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The Bride's Guide Blog

Wedding Songs For a Black Tie Affair

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Once you attach "black tie" to your big day, it changes things a bit. Suits get fancier. Dresses get dressier. But a formal affair is no reason to spin stuffy music, so we've picked 10 tunes that go along with a black tie evening, from cocktail hour to the last dance.


Carla & Luis share their first dance in Vienna


"I Get a Kick Out You" - Frank Sinatra
No matter your feelings on jazz, you've gotta have Frank playing at some point. This upbeat pick is a little less predictable than "The Way You Look Tonight," but let's be honest, you can't go wrong with anything sung by Old Blue Eyes.

"Your Easy Lovin' Ain't Pleasin' Nothing" - Mayer Hawthorne
The feel-good horns and lively melody on this throwback make it a no-brainer soundtrack to cake-cutting.

"L-O-V-E" - Natalie Cole
Sure, you may have sung this one in grade school as you were learning to spell, but that doesn't mean it won't have toes tapping during cocktail hour.

"Suit & Tie (feat Jay-Z)" - Justin Timberlake
Sometimes a song choice just writes itself. JT's latest offering is fun, funky, and infectious on the dance floor.

"Not Even The King" - Alicia Keys
This "we're-rich-in-love" ballad makes a sweet first dance song, and its piano backdrop and simple-and-sweet vocals are begging to be played at a sophisticated soiree.

"You're All I Need To Get By" - Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
One of the best duets of all time. Period. The verses start out at a simmer and build into a chorus that'll have your guests happily singing along.

"Fever" - Beyonce
Peggy Lee made this ditty famous in the '50s, and in this sultry version, Queen Bey coos along to its signature snaps.

"They Can't Take That Away From Me" - Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald
It's impossible to ignore Ella in this category, and on this track, she and Louis Armstrong list off reasons for loving each other. Awww...

"It's Only A Paper Moon" - Nat King Cole
This jazz standard is a cocktail hour must that—warning!—might prematurely start a dance session before the floor opens officially.

"Fancy" - Drake, T.I., Swizz Beatz
Save this hip-hop anthem for later in the evening—once grandma has  turned in for the night—because, really, who among us, after a few glasses of bubbly at a formal event, can resist a chorus that cheekily asks, "You fancy, huh?"

Find more awesome music inspiration here.

Comments (2)

  • Hi, I'm doing some research for a client and ran across your article. I love that photo! What a gorgeous dress. I've discovered lately in my family the trend towards "simple but elegant" in wedding themes. Outdoor weddings, Key West wedding, and whereas they haven't been "tuxedo" formal, they had incredibly formal music. That is, for the pre-ceremony and ceremony wedding music. A string quartet here, a classical music CD there. It surprised me how much classical music can play a beautiful role in weddings and not sound "stuffy." But for the reception afterwards, your list above is perfect!

  • You've make a great point. Having done many, many "Black Tie" corporate & private events I'm not so sure I'd pick Hawthorne or Timberlake especially for the lyrics but it's a game time decision once I see the crowd from the band stand. I like to mix the Sinatra & Nat with more of the classic rock like Marvin Gaye, Aretha & classic sounding singers like Adele & Winehouse & maybe some Latin & Boogaloo like my old boss Ray Charles. People love it. Good stuff! Thanks

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