Are you a god/goddess of punk that doesn’t play well with Christina Perri or Jason Mraz?
Perhaps you enjoyed the best of your youth in a darkened teenage bedrooms listening to PJ Harvey, The Smiths, and Tom Waits.
You don’t have to compromise on your wedding music to make others happy. Getting married and “adulting” doesn’t mean turning your day into a whiter shade of beige.
As professional misfits who perform at a heap of unique weddings, we’re here to help.
This is our properly-researched, tried and tested list of alternative songs to walk down the aisle to. These ceremony songs sound fantastic performed live and acoustic.
No filler, no generic wedding songlist crap. Just 19 great non-traditional alternatives to the wedding march.
And just to make your wedding music research easier, here’s a spotify playlist featuring every song on the list.
Grab a refreshing beverage, hit play and read on.
DREAMY WEDDING SONGS
The Ship Song - Nick Cave
No alternative wedding song list would be complete without Nick Cave.
But let’s avoid the done-to-death Into My Arms (sweet as it may be). How about something a little more unique?
The Ship Song comes with a tongue-in-cheek warning “do not play it around a woman or man you are not interested in falling in love with”.
The lyrics are dripping in Nick Cave-esque romance. And the melody just as romantic.
Have it sung live and acoustic and it will be captivating.
Picture In A Frame - Tom Waits
The simplest of melodies. Sentimental without approaching soppy.
Picture In A Frame is an unassuming love ballad that suckerpunches you in your soul. Willie Nelson covered it too.
“I’m gonna love you til the wheels come off”. What does it mean exactly? Mr Waits said in a ‘99 interview “That’s prison slang. Means until the end of the world”.
Perfectly Tom Waits, and perfect for an alternative processional.
Fade Into You - Mazzy Star
Ok, we know this song has been making top songlists since way back in ’94. But it deserves a place on this list as well.
Fade Into You is late-night, lamplit quiet.
It’s hiding under a blanket of stars with your lover. It’s whispered secrets and shared moments that nobody can touch.
And when it’s performed, that’s exactly how it should feel.
That’s how we did it for Susan & Shane’s intimate 12-guest wedding. Raw, soft, heartfelt and entirely acoustic.
Here’s how we do it late at night when we’re teaching our friends to play guitar:
FLOATING IN SPACE PROCESSIONALS
Across The Universe - Fiona Apple / The Beatles
The Beatles songs are unimaginatively plastered across every generic wedding song playlist.
But here’s an uncommon choice.
And better still, it’s a cover by the mighty fine Fiona Apple. Off her 1999 album, When The Pawn… arguably one of the best albums of the nineties.
It’s also been covered by David Bowie, Cindi Lauper and Rufus Wainwright.
Across The Universe is a graceful cloud to float down the aisle to. It works best performed live by a tender, sweet voice.
Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space - Spiritualized
What if you could give a nod to tradition without giving in to it?
Like, say you needed to make your old folks happy, but there’s no way you’re going to have a classical processional song?
You need to check out this Spiritualized song.
It’s the ultimate modern replacement for Pachelbel’s Canon in D – same key, same chord progression and all.
AND it features the lyrics from Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling In Love.
Sarah was lucky enough to see them perform this song at the 2012 Meredith Music Festival. The live version was spine-tingling.
Do You Realize - The Flaming Lips
“Do you realize that you have the most beautiful face?
Do you realize we’re floating in space?”
With a knockout opening line like that, you might mistake this dreamy tune for a light-hearted fluffy bunny.
But have a good read of those lyrics.
They’re as much about life and death as they are about making the most of every moment.
Frontman Wayne Coyne likens it to meeting his wife or “one of these things that just happens to you where you say: ‘How fucking lucky am I?’”
ROCK YOUR WAY DOWN THE AISLE
Baby, I Love You - Ramones
For those of you who want to punk your wedding, why not walk down the aisle to the Ramones cover Baby, I Love You?
The original was recorded by The Ronettes in the 60’s – you know them from the Dirty Dancing anthem Be My Baby.
And if sixties is your thing, there’s a whole lotta retro wedding music you need to know. We’re writing that article for you right now.
Back to the Ramones, we’re talkin’ sweet romantic punk love.
This song makes a heartfelt couples processional. You can stomp, sway and twirl down the aisle together!
Have Love Will Travel - The Black Keys
While we’re touching on retro, we’d best mention The Black Keys alternative cover of Have Love, Will Travel.
First recorded by Richard Berry in 1959, and covered by garage rock legends The Sonics in ‘65. It’s an upbeat blues rock classic.
For an acoustic duo like us, we love hearing how other duos interpret full band songs.
And we reckon The Black Keys have created a no-nonsense rock masterpiece.
That catchy guitar riff makes for a unique processional, and sounds fantastic played on a banjo.
This Is Love - PJ Harvey
Alt rock brides and grooms, feel free to take your wedding inspiration from a fringed suit-wearin’ PJ Harvey.
The goddess of punk blues makes no apologies for her desires.
This is love, this is love, that I’m feelin’, she howls and she roars.
You’ll want to strut down the aisle in your best boots, smile plastered from ear to ear as you begin to marry your favourite weirdo.
And yes, for those of you wondering, this song rocks as an acoustic number.
Make It Wit Chu - Queens Of The Stone Age
Speaking of PJ Harvey, we have to include Make It Wit Chu.
It makes an epic walk in song for grooms too. You’ll find it on the 2007 Queens Of The Stone Age album Era Vulgaris.
If you do a bit of research, you’ll find that QOTSA singer Josh Holmes recorded this song four years prior with hard rock collective The Desert Sessions.
It featured PJ Harvey on backing vocals and a solo from Ween guitarist Dean Ween.
We’ve included both QOTSA and Desert Sessions versions in the spotify playlist.
And here’s our own take on it with a bit o’ Johnny Cash vibes:
CHEEKY ALTERNATIVES TO THE WEDDING MARCH
I Think I’m Love - Beck
Soppy romantic sentiments not your thing? No problemo. Bet you never imagined you’d want to get married either!
We get it, and so does Beck.
If you’re totes in L&%# with your perfect weirdo, but not so keen on the L-word itself, check out I Think I’m In Love.
It’s upbeat, light-hearted and fun.
And there’s no reason you can’t have it performed acoustically for a more wedding-y feel.
The Outdoor Type - The Lemonheads
Some couples love the idea of a mountaintop elopement.
But if all that fresh air makes you run from the hills, you might be as guilty as The Lemonheads.
Hell, we’ve all feigned interest in some stupid adventure hobby before.
If your partner ever tried to get you abseiling, camping, fishing or hiking, The Outdoor Type is for you.
Pay attention to those lyrics – they’d be hilarious to walk down the aisle to.
Run From Me - Timber Timbre
You’ve gotta have a sense of humour.
All this wedding planning can make you a bit crazy.
And some of us have a pretty dark idea of ‘funny’. As do Canadian rockers Timber Timbre.
What better way to walk down the aisle than to the swooned lyrics “run from me darling, you better run for your life”.
If you’re the kind couple who like stirring things up a bit, give it a listen.
This song will guarantee hilarious, bewildered faces amongst your guests.
SUPER COOL PROCESSIONALS FOR RAD COUPLES
Love Interruption - Jack White
Released in 2012, this is a modern processional song in our books, and totally different.
We’re not afraid to talk about love openly, honestly, brutally, and neither is Jack White. “I really wanted to stir up the notion of what love could mean” he said.
And the delivery is smashing. With a powerful backup harmony holding ground, it’s a mesmerising, unique walk-in duet.
Male-female vocal duos bring a sense of partnership and connection to the ceremony.
Definitely worth a check through the lyrics, but if you’re not afraid to shock a few conservatives, you’re on a winner here.
The Way I Walk - The Cramps
But what if you’re not interested in love songs at all?
If you’d rather trade wedding heels for converse and rock a pair of sunnies at your ceremony, then The Cramps is for you.
We love The Cramps for alternative wedding music; not just because of their punktastic sound, but also because the band centered around husband-and-wife duo Interior Lux (vocals) and Poison Ivy (guitar).
But did you know The Way I Walk is a cover? It was first released in 1958 by Jack Scott. 20 years later The Cramps brought it to our attention and their version stuck.
Musician couples know how to sing a love song!
Rollercoaster - Machine Gun Fellatio
How about a feel good hit of the summer?
Australian alt-rockers Machine Gun Fellatio had a hit in 2003 with Rollercoaster.
The song features awesome lines like “You’re vine-ripened and now I’m frightened by the lightning in my legs” and “You’re such a screamin’ dream I’m leanin’ to the demons in my head”.
Between raunchy stage antics and controversial song titles, it’d be easy to write off MGF as a novelty band.
Their music ranges from the ridiculous to the beautiful.
Rollercoaster stands somewhere in the middle, covered in confetti and perfect for the kind of bride who’d make her wedding entrance on rollerskates.
DELIGHTFUL CEREMONY PROCESSIONAL SONGS
Got Me - She & Him
For those of you who don’t know, She & Him are the sugar-coated combination of Zooey Deschaneal and M Ward.
They met singing a duet for a film, and they’ve gone from strength to strength ever since.
You can hear it in their songs, a perfect pairing of voices and hearts.
Got Me is simple, happy-makin’ and with a slight retro-country twinge.
It makes for a sweet walk down the aisle, or as an alternative, use it for your bridal dance.
I’m In Love - Cash Savage And The Last Drinks
Cash Savage grew up in Gippsland, and now resides in Melbourne where she and her band create gospel-punk country-rock songs.
They’ve received great coverage for their albums on PBS, Triple R radio.
Cash Savage is what Melbourne music is all about. She credits Fitzroy venue The Old Bar as the band’s spiritual home.
I’m In Love features on their 2013 album The Hypnotiser. Produced by Graveyard Train frontman Nick Finch.
Did we mention it features gorgeous, romantic banjo? What’s not to love?
The lyrics are straightforward and sincere.
We played this processional song for Mick & Elise’s melbourne city rooftop wedding and it went down a treat.
Blue Moon - She Keeps Bees / Elvis
There’s a good reason this song is so popular.
And it’s more than Elvis.
Blue Moon was first released in 1934, and it’s been covered more times than anyone can keep track of.
But what’s most important about this song is the variety of ways you can interpret it to suit your occasion.
Blue Moon can be performed slow and sentimental, or upbeat and sweet as summer peaches. It’s your choice.
It’s beautiful as a live acoustic number.
But if you must go with recorded music, try the modern cover by rock n roll couple-duo She Keeps Bees. Or check out vintage covers by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin or Billie Holiday.
There you have it folks, 19 killer alternative processional songs to make your walk down the aisle everything it should be.
Hopefully you’re all inspired to make your special day more “you”.
Have yourselves a fab wedding. And remember, it’s your big day, do whatever you damn well please!
#20 - Bonus Track
WHAAA? You read the whole thing? You rock!
Since you’ve been so good, here’s one more non-traditional song our couples have walked down the aisle to. It’s called Tiny Proposal, written and performed by us – Fidel & Sarah. You can see Sham + Gerard rocking out to it below. Enjoy!