Though the world has made a lot of progress, there are still those who find the aesthetics and pop culture of the 1950s to be dreamy. If you don’t feel a tea-length tulle dress would be figure flattering, but you still want to incorporate the vibe of the ‘50s into your big day, a classic song from the decade could be just the way to do it.
These timeless tunes evoke thoughts of romance and long-lasting love, just like what you and your future spouse share. There is also the potential benefit of discovering a song your grandparents danced to at their own celebration. Due to being part of the music canon for so long, many of these tracks have been included in other media for decades.
Who can forget “Earth Angel” being played at the “Enchantment Under the Sea” dance in Back to the Future or Baby and Johnny rehearsing to “Love is Strange” in Dirty Dancing? If you're a fan of classic tunes, singers like Billie Holiday, or even classic crooners like Frank Sinatra, Johnny Ace, or Elvis Presley, choosing songs from the 1950s for your wedding songs or first dance song could be the perfect way to combine the interests of you and your sweetheart.
Photo by Bob & Dawn Davis Photography
Find wedding music inspiration in the playlist below – perhaps the hunt for the perfect song for your first dance on the dance floor with your new spouse will finally end. Discover some of our favorite wedding song ideas and first dance songs from the '50s:
The 1957 song "You Send Me" was a number-one hit for a reason – in fact, it was one of the love songs that brought Sam Cooke to fame! As if the ethereal melody wasn't enough, the lyrics are perfect for any romantic moment, but especially the wedding day. Our favorite wedding-related line: "At first I thought it was infatuation, but, woo, it's lasted so long. Now I find myself wanting, to marry you and take you home."
Elvis actually made his acting debut in the film of the same name, with "Love Me Tender" being recorded in 1956. It's a wonderful song to sway to, and the lyrics "Love me tender, love me sweet, never let me go. You have made my life complete, and I love you so. Love me tender, love me true. All my dreams fulfilled, for my darling I love you, and I always will" are the reason it's on the list of best wedding songs time and time again.
Released in 1954, "Earth Angel" became a hit by doo-wop group The Penguins. Almost 70 years later, it's still being played as wedding music because of its timeless feel and sound for a first dance and beyond. It will bring you and your guests back to a different time when chivalry was at its height. For an alternative version, the song has been covered by more-modern bands including Death Cab for Cutie in 2005.
While this song was actually recorded for the first time in the 1930s, the 1950s brought other versions by Frankie Laine and Jack Owens, Ella Fitzgerald, a duet by Bob Crosby and Georgia Gibbs, and more. "Dream a Little Dream of Me" has also had additional recordings by Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Doris Day (as mentioned above), and Dean Martin, among others!
Fans of jazz and love songs will adore "Unforgettable" by Nat King Cole as a wedding tune for your first dance or any other part of the wedding day. We love these lyrics especially for a wedding when two people choose to spend the rest of their lives together: "Unforgettable in every way, and forever more, that's how you'll stay. That's why, darling, it's incredible, that someone so unforgettable, thinks that I am unforgettable too."
Another American doo-wop group, The Five Satins, makes the list! Their 1956 tune "In the Still of the Night" – originally spelled "Nite" when released – makes a great wedding song for fans of the genre. The tune was also featured prominently in Martin Scorsese's The Irishman, so it may be a unique way to incorporate music that has stood the test of time for the big day and beyond.
Fans of Dirty Dancing will enjoy hitting the dance floor to "Love Is Strange" as it was featured in the famous film. The tune is by an R&B duo, so it's a great choice for a couple who is both fans of R&B as well as love songs from the 1950s.
A romantic song originally written for 1934 film Dames, the recording by The Flamingos topped the charts and even made Rolling Stone's complete list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. If your beloved always says he has eyes for only you, you'll want to add this to your list of wedding songs! If it's too slow for your first dance, consider having it play during dinner or the cocktail hour at your wedding!
While this song has also been recorded by a number of artists, Bobby Darin's version is one of the better known renditions. Even if you aren't having a coastal wedding by the sea, it's a classic wedding song that guests of all ages will enjoy listening to for the special moment.
Another one that has been covered many times is "Only You (And You Alone)" – first recorded by The Platters. While it has become popular in recent years due to being featured in the video game Far Cry 5, "Only You" will forever be a classic choice for a wedding. After just one listen, it's easy to see why it's a romantic choice for weddings no matter what brought the song into your "future wedding" playlist!
For more ideas, discover classical music for your ceremony, see our favorite traditional wedding invitations you can buy online, and find out what songs you should not include at your reception.