75 Wedding Reception Songs Guaranteed to Pack the Dance Floor

Don't just stand there, bust a move

I‘ve been to my fair share of weddings that had amazing dance party wedding reception songs. Like, kick your granny out because the bar is closing, and she’s still busting a move kind of amazing. But I’ve also been to my fair share of dance parties that, well, didn’t have a whole lot of dancing going on.

Raised hands on the dance floor with the text: wedding reception songs to pack your dance floorEveryone always wants to know the secret to picking wedding reception songs, and getting people on the dance floor at their wedding. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that it isn’t always as simple as playing a few of your favorite songs and hoping everyone will join in. Finding the right wedding reception songs that appease both young and old, that are fun to listen to and fun to dance to, isn’t always easy to the untrained ear. And no matter how many times I want to bust a move to “Call Your Girlfriend,” sadly, my great aunt probably doesn’t.

Related: 75 First Dance Songs That Will Make You Feel Everything

So today we asked Michael Antonia of The Flashdance for his best tips on how to throw the kind of party where everyone ends up barefoot, sweaty and with laryngitis from singing along too loudly. Based out of Southern California, Michael is hands down the hippest DJ we know (wedding or otherwise), so he gets what it takes to pack a dance floor and keep it that way. While we were at it, we also asked for a few of his guaranteed dance party favorites, and he gave us… seventy-five. So without further ado, here are Michael’s best insider tips, followed by seventy-five wedding reception songs that will make your night. Bonus: you can listen to the entire playlist right here. —APW

Related: The Best 25 Entrance Songs For Your Wedding Reception


Tips For Putting Together Your Wedding Reception Songs (To Slay)

Nail the first song: The first song of the night sets the tone and can make or break the reception. Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” always slays—it’s the perfect combination of fun, energetic, and well known without alienating anyone. You don’t want the most popular song on the radio, but you want something people know. It can’t be too fast or too slow.

Don’t worry about the words: Some songs that are really fun to dance to aren’t about how in love you are, and that’s okay!

Think about your guests: So yes, you had a hilarious experience at a bar ten years ago while “Nothing Compares 2 You” by Sinead O’Conner was playing, but no one else at your wedding (except maybe your BFF) was there and they won’t think the song is nearly as funny as you do. You don’t have to make sure every single song will appeal to as many people as possible, but definitely leave ultra-inclusive inside jokes out.

Stagger the playlist for multiple generations: Treat your wedding playlist like the film rating system. The beginning of the night (aka rated PG) should include Motown/Motown-era soul (Stax/Atlantic/Muscle Shoals)—think Aretha, Sam and Dave, Stevie Wonder, and so on, but with a few new jams sprinkled in so younger gusts can enjoy themselves. You’ll also want the good stuff—try to avoid cliches like “We Are Family.” If you’re not using a good DJ (or not hiring a DJ at all), you’ll want to listen to the entire song before you decide on it. After forty-five minutes or so, a lot of the youngest and oldest guests will exit the dance floor, and you move to PG-13: you can transition to 80s, 90s, and current pop, hip-hop, and New Wave—it’s great to transition with a hip hop song that samples a soul classic. After another hour you’re usually down to your core group of friends and family who want to party, and anything goes.

If you’re not going pro, at least use an app: There is a really cool DJ app called Djay2 that will work for iPad and iPhone. You can use this with a simple set-up to automate a mix of songs with criteria that you set. For example, you can make a playlist of the songs you want and set it up to mix every two minutes or so (safe bet) and it will just go through and mix them all together.

Related: Everything You Need To Know To DJ Your Own Wedding

The Best 75 Wedding Reception Songs (Ever)

“Little Pretty One” by Bobby Day & the Satellites

“If You Want To Be Happy” by Jimmy Soul

“ABC” by The Jackson 5

“This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan

“Jungle Boogie” by Kool and The Gang

“Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder

“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” by The Beatles

“Got to Give It Up” by Marvin Gaye

“Paper Planes” by M.I.A.

“Gimme Little Sign” by Brenton Wood

“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

“Upside Down” by Diana Ross

“Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson

“September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire

“Respect” by Aretha Franklin

“Me Myself and I” by De La Soul

“Bust a Move” by Young MC

“Grove Is in the Heart” by Deee-Lite

“Holiday” by Madonna

“Please Mr. Postman” by The Marvelettes

“The Locomotion” by Little Eva

“Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

“Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” by The Temptations

“Dancing in the Streets” by Martha & The Vandellas

“Twist and Shout” by The Beatles

“Stronger” by Kanye West

“The Breaks” by Kurtis Blow

“Midnight City” by M83

“Time to Pretend” by MGMT

“Get Lucky” by Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers

“PYT” by Michael Jackson

“You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC

“I Love It” by Icona Pop ft. Charli XCX

“Lose Control” by Missy Elliot

“Brass Monkey” by The Beastie Boys

“It’s Tricky” by RUN-DMC

“Just Can’t Get Enough” by Depeche Mode

“California Love” by 2Pac ft. Dr. Dre

“The Next Episode” by Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, Nate Dogg

“Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” by Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg

“Hip Hop Hooray” by Naughty by Nature

“Shoop” by Salt-N-Pepa

“Going Back To Cali” by Notorious BIG

“Flash Light” by Parliament

“I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5

“Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems” by The Notorious B.I.G.

“Ride Wit Me” by Nelly ft. St Lunatics

“Feel So Good” by Mase

“Don’t Tell ’Em” by Jeremih ft. YG

“Lean On” by Major Lazer & DJ Snake ft. MØ

“Who Am I (What’s My Name)” by Snoop Dogg

“Party Up (Up in Here)” by DMX

“Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns ’N’ Roses

“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” by Michael Jackson

“One More Time” by Daft Punk

“Move Ya Body” by Nina Sky

“Dance to the Music” by Sly & The Family Stone

“Take on Me” by A-ha

“Get Free” by Major Lazer ft. Amber of The Dirty Projectors

“Flashing Lights” by Kanye West ft. Dwele

“Still D.R.E.” by Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg

“Good Life” by Kanye West ft. T-Pain

“Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys

“In Da Club” by 50 Cent

“Hypnotize” by Biggie Smalls

“Good Feeling” by Flo Rida

“We Found Love” by Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris

“Low” by Flo Rida

“Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot

“Girls” by The Beastie Boys

“Shout” by The Isley Brothers

“All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled ft. Ludacris, Rick Ross, T-Pain, & Snoop Dogg

Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift

“Dark Fantasy” by Kanye West

“Happy” by Pharell Williams

Ready to dance? Just hit play on THE ENTIRE PLAYLIST and shake your groove thing!

The Flashdance

Music obsessive. Entrepreneur. Brunch aficionado. I bought my first record at the age of 9 (45 of Frank Sinatra’s “New York New York”). In 1996 I started DJing by night, while booking and producing shows in night clubs, theaters, and festivals by day. Two years later I took a job in marketing, advertising, and brand strategy. After 10 years of the ad world i realized i needed more, so i walked away from the clients (stayed pals with the creatives) and moved to LA. I started the flashdance from my dining room table during the worst recession in recorded history with a pregnant wife and no money. In almost 5 years we’ve turned it into one of the most highly regarded brands in the wedding and event industry. The Flashdance now houses 6 companies and supports over 30 people.

Staff Picks

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  • K.

    An extra plug for Icona Pop—we originally had a sentimental slow song as our last song of the night and our DJ played about half of it before declaring, unexpectedly, the need for a final dance party number. For a brief second, I was annoyed because that wasn’t the plan, man!

    But when he put on “I Love it”?

    Pure MAGIC. Every. single. person. at our reception—old, young, happy, grouchy, apathetic, enthused alike–started ‘woo’-ing at the top of their lungs and danced their ASSES off. My father is generally a very low-key, stoic man and even he started jumping up and down at full speed. Our parents, cousins, our wedding party, all of our friends, our older aunts and uncles who we hadn’t seen in years…they all knew the words or figured them out and reveled in it. I still get the happiest flashbacks to everyone (again, EVERYONE) we love swirling around us in pure joy with that beat playing in the background.

    It was amazing and no other song makes me smile more now.

    • K.

      And +100000 to the “don’t worry about the words” for this one obviously. The feeling behind it is all that matters and even though it’s about admittedly very unhealthy responses to a breakup, no one cared and I think of it as an extremely positive, fun, amazing song now. Kind of like how people won’t remember how the overall wedding specifically looks, but will remember how the overall wedding *feels* – same idea. :)

    • Lulu

      Oddly, I was a bridesmaid in a wedding where this song cleared the dance floor; nobody was feeling it. Which I think speaks to the need to not over-think things (and/or trust professionals). People are so unpredictable.

    • Kate

      Same thing happened to us. But with We Found Love instead of I Love It. Lights off and flashing, everyone jumping around like crazy people. Good choice band!

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      THAT is the song I’ve been trying to remember all wedding season. I keep being like, “There’s this one song I dance my face off to, but I can’t remember it.”

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  • Kayjayoh

    We assembled our own set list, and then had a good friend DJ. One way to make sure we had a great mix was to include “what song is guaranteed to get you on the dance floor?” on the RSVP cards. We got some really good, eclectic responses.

    • Eenie

      This is probably one of my favorite RSVP questions (besides any dietary restrictions).


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  • JDrives

    I would dance my booty off to this playlist.

    Also, I strongly second the “gotta nail that first song” advice. Our DJ was great, totally seemed to get our slightly off-beat requests for songs for the ceremony and reception (which included a mix of Bon Iver, Bastille, classic rock, and the Game of Thrones theme song), so we trusted him to get the dance floor started off right. He picked “The Twist.” It was a total fizzle. My husband was like “Dude…please play something else.” So I think he switched to Usher and the floor filled up! I apparently should have been more specific about that first key song.

  • macrain

    True story- “Low” by Flo Rida was dedicated to my MOTHER at our reception. She loves that song.

    • Lulu

      Love that! The song that instantly transports me back to my brother’s 2003 wedding is the equally romantic “Remix to Ignition.”

      • Katie

        Remix to Ignition is a national treasure and one of my favorite songs ever.

        • emmers

          It was one of our reception songs, because it reminds me of carpooling with a friend! Well-received song on the dance floor!

  • Amy March

    So, out of 75 songs, I’m getting roughly 55 performed by men. Nope. Hadn’t even realized I felt so strongly about having female musical representation, but this list has nothing to do with the music I listen to.

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      We actually had that discussion on staff. Ultimately we decided to go with Michael’s suggestions, because he’s the guy doing it every weekend, but my guess it’s a multi-layered thing (aka the “classics” are by men, because #SocietalCrapThatRemembersMenOverWomen.) Though I’ve been personally trying my best at every wedding I go to and requesting Robyn and Nicki Minaj wherever I go. So far my success rate is…grim. #WhyCantIHaveMyDanceJams

      • Rebecca

        We have a ton of Lady Classics in our cocktail and dinner music. Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Linda Ronstadt, Edith Piaf, Judy Garland, Barba Streisand, Nellie McKay, Amy Winehouse, and Aretha Franklin. Just some ideas as a place to start for those looking to represent the laaaaadies on their playlists.

    • MC

      Yep – I noticed this too, and I will say at my wedding it was probably 55% female and 45% male performers on our 3-hour dance playlist (and people danced the whole time!) – but I used to DJ a women-only radio show and have also volunteered at a girls rock’n’roll camp, so I had collected a ton of good songs by ladies over the years. They are out there! Some of the big hits at our dance party were Ke$ha (request from my husband), Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston…

      A neat way to get around the problem Maddie pointed out below – people being more familiar with “classics” by men – is to find some awesome female-fronted covers of classic songs. We played “I Want You To Want Me” by Letters to Cleo and lots of my relatives recognized it as a Cheap Trick song that they loved.

      • Emily W

        You should put together a list of your favorite female artists for weddings and have Maddie post that here! I think that’d be great.<3

  • Kara

    Bon Jovi….AC/DC…Journey…Def Leppard…we played it all (except for anything Frank Sinatra-ish, line dances, or hokey, b/c I’m not a fan). Hell, we even played “Bad Touch” by Bloodhound Gang (you know the song…”you and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals”.)

    It rocked! People were up dancing with my 80 year old grandma. She rocked it too!

    • Hahahaha my husband gunned really hard for Bad Touch and I vetoed, now I sort of wish I hadn’t.

      • Kara

        You wouldn’t believe who came out to dance to that song. I don’t think the older folks understood the lyrics, but they saw everyone having fun and came out to the floor too :).

        My husband requested KC and Jojo “All my life”, and I can tell you, all the guys got all sentimental…it was awesome

        • We did have grandmas out dancing to “freek-a-leek”, so that was a thing

          • Kara

            SCORE! I would love to see that, too!

        • MC

          My MIL got down to Gangnam Style and it was one of my favorite parts of the wedding!

  • Katie

    Related but only sort of: This past weekend, about 10 of my friends and I had a party where we did a “Music Madness” bracket style game of all of our favorite songs of the 90’s, 00’s, and current era. Basically it was set up by pre-picking 64 songs we all really liked, randomly “seeding” them against each other, and then playing each song against each other and voting for the one we liked the best. It really made me realize the different energy levels of songs and how you can go from a super high to a super low, even if you really like the song. For example, Nelly’s-Ride wit me (one of my favorite songs from middle school BTW) was up against Avicii’s-Wake Me Up, and the energy level dropped immediately between the two songs and Nelly got booted in the first round.

    Final Four for anyone who was wondering: Avicii-Wake Me Up, O-Town-All or Nothing, Backstreet Boys-Everybody, OT Genasis-CoCo (O-Town won inexplicably).

  • Rebecca

    Dude, right on time, we wed a week from tomorrow and I’m just finalizing all my playlists! To share the love, here are the dance tracks I’m pumped about:

    Jackson 5 “Dancing Machine Miami Remix” do yourself a favor and look it up on spotify.
    “Love on Top” Beyonce
    “Jump For My Love” The Pointer Sisters
    Janet Jackson “ESCAPADE”
    “Feel So Good” by Mase
    “Fantasy” by Mariah Carey
    “Jenny From The Block”
    “Get ur freak on”
    and to slow things down, Whitney Houston’s “I Believe in You and Me”.

    **The tip about remixing things to about 2 minutes is so key. No one needs to hear 5 minutes of “Bad bad bad bad boys, you make me feel so good”. But I think the first 90 seconds of “Jenny From The Block” is gonna slay. Garageband is pretty easy to figure out… cut that sh*t down!

  • Rayn

    Can anyone explain to me what he means in the article about being able to automix every 2 minutes with Djay 2? I downloaded the app and see the automix function but no option to adjust the timing of the automix. I’m trying to find a good remedy for songs that are great dance songs but tend to drag on at the end… I love the Spotify integration with the Djay 2 app.

    • Christian Martinez

      Ever figure it out?

      • Rayn

        Nope. And the Spotify integration in the Djay 2 app doesn’t work with offline playlists either, so it wouldn’t have worked for our wedding (no internet). We ended up just buying all the songs for our dance playlist on itunes and setting start and end times on each song with a 5sec crossfade (took forever) to cut down some of the longer songs and keep things moving. Lots of effort but it worked out really well, and definitely cheaper than hiring a DJ!

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