When two people manage to find each other in this cruel, confusing world and decide to spend the rest of their lives together, it’s truly a cause for celebration. That means music and dancing—but you can’t just throw your phone on shuffle or hire the first DJ who quotes a decent price. A well-curated wedding playlist offers just the right mix of smooth romantic ballads and straight-up bangers. The party should ebb and flow, and you need something for everyone—single ladies very much included.
What follows are 30 time-tested wedding favorites that will have guests swooning, grooving and acting foolish on the dance floor. In addition to usual suspects like Prince, The Isley Brothers, Kool & The Gang and Earth, Wind & Fire, the list features songs by mopey indie rockers, jittery CBGB alumni, kooky Southern New Wave icons, genre-blurring rappers, country-pop crossover goddesses and the King of Rock n’ Roll. Black Eyed Peas make an appearance, too. And just for good measure, there’s a Bob Dylan cover and a tune from a blockbuster tween vampire movie.
The selected songs span the ’50s to the present day, so nobody’s cranky grandma or surly teenage cousin is going to feel left out. While these 30 selections represent a decent start, they’re probably not enough to carry you all the way from the aisle to the afterparty. Consider these songs as idea starters—inspiration for the kind of killer wedding mix that’ll have friends and family reminiscing about your nuptials for years to come.