Indie Songs to Play at Your Wedding and Reception

Updated on November 27, 2017
Kierstin Gunsberg profile image

Kierstin wrote music reviews and interviews throughout high school, just like that girl from Almost Famous but with glasses and frizzy hair.


Weddings have really taken a turn for, I'd say, the better since the invention of Pinterest. Mostly because instead of recycling the same old dusty traditions, we've cultivated a new set revolving mainly around mason jars and Christmas lights, both of which cost next to nothing, and that is awesome.

No longer do we celebrate entering the newlywed lifestyle with outrageously expensive China sets and tasteless food; No, doable is in. Affordable, timeless, simple. Elegance no longer equates fifty dozen wilting red roses tied to bannisters or floor length purple satin.

Bumpin' it to Whitney Huston is seriously not going to cut it anymore.

A new era calls for a new playlist, and yes, yes I put the term "indie" in the title, but don't hate me if some of these songs defy your indie taste.

Because what I really meant by indie was not a 1999 wedding playlist.

The best part about having a wedding in not 1999? You don't have to go rifling through the K-Mart CD bins and your best friend's CD towers for individual tracks. All of these songs are available to download from iTunes or to stream through free services like Spotify.

This is a great millennium for wedding music.

Ho Hey / The Lumineers

Your Song / Ellie Goulding

Home / Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

  • Sea of Love by Cat Power
  • Alive by Empire of The Sun
  • Eyes by Rogue Wave
  • Love Love Love by Avalanche City
  • Something Good Can Work by Two Door Cinema Club
  • Friday I'm In Love by The Cure
  • I Would Do Anything For You by Foster The People
  • You Are The Best Thing by Ray LaMontagne
  • House of Gold by Breathe Owl Breathe
  • Mushaboom by Feist
  • Better Together by Jack Johnson
  • Such Great Heights by Iron and Wine
  • All is Love by Karen O and The Kids
  • The Book of Love by Magnetic Fields
  • Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap
  • Love and Some Verses by Iron and Wine
  • This Sweet Love by James Yuill
  • Love Lost by The Temper Trap


First Day of My Life / Bright Eyes

The Story / Brandi Carlile

Skinnybone / Sea of Bees

  • Passenger Seat by Death Cab for Cutie
  • No One by Alicia Keys
  • Flightless Bird, American Mouth by Iron and Wine
  • My Love Will Never Fail You by Marie Hines
  • Fallingforyou by The 1975
  • Thirteen by Ben Kweller
  • You're The One For Me by Great Good Fine OK
  • Laughter Lines by Bastille
  • Our Song by The xx
  • Baby I'm Yours by The Arctic Monkeys
  • I Need You by M83
  • I Choose You by Sarah Bareilles
  • Here Comes The Sun Again by M. Ward
  • Lover's Waltz by A.A. Bondy
  • Oh, My Darling by Basia Bulat
  • Sundress by Ben Kweller
  • We Found Each Other in The Dark by City and Colour
  • What I Wouldn't Do by A Fine Frenzy
  • I Will Follow You Into The Dark by Death Cab For Cutie
  • I've Got This Friend by The Civil Wars
  • You and I by Wilco
  • For The First Time by John Legend
  • You Picked Me by A Fine Frenzy
  • She Is Love by Parachute
  • Til Kingdom Come by Coldplay
  • Lovesong by The Cure
  • Take Care by Beach House
  • Everlasting Light by The Black Keys
  • I Want You So Bad I Can't Breathe by OK Go

Last Leaf / OK Go

Irreverent Fillers

It's almost impossible to understand anything about the words in these songs -- except that they're really happy and impassioned. Perfect for walking down the aisle as husband and wife, or slipping between moodier songs.

  • Go Do by Jonsi
  • The Winner Is by Little Miss Sunshine Soundtrack
  • Building All Is Love by Karen O And The Kids
  • Babys by Bon Iver
  • Hoppipolla by Sigur Ros
  • Lovers in Japan by Coldplay
  • Life in Technicolor by Coldplay

The Worst Wedding Songs Ever


Do You Realize by The Flaming Lips

I can see why. This song is pure magic. It gives you all the feels. But it's about death. Death. And though in the end, everything circles back around to death, I'd rather have this song played at my funeral than as my first dance.

Every Breath You Take by The Police

Just. Don't.

Skinny Love by Bon Iver

An amazing, amazing song that includes the lyric staring at the sink of blood and crushed veneer.

This is not a wedding song. This is a my-boyfriend-of-seven-years-just-dumped-me heartbreak ballad. I should know, I played it for like three straight months back in 2011.

My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion

Will go on from what? Your wedding? Your marriage? Oh right, because this is the Jack dies in front of Rose's tear-frozen eyes song, not a wedding song.

Thank Goodness for Vitamin String Quartet

In the chaos of a wedding day, sometimes too many words can muddy the water and overwhelm guests. Swap in some of these pop covers by Vitamin String Quartet to settle the mood and add a touch of fun elegance to the evening.

  • Pompeii (Bastille cover)
  • All The Small Things (Blink 182 cover)
  • The Only Exception (Paramore cover)
  • The Luckiest (Ben Folds Five cover)
  • Hey There Delilah (Plain White T's cover)
  • Somewhere Only We Know (Keane cover)
  • If You Leave (OMD cover)
  • Goodnight and Go (Imogen Heap cover)
  • You and I Both (Jason Mraz cover)
  • O Valencia! (Decemberists cover)
  • Keep The Car Running (The Arcade Fire cover)
  • New Slang (The Shins cover)
  • Don't Stop Believin' (Journey cover)
  • Faithfully (Journey cover)
  • Hallelujah (Jeff Buckley cover)
  • Here Comes Your Man (Pixies cover)
  • June On The West Coast (Bright Eyes cover)
  • Fidelity (Regina Spektor cover)
  • I Want To Hold Your Hand (Beatles cover)
  • Love Me Do (Beatles cover)
  • Skinny Love (Bon Iver cover yes, I said avoid this, but strictly as an orchestral tune this song is beautiful and perfectly lovely for a wedding)
  • For Emma (Bon Iver cover)
  • Calgary (Bon Iver cover)
  • Sail (AWOLNATION cover)
  • Maps (Yeah Yeah Yeahs cover)
  • Brick (Ben Folds Five cover)
  • We Are Young (Fun cover)
  • Little Talk (Of Monsters and Men cover)

Classy Covers

  • These covers are even better the second time around.
  • Can't Help Falling in Love by Ingrid Michaelson
  • Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing by Sufjan Stevens
  • Real Love by Regina Spektor

Songs For After The Grandparents Go to Bed

We don't want to jade gram and gramp's tender lil' ears, now do we?

  • Tongue Tied by Grouplove
  • Electric Feel by MGMT
  • I Believe in a Thing Called Love by The Darkness
  • Candy by Paolo Nutini

Obvious Classics

It's nice to play some familiar songs, especially on the dance floor. These particular tracks really do stand the test of time.

  • My Love Is Your Love (Forever) by The Isley Brothers
  • Let's Stay Together by Al Green
  • I Found You by Alabama Shakes
  • You're My Best Friend by Queen
  • Stand By Me by Ben E. King
  • At Last by Etta James

Am I missing something? Add it below in the comments!


© 2014 Kierstin Gunsberg


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    • ezzly profile image

      ezzly 2 years ago

      Wonderful ideas here ! Wish I'd had your inspiration for my wedding ! :)

    • athulnair profile image

      athulnair 3 years ago from India

      Indeed that was a great list of music. Thanks for sharing the gems.

    • Kierstin Gunsberg profile image

      Kierstin Gunsberg 3 years ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Oh, that song makes me cry!! Especially Ellie Goulding's version-- it's my song to my daughter.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      I don't know any of these songs except Ellie Goulding's cover of Elton John's "Your Song". But then again, I'm an old fart, so what do I know? LOL