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Best Cocktail Hour Songs

Between the wedding ceremony and reception, the guests often converge on the reception site while the bride, groom and wedding party go to a picturesque location for photos. This is a key time in setting the mood for an evening of fun, and music plays a big part in that.

The key to picking great cocktail and dinner music is familiarity. It doesn’t have to have been played on the radio a lot recently, but I don’t play much of anything that wasn’t in one way or another a mainstream hit.

This is a version of my very popular cocktail hour playlist that I use for weddings. This playlist is perfect for a very diverse crowd like you’d see at a wedding. Grandma is there, so are the nieces and nephews. It needs to be upbeat, but it’s not quite time to start the dance music.

I love this section of music because it combines the best that ever sang a song with the best of today.


You Send Me – Sam Cooke

Then He Kissed Me – the Crystals

Don’t Be Cruel – Elvis Presley

Sunday Morning – Maroon 5

I Do – Colbie Caillat

Something’s Got a Hold on Me – Etta James

You Are the Best Thing – Ray Lamontagne

Miracle – Foo Fighters

Something – the Beatles

So Com Voce – Thievery Corporation

Rhythm of Love – Plain White T’s

Love Will Keep Us Together – Captain and Tenille

I Got You, Babe – Sonny and Cher

Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen

End of the Line – Traveling Wilburys

All I Want is You – Barry Louis Pollstar

Into the Mystic – Van Morrison

I Will – the Beatles

Home – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

For Once In My Life – Stevie Wonder

The Best is Yet to Come – Frank Sinatra

Teach Your Children – Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

Mysterious Ways – U2

How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) – Marvin Gaye or James Taylor

Just The Way You Are – Billy Joel

Martina McBride – I Love You

Alison Kraus and Union Station – When You Say Nothing At All

Cruisin’ – Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

Something In The Way She Moves – James Taylor

Happy Together – the Turtles

Marry You – Bruno Mars

Lucky – Jason Mraz (feat. Colbie Caillat)

Lovely Day – Bill Withers

Let’s Stay Together – Bill Withers

Forever Young – Rod Stewart

The Best Is Yet To Come – Frank Sinatra

I Feel the Earth Move – Carole King

You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me – Smokey Robinson

SEE PAUL'S PICKS FOR FATHER/DAUGHTER DANCE SONGS

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