The singer who became Nat King Cole was born Nathaniel Adams Coles in 1919.
Nat King Cole’s good looks, charm, and beautiful singing voice earned him fame. Although, as a Black man, he faced terrible racial prejudice on his way to the top.
Nat also had a daughter named Natalie, who was beautiful and talented in her own right.
My late father loved Nat King Cole, and our father-daughter wedding song was Unforgettable. Check out the ten best Nat King Cole wedding songs… you’ll find them unforgettable too!
The story behind “Smile” is pretty special because the music was composed in the 1930s by Charlie Chaplin, a famous actor of the silent film period.
In 1954, lyrics were added to the song, and Nat King Cole sang the first version of “Smile.”
While it’s a tearjerking song, it’s also a unique way to remember someone at your wedding.
When to play: honor your relatives who have passed on by playing this beautiful song during your reception.
Nat King Cole recorded this jazz standard, and “Stardust” is highly ranked in the Great American Songbook of the best songs ever composed here.
This was already a popular wedding song when Nat King Cole recorded it, and his version may have been the wedding song of your grandparents or great-grandparents back in the day!
When to play: have a family dance at your reception and invite your older relatives to sway to this beautiful tune.
When I Fall In Love
In December 1956, Nat King Cole recorded his version of “When I Fall In Love.” His performance was also re-released in 1987.
Your grandparents and parents may have had “When I Fall In Love” as their first dance wedding song!
When to play: it’s a beautiful slow song for your wedding reception and a perfect first dance if you want to go old-school!
When you listen to Nat King Cole sing “Embraceable You” with his talented team of backup jazz musicians, it’s hard to believe that he recorded this song in the 1940s!
You might have heard a jazz band perform “Embraceable You” before since it’s sophisticated and so timeless.
When to play: “Embraceable You” is perfect for your first dance, especially for couples planning a courthouse wedding with a jazzy cocktail reception afterward.
The Very Thought Of You
Nat King Cole recorded “The Very Thought of You” in 1958, and I love the album cover… he had an impeccable fashion sense!
This version is among the Nat King Cole songs re-released in 1987. “The Very Thought Of You” sounds gorgeous, and I’d love to hear it brought to life at modern wedding receptions.
When to play: “The Very Thought of You” is an ideal number to transition from your first dance into a parents’ or multi-generational dance with your loved ones.
(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons
Listening to Nat King Cole classics from the 20th century blows my mind, and “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons” is among my favorites. I can’t believe this song was written right after World War II!
Nat recorded this song in 1946 with his group, the King Cole Trio, and it was a #1 hit on the Billboard charts back in the day.
When to play: this song is another strong contender for a multi-generational dance at your wedding reception. Talk about crying happy tears!
Stay As Sweet As You Are
“Stay As Sweet As You Are” was released in 1957, and it sounds right out of the 1950s!
Still, Nat King Cole’s warm voice sounds stellar on this track, and it’s a delightful song, especially as background music.
When to play: use this song for cueing your parents when they’re making a speech at your wedding reception. It’s also a fun song to play early in your reception when the little ones want to hit the dancefloor before mom and dad take them home!
One of Nat King Cole’s later recordings (even though I’m talking about the 1960s here!), L-O-V-E is a fun song guaranteed to get everyone’s toes tapping!
At just over two and a half minutes, L-O-V-E is upbeat and timeless for your wedding reception playlist.
When to play: L-O-V-E works beautifully as your wedding party’s grand entrance to the reception because it’s a shorter, snappier tune. I can picture you taking a quick spin on the dancefloor before you take your places of honor at the head table!
Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing
Another Nat King Cole classic recorded in the twilight of his career, “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing,” is grand and dramatic—perfect if you’re planning a ballroom wedding reception!
When to play: this may be a little risky… but if you’re practicing a waltz-style first dance, you will be a very romantic and sophisticated couple with “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” as your formal wedding song!
Nat King Cole had many signature tunes, but this is my favorite, and it was my dad’s favorite Nat King Cole song too!
When you hear beautiful music like this, it doesn’t matter when it was recorded. Nat’s version was so spectacular his daughter Natalie re-recorded a tribute version with her late father’s voice backing her up… it’s just spine-tingling!
When to play: it’s more a case of when not to play “Unforgettable” as a perfect slow dance at your wedding reception, either Nat King Cole’s original version or the lovely version by his daughter Natalie Cole.