Folk music combines simple melodies and rhythms with poetic lyrics to create songs that tell relatable stories.
Since love is a common theme in folk music, there are plenty of options from popular folk artists that would be perfect for a wedding ceremony or reception!
We have compiled a list of 20 of the best folk songs that will help elevate and enhance the overall ambiance of your wedding.
Whether you’re a boho couple or simply a folk music lover, there is something on this list for you to enjoy on your wedding day.
“You Have Stolen My Heart,” by Brain Fallon
Lyrics you’ll love: “But I feel you in me / Inside of my ears / Inside of my bones.”
This slow-paced folk ballad brings back the feelings of first falling in love and describes the way that special person makes you feel as though you’ve fallen under a spell.
It has hauntingly beautiful lyrics that would make for a perfect first dance or processional song.
“Oh, Pretty Woman,” by Aaron Espe
Lyrics you’ll love: “Pretty woman, stop awhile / Pretty woman, talk awhile / Pretty woman, give your smile to me.”
The classic song “Pretty Woman” was originally sung by Roy Orbison in 1964. It was inspired by his late wife as she walked down the street to go shopping, and had a resurgence in popularity during the 80s with the release of Julia Roberts’ film Pretty Woman.
Aaron Espe’s song is a stripped-down version of the original, with a melodic banjo and tambourine carrying the melody behind the lyrics. It would be a lovely song to play at reception or to feature as the bride and bridesmaids walk down the aisle.
“Until You,” by AHI
Lyrics you’ll love: “I was empty, lost without a clue / Until now / Until you.”
If you’re a couple in search of the perfect first dance song, look no further than AHI’s “Until You.”
This song describes how life and fate intertwine to bring us “the one.”
We’d recommend this song as a nice slow-dance break during your reception.
“Flowers in Your Hair,” by The Lumineers
Lyrics you’ll love: “Be in my eyes / Be in my heart / Be in my eyes / And be in my heart.”
The Lumineers are one of those folk bands whose catchy lyrics and chill acoustic melodies can transport you to different periods of your life. This song is no exception.
It has a nostalgic feel to it and tells the story of a man who falls in love with a woman he’s known all of his life. This woman can make the man abandon his regrets and settle down for a happy life.
This tune would make a great processional song or a nice addition to your reception tracks.
“Forever,” by Ben Harper
Lyrics you’ll love: “So give me your forever / Please your forever / Not a day less will do from you.”
Ben Harper’s low, husky voice singing over an acoustic guitar is incredibly charming.
This romantic song talks about how people promise forever to one another too often, but they only mean it in a temporary sense.
The singer wants a real, lifelong forever from the person he’s singing to. It is a lovely way to describe true commitment, making it a great choice for a first dance song.
“Wedding Dress,” by Sam Amidon
Lyrics you’ll love: “Wedding dress, wedding dress / Better be making your wedding dress / Oh it’s already made.”
This isn’t exactly a love song, but it is a quirky folk ballad that features a charming mix of brass instruments, violins, and the traditional acoustic guitar.
Play it as guests are arriving and finding their seats for your ceremony.
“Home,” by Josh Beeman
Lyrics you’ll love: “I know you won’t leave me behind, even in my darkest times / You’re the one that always stays close / You are home.”
For many, finding the person you’re meant to spend the rest of your life with can feel remarkably like you’ve come home. The person represents all of the safety and comfort that home traditionally brings, and this song tells that story beautifully.
We’d play this song either at the end of your ceremony or during your reception for a sweet slow dance.
“Let’s Go Build a House,” by Justin Fouts
Lyrics you’ll love: “Let’s go build a house in the creek up in the mountains / Where we’ll raise two kids who look just like us.”
This tune is bubbly and sweet and tells the story of two people who’ve fallen in love and now dreaming of their future home together. The singer describes a simple life that includes everything from talking about the weather to lazy nights in and cuddling.
The way it alludes to happily ever after makes it a lovely first dance choice.
“Ho Hey,” by The Lumineers
Lyrics you’ll love: “I belong with you, you belong with me / You’re my sweetheart.”
This upbeat tune has a bouncy melody and beautiful harmonies that describe being “the one” for someone else.
It is a popular song that most people know the words to, and would be a good choice to add to your reception playlist.
“Can’t Take My Eyes off of You,” by Imaginary Future
Lyrics you’ll love: “At long last, love has arrived / And I thank God I’m alive / You’re just too good to be true / Can’t take my eyes off you.”
The original version of this song was sung by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in 1967. It is a classic love song, but the acoustic folk version by Imaginary Future slows it down and gives it a softer, more romantic feel.
We think it’s a fit for any part of your ceremony or reception.
“Put Your Head on My Shoulder,” by The Macarons Project
Lyrics you’ll love: “Squeeze me oh so tight / Show me that you love me too.”
Paul Anka wrote this doo-wop song in 1957, which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 list.
It has since been covered dozens of times, but the folk version by The Macarons Project is an aching ballad full of raw emotion that will bring all of your guests to tears.
“And I Love Her,” by Passenger
Lyrics you’ll love: “She’s a hard-headed woman / And the best one that I know / And I love her / Yeah, well I love her.”
This gorgeous ballad sung by the raspy-voiced Mike Rosenberg is a simple ode to the woman he loves. It describes the love of his life in a series of poetic and melodic similes, comparing her to every season, animal, and natural element.
Choose this emotional song for your first dance if you are a messy and complicated woman who loves hard, or you’re in love with one!
“Bride,” – Aria & Oaken
Lyrics you’ll love: “Tear back the veil, seeing you face to face / Bear all your burdens whatever the case / Build you a new home, just for you and me / Please take my hand, you’ve waited so patiently.”
Based on the name alone, you can guess that this song is appropriate for a wedding ceremony or as a processional song.
It is a whimsical duet featuring beautiful harmonies with a slightly rougher quality, as though the singers are performing it right beside you.
“First Day of My Life,” by Bright Eyes
Lyrics you’ll love: “This is the first day of my life / I’m glad I didn’t die before I met you / But now I don’t care, I could go anywhere with you / And I’d probably be happy.”
Released in early 2005, “First Day of My Life” is a folksy acoustic song that talks about two people falling in love. Both people in the relationship feel that their true lives began the day they met, which is a testament to how the right person can make us feel brand new.
With its hopeful tone and cheerful acoustic melodies, this song should be played during your walk down the aisle as a symbol of the start of your new life with your partner.
“January Wedding,” by The Avett Brothers
Lyrics you’ll love: “But I know what she’s sayin’ / I understand because my heart and hers are the same / And in January we’re gettin’ married.”
The Avett Brothers are the kings of modern folk music.
Their popular song “January Wedding” tells the story of two flawed people falling in love with one another, as well as how their relationship is a partnership. They need one another to appreciate life in all of its frustrating glory.
This would be a beautiful song to play as your guests arrive at the ceremony, to set the overall tone for your day.
“I Want to Make You Mine,” by The Suddenlys
Lyrics you’ll love: “You and me, it’s all we’ll ever need / Even if the sun refused to shine / As long as you are mine”
When you marry the love of your life, you know for certain that no matter what life throws at you, everything will be okay as long as that person is by your side.
“I Want to Make You Mine” describes this feeling perfectly. The harmonies of this ballad are also truly delightful to listen to.
“What a Wonderful World,” by Sawyer Fredericks
Lyrics you’ll love: “I see friends shaking hands / Saying, “How do you do?” / They’re really saying / “I love you”
This classic song was originally performed by the famous singer and trumpet player Louis Armstrong in 1967. It is full of natural imagery that describes the small, beautiful ways the world we live in can be celebrated and enjoyed.
Sawyer Fredericks has a low, raspy quality to his voice that emulates Armstrong, but which gives the song a modern, folksy twist.
If your partner is one of the reasons your world is wonderful, playing this song any time during your wedding is a must.
“Rest of Our Lives,” by The Light the Heat
Lyrics you’ll love: “Dance with me beneath the stars / Moonlight crashing on our wild hearts / With your hand in mine / Everything is fine”
The journey of love requires a partner that will stand by your side through joy and heartache, laughter and pain. “Rest of Our Lives” is an upbeat folk song that tells us this through soulful group harmonies and a soaring melody that will fill your heart with warmth during your wedding reception.
“I Chose You,” by Caleb Edens
Lyrics you’ll love: “That’s why you’re mine / That’s why I walk the line / So don’t ever question why / I Chose You”
With nods to classic literature and famous love songs scattered throughout, “I Chose You” is a plucky, uplifting song that describes how the singer is dedicated to the person he loves. No matter what happens, he chooses them and they choose him.
Its cheerful and evocative imagery makes this the perfect song to play as you walk out of your ceremony as a newly married couple.
“Soul Mate,” by Flora Cash
Lyrics you’ll love: “Soul mate, soul mate, soul mate / Won’t you dance here with me while it grows late? / Put your head on my chest, that’s your safe place”
This deeply emotional and romantic folk song describes what it is like to be in a loving relationship with your soul mate.
We recommend this song for a first dance or the final slow dance of your reception. It’s easy to sway back and forth to, and the beautiful lyrics will make you want to hold your loved one close.