20 Romantic Jazz Love Songs to Play on Your Wedding Day
Jazz love songs are inherently romantic thanks to their sultry instrumentals, soft vocals and super-sweet lyrics. Whether you prefer nostalgia-inducing classics from Etta James, Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra or more contemporary twists courtesy of Diana Krall and Norah Jones, there's a perfect jazz song out there for everyone.
As you scroll through this list, you'll notice that many jazz songs have been covered by dozens of artists, each of which puts their own spin on the original tune. This affords listeners the unique opportunity to experience a song in more ways than one.
What are you waiting for? Transport yourself back in time by playing one of these 20 jazz love songs at your wedding.
"Love Is Here to Stay," Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald
Lyrics you'll love: "It's very clear, our love is here to stay/Not for a year, but forever and a day"
Be prepared to swoon upon listening to Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald's sweet version of "Love Is Here to Stay." Frank Sinatra also recorded the jazz standard, as did Tony Bennett and Diana Krall. It makes an incredible first dance song.
"My Funny Valentine," Frank Sinatra
Lyrics you'll love: "My funny valentine/Sweet comic valentine/You make me smile with my heart"
If funny love songs are your jam, then you'll love "My Funny Valentine" thanks to its goofy, lighthearted lyrics. The 1937 show tune was made famous by Frank Sinatra, who released his own recording of it in the 1950s. Play it during dinner and watch as your wedding guests laugh between bites.
"At Last," Etta James
Lyrics you'll love: "At last/My love has come along/My lonely days are over/And life is like a song"
Over the past few decades, Etta James' "At Last" has evolved into a beloved first dance staple. The soulful track puts the singer's impressive pipes on full display. The tune has since been covered by several singers, including Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé and Celine Dion.
"It Had to Be You," Tony Bennett
Lyrics you'll love: "I wandered around, and I finally found/The somebody who/Could make me be true"
"It Had to Be You" dates back to 1924. In the years since, the romantic song has been covered many times. Jazz icons like Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett—as well as more contemporary singers like Barbra Streisand and Harry Connick, Jr.—have released their own recordings of the beloved song.
"The Nearness of You," Frank Sinatra
Lyrics you'll love: "When you're in my arms/And I feel you so close to me/All my wildest dreams come true"
"The Nearness of You" dates back to 1938, when it was featured in the film Romance in the Dark. Frank Sinatra's version is the most famous, though it has since been recorded by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald (1956), Norah Jones (2002) and Rod Stewart (2002).
"Dream a Little Dream of Me," Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald
Lyrics you'll love: "Stars shining bright above you/Night breezes seem to whisper 'I love you'/Birds singing in the sycamore tree/Dream a little dream of me"
"Dream a Little Dream of Me" has been recorded more than 40 times, with Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong's duet being the most notable version. Other singers have also recorded the tune, including Nat King Cole and Michael Bublé. The song's slow tempo and horn instrumentals make it a true standout.
"I've Got a Crush on You," Frank Sinatra
Lyrics you'll love: "I've got a crush on you, sweetie pie"
Be prepared to be dazzled by Frank Sinatra's smooth, sultry vocals in "I've Got a Crush on You." The catchy melody and relaxed tempo will have guests singing softly during cocktail hour or dinner. The tune was also recorded by Barbra Streisand and Ella Fitzgerald.
"My One and Only Love," John Coltrane
Lyrics you'll love: "The very thought of you makes my heart sing/Like an April breeze on the wings of spring/And you appear in all your splendor/My one and only love"
Don't skip this heartfelt John Coltrane ballad at your wedding reception, as the jazzy instrumentals add an extra-special touch. Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Paul McCartney and Rod Stewart are just a few singers who have covered the track.
"The Way You Look Tonight," Frank Sinatra
Lyrics you'll love: "Lovely; never, ever change/Keep that breathless charm/Won't you please arrange it? Cause I love you/Just the way you look tonight"
"The Way You Look Tonight" originates from the 1936 film Swing Time. The Academy Award-winning song was originally performed by Fred Astaire; however, Frank Sinatra's version is among the most famous covers. The cheery instrumentals and upbeat tempo will have wedding guests humming and singing away.
"When I Fall in Love," Nat King Cole
Lyrics you'll love: "And the moment I can feel that you feel that way too/Is when I'll fall in love with you"
"When I Fall in Love" (1956) is arguably Nat King Cole's most well-known hit. (However, unbeknownst to many, his version is actually a cover.) The soft instrumentals pair perfectly with the singer's soothing voice.
"Cheek to Cheek," Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald
Lyrics you'll love: "I seem to find the happiness I seek/When we're out together, dancing cheek to cheek"
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong teamed up in 1956 to record and release their version of "Cheek to Cheek." The romantic duet is ideal for cocktail hour thanks to its smooth, tranquil rhythm. The song has also been recorded by Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday, among dozens of other singers.
"Let's Fall in Love," Dinah Washington
Lyrics you'll love: "Let's close our eyes/And make our own paradise"
Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Diana Krall have all recorded this classic love song, but we're partial to Dinah Washington's cover. The piano instrumentals provide the perfect background music for cocktail hour or dinner.
"I'm in the Mood for Love," Louis Armstrong
Lyrics you'll love: "Heaven is in your eyes/Bright as the stars we're under/Oh! Is it any wonder?/I'm in the mood for love"
This Louis Armstrong jazz hit starts with a gorgeous horn solo and continues on with Armstrong's signature soft vocals. You'll love the super romantic lyrics, too.
"My Baby Just Cares for Me," Nina Simone
Lyrics you'll love: "My baby don't care for shows/My baby don't care for clothes/My baby just cares for me"
"My Baby Just Cares for Me" is a jazz song dating back to 1930. Nina Simone's chart-topping cover is arguably the best rendition of the song. Its bouncy beat and relaxed piano instrumentals make it a must-play during cocktail hour.
"The Very Thought of You," Nat King Cole
Lyrics you'll love: "I see your face in every flower/Your eyes in stars above/It's just the thought of you/The very thought of you, my love"
Nat King Cole's version of "The Very Thought of You" was released in in 1958 (Billie Holiday released her own track back in 1938). The decades-old song is celebrated for its peaceful melody and sweet instrumentals.
"What a Wonderful World," Louis Armstrong
Lyrics you'll love: "I see trees of green/Red roses too/I see them bloom/For me and you/And I think to myself/What a wonderful world"
We'd be willing to bet that you've listened to "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong at least once in your lifetime. We love the soulful song, which would be the perfect pick for your last dance.
"You Don't Know What Love Is," Chet Baker
Lyrics you'll love: "You don't know what love is/'Til you've learned the meaning of the blues/Until you've loved a love you've had to lose/You don't know what love is"
"You Don't Know What Love Is" is a classic jazz number, and Chet Baker's 1955 rendition is a must-listen thanks to the singer's incredibly calming voice. The song has also been recorded by Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, John Coltrane and Dinah Washington.
"You Go to My Head," Billie Holiday
Lyrics you'll love: "You go to my head/With a smile that makes my temperature rise/Like a summer with a thousand Julys/You intoxicate my soul with your eyes"
Billie Holiday's 1952 rendition of "You Go to My Head" is a favorite among jazz enthusiasts. The singer's soft voice makes this recording all the more special. The iconic song has been covered by many a famous singer, including Chet Baker, Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong.
"The Look of Love," Diana Krall
Lyrics you'll love: "The look of love/It's saying so much more than just words could ever say/And what my heart has heard, well, it takes my breath away/I can hardly wait to hold you, feel my arms around you/How long I have waited, waited just to love you"
This 2001 cover of the classic jazz tune is truly one for the books. Diana Krall's sultry voice makes it an under-the-radar first dance song.
"Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)," Ella Fitzgerald
Lyrics you'll love: "Let's do it, let's fall in love"
"Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)" was written by Cole Porter back in 1928. The jazz standard was covered by the iconic Ella Fitzgerald in the 1950s, and her version is arguably the most notable. Dinah Washington, Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra also covered this song. The slowed-down melody lends itself perfectly to cocktail hour or dinner.