Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Playlist to Please-All

A party for two completely unique and wonderful families, in a room together with carefully chosen food (remember, Grandpa can’t have onions, your niece is allergic to shellfish, and the groom’s brother is vegan), can be a struggle in planning

Most rehearsal dinners have no musical playlist but music can be a salve to assist in avoiding both political and religious arguments.

rehearsal dinner music

I mean, Uncle Rudy is going to drink and the Mother of the Groom is going to feel marginalized in at least three ways, so why not create the playlist to appeal to the Boomers, the Gen Xers, the Millennials, and the iGen teenagers trapped together around the buffet?

Instructions: Once everyone has arrived but before the appetizers, put this playlist on and watch your followers be soothed…

Spotify Rehearsal Dinner Playlist

Songs for Rehearsal Dinner

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The Way You Look Tonight – Maroon 5
Released in 2010, Genre: Pop

Grand Dad will love the Sinatra vibe and your teenage niece will swoon over Adam Levine’s take on this Jerome Kern classic. This intro to the playlist will signal to the room that something interesting and all-inclusive is up.

Most Meaningful Lyrics:

Keep that breathless charm
Won’t you please arrange it?
‘Cause I love you
Just the way you look tonight

song on Amazon

Sweet Caroline – Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Released in 1997, Genre: Pop Punk

Dad will sing along and you will groove on the updated grunge-y take on Neil Diamond’s number-one hit from 1969. Watch as generations come together singing “Hands. Touching hands. Reaching out. Touching me. Touching you.”

Most Meaningful Lyrics:

Touchin’ hands
Reachin’ out
Touchin’ me, touchin’ you
Sweet Caroline

song on Amazon

I’m On Fire – Soccer Mommy
Released in 2018, Genre: Alternative

Uncle Jack loves The Boss. Your kid sister has never even heard of him. This excellent remake combines the Springsteen chemistry with 2015’s Soccer Mommy’s haunting vocals.

Most Meaningful Lyrics:

Tell me now baby, is he good to you?
Can he do to you the things that I do?
Oh no, I can take you higher

song on Amazon

Next, listen to a background dinner music playlist.

Moon River – Frank Ocean
Released in 2018, Genre: R&B

Now things get really fun. Every octogenarian in the room will stop chewing for a second and perk up to hear Frank Ocean’s beautiful rendition. Just as your Great Aunt is about to start her lecture on socialism, this will stop her in her tracks.

Most Meaningful Lyrics:

Moon river, wider than a mile
Crossin’ in style someday
My dream maker, heartbreaker
Wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ the same

song on Amazon

What Is Love? – Kiesza
Released in 2014, Genre: Dance

The Millennials munching down on the gluten-free bread will get a smile at the 90’s staple updated and they will mention that they expected something just for them.

Most Meaningful Lyrics:

What is love?
Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more
What is love?
Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more, no more

song on Amazon

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – CHROMATICS
Released in 2015, Genre: Alternative

Here is where the music wins your mom over. Stressed out and drinking her third glass of rosé, she’s needing the reminder that this wedding stuff is supposed to be fun. She’ll probably sing along while doing a swaying dance move as she starts her fourth glass.

Most Meaningful Lyrics:

That’s all we really want some fun
When the working day is done
Oh girls, they wanna have fun

song on Amazon

Earth Angel – Death Cab for Cutie
Released in 2005, Genre: Alternative

This is the moment in the evening when your grandparents slowly get up and dance. You get to cut in and dance with them and the appreciation will be felt throughout the night and the next day (when it really counts).

Most Meaningful Lyrics:

Earth angel, earth angel
Please be mine
My darling dear
Love you all the time

song on Amazon

The Chain – Harry Styles
Released in 2017, Genre: Pop

The kids will dig on Harry and stop throwing the Garlic Mashed Potatoes at one another; the parents will smile as they remember conceiving you to this song in the back seat of a Bronco.

Most Meaningful Lyrics:

If you don’t love me now
(If you don’t love me now)
You will never love me again
(Never love me again)

Black is the Color – Rhiannon Giddens
Released in 2015, Genre: Folk

Cmon. This is just amazing. Grandma will remember when her hair wasn’t grey and who doesn’t dig on Rhiannon Giddens?

Most Meaningful Lyrics:

I love my love, and well he knows
I love his love and love, it grows
Until I know that I would burst
And still I feel the strongest thirst

song on Amazon

Things are winding down now. Everyone has been smiling, no talk of where they will sit at the reception, and the promise of an extraordinary couple with damn fine taste in music in the air. Time to wind things down.

Keep on Loving You – Cigarettes After Sex
Released in 2015, Genre: Alternative

REO Speedwagon? Cigarettes After Sex? It may take the folks to listen for a beat but once your Dad hears this, his fears and sadness over losing a child will fade away. He will always ‘keep on loving you.’

Most Meaningful Lyrics:

And I meant every word I said
When I said that I love you, I meant that I love you forever
And I’m gonna keep on lovin’ you
‘Cause it’s the only thing I wanna do

song on Amazon

All I Have to Do Is Dream – The Dandy Warhols
Released in 2005, Genre: Alternative

Your emo nephew will join hands with your 72-year-old aunt and they will nibble on the chocolate tort together.

Most Meaningful Lyrics:

I need you so that I could die
I love you so and that is why
Whenever I want you, all I have to do is

song on Amazon

Play tunes to play as drinks are being served.

All of Me – Meiko
Released in 2009, Genre: Jazz

One more for the Boomers. And for the two of you.

Most Meaningful Lyrics:

All of me
Why not take all of me
Can’t you see I’m no good without you

So Into You – Childish Gambino
Released in 2016, Genre: R&B

Finally, to close out the night, here’s one for the couple. Tamia’s 1998 song as covered by Childish Gambino has it all.

Most Meaningful Lyrics:

With every passing moment
Thoughts of you run through my head
Every time that I’m near
I realize that your heaven sent, baby
I think you’re truly something special
Just what my dreams are really made of
Let’s stay together, you and me boy
There’s no one like you around, oh baby

I really like
What you’ve done to me
I can’t really explain it
I’m so into you
I really like
What you’ve done to me
I can’t really explain it
I’m so into you

song on Amazon

At the end of the dinner, you can gift everyone a flash drive, CD, or cassette tape of your playlist along with the flasks and perfume sprayers with the tassels for your wedding party.

Now go home, get some rest, because tomorrow is the Big Show!

Do you have a favorite song to play at a rehearsal dinner? Please share your song below in the comments.

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