Indie Songs to Play at Your Wedding and Reception

Updated on February 17, 2018
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.

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All through my early twenties I worked in the sight and sound department of our local library on the off days when I wasn't stomping up and down the stairs of my community college to rush between classes. Circa 2009, this was a kind of paradise for a formerly homeschooled, twenty-year-old music nerd. I had access to thousands upon thousand of free, scratched up CDs, a steady stream of cute patrons ('cept for the passed-out-drunk ones), and a near constant exposure to germs that my frail lil' homeschooled immune system still hadn't been introduced to before—and I just couldn't get enough.

And neither could all of the DIY brides and their moms. They came in on the daily, especially around Valentine's Day when the urgency to start kicking out the finer details of those spring nuptials really started to burn. They'd saunter up, legs lean and toned, diamonds sparkling, and ask me where the wedding-themed CDs were stashed. I couldn't actually tell them because I was just a lowly page and policy said I couldn't talk to anyone except my coworkers, so I'd signal one of my supervisors and they'd lead the baffled bride (why's that little library girl such a raging bitch?) to the dismal collection of pipe organ tunes and Celine Dion singles and watch their annoyance turn to horror, realizing that they were going to have to wade through the general collection and cherry-pick decent tracks off like seventy different CDs if they were going to put together a free wedding playlist that didn't suck.

Thank heavens it's not 2009. My immune system has caught up, I can talk to whoever I want, and Spotify is a real thing.

To celebrate, I've put together a bunch of indie songs for you to add to your own wedding and reception playlist. Okay, maybe they're not all genuine indie, and maybe reading this will reveal that I'm an aging millennial who definitely still hums Jimmy Eat World while scrubbing dishes. But at least you don't have to individually burn these tracks off a public library CD and just hope with all of your exhausted, betrothed heart that it's not scratched.

Home / Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

  • Sea of Love by Cat Power
  • Alive by Empire of The Sun
  • Eyes by Rogue Wave
  • The Story by Brandi Carlisle
  • Your Song by Ellie Goulding
  • Ho Hey by The Lumineers
  • 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
  • First Day of My Life by Bright Eyes
  • Love Lost by The Temper Trap

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 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

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Vitamin String Quarter Covers

Let's talk about my early twenties again for a quick sec. Back in the day, I spent a lot a lot a lot of time in FYE. For you youngin's that was a store that held an enormous amount of CDs and you could swipe the unopened cases under these sweet little players, slap on a pair of grimy headphones (how did we not all have contagious ear diseases?!) and sample the tracks. I loooooooooved those thirty-second clips, especially the wordless, orchestral ones from Vitamin String Quartet who seemed to cover all of my favorite songs.

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)
  • 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)

Modern Covers of Old Classics

These covers are even better the second time around.

  • Can't Help Falling in Love by Ingrid Michaelson (Elvis cover)
  • Make You Feel My Love by Adele (Bob Dylan cover)
  • Real Love by Regina Spektor (Beatles cover)
  • L-O-V-E by Joss Stone (Nat King Cole cover)
  • Is This Love by Corinne Bailey Rae (Bob Marley cover)

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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

Indie or not, these tracks 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

What's on Your Wedding Playlist?

What's on your wedding playlist? Share in the comments below!

Questions & Answers

    © 2014 Kierstin Gunsberg

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      • ezzly profile image

        ezzly 3 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
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        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

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