It all started with a basic want ad pinned to a high school bulletin board in Dublin, Ireland.
A 14-year-old drummer was looking for other kids to form a rock band, and Paul Hewson responded, becoming the lead singer. The world knows him as Bono now, and that high school band eventually became U2.
They’re among the bestselling bands of all time, and they’ve donated tens of millions to human rights causes. Diehard fans know that U2 wedding songs deserve to be on a wedding playlist—I had them on mine!
We narrowed our favorites to the 13 best U2 wedding songs for your big “Beautiful Day.”
The Sweetest Thing
Wouldn’t it be sweet if your significant other wrote you a #1 hit song to apologize for their screw-up?
That’s the case with “The Sweetest Thing” because Bono wrote it specifically for his wife Ali after he got stuck in a recording studio and missed her birthday.
The video shows Bono and his wife riding a horse-drawn carriage, and it’s a lot of fun to watch.
When to play: a wedding reception trend that’s growing in popularity is a “Story of Us” video presentation mixed in with speeches. So if you choose this great idea, “The Sweetest Thing” is excellent for your musical backdrop.
When Love Comes to Town
American R&B legends like B.B. King heavily influenced U2’s musical sound, and Bono wrote “When Love Comes to Town” to record and perform live with King.
With lyrics like “as pale as the lace of her wedding gown,” you’d think this is a song about romantic love, but it’s Bono’s testament to faith and that “God is Love.”
When to play: “When Love Comes to Town” would be a powerful ceremony recessional or a great party tune for your reception.
Angel of Harlem
U2 writes about “Lady Day” in their hit song “Angel of Harlem,” a tribute to the late great jazz singer Billie Holliday, whose fantastic voice and tragic life are well-documented.
The U2 version is excellent for a wedding band with an entire horn section, but we’ve found equally beautiful covers recorded by singers and string players.
When to play: check out this ukelele version of “Angel of Harlem” for your beach or destination wedding music inspo!
“The heart is a bloom, shoots up through the stony ground…”
That’s one of our favorite lyrics in a U2 song, and it’s the first line Bono sings in their huge, timeless hit, “Beautiful Day.” This song often gets covered by wedding bands, string quartets, and smaller groups and will complement your wedding in every way.
When to play: U2’s original version is fantastic as a bridal party reception entrance, and watch this group perform the song while the couple signs their wedding register.
Where the Streets Have No Name
For decades, people debated this U2 song and what “Where the Streets Have No Name” means.
According to Bono, the song shows how people get divided by wealth or faith and how the rich live in one area and the poor in another—street names don’t matter.
When to play: love is at the heart of most U2 song lyrics, but the melody here is so stunning it makes a perfect instrumental song for your wedding ceremony. Check out this gorgeous cover by a string quartet!
We love U2’s “One,” and we’re not alone. Bono told the media years ago that he’d met a “hundred people” who played it as their wedding song… but there’s a catch.
That’s because (according to Bono) the song is about people breaking up!
To us, that’s the beauty of interpreting a song and identifying it with your love. If “One” speaks to you as two becoming one, put this tune on your wedding playlist!
When to play: it’s a beautiful first dance, and check out this breathtaking piano & sax instrumental version as wedding ceremony music.
With or Without You
You’ll know by the lyrics that “With or Without You” is a “troubled love song,” but it’s still comforting to hear Bono sing that he can’t live “without you.”
While Bono has revealed that his marriage is far from perfect, he and his wife Ali recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, and they seem happier than ever. That’s reason enough for us to love U2 wedding songs!
When to play: U2’s single sounds like a haunting first dance for a Goth wedding, and check out this instrumental cover for a formal wedding and a boho acoustic version for a rustic celebration.
All I Want Is You
Bono’s wife must be cool with their relationship being an open book! The revealing lyrics of “All I Want Is You” are also about her, and it’s a popular wedding song choice.
One commenter on YouTube said he sang “All I Want Is You” to his new wife at their reception. Afterward, they were driving away together, and the song came on the radio. Talk about a great omen!
When to play: dedicate the song (or sing it yourself!) to your new spouse at your wedding reception.
Pride in the Name of Love
Initially, Bono wanted to write a political song criticizing the government. Then, the band decided to go in a more positive direction, and “Pride in the Name of Love” became a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and all who fought for human justice.
The musical intro to the song shows you why U2 is so inspiring, and this powerful song still feels like a force for change.
When to play: U2’s masterpiece sounds fantastic as a bridal party reception entrance, and we also like country star Dierks Bentley’s cover for a rustic wedding.
You’re the Best Thing About Me
With the release of Songs of Experience in 2017, U2 presented us with something new and kinda different: one of their most straight-up happy romantic songs!
We loved hearing that Bono wanted to tell his wife how much she meant to him. It’s a sentiment that all happily-in-love people can share, so “You’re the Best Thing About Me” could be your best wedding song too!
When to play: ceremony recessional, bridal party entrance, groovy first dance tune, serenading your new spouse… it’s your pick, and it all sounds fantastic.
Two Hearts Beat as One
One of U2’s first major videos for a song was “Two Hearts Beat as One,” shot in Paris and released in 1983. The video looks like a snapshot of 80s fashion and haircuts, and the song still holds up today.
The backstory is pretty funny: Bono started working on the song during his Caribbean honeymoon. So we hope he booked a massage for his new wife while he hammered out those lyrics!
When to play: the song is fast and furious, so we’d recommend it as a reception party tune, especially if you’re playing lots of traditional Irish wedding music.
Love Is Blindness
Here’s another moody U2 ballad that’s got nothing to do with that crazy (good? Bad? Probably both!) reality show, Love Is Blind.
Bono wrote “Love Is Blindness,” intending to give the moody and dramatic song to jazz great Nina Simone, who was a legendary cabaret performer. But the band decided to keep the beautiful, haunting song after playing it together.
When to play: while the band calls this another song about a failed relationship, we love the moody organ intro for a formal wedding processional. We also found a solo performance by U2’s The Edge for a rustic wedding ceremony.
We wanted a “Magnificent” way to end our list of U2 wedding songs, and this uplifting tune delivers!
With lyrics like ‘I was born, I was born to sing for you, I didn’t have a choice but to lift you up, And sing whatever song you wanted me to…” it’s not one of U2’s best-known releases, but that makes it even better as your unique wedding song.
When to play: as a ceremony recessional, bridal party entrance to the reception, or the best fast dance of your entire night!