30 Grammy-Winning Songs That Belong on Your Wedding Reception Playlist

You'd be surprised at how stressful it can be to craft the perfect wedding reception playlist[1]. You have to choose the perfect mix of romantic[2] and fun songs, both fast and slow, all of which need to please a crowd ranging from your cousins' kids to your grumpy great-aunt. So make things a little easier for yourself by choosing tracks that have officially been named the best in the world by people who know their stuff—aka Grammy-winning songs.

The Grammys[3] have been around since 1959, which means you have more than half a century's worth of award-worthy recordings to choose from. Henry Mancini's classic "Moon River," winner of Song of the Year in 1961, is a great first-dance choice even if you've never seen Breakfast at Tiffany's. Natalie Cole's timeless "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)" will make you feel like you're in a rom-com, while Celine Dion[4]'s "My Heart Will Go On" is yet another sentimental favorite.

Round out those heartfelt tracks with a wide selection of equally incredible, more upbeat Grammy winners. Usher, Lil Jon and Ludacris's "Yeah!," Beyoncé[5]'s "Love on Top," and Aretha Franklin's "Respect" all won (very well-deserved) trophies of their own, and are guaranteed crowd-pleasers at any reception.

To get you started, here are 30 of the best Grammy-winning, wedding-worthy songs from the award ceremony's 60-year history.

1. "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)," Natalie Cole

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This song, which won the award for Best Female R&B Performance in 1976 (breaking Aretha Franklin's eight-year streak), has been included on the soundtracks of too many romantic comedies to count—and for good reason. It's upbeat, romantic, and is sure to get all your guests swing-dancing across the dance floor.

2. "Thinking Out Loud," Ed Sheeran

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Since Sheeran released this song—and won the Grammys for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance in 2016—it's been impossible to go to a wedding without hearing it. It might be a little cliché at this point, but that doesn't make it any less perfect as the soundtrack to your first dance[6].

3. "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)," Whitney Houston

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This infectious tune, winner of Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1988, will have everyone dancing and belting their hearts out. Slip it in early in the playlist, right at the moment when you'll want to start yanking your reluctant friends and family onto the dance floor.

4. "Toxic," Britney Spears

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Britney is an icon for a reason. It's basically a requirement that at least one of her songs be included on every playlist, so use this one, which won Best Dance Recording in 2005, as a sexy contrast to some of the sweeter songs on your reception's soundtrack.

5. "Need You Now," Lady Antebellum

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One of those songs that everybody somehow still knows the words to, this track, which earned the country trio Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Country Performance by a Group, and Best Country Song in 2011, is sure to get your entire wedding party singing along.

6. "Respect," Aretha Franklin

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Queue up this song, winner of Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Recording in 1968, to get the ladies at your reception especially fired up.

7. "Drops of Jupiter," Train

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This earworm won Best Rock Song in 2001 and is the perfect #TBT jam for you and the childhood friends you've invited to your wedding.

8. "Bridge Over Troubled Water," Simon and Garfunkel

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With lyrics like "When times get rough and friends just can't be found, like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down," this sweet, quiet song, 1971's Record of the Year and Song of the Year, is a sentimental option for a father-daughter[7] or mother-son dance.

9. "Crazy in Love," Beyoncé ft. Jay Z

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A high-energy song that won Best R&B Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration in 2004 and will absolutely make the crowd go wild. Plus, has there ever been a more accurate title to describe your wedding day?

10. "Stay With Me," Sam Smith

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A song about a one-night stand might not be exactly on-the-nose for a wedding reception, but the slow tempo and longing lyrics of 2015's Record and Song of the Year make it a great choice for a slow-dance song as the party is dying down.

11. "Don't Worry Be Happy," Bobby McFerrin

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Honestly, who couldn't use this cheerful reminder to embrace the moment and leave your worries behind? Be sure to add this one, which won Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 1989, early on in your reception playlist.

12. "Only Girl (In the World)," Rihanna

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Rihanna[8] gets it: Every bride wants her new spouse to make her feel like she's the only girl in the world, so get out on the dance floor and scream-sing along to 2011's Best Dance Recording.

13. "My Heart Will Go On," Celine Dion

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This iconic slow song, which took home Grammys for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, and Best Song for a Motion Picture or Television in 1999, is an ideal choice for any couple that loved the '90s and wants their guests to be a puddle of tears by the end of the first dance.

14. "Uptown Funk," Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

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It's practically impossible to find anyone who wouldn't sprint to the dance floor upon hearing those unforgettable first notes of this infectious tune. It's a no-brainer—and it won Record of the Year in 2016.

15. "You're Still the One," Shania Twain

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You don't have to like country music to love Shania, and while "Man! I Feel Like a Woman" is also a strong choice for a wedding playlist, this dreamy ballad, which earned her Grammys for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song in 1999, is a quintessential love song that would make for an excellent first dance.

16. "Happy," Pharrell Williams

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2015's Best Pop Solo Performance is yet another great option that'll have everyone from your youngest cousins to your grandparents forgetting about their tired feet and rushing back to the dance floor.

17. "Strangers in the Night," Frank Sinatra

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No wedding playlist is complete with a Sinatra song, and this one, which won Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Record of the Year in 1967, is a lilting reminder of how a chance encounter can introduce you to the love of your life.

18. "Smooth," Santana ft. Rob Thomas

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Give your guests a chance to show off their best salsa steps to this, yes, smooth track. Bonus points if you still remember all the lyrics to this turn-of-the-millennium hit, which won Grammys for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Collaboration in 2000.

19. "Hey Ya!," Outkast

Frederick M. Brown

Admittedly, this song has nothing to do with weddings, love, or romance in general, but it would be a crime to leave it off your list. The Recording Academy agrees: They awarded Outkast the Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance in 2004, cementing the song's legacy and ensuring that the world would be shaking it like a Polaroid picture for decades to come.

20. "Higher Love," Steve Winwood

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This groovy classic rock song, winner of Record of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 1987, is another that spans generations and is a feel-good love song for the ages.

21. "Fallin'," Alicia Keys

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This waltzing ballad—2002's Song of the Year, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and Best R&B Song—will likely have plenty of your wedding guests attempting (and failing) to croon along with Keys's impressive opening riff, which is something you definitely won't want to miss.

22. "What's Love Got to Do With It," Tina Turner

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Turner's snappy single, winner of Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1985, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2012, and would also be a front-runner for induction into the wedding reception hall of fame, if that were a real thing.

23. "Don't Know Why," Norah Jones

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Again, the message here—leaving someone behind even though you're still deeply in love with them—isn't exactly what your wedding is about. But that doesn't make Jones's emotional piano ballad, which earned her Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 2003, any less perfect as a backdrop to a tender slow dance.

24. "Best of My Love," The Emotions

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This song, 1977's Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group, could give "This Will Be" a run for its money in the rom-com[9] department. The upbeat track has been used in movies like The Holiday, and is yet another surefire way to get all your guests moving and shaking out on the dance floor.

25. "Yeah!," Usher ft. Ludacris and Lil Jon

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The winner of 2005's Best Rap/Sung Performance was probably one of the first songs on your first iPod, and, therefore, should also be one of the first songs on your wedding playlist. It's only right.

26. "Love on Top," Beyoncé

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It'll be either hilarious or completely cringeworthy to witness a room full of people try and, inevitably, fail to keep up with Queen Bey[10]'s multiple key changes in this song, 2013's Best Traditional R&B Performance, but that's all the more reason to queue it up.

27. "No Scrubs," TLC

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Sure, you just tied the knot with someone you're sure is a good person, but make sure they know exactly how you feel about scrubs (hint: You don't want any) by reenacting the choreographed dance you and your childhood friends made up to this empowering anthem back in the late '90s, around the time it took home the statuette for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group in 2000.

28. "Moon River," Henry Mancini

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"Moon River" is basically the theme song to the complicated love story that is Breakfast at Tiffany's. It won the Grammy for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1962, and is a dreamy tune about an adventurous romance, making it (or Frank Ocean's sadly Grammy-less 2018 cover) a sweet choice for your first dance.

29. "SexyBack," Justin Timberlake and Timbaland

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Get your sexy on with this iconic hit, which won Best Dance Recording in 2007 and is sure to heat things up at your reception.

30. "I Will Always Love You," Whitney Houston

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Last but certainly not least: This gorgeous, sweeping song, which earned Houston the Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammys in 1994 and is actually a cover of a Dolly Parton original. If "Crazy in Love" isn't the subtitle of your wedding day, "I Will Always Love You" certainly is.

See more: The 200+ Most Requested Wedding Songs of All Time[11]

References

  1. ^ wedding reception playlist (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ romantic (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ The Grammys (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ Celine Dion (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ Beyoncé (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ first dance (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ father-daughter (www.brides.com)
  8. ^ Rihanna (www.brides.com)
  9. ^ rom-com (www.brides.com)
  10. ^ Queen Bey (www.brides.com)
  11. ^ The 200+ Most Requested Wedding Songs of All Time (www.brides.com)