You’ve got the dress, the cake, the decorations and the guest list. All that’s left is the music. Planning a great country wedding requires great country love songs. There’s certainly no shortage of country-fried songs to dance to with your sweetie, but on a day this special you’ll want to think outside the box. Wide Open Country has you covered. Here are 10 non-cliche country wedding songs to use on the big day.
10. “Forever and Ever, Amen,” Randy Travis
“Forever and Ever, Amen” definitely got a workout on the wedding circuit in the late 1980s. But we think it deserves another look in the 21st century. Written by Don Schlitz and Paul Overstreet, “Forever and Ever, Amen” is classic country song that has stood the test of time. Only a country song could measure time as “as long as old men sit and talk about the weather, as long as old women sit and talk about old men.” What better way to start married life than with one of the sweetest songs in country history?
9. “The Right Left Hand,” George Jones
The Possum knows a few things about heartbreak and failed marriages, which is why “Right Left Hand” rings so true. Recorded in 1986, the song is thought to be a nod to Jones’ fourth wife, Nancy. Relationships are difficult, but finding the right person to put your trust in is what love’s all about.
8. “Grow Old With Me,” Sunny Sweeney
Sometimes it takes a while to find the one. When you finally do find your soulmate, you start longing for the time lost. “Grow Old With Me,” penned by Sunny Sweeney and Lori McKenna, is a reminder that “love don’t give about time” and no matter how long you’ve been with your partner, every day is a gift.
7. “When You Say Nothing At All,” Alison Krauss
“When You Say Nothing at All” is the second song on the list from masters of the country love song, Don Schlitz and Paul Overstreet. Originally recorded by Keith Whitley in 1988, the song took on a new life when Krauss recorded it for a Whitley tribute album in 1995. The tune, about an unspoken connection that only comes from a relationship built on mutual trust and understanding, is a perfect country wedding song. Also, it’s just plain pretty.
6. “Magnolia Wind,” Emmylou Harris and John Prine
If there’s anyone whose words you should borrow for your wedding day, it’s Guy Clark. The country poet co-wrote and recorded “Magnolia Wind” in 2002 and John Prine and Emmylou Harris lent their voices to the track for the 2011 Guy Clark tribute album This One’s For Him. The result is one of the most gorgeous country duets of the last decade.
5. “I’d Have to Be Crazy,” Willie Nelson
Genies and insane asylums — these are not the topics of your typical country love song. But that’s what makes “I’d Have to Be Crazy” such a special tune. The ballad, written by influential Texas singer-songwriter Steven Fromholz, says that no matter what is going awry in your life, as long as your love for another soul remains constant, you ain’t doing so bad. “I’d have to be crazy, plumb out of my mind, to fall out of love with you,” Willie sings. And the whole world swoons.
4. “More of You,” Chris Stapleton
“More of You,” a bluegrass-tinged ode to life-long love, showcases Stapleton’s soulful harmonies with his wife, Morgane.
3. “In Spite of Ourselves,” John Prine and Iris DeMent
Sometimes the best part of a relationship is the ability to be completely comfortable just being yourself. Despite your weird antics, you know you’ve found someone who’ll except you for who you are. John Prine explores that notion in this sweetly humorous duet with Iris DeMent. There’s some gentle ribbing between the couple, but at the end of the day there’s no one they’d rather come home to.
2. “The Promise,” Sturgill Simpson
Ok, so “The Promise” didn’t start out as a country song. It’s a cover of a 1987 pop hit by When in Rome. But listening to Sturgill’s version, you’d think it was born in a Kentucky holler. Stripped down to its bare bones with Simpson’s booming baritone, “The Promise” sounds like a trembling, powerful wedding vow.
1. “If I Needed You,” Townes Van Zandt
Only Townes Van Zandt could write one of country music’s best love songs in his sleep. Van Zandt always maintained that the lyrics to “If I Needed You” came to him in a dream.
The song has been covered by everyone from Lyle Lovett to Emmylou Harris, but there’s just something raw and beautiful about Townes’ version. Tender, sweet and honest, “If I Needed You” says everything you want to say on your wedding day. “If you needed me, I would come to you. I’d swim the seas for to ease your pain.”