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50+ Great Indie Songs to Play at Your Wedding Reception

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

Keep it fun and feisty at your reception with these awesome indie tracks your friends and fam can dance the night away to.

Keep it fun and feisty at your reception with these awesome indie tracks your friends and fam can dance the night away to.

All through my early 20s, 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, 20-year-old music nerd. I had access to thousands upon thousands of free, scratched-up CDs, and I just couldn't get enough.

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 working 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'd gesture to the dismal collection of pipe organ tunes and Celine Dion singles and watch horror ripple through their eyes as they realized that they were going to have to cherry-pick decent tracks off like 70 different CDs if they were going to put together a free wedding playlist that didn't suck.

Thank heavens it's not 2009 anymore and streaming is now a reality. To celebrate, I've put together a bunch of indie songs for you to add to your own wedding-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 hoping with all of your exhausted, betrothed heart that it's not scratched.

"Home" by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Awesome Indie Hits

  • "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
Ready for more?

Ready for more?

More Great Indie Classics

  • "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

Irreverent Fillers

It's almost impossible to understand anything about the words in these songs—except that they're really happy and impassioned. They're 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
Make your soundtrack count.

Make your soundtrack count.

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 Bot"h (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)

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

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Kierstin Gunsberg

Comments

ezzly on February 06, 2015:

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

athulnair from India on October 17, 2014:

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

Kierstin Gunsberg (author) from Traverse City, Michigan on September 26, 2014:

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

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 26, 2014:

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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