What comes to mind when you think of must-include songs for your indie wedding? You may be envisioning a wedding playlist loaded with tracks by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Peter Bjorn, MGMT, and Death Cab for Cutie. But what if you’re looking for a little more nostalgia during cocktail hour? Or maybe you’re wanting lesser-known cover songs to light up your first dance and make it truly special.
Lee Dyson has an incredible amount of music knowledge as the owner of Los Angeles-based Hey Mister DJ, a DJ company passionate about creating unique and interesting wedding days for couples. According to Dyson, modern weddings continue the trend of not playing traditional wedding music.
“Couples want songs to be unique and something their guests haven’t heard before. Or, they may be songs customized to fit the personality of the couple.”
Dyson has dozens of Spotify wedding playlists for every moment of the big day, ranging from the grand entrance to the wedding recessional. We cherry-picked our 23 favorite tracks that will make perfect additions to your indie wedding playlist.
1. “Sea of Love” — Cat Power
Charlyn Marie Marshall (aka Cat Power) adds a gentle, wistful twist in her cover of this classic song that’s perfect for your ceremony processional.
2. “You’re So Cool” — Hans Zimmer
Pop culture fanatics will instantly get the reference to Clarence Worley and Alabama Whitman, the wildly in-love married couple on the run from the Mafia in the cult hit movie True Romance.
Composed by Hans Zimmer, “You’re So Cool” lives up to its name. It may be the lightest, coolest score for members of an indie wedding party to walk down the aisle to. Props to the couple that gets hitched in the brightly-colored ensembles and sunglasses, too!
3. “Good For Me” — Above & Beyond
Above & Beyond is legendary in the electronic dance music (EDM) space. Dyson says that many indie couples also attend EDM festivals. This slowed-down version of “Good for Me” keeps to its electronic roots and still feels incredibly romantic during the ceremony processional.
4. “Awake” — Tycho
Make the walk down the aisle a breezy, ambient one to remember and never forget.
5. “Love” — Lana Del Rey
After the couple has made their vows, guests will be mingling during the ceremony processional awaiting the grand entrance of the newlyweds.
“Another trend we [DJs] notice is couples have been asking for newer and more alternative tracks to play during preludes,” Dyson says. “These songs have a more eclectic vibe.”
Add Lana Del Rey’s “Love” to your own love prelude. The lyrics are perfect for the setting, with Del Rey’s otherworldly vocals intoning, “Look at you kids, you know you’re the coolest. The world is yours and you can’t refuse it.”
Other unique tracks to spin during an indie love prelude include “Sunset Lover” by Petit Biscuit and “I’ll Be There” by Jess Glynne.
6. “Falling In Love” — Cigarettes After Sex
Another chill, alternative song to play during your ceremony. “I feel I’m falling in love with all my heart.” We feel it, too.
7. “Dreams” — The Cranberries
Mix up the cocktail hour by spinning indie classics from every decade of music! Amplify the festivities with a few indie ‘90s anthems, like 1993’s “Dreams” by The Cranberries and the re-release of “There She Goes” by The La’s in 1990.
8. “Put Your Records On” — Corinne Bailey Rae
Take a (relatively recent) trip down memory lane by adding these songs to your cocktail hour playlist — especially if you’re having a summer indie wedding.
“Put Your Records On” and “Just a Ride” by Jem will immediately conjure up memories of car drives during hazy summer afternoons.
Early twilight weddings with twinkle lights should have their love preludes soundtracked by the super mellow “My Moon My Man” by Feist and “Everybody” by Ingrid Michaelson.
9. “Burning” — Maggie Rogers
As guests prepare to greet the couple in their grand entrance, the songs leading up to this moment may be relative newcomers in the indie space.
“Burning” tells the story of life before meeting the one — a reckless time when that soulmate was able to open them up to love.
10. “Feel It Still” — Portugal, The Man
A commercial success, “Feel It Still” by Portugal, The Man is also a new indie classic. This newlywed couple is staying true to their roots of being rebels just for kicks.
11. “Best Day Of My Life” — American Authors
Perfect for a grand entrance or the final song of the night — or even both!
12. “Home” — Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes
“Ah, home, let me come home. Home is wherever I’m with you.” Folk vibes abide in this track that sets the stage for the wedding party and couple to make their big entrance.
13. “Midnight City” — M83
Lend a cosmopolitan vibe to your indie wedding with this track that will get everyone up and grooving. It’s the ultimate sound for a wedding set in the early evening.
14. “Never Had Nobody Like You” — M. Ward featuring Zooey Deschanel
What’s a first dance song without She & Him? Make this moment to remember She & Him’s cover of “You Really Got a Hold on Me.”
Or, go for the deep cuts with M. Ward’s “Never Had Nobody Like You.” This was from the pre-She & Him era when Zooey Deschanel was a supporting vocalist on M. Ward’s songs from his album Hold Time. “Honey, I ain’t ever had nobody like you.”
15. “Falling Like The Stars” — James Arthur
Cue the mood lighting and slow time down with this gentle ballad. “We’re falling like the stars, we’re falling in love.”
16. “Could I Love You Any More” — Reneé Dominique and Jason Mraz
Could we love this song — and the musical collaboration between Dominique and Mraz — anymore? It’s a first dance dream come true!
17. “Young And Beautiful” — Lana Del Rey
In this sweeping track, Del Rey waxes nostalgia for youthful love and asks the question of whether you’ll still love your partner when they’re no longer young and beautiful. (We know you will.)
18. “The Luckiest” — Ben Folds
“The Luckiest” is one of those heartbreaking tearjerkers that will make it difficult for guests to not reach for the tissues.
19. “How Long Will I Love You” — Jon Boden, Sam Sweeney, Ben Coleman
Covers of classic love songs are a hit for modern weddings, and that trend continues for the indie wedding. Make your first dance uplifting with “How Long Will I Love You,” famously featured in the romance film About Time.
Need a few more cover love song options for your first dance? These tracks will suit any newlywed’s wedding personality:
- “Higher Love” — James Vincent McMorrow (Steve Winwood cover)
- “I’m Into Something Good” — the bird and the bee (The Herman’s Hermits cover)
- “Your Song” — Ellie Goulding (Elton John cover)
- “Halo” — Lotte Kestner (Beyoncé cover)
- “Never Tear Us Apart” — Paloma Faith (INXS cover)
20. “White Winter Hymnal” — Fleet Foxes
“White Winter Hymnal” is the perfect song to start a sit-down dinner during the wedding reception surrounded by loved ones.
What other indie songs pair well with wedding dining and crafted cocktails? Keep these additional tracks in steady rotation:
- “Wildest Moments” — Jessie Ware
- “Sunrise” — Norah Jones
- “You Are the Best Thing” — Ray LaMontagne
- “Butterflies” — Kacey Musgraves
- “Sugar” — Maren Morris
21. “Knock Me A Kiss” — Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five
Time to cut the cake! Add an old-fashioned song with sweet lyrics for this head-over-heels moment.
22. “This Is What You Came For” — Calvin Harris
Time to hit the dance floor at the reception! An indie wedding playlist loves to hit play on pop songs and mix them up with other indie dance songs. Get a good balance of top 40 mixed with alternative tunes by taking a cue from the dance tracks below:
- “Shut Up and Dance” — WALK THE MOON
- “Brighter Than The Sun” — Colbie Caillat
- “Daylight” — Matt and Kim
- “Nice To Meet Ya” — Niall Horan
- “Feels” — Calvin Harris, Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry
23. “Cosmic Love” — Florence + The Machine
As the wedding day comes to a close, it’s time to pick a few songs to send guests out on a merry endnote. Why not make your last one filled with nostalgia — and love?
“Cosmic Love” is just one of the few songs perfect for ending a magical wedding. Consider one of these indie hits that share the story of true love across all generations:
- “Kiss Me” — Sixpence None The Richer
- “Friday I’m in Love” — The Cure
- “Love You ‘Til The End” — The Pogues
- “La Vie En Rose” – Lucy Dacus (Edith Piaf cover)