Everybody knows how important it is to pick the perfect song for your first dance. But don’t forget about its partner in crime: the last dance. If you want to bookend your reception like a pro, you should also have an awesome song lined up for the last dance.
Keep in mind, by the time your last dance rolls around, the mood in the room will be extremely different from when the reception started. A twisted version of natural selection will have occurred and only the strong will remain—meaning a lot of drunk friends who haven’t had to leave due to kids or a long drive home.
While your first dance was an intimate (if public) moment between you and your bride, your last dance can be more inclusive, a chance to cut the rug with your family and friends. Or…it can still be all about you if you’re craving a victory lap. Whether you want to have one more intimate spin or spread the love around, you’ve got a whole world of last dance tracks to choose from.
BUT…before we begin, we have to get one thing out of the way:
Last Dance by Donna Summer
We’re required by international DJ regulations to include that song on any and every last-dance playlist. Not just because of its title, but because it perfectly encapsulates the feeling you want to convey: sweeping, joyful, but with a touch of melancholy.
Now, let’s get started.
THE BEST LAST DANCE WEDDING SONGS: OLDIES AND CLASSIC ROCK
You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC
After a long, emotional day of “I do’ing,” this raunch and roll classic will bring the night to a close on a loud, celebratory note. Plus, that picture of your bride throwing the devil horns and sticking her tongue out will be awesome for the photo album.
You’re My Best Friend by Queen
The lyrics to this organ-heavy favorite are perfect for newlyweds and drunk groomsmen swaying together in a sloppy hug-cluster.
In My Life by The Beatles
Within the first 15 seconds of this song, every couple in the house will hit the dance floor and give each other that glassy-eyed glare that says “I love you” (or maybe it’s “what was in those brownies?”)
You’re The One That I Want/We Go Together from “Grease”
Why not end your reception the same way one of the most popular movies of the ’70s ended? No, not Carrie. We’re talking about the other Travolta blockbuster, Grease. “You’re The One That I Want” with a little “We Go Together” mixed in at the end, is an excellent way to sail off into the sunset—with or without a flying Chevy.
THE BEST LAST DANCE WEDDING SONGS: POPULAR CLASSICS
The Best Is Yet To Come by Tony Bennett and Diana Krall
For a truly timeless, classy and cool last dance, cue up The Best Is Yet To Come from Tony Bennett and Diana Krall. Regardless of your dance floor skills, anyone can shuffle along to this one.
Purple Rain by Prince
Slow dance city, and even your conservative Uncle Ted will be swaying his arms and singing “Oooo ooo ooo ooo”” by the end. True, the lyrics get kind of dark, but this remains one of the most romantic ballads of all time.
L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole
If you want a tune that will please multiple generations and celebrate the reason you’re all there, end the night with a little L-O-V-E.
Time Of My Life by Billy Medley & Jennifer Warnes/Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley
This one is a bit too obvious—unless you give it a surprise twist. Start off with Time Of My Life to get everyone’s “Dirty Dancing” endorphins pumping, then after a few minutes, cut into Never Gonna Give You Up. Rick-rolling your last dance will be the stuff of legend. Nobody puts baby in a corner—except Rick Astley.
THE BEST LAST DANCE WEDDING SONGS: ALTERNATIVE
What A Wonderful World by Joey Ramone
The Louis Armstrong version of this song has been a wedding staple for decades but for a truly kick-ass finale to your reception, go with Joey’s powerful and poignant cover.
Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
If they haven’t done so already, the ladies will want to kick off their heels for Home. This joyous track will end your night with an inspiring philosophy for you and your bride to follow for many years to come.
Transatlanticism by Death Cab For Cutie
If you want to end your wedding on epic note, this sweeping track from 2003 is a go-to choice. True, the beat doesn’t give you much to dance to, but by this point in the evening all you’re going to want to do is cling to each other anyway. And once that chorus kicks in, everyone will be waving their hands in the air and singing along anyway.
You And I by Wilco with Feist
Thoughtful, moving and mature, You and I is a brilliant track that feels equally romantic and insightful. Like all the best-written love songs, this one is going to age extremely well and will sound just as timeless at your 50th wedding anniversary.
Pulled Up by Talking Heads
Not terribly romantic, but definitely joyous, in a nerdy, David Byrne sort of way. This song is a great closer (it was the finale of Talking Heads 1977 debut), and will give you and your bride plenty of opportunities to indulge in some fun New Wave dancing. If you’re looking for a slow jam to hold each other close, this is not the one. But if you want everyone pogoing on the dance floor, this is ideal.
BEST LAST DANCE WEDDING SONGS: COUNTRY AND FOLK
Grow Old With Me by Sunny Sweeney
“Grow old with me/I’ll keep you young forever.” Those are the exact words you want to hear as your dream wedding comes to a close. Words you don’t want to hear? “I think I might puke. Can I have a ride home?”
Companion or Jackpot by Nikki Lane
Nikki Lane is one of the most awesome and authentic voices in today’s country scene. She’s so good that we can’t decide which of these two songs we like more. If you’re looking for an edgy ballad, go with Companion. For an upbeat stomper, place your bet on Jackpot—a tune about being lucky in love and with the slots.
In Spite Of Ourselves by John Prine and Iris Dement
This ragged classic might be the most truthful ballad on any wedding playlist. A real song about real love, In Spite of Ourselves is so extraordinary because of the ordinary moments that it celebrates.
Born To Love You by LANCO
If you’re a fan of pop-influenced modern country, you’ll love Born To Love You. Its sweet hooks and infectious beats will re-energize your guests and get them back on the floor for one last dance.
BEST LAST DANCE WEDDING SONGS: R&B
Spend My Life With You Eric Benet (featuring Tamia)
If you want to end the night with an old-school duet, Spend My Life With You delivers pure romance and smooth grooves custom cut for the dance floor.
I Need Your Lovin’ by Nao
This smoking cover of Tina Maria’s 1980 hit feels like one of those classic wedding mainstays, but with a modern R&B vibe. The best of both worlds.
Forever Mine by Andra Day
Forever Mine is a seriously sultry track with a retro feel. So, if you want a passionate, slow jam for your last dance, cue this one up. Just don’t blame us if you look around and see your grandparents grinding in the corner. Some things can’t be unseen.
We Are Family by Sister Sledge
We know…this is one of the most played wedding songs in the history of matrimony. But if you save it for your last dance, it will have an added emotional punch. Before the DJ hits play, you should step up to the mic and dedicate it to all the new family members in the audience. Plus, when’s the next time you’ll be able to step up to a mic?
BEST LAST DANCE WEDDING SONGS: MODERN FAVORITES
Let’s Get Married by Bleachers
With a soaring, sing-along chorus, Let’s Get Married is a pop-fueled anthem that’s guaranteed to end the night on a high note.
Today Was A Fairytale by Taylor Swift
This T-Swift track completely sums up what you’d like your wife to say at the end of your wedding day.
All My Life by WILD
We’ve got a couple things going here. Firstly, this buoyant track will have hearts melting to its lyrics of unconditional devotion. Secondly, the video above, featuring pet adoption, could easily make a grown man cry. That’s just how it is—so find a private place, grab a hanky and click play.
Can’t Stop The Feeling by Justine Timberlake
Warning: This song will cause an outbreak of feel-good dance fever that might make your guests want to stick around for a few more songs. If this happens, you’ll need additional last-dance songs, so you should start reading this article again from the beginning. Bonus: Check the video above for plenty of moves to make your own and some to avoid at all costs.
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