You Want To Be Happy” by Jimmy Soul

16. “Valerie” by Mark Ronson & Amy Winehouse

17. “Brand New Key” by Melanie

18. “Make Your Own Kind Of Music” by Mama Cass Elliot

19. “Moondance” by Van Morrison

20. “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Ray

21. “Ten Cent Pistol” by The Black Keys

22. “Everyday” by Buddy Holly

23. “Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service

24. “Gotta Have You” by the Weepies

*We included the explicit version, but you can download the clean version here for the sake of your granny.

Bonus Tracks:

1. “Cigarettes and Coffee” by Otis Redding

2. “Here Comes the Sun” covered by Richie Havens

3. “She” by Elvis Costello

4. “A Quai” by Yann Tiersen

5. “Question” by Old 97’s

6. “Answering Bell” by Ryan Adams

7. “It Had To Be You” by Harry Connick Jr.

8. “Words Cannot Describe” by Mirah

9. “Keep Your Heart” by TV On the Radio

10. “Forever” by Ben Harper

11. “Rebel Rebel” by Seu Jorge

12. “The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room” by Flight of the Conchords

13. “Ocean and a Rock” by Lisa Hannigan

14. “Can’t Stop Now” by Major Lazer

15. “Sunday Kind of Love” by Etta James

16. “Water (Get No Enemy)” by Fela Kuti

17. “Pink Moon” by Nick Drake

18. “White Winter Hymnal” by Fleet Foxes

19. “Elation” by Isbells

20. “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie

21. “Oceans” by Puscifer

22. “Flower” by Amos Lee

23. “Oh Me Oh My” by Aretha Franklin

24. “LA County” by Lyle Lovett

25. “L’hymne à l’amour” by Edith Piaf

26. “Everything I Have is Yours” by Billie Holiday

27. “Summer Song” by Chad & Jeremy

28. “The Sweetest Thing” by Camera Obscura

29. “Wished for You” by Squirrel Nut Zippers

30. “When I’m With You” by Best Coast

31. “Welcome Home” by Radical Face

32. “Love Song” by The Cure

33. “Bottom of the River” by Adam Acuragi

34. “She is Staggering” by Polaris

35. “You Give Me Something” by James Morrison

36. “City of Blinding Light” by U2

37. “You Always Make Me Smile” by Kyle Andrews

38. “Girl I Wanna Lay You Down” by Jack Johnson & ALO

39. “Saw You First” by The Givers

40. “Bright Whites” by Kishi Bashi

**This post was sponsored by Monogamy Wines. Thank you Monogamy for helping make the APW mission possible!**

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