33 Old-School Love Songs for a Nostalgic Wedding Experience

These timeless classics will never get old.

black and white photo of a bride and groom having their first dance at their wedding reception

Photo by Erica Streelman

No matter your taste in music, there's something about an old-school love song that will instantly get you in your feelings. That's because this style of music is absolutely timeless, appeals to multiple generations, and has the ability to evoke feelings of nostalgia with its heartfelt lyrics and captivating medleys. 

“These songs have stood the test of time because of the purity,” says Keenan Daniels (professionally known as "The Million Dolla Man"), a DJ based in Tennessee. “Today's music doesn't leave much to the imagination. However, songs from what I consider to be 'back in the day' definitely contain a sense of innocence, sweetness, romance, and purity when it came to singing about love.”

From "My Girl" by The Temptations to "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" by Stevie Wonder and "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong, there's an array of tunes to choose from that will pull at the heartstrings of everyone at your celebration. These tracks are also a great choice for the father-child dance or mother-child dance, especially if your parents refer to old-school love songs as their favorite type of music.

Ahead, we put together a list of the best old-school love songs that are sure to create unforgettable memories at your wedding. Read on for more.

An Introduction to Old-School Love Songs

“An old-school love song can be defined by anything that was popular when you were growing up,” explains Daniels. “A throwback song to me at the age of 42 is completely different than to a person who [is] in their 60s or 70s, or someone who’s in their 20s!” Simply put, as people get older, the idea of what’s considered “old school” can change. 

With that in mind, however, some artists are universally accepted as “old school,” regardless of the decade you were born in and where you grew up. According to Daniels, artists like The Temptations, The Righteous Brothers, Earth Wind & Fire, Hall & Oates, Elvis Presley, and Michael Jackson “will forever remain evergreen,” and will always be a hit at any wedding.  

Historical and Cultural Context of Old-School Love Songs 

Though this genre of music only exists when you look back in time, if you pay attention to the type of music that’s popular today, it’s evident that these songs have served as the inspiration for many modern artists. More specifically, the melodies and arrangements of old-school love songs have been sampled and incorporated into new tracks across every genre, from pop and R&B to rock and hip-hop.

Interested in adding a few old-school love songs to your must-play list? Ahead, here are a handful of tracks that Daniels says will resonate with people across every generation. 

01 of 33

“Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers

Lyrics of Love: “Woah, my love, my darling/I've hungered for your touch/A long, lonely time/And time goes by so slowly/And time can do so much/Are you still mine?/I need your love”

02 of 33

“When a Man Loves a Woman” by Michael Bolton

Lyrics of Love: “When a man loves a woman/Spend his very last dime/And trying to hold on to what he needs/He'd give up all his comforts/And sleep out in the rain/If she said that's the way, it ought to be/When a man loves a woman"

03 of 33

“Can't Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley

Lyrics of Love: “Wise men say/Only fools, only fools rush in/Oh, but I, but I, I can't help falling in love with you/Shall I stay?/Would it be, would it be a sin?/If I can't help falling in love with you"

04 of 33

“Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton

Lyrics of Love: “We go to a party/And everyone turns to see/This beautiful lady/That's walking around with me/And then she asks me, "Do you feel alright?"/And I say, "Yes, I feel wonderful tonight"

05 of 33

“I Don't Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith

Lyrics of Love: “Don't wanna close my eyes/I don't wanna fall asleep/'Cause I'd miss you baby/And I don't wanna miss a thing/'Cause even when I dream of you (even when I dream)/The sweetest dream would never do/I'd still miss you baby/And I don't wanna miss a thing"

06 of 33

“My Girl” by The Temptations

Lyrics of Love: “I've got sunshine on a cloudy day/When it's cold outside/I've got the month of May/I guess you'd say/What can make me feel this way/My girl, my girl, my girl"

07 of 33

“Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye

Lyrics of Love: “Ooh baby, I'm hot just like an oven (heal me my darling, heal me my darling)/I need some lovin'/And baby, I can't hold it much longer (heal me my darling, heal me my darling)/It's getting stronger and stronger"

08 of 33

“Lost Without U” by Robin Thicke

Lyrics of Love: “I'm lost without you/Can't help myself/How does it feel/To know that I love you, baby?/I'm lost without you/Can't help myself/How does it feel/To know that I love you, baby?"

09 of 33

“Butterflies” by Michael Jackson

Lyrics of Love: “I just want to touch and kiss/And I wish that I could be with you tonight/You give me butterflies inside, inside and I”

10 of 33

“Spend My Life With You” by Eric Benét

Lyrics of Love: “I never knew 'til I looked in your eyes (oh, baby)/I was incomplete 'til the day you walked into my life, ooh/And I never knew that my heart could feel/So precious and pure, our love is so real”

11 of 33

“Cry for You” by Jodeci

Lyrics of Love: “You know you're everything I do/Ooh, yeah/Do what you want me to/I would do anything/Get on my knees for you/Ooh, baby/What else is there to do?”

12 of 33

“Sarah Smile” by Hall & Oates

Lyrics of Love: “When I feel cold, you warm me/And when I feel I can't go on/You come and hold me/It's you and me forever”

13 of 33

“Let's Stay Together” by Al Green

Lyrics of Love: “I, I'm I'm so in love with you/Whatever you want to do/Is all right with me/'Cause you make me feel so brand new/And I want to spend my life with you"

14 of 33

“All My Life” by K-Ci & JoJo

Lyrics of Love: “All my life (ohhhh, baby, baby)/I prayed for someone like you/And I thank God/That I/That I finally found you/All my life/I prayed for someone like you/And I hope that you feel the same way too"

15 of 33

“You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne

Lyrics of Love: “And baby/The way you move me, it's crazy/It's like you see right through me/And make it easier/You please me, you don't even have to try/Oh, because/You are the best thing”

16 of 33

“You're Still The One” by Shania Twain

Lyrics of Love: “You're still the one I run to/The one that I belong to/You're still the one I want for life/(You're still the one)/You're still the one that I love/The only one I dream of/You're still the one I kiss goodnight”

17 of 33

“At Last” by Etta James

Lyrics of Love: “At last/My love has come along/My lonely days are over/And life is like a song/Oh, yeah, yeah/At last/The skies above are blue”

18 of 33

“Here and Now” by Luther Vandross

Lyrics of Love: “One look in your eyes and there I see/Just what you mean to me/Here in my heart I believe/Your love is all I'll ever need/Holdin' you close through the night/I need you, yeah”

19 of 33

“Let's Stay Together” by Al Green

Lyrics of Love: “I, I'm I'm so in love with you/Whatever you want to do/Is all right with me/'Cause you make me feel so brand new/And I want to spend my life with you"

20 of 33

“Endless Love” by Lionel Richie

Lyrics of Love: “My love, there's only you in my life/The only thing that's right/My first love, you're every breath that I take/You're every step I make/And I, I want to share, all my love with you”

21 of 33

“Just the Two of Us” by Bill Withers

Lyrics of Love: “Just the two of us/We can make it if we try/Just the two of us/(Just the two of us)/Just the two of us/Building castles in the sky/Just the two of us/You and I"

22 of 33

“Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me) by The Temptations

Lyrics of Love: “Each day through my window I watch her as she passes by/I say to myself "You're such a lucky guy"/To have a girl like her is truly a dream come true/Out of all the fellows in the world, she belongs to me"

23 of 33

“My Cherie Amour” by Stevie Wonder

Lyrics of Love: “My Cherie amour, lovely as a summer day/My Cherie amour, distant as the Milky Way/My Cherie amour, pretty little one that I adore/You're the only girl my heart beats for”

24 of 33

“I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

Lyrics of Love: “If I should stay/I would only be in your way/So I'll go, but I know/I'll think of you every step of the way/And I will always love you/I will always love you”

25 of 33

“The Matrimony” by Wale featuring Usher

Lyrics of Love: “If there's a question of my heart, you've got it/It don't belong to anyone but you/If there's a question of my love, you've got it/Baby don't worry, I've got plans for you"

26 of 33

“With You” by Tony Terry

Lyrics of Love: “When I'm with you, I hear a sound/That makes me laugh and smile and sing to you/When I'm with you, I feel so free/I love that love is going to take control of me”

27 of 33

"Unforgettable" by Nat King Cole

Lyrics of Love: “Unforgettable, that's what you are/Unforgettable, though near or far/Like a song of love that clings to me/How the thought of you does things to me/Never before has someone been more”

28 of 33

"The Way You Look Tonight" by Frank Sinatra

Lyrics of Love: “Yes, you're lovely, with your smile so warm/And your cheeks so soft/There is nothing for me but to love you/And the way you look tonight”

29 of 33

"Baby Love" by The Supremes

Lyrics of Love: “Baby love, my baby love/I need you, oh how I need you (Baby love, ooh, baby love)/But all you do is treat me bad/Break my heart and leave me sad/Tell me, what did I do wrong/To make you stay away so long”

30 of 33

"Stand by Me" by Ben E. King

Lyrics of Love: “When the night, has come/And the land is dark/And the moon, is the only, light we'll see/No I won't, be afraid/No I won't, be afraid/Just as long, as you stand, stand by me”

31 of 33

"(They Long to Be) Close to You" by The Carpenters

Lyrics of Love: “Why do birds suddenly appear, ev'ry time you are near?/Just like me, they long to be close to you/Why do stars fall down from the sky, ev'ry time you walk by?/Just like me, they long to be close to you”

32 of 33

"How Deep Is Your Love" by Bee Gees

Lyrics of Love: “How deep is your love?/I really mean to learn/'Cause we're living in a world of fools/Breaking us down when they all should let us be/We belong to you and me"

33 of 33

"Just the Way You Are" by Billy Joel

Lyrics of Love: “I would not leave you in times of trouble/We never could have come this far, mmm/I took the good times, I'll take the bad times/I'll take you just the way you are"

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