Spotlight: Essential Hits for Your Wedding Playlist

Into Dust Photography with The Afterparty Band
These unforgettable dance anthems are must-haves on your wedding playlist
Written by
Laura Cross

When it comes to wedding celebrations, few elements are as eagerly anticipated as the dance floor. It's where guests young and old come together to revel in the joyous atmosphere, creating memories that last a lifetime. Behind every unforgettable dance party is a carefully curated playlist, filled with tracks that speak to the hearts of all in attendance.

Whether you've secured a live band or enlisted the expertise of a DJ committed to keeping the revelry alive until dawn, we've compiled a selection of beloved dance anthems straight from the music experts themselves that you won't want to forget on your must-play list. These bangers and ballads consistently spark the flames of celebration, ensuring an unforgettable soirée for all involved.

David Schwartz, Orion Entertainment
"One of our favorites to play as more of a party-starter would be "September" by Earth Wind and Fire, this song transcends all others as the one song guaranteed to get everyone on the dance floor - no matter how many times they have heard it that summer. It's simply one of the best songs ever written and people of all ages and backgrounds love it, know the words, and can get groovy to it."

Tristin Heiser, The Afterparty Band
"Unless it's requested for us not to play it, we almost always play this song at every show we do. It's a great set opener. A lot of current music doesn't resonate with the older generations, but "Uptown Funk" everyone knows and loves. It's got that signature opening bass part, "doh... doh doh doh, doh doh doh, doh doh..." and all the Bruno Mars swagger and style. It's the best-written song for filling the dance floor of the 21st century. Plus, we add costumes (fedoras, aviator sunglasses, and gold bling chains) and choreography (some from the music video and some that I created) to add something special and spectacular to our performance of the song. It always blows the audience away!"

Michael Benson, Michael Benson Band
"Since 80’s tunes are always requested, a go-to hit for the genre that pops every time is Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”.  Our co-lead vocalist Darelle Holden nails the vibe and style and everybody’s out and singing along." 

Into Dust Photography with The Michael Benson Band
Into Dust Photography with The Michael Benson Band

Tristin Heiser, The Afterparty Band
"Personally, I love doing our "Hora Medley" that we created, or another similar dance that EVERYONE participates in that focuses on the couple and getting everyone to loosen up! They always start out a little clunky, and then, in no time, everyone is laughing, cheering, and just having an absolute ball!"

David Schwartz, Orion Entertainment
"One of our favorite wedding song requests has to be "The Best" by Tina Turner. It is the power ballad of the century and when played towards the end of the evening, often results in an unforgettable moment where the bride and groom are dancing in the middle of the floor surrounded by all their remaining friends and family with their arms around each other scream-singing together."

Micheal Benson, Michael Benson Band
"More than one single tune, MBB’s DJ-styled mashups are floor-packers. Like this opener medley:  Stand Me/Oh What A Night/24K/This Is How We Do It/Hot In Herre.  Stand By Me pulls all ages out with its easy funky tempo. Oh What A Night ups the energy and holds ‘em.  Bruno Mars’24K hits the current vibe, This Is How We Do It opens up our R&B collection, then Hot In Herre expands into our rap tracks. And Voila! the dance-party is wide open and never ends. The audience never knew what hit ‘em. Flashing through mash-ups on synced iPads in seamless segues, just like a DJ, but LIVE. - is our recipe to rock out. You Shook Me All Night Long and Shut Up And Dance turn up the heat."

Tristin Heiser, The Afterparty Band
"I love (and they get requested A LOT) "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Can't Help Falling In Love." There's something about these classic love songs that they will NEVER go out of style. Everyone knows them and loves them. You just can't go wrong. Plus, when my husband/business partner/baritone/guitarist of The Afterparty sings them, I melt a little."

Michael Benson, Michael Benson Band
"Our last song or “outtro” needs to blow the roof off and finish with the crowd pounding. The one that ALWAYS does this for is Tom Cochrane’s “Life Is A Highway”. The lyric “I wanna ride it all night long” is a howler. Burns the house down!"

Tristin Heiser, The Afterparty Band
"Unless clients give us a specific song they want us to end the night with, we will always close with "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. I consider this song to be Journey's biggest hit and even though not everyone knows all the words, everyone always sings the hook, "Don't Stop... Believing... woah oh oh oh!" We also take this song the extra mile as we go out into the audience, find the singers or the most outgoing/brave folks of the group, and have them sing the song instead. Then we say "Everyone!" on the big part of the song and hold our mics up to pick up the whole room singing along. It's honestly my favorite part of every show we do. The energy is just what you want for the last song at your wedding."

Wild Romance Photography with Orion Entertainment
Wild Romance Photography with Orion Entertainment

Leslie Wheatley, Seattle Parties
"This song by The Killers has become a popular last dance “sing-a-long” for the end of the night as the couple depart, usually surrounded by their well lubricated besties and guests (who end up being the dance floor VIPs after the older generation of family and friends have departed). The elation of hearing  many voices singing along loudly word for word as the couple bid farewell, sometimes not always pitch perfect, always ends the wedding on a really high note."

Main Photo: Into Dust Photography with The Afterparty Band