Ask the Expert: What Are the Best Songs to End the Night With?

Planning & Advice

One song that will stick with guests has to be the last song of the night. After an evening of partying, it can be nice to finish the night off on a high with a fun, upbeat number or something meaningful that will have everyone out of their seats cheering on the happy couple! Wedding bands and DJs are the pros when it comes to which tunes to play so today we’ve put it to them – what are the best songs for that final number? Here’s what they had to say…

Long Time Coming (L.T.C) Wedding Band | View Profile

It’s best to have some options. Some bands tend to finish with the same song. A few I’ve seen used include Oasis, Don’t Look Back in Anger, great song but during the Brit Pop era, a lot of people were Blur fans and A.B.O fans (anyone but oasis). We have a number of options and like the bride and groom to have input in choosing songs. Here are some ideas:

Take That – Never Forget

The Killers – All These Things That I’ve Done

Garth Brooks  – Friends in Low Places

Tina Turner – Simply the Best

Journey – Don’t Stop Believing

Shane from Santoria | View Profile

This is often an overlooked part of the evening, the Grand Finale! If you don’t have a specific song chosen to close proceedings, chances are you’ll be dancing along to either Take That’s Never Forget or Dirty Dancing favourite I’ve Had The Time Of My Life. You may also be kicking your legs to Sweet Caroline or awaiting the classic crescendo of Ole Blue Eyes’ New York, New York. Other great choices include Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen, Don’t Stop Believing by Journey or, if you’re really feeling adventurous, Maniac 2000 or Thunderstruck! I wouldn’t usually recommend ending the night on a such a raucous, fiery number as it can often leave your hardcore dancers wanting more when those bright lights come on. Most venues have a strict curfew, usually 2am for music and the blistering outro of Thunderstruck doesn’t exactly wind guests down for the next phase in the Residents’ Bar.

One really great choice to resolve things nicely is to finish the night where you started off, i.e. with a repeat of the First Dance or of the entrance song for your ceremony as the bride walks up the aisle. Whatever your selection, be sure to send your requests in advance to your music provider and please don’t rely on last minute requests from iTunes in the early hours of the morning. Live streams from YouTube or Spotify are a bad idea as they require a steady internet connection – a song stopping and buffering is a total disaster on a full dance floor. The craziest choice for a final song I’ve had has to be Rack City by Tyga but believe me it’s not for everyone!

Steely Dave DJ | View Profile

I find that the end of the night is a crucial part of DJ’ing at anyone’s wedding. It’s always important to end on a really high note but also naturally draw the night to a close. The last song is usually around 2am so by that stage you can be sure that the dance floor will be in full swing!

For me, the last half hour of any wedding gig will usually be the time you want to play those songs that will make the guests feel a real emotional connection with their friends and family on the dance floor. They’ve danced their socks off for 4 or 5 hours and now they just want to put their arms round each other and sing along to their favourite party anthems. Some of my favourite closing songs include:

Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place

LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends

Queen – Somebody To Love

Jean Paul Young – Love Is In the Air

Human League – Together In Electric Dreams

Harry Belafonte – Jump In The The Line – This one can be great for an end of the night conga line… but it will definitely lead to chants of “ONE MORE TUNE!”

Danny from Till Death Do Us Party | View Profile

Anthemic, hands-in-the-air, overwhelming or just plain mental – something everyone can get behind! This is the moment you want your family and friends’ arms around you both, lost in euphoric abandon!

Trevor from Midland DJs | View Profile

There are literally hundreds of songs that are good for the last dance. One option is to end the night on a more traditional song – a song that all generations will know and sing along to such as Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond, I’ve Had the Time of My Life from Dirty Dancing, Daydream Believer by The Monkees, Don’t Stop Believing by Journey, New York New York by Frank Sinatra etc. You also have the option of repeating your first dance song. This can be a way to close the night with a song that means a lot to both the bride and groom.

If you have a younger crowd it is best to just let it flow and end the night on a high note. Song examples include Born Slippy by Underworld, Jump Around by House of Pain, I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas, Maniac 2000 by Mark McCabe, One More Time by Daft Punk etc. Some other examples of popular last songs of the night are Shook Me All Night Long by ACDC, Hey Ho by The Lumineers, Don’t Look Back in Anger by Oasis, Marry You by Bruno Mars, Never Forget by Take That etc.

So in summary you may want to consider picking a couple of options for your last song of the night. If you don’t pick a final song, your professional Wedding DJ will have you covered. You never know, the perfect song could pop into your head at the end of the night and you can request it then and there.

The Connor Mc Keon Band | View Profile

You won’t want your wedding day to ever end, but sadly it has to… so make sure it ends on a high! The end of the evening should really be a celebration of everything that has come together to make the day as spectacular as you planned it. We create our set list to build and build during the night, getting every one of your guests involved and having the dance-floor heaving. The second last song is usually something completely over-the-top raucous with everyone on the floor going crazy before going into a song that has tons of sentiment to the couple and the wedding day itself but still upbeat. We ask the bride and groom to be the centre of attention for this song and gather all of the family and friends who have been part of the journey leading up to this special day to join them. The last song is a real ‘moment-in-time’ song and you’ll be sure that anytime you hear that particular song again in the future, you’ll remember right back to that exact time, on one very special night. Some popular last songs are ‘We Are Young – Fun’, ‘Ho Hey – The Lumineers’, ‘Chelsea Dagger – The Fratellis’, ‘Lovely Day – Bill Withers’ but really every couple are different and we always find out in advance what’s special to each couple and design the set and last dance around them.

For our last song, the band played Bill Wither’s “Lovely Day” with a very cool jam out at the end that was so over the top spectacular. All of our family and friends were dancing, clapping and singing-along, it was like we were at our own private concert with everyone we loved around us. We will never forget that.  It really nailed the whole sentiment of the weekend – it actually couldn’t have been more perfect.  Eric & Renée – Castle Leslie, Monaghan

I remember taking Cathrina aside just before the last song to take a moment at the back of the room to take it all in, all we saw were deserted tables because all the guests were packed on to the dance floor going crazy and thoroughly enjoying themselves at our wedding… it was an amazing sight and a great memory. The last song made it so special for us and really captured a vibe we’ll never forget. We danced to One Day Like This by Elbow… every time we hear that song now… we can’t help remember being at the back of the room again and looking at a sea of smiling faces. Ben & Cathrina – Druids Glen Wicklow

Steve from Flog the Dog | View Profile

It depends on the occasion and what people are into. We could end with ‘500 Miles’ or ‘The Rattlin’ Bog’, then again we could end with ‘Shipping Up To Boston’ or ‘Mr. Brightside’. Whatever the last song is, we’re always asked for one more, which is a bonus.

Photo from Tara & Fionan’s real wedding by DKPHOTO