Kierstin wrote music reviews and interviews throughout high school, just like that girl from Almost Famous but with glasses and frizzy hair.
2017 brought a lot to the table. Like I don't feel like I even need to say it all out loud because why even do that? What's important here is that you're getting married, and (besides the obvious yet still totally alarming allegations leaking out from the underbelly of Hollywood, threats of nuclear war at the turn of each calendar page and a steady stream of news headlines that are enough to kill even the hottest smoldering vibes radiating from your lover) 2017 also brought us a ton of gorgeous, sexy, and romantic tracks you're definitely going to want to add to your wedding and reception playlist. And if there's one thing that 2017 taught all of us, it's that two things are important above all else: sharing good love and sharing good music.
So, from the boyish vocals of Stu Larsen to the doo-wop covers by Boyz II Men here are the top love songs of 2017 to play at your wedding and reception (or just while you make dinner tonight). By the way, they're all streamable on Spotify.
"Romantic (NOTD Remix)" by STANAJ
Play this auto-tuned remix to kick the dancing off, and I'm pretty sure that everyone from your new mother-in-law to your third cousins and their camera-shy dates will come crawling out from behind the bar to throw their hands up in the air.
"Let's Get Married" by Bleachers
Putting aside all of my VERY POSITIVE fangirl feelings for the Antanoff siblings, you need this 80's nostalgic dance anthem jamming at your nuptials, the reason being (besides the obvious title of "Let's Get Married") the soft lyrics hiding beneath the blazing electropop - I don't wanna walk alone/so let's get married/cos we don't want to walk alone/or run away.
If I had a time machine, I'd hop on back to 2012 and dance with my husband to the MTV Unplugged version of this track (also streaming on Spotify) at our wedding. However, for two reasons this could not happen:
- Jack Antanoff was still playing around with F.U.N., so this song didn't exist.
- We didn't actually have a wedding.
So here's your chance to do all that I could never do.
"Dance With Me" by Blitzen Trapper
A little tiny bit of twang marries classic rock on Blitzen Trapper's "Dance With Me" which is about exactly what you think it's about—dancing. A perfect track to add to your reception party playlist.
Plus, I'm pretty sure your dad will like it.
"House of My Soul (You Light the Rooms)" by Langhorne Slim
On Langhorne Slim's latest album he spins jovial folk-rock and "House of My Soul" is the summit. With lyrics like You light the room to the house of my soul, this song is just the right amount of fun and sappy sweet for dipping and twirling your beloved on the dance floor.
"I Will Be Happy and Hopefully You Will Be Too" by Stu Larsen
I wanna do karaoke/And hear you sing a song or two/It doesn't really matter if you can't stay in tune/As long as I'm with you
So Stu Larsen waxes poetic/adorable in a clumsy, boyish way on the track "I Will Be Happy and Hopefully You Will Be Too", the kind of track that's perfect for pre-dinner mingling.
"And I Love Her" by Passenger
Both first dance and end-of-night sleep-dance worthy, Passenger's "And I Love Her" is a gentle tribute to a lover whose strength in life makes it impossible not to be enchanted.
"Something Just Like This" by The Chainsmokers Featuring Coldplay
Look, I don't care what you or my brother say, this is a damn good song and in the context of a lifelong commitment it's even better—a song about that moment you give up on the smoke and mirrors of dating and recognize that love is a simple phenomenon:
I'm not looking for somebody/With some superhuman gifts/Some superhero/Some fairytale bliss/Just something I can turn to/Somebody I can kiss
Check out Alex Goot and Madilyn Bailey's beautiful stripped down version which is also streaming on Spotify if you're looking for a ballad to lead you down the aisle.
"By Your Side" by Jacob Sartorius
I'm honestly not positive that this kid isn't still in high school, but just like Justin Biebs and the Jonas Brothers before him, he knows how to turn a slammin' sexy dance track. Or his producers do.
"Safe Haven" by Ruth B.
Sharp as a tack both lyrically and vocally, Ruth B.'s "Safe Haven" is a glorious song that will remind you that at the end of the night, you're each other's quiet place.
"Meant to Be" by Stanaj
"I never believed in destiny, but you and I were always meant to be" sings Stanaj on one of this years' earliest hits. The bespeckled singer turns a soft ballad about young love too precious for the judgment of older, wiser folk and the indignant 'tude is nothing short of romantic.
"Almost Home" by Keston Cobblers Club
"I would take a hundred years just to tell you how I feel," croons Keston Cobblers Club on the gentle folk jig "Almost Home".
"Only You" by Parson James
Sexy but safe enough to play with your grandma in the room. So a win/win.
"All the Right Problems" by Chris Lane
Bright and twangy with quite a few references to being a little tipsy while crushing, this country tune makes some fun dinnertime background music.
"More" by Hunter Hayes
Hunter Hayes' brand-spanking new track is about all of the ways you love someone more when they're being down-to-earth and self-unaware.
"Sweetly" by The Show Ponies
This rambling, twee (in the very best of ways) track about letting down your guard for someone is sweet for walking down the aisle or slow-dancing after dinner.
"Sweetest Thing" by Allman Brown
"Every word that you say, well, it's a lullaby."
No. You're a lullaby, Allman Brown. You are.
"Maybe a Love Song" by Nataly Dawn
All of the earnest strumming and sultry-sweetness of Ingrid Michaelson circa 2008.
"Your Water" by Parker Millsap and Sarah Jarosz
An edgy duet about how love fills in even the deepest cracks brought on by all of life's weight. Totally first-dance worthy, especially if you're looking for something outside of the Top 40.
"Everything is Magical" by Jeremy Messersmith
Being with your other half makes the doldrums a lot less blah, and that's what this song is about. It's amazing how the same note strummed over and over and over again can sound so romantic, but somehow Messersmith does it on "Everything is Magical" and honestly it is quite magical.
"Feels a Lot Like Love" by Anchor + Bell
So much intimate imagery in this delicate duet by Anchor + Bell makes this a stunning track for pre-dinner cocktails.
"Favorite Part of Loving You (Acoustic)" by Corey Harper
Let's be real, a lot of us get married to the chagrin of someone and against a crap ton of odds, but we still do it. This song reflects on the nuances that propel us forward despite it all.
"Looking for Love" by Birdtalker
A prime song for dancing with your great aunt, in my opinion.
"Pieces of You" by Ben Sollee
If your wedding is taking place in a barn of some sort, which there's like a 90% chance I'm right, this is a super good song to play in that barn.
"With You" by Valerie June
A twinkly acoustic love song that sounds like it's coming down from the fleeting streams of light that dance between leaves in a breeze.
"Summertime Mama" by Becca Mancari
A song about that head over heels feeling.
"I Know the Way Home" by Andrew Galucki
Not explicitly a love song but the way this track bounces and seethes with ideas like "make a memory that someday I can call my own" it might just be one after all.
"Lay it On Me" by Vance Joy
Oh dear God, do not even get me started. I'm obsessed with this man but that and his beautiful, perfect curls are not exclusively why you should consider playing this sexy song on your wedding day. These lyrics about not-love-at-first-sight however, are a solid reason to turn.it.up.
Let me in/ Everything starts at your skin/So new/Your love's always finding me out
Also, while I have the stage here (because this whole article is my stage) why did Taylor Swift tour with this guy and basically make him famous but not make him her boyfriend while she dated Tom Hiddleston and Calvin Harris with seemingly no shame? I'm done. I'm stumbling off the stage and probably tripping on my dress too. Goodbye.
"What Lovers Do" by Maroon 5, Featuring SZA
When you see the flower girl starting to drag butt after no sustenance whatsoever save for three slices of wedding cake pop this song on wake that girl up (and also maybe bring her some croutons or a protein bar because being a flower girl is so much freaking work).
"Up All Night" by Beck
Beck is super fun falsetto-ing his way through the flirty "Up All Night" And you're super fun too but if your mom has been telling you that you're not after all of this wedding planning then this is a prime track to prove her completely wrong (again)!
"Die 4 You" by Perfume Genius
Stick this sleepy, sultry track between your dance tracks as the night wears on and give your guests a chance to catch their breath and maybe someone's eye.
"Carry Me Home" by Michelle Branch
She's baaaaaaaaaack. The queen of my middle school years that is, and she may or may not actually be in love at all but it doesn't matter because this track feels like the sweet heaviness of crushing hard on a hottie (the one you're marrying, obviously) and it's a perfect filler to drown out the sound of your guests chewing during dinner.
"Find the Love" by Mary J. Blige
Weddings are a good time to put stuff in perspective and Mary J. Blige's "Find the Love" is a solid anthem to push you forward both on the dance floor and this new phase of life.
"Close Enough" by Brett Young
You know that feeling when you're hugging the person you love and they're still just not close enough? So does Brett Young.
"Strip That Down" by Liam Payne and Quavo
When I was eight, my sister got married and I danced mercilessly to Lou Bega's "Mambo Number 5" with spinning disco lights carrying my tiny feet across the dance floor. I have no idea why that song was played at every wedding that year since it's about a bunch of guys going out drinking and bragging about their one night stands, but it's the single memory I have of that night besides the anxiety of my mother struggling to pull my boyish bob into a bun and it is honestly in my top 20 memories including the birth of both of my children and adopting my cat, Meredith.
Anyway, "Strip That Down" is the 2017 version of Lou Bega's one-hit-wonder and you should probably blast it in case there's some little kid lingering late into the night who needs to add a mildly inappropriate dance floor memory to their brain stash.
"Symphony" by Clean Bandit and Zara Larsson
A dancey track about finally finding the one.
"Perfect" by Ed Sheeran
King of love ballads, Ed Sheeran sings about young love on a "perfect" track for high-school-sweethearts to slow dance to as their parents look on both half relieved and half bewildered.
"Only You" by Zara Larsson
"I don't wanna shower, even if I stink, because I don't want to wash you off."
That's the cleanest lyric in this song. Don't play it until grandma goes to bed for the night.
"Young Hearts (Mushroom People Remix)" by NoMBe and Mushroom People
Ethereal techno for the lovesick.
"Processional" by Billy Corgan
Processional carries shadows of guilt, religion and transparent love so it's basically classic Billy Corgan for lovers.
"Till You're Loved" by Mr. Probz
Get down to the repetition of "You're nothing until you are loved" which is true and also not true but still makes for fantastic dance floor music as long as you can also accept the reality that the notion that is the entire hook of this song is really trite (but still really good..YKWIM?)
"Stay," "A Sunday Kind of Love," and "I Only Have Eyes for You" by Boyz II Men
Boyz II Men's new album of covers Under the Streetlight is brimming with nostalgic tracks like "Stay," "A Sunday Kind of Love," and "I Only Have Eyes for You."
"When I'm With You" By Joshua Radin
Radin's gentle music is the sound of falling in love over and over again.
"Say it First" by Sam Smith
Sam Smith is a generous creature to share his beautiful voice with us and it's never been more flawless than on "Say it First", a song about needing to hear those three little words.
"Visit Me" by Frontier Ruckus
To me, Frontier Ruckus will always be the sound of my little brother and his friends jamming this band's songs across the hall before we all got hitched to not each other and sunk ourselves deep into mortgages and parenthood.
To you, "Visit Me" might be your favorite musical memory of your wedding day. The song is a clever banjo-y croon for a love that may or may not be slightly long-distance but with lyrics like
I want those eyes you made at me/ Those bedside globes/Those orbs/I want your spilt coffee burning my inner thighs
How can you not feel the warm-fuzzies creeping up your back? Romantic af.
"Some Kind of Love" by The Killers
You know that feeling you get when you're gazing at the person you love while they sleep, right after they've forgiven you after you've been a bit saucy? The Killers' "Some Kind of Love" is the musical embodiment of that ethereal feel.
© 2017 Kierstin Gunsberg
Ansel Pereira on March 17, 2018:
Loved the compilation of romantic songs for weddings. Great list.
Kierstin Gunsberg (author) from Traverse City, Michigan on December 15, 2017:
Thanks, Angel! I got married over five years ago but I'm still enjoying these tunes :)
Angel Guzman from Joliet, Illinois on December 14, 2017:
Nice playlist :)