The R&B Wedding Reception Songs You Must Play

After the first dance, get the party going with music to keep everybody on the dance floor during the wedding reception. Even if you've hired a DJ, you still need to give him or her some direction and make sure the playlist reflects what YOU want. You need a good mix of Oldies but Goodies, line dance songs, and new hits, so that guests of all ages can join in on the dance floor. Here are some R&B wedding reception songs for your playlist:

First, you'll need songs for the planned parts of the reception. You'll need a song picked out when the emcee announces the couple and bridal party's grand entrance, for the first dance, to call the single to the floor for the bouquet and garter toss, and for the mother/son father/daughter dances.

Grand Entrance Black Wedding Reception Songs:

You can make this song whatever you want. You might want to pick something clever, something energetic to get the party started, or something personal to you as a couple.

Wifey: Next
Lets Get Married Remix: Jagged Edge feat. Run
This Will Be (an Everlasting Love): Natalie Cole
Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours): Stevie Wonder (Also used by presidential candidate Barack Obama as his campaign song)
Spend My Life With You: Eric Benet & Tamia
Love Never Felt So Good: Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake
Let's Get It Started: The Black Eyed Peas
Bring Em Out: by T.I. (for the bridal party or the bride and groom. I've seen this used at a wedding, but you gotta make sure it's edited it or just play the chorus.)

First Dance Songs / Slow Dance Songs

At Last: Etta James or use Beyonce's version, which she sang at President Obama's inauguration ball.
Through The Fire: Chaka Khan
Always And Forever: Heatwave
The First Time: Surface
Here And Now: Luther Vandross
Prince: Diamonds and Pearls
Gerald Levert: I Was Made to Love You

Mother Son Dance Songs:

A Song for Mama: Boyz II Men
Sadie: The Spinners
I'll Always Love My Mama: The Intruders (Thanks for the suggestion in the comments.)

Father Daughter Dance Songs:

Dance with My Father: Luther Vandross
Isn't She Lovely: Stevie Wonder
Beyonce: Daddy

Bouquet Toss: Single Ladies: Beyonce (to gather single women for the bouquet toss)

R&B Wedding Reception Songs for All Ages

The key to a fun, energetic wedding reception is to keep ALL of your guests dancing. Don't play too many songs in a row that would alienate a certain age group. For some of the Rap songs, you might want to just play a verse or make sure you have an edited (clean) version. Here are some songs that all generations of wedding guests (and possibly the pastor) can enjoy:

Before I Let Go: Maze featuring Frankie Beverly
Outstanding: The Gap Band
September: Earth, Wind & Fire
It Takes Two: Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock
Poison: Bell Biv DeVoe
Let's Stay Together: Al Green
Good Times: Chic
DMX: Party Up (radio edit)
"Pump Up the Jam": Technotronic (the obligatory House song)
Inner City: Big Fun (or Good Life)
Yeah: Usher featuring Lil Jon
Don't Stop Til You Get Enough: Michael Jackson
Rock With You: Michael Jackson
Crazy In Love: Beyonce featuring Jay-Z
A Night to Remember: Shalamar (or the Mary J. Blige remake from the Think Like A Man soundtrack)
Ignition Remix: R. Kelly (Bounce, bounce)
In Da Club: 50 Cent
Push It: Salt-N-Pepa
Celebration: Kool & the Gang (It's corny, but you gotta do it. And you know the words.)
Flash Light: Parliament
(Not Just) Knee Deep: Funkadelic (aka the De La Soul "Me, Myself & I sample)
Get Me Bodied: Beyonce
Anything off Michael Jackson's Thriller album: PYT, Wanna Be Startin' Somethin', Billie Jean, etc. Any song let's the 80's babies "do the Michael Jackson" will be fun for them.
Kiss: Prince

Stepper Songs

Let your bridesmaids, groomsmen, and all the couples take the floor with these stepper songs. Unless you're in Chicago, you only need a one or two of these:

Step In the Name of Love (Remix): R. Kelly
Happy People: R. Kelly
K'Jon: On the Ocean
R. Kelly: Red Carpet

Current & Recent Hits

Younger wedding reception guests will have certain songs in mind that they want to hear, and you need to play a couple of them to keep them from getting bored. You might want to have a handful of the latest hits on deck, and make sure they won't put off the older crowd too much. Here are some suggestions:

The Weeknd: Can't Feel My Face
Classic Man: Jidenna (clean version)
Post to Be: Omarion feat. Chris Brown and Jhene Aiko (clean version)
Backyard Party: R. Kelly
Flex (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh): Rich Homie Quan (clean version)
Trap Queen: Fetty Wap (clean version)
679: Fetty Wap feat. Remy Boyz (clean version)
WTF (Where They From): Missy Elliot feat. Pharrell Williams
Somebody: Natalie La Rose feat. Jeremih
Cheerleader: Omi
Get Right Back to My Baby: Vivian Green (It samples Frankie Beverly's "Before I Let Go," so all ages will like it.)
You Changed Me: Jamie Foxx feat. Chris Brown
Hotline Bling: Drake
Uptown Funk: Bruno Mars & Mark Ronson
Turn Down for What: DJ Snake & Lil Jon
7/11: Beyonce
Happy: Pharrell Williams
Started from the Bottom: Drake (a not-too-offensive Hip Hop song that won't make your grandma bury her head in shame, but get the clean version)
Blurred Lines: Robin Thicke feat. T.I. Pharrell (sounds like Marvin Gaye, so older guests will like it)

Current & Recent Slow Songs

Morning Sun: Robin Thicke
Back in My Arms: Jaheim
Let Me Know: Tamar Braxton feat. Future
If I Don't Have You: Tamar Braxton
Ciara: I Bet
Special: Avant
Game Changer: Johnny Gill
Stuck with Me: Tamia

Songs for the Latest Dance Craze

Every year there's some new dance craze that the kids are into, whether they want to hit the Quan, crank dat Soulja Boy, do the Dougie, or drop that NaeNae. Make sure your DJ has the soundtrack for the dance du jour in his crates or that you include it on your playlist.

JuJu on that Beat: Zay Hilfigerrr, Zayion McCall
Rolex: Ayo & Teo
Hit the Quan: iLoveMemphis
Watch Me: Silento
Drop that NaeNae: We Are Toonz
Teach Me How to Dougie: Cali Swag District
Hot N****a: Bobby Shmurda (As the title suggests, it's a hard core song, so have a radio edit of 30 seconds or so people can do the Shmoney dance. You probably want the "get up out my trap house" part. And no, I can't believe I just typed that last sentence.)

Line Dance Songs

These songs are awesome because they encourage strangers and guests of different ages to mingle and dance together, and they can be done as a group, so one feels awkward about needing a dance partner. They also encourage wallflowers who don't know the dances to get on the floor and try to learn.

Cha Cha Slide: Mr. C
Electric Boogie (aka Electric Slide): Marcia Griffiths
Booty Call Line Dance: DJ CoChise or the Misssissippi Cha Cha Slide by Mixx Master Lee featuring Red Rum (both songs use the same beat)
Cupid Shuffle: Cupid
Wobble Baby: V.I.C.
Dollar Wine: Byron Lee & The Dragonaires

Depending on your age, heritage or region of the country, you might want to include those requisite must-have songs. If the bride, groom, or guests are from the Islands might want more Dancehall. Midwesterners might want Chicago House ("Percolator" by Cajmere). Brides and grooms in their late-30's/early 40's might want more Old School Hip Hop, ("This or That" by Black Sheep, A Tribe Called Quest, etc.). People on the East Coast might start a riot if you don't play "Hot" by Soho or "Follow Me" by Aly Us. Feel free to throw in more Miami Bass, West Coast rap, or whatever appeals to you or your friends.


  1. What a great list! I was making a list for our reception and had soooo many of the same songs! Great minds think alike...keep it going!!

  2. I'll always love my momma - The Intruders
    Hey mamma - Kanye West

  3. Ohh!
    Bad mama jamma - Carl Carlton

  4. Awesome list. Forgot some songs this helped

  5. I like that whole entire list! I have a question ladies can you have too many songs in a wedding? My wedding is in march and I'm still planning but I got a song for every person in my wedding: the groom, the mothers, the rest of the party and our sand ceremony, and I'm having a praise dance to a song plus when I come out my song will be sung in person by a couple, is that too much?

  6. Ultimately, it's YOUR day and you should have it YOUR way. Keep in mind that each song has a different length. Most people assume that each song will be 3 minutes or less.

    In reality, when playing entire songs, a lot of wedding type songs can last 5 minutes or more. This can bore your audience and this will certainly shorten up the time for the "party" that people expect towards the end of the ceremony.

    The last time I DJ'd a wedding, I only played about 20 songs after the playlist for the Bride and Groom was finished, due to time restrictions...

  7. Great list and the comments are really helpful. I especially appreciate the attention to possible objectionable lyrics. You should have a LOL

  8. Love it!!!!!! #Thanx, April will be here soon

  9. This list is off the chain. I was asking my teenage sons about fetty Wop. They said not if my Pastor and Aunts are there. Im going to try to find radio edits. I want my reception to bump! Thanks again��

  10. Thanks Lonnie! It's great to get the perspective of a wedding DJ. Those are some good tips for everybody to remember.

  11. @Dina: Good point. Asking teenagers about rap songs if you're unsure is a great idea. I added some additional notations next to the songs that might need radio edits. Most rap songs have them, because the artists want to be played on the radio.