1981 was an amazing year for wedding songs. The year was filled with songs by Lionel Richie, Journey, Alabama, and other artists who would define one of the most powerful musical decades. Here are the 1981 wedding songs that you will want to add to your celebration of love.
Best Wedding Songs of 1981
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Endless Love – Lionel Richie and Diana Ross
August 1981, Endless Love Soundtrack
This duet by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross has become a staple of wedding ceremonies. It is most often played right before the bride and groom take their solemn vows as an affirmation of commitment and devotion.
You mean the would to me
I know I know
I’ve found, I’ve found in you
My endless love
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic – The Police
November 1981, Ghost in the Machine
Try including this song in your 80’s-themed wedding reception to get everyone up on their feet. This upbeat love song by The Police offers a great message from the groom to the blushing bride.
Every little thing she does is magic
Everything she do just turns me on
Even though my life before was tragic
Now I know my love for her goes on
Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
June 1981, Escape
Journey‘s feel-good classic sums up the feeling shared by two lovers as they begin a life together. It is a song of hope and the determination to overcome all obstacles with the power of love.
Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to that feelin’
Lady (You Bring Me Up) – The Commodores
June 1981, In the Pocket
“Lady” is a beautiful song for the groom to dedicate to his bride on your wedding day. The Commodores hit can be played prior to the vows, and it also works very well for a first dance between the bride and groom.
You bring me up when I’m down
You’re gonna change my life around
Feels So Right – Alabama
February 1981, Feels So Right
If country music is your preference, this ballad by Alabama is a perfect wedding dance tune. It reflects that perfect feeling that you’ve known since finding your soul mate.
Promise me you’ll stay with me and keep me warm tonight
So hold me close and love me, give my heart a smile
Waiting for a Girl Like You – Foreigner
October 1981, 4
Did you often feel as if you would wander forever without finding true love? When you hear this Foreigner song on the wedding day you will know that your waiting was not in vain and that all your travels only served to bring you to this moment at the altar.
I’ve been waiting for a girl like you to come into my life
I’ve been waiting for a girl like you, your loving will survive
Hold On Tight – Electric Light Orchestra
July 1981, Time
Electric Light Orchestra scored a huge hit with this song in 1981, and it fits the vibe that you will want to create for a wedding reception inspired by the ’80s. The song reminds us to be grateful for never giving up on the pursuit of happiness.
When you see the shadows falling
When you hear that cold wind calling
Hold on tight to your dream
Slow Hand – The Pointer Sisters
May 1981, Black & White
Who can forget this smash hit from the Pointer Sisters? The bride will want to slow dance with her forever partner while this song asserts all the qualities she’s found in the man she married.
You want a man with a slow hand
You want a lover with an easy touch
You want somebody who will spend some time
Woman – John Lennon
January 1981, Double Fantasy
“Woman” was the first song by John Lennon that was released after the artist’s tragic death. It is a beautiful ballad that expresses how a man is made complete by the woman that he has chosen to love forever.
Hold me close to your heart
However distant, don’t keep us apart
After all it is written in the stars
The One That You Love – Air Supply
April 1981, The One That You Love
Air Supply contributed some of the best love songs to the ’80s, and this hit is one of their finest. Many couples have used it to enter the reception following their wedding vows, but it can also be used as a non-traditional recessional.
Here I am
The one that you love
Askin’ for another day
Understand the one that you love
Loves you in so many ways
You Make My Dreams – Hall and Oates
May 1981, Voices
This 1981 song by Hall and Oates was featured in The Wedding Singer, and it is often found on the wedding reception playlist of couples who want a fun throwback to the ’80s. Sometimes you just want to dance to a fun tune that captures all the emotions of the day.
Yeah a-yeah, you make a-my dreams come true
Step by Step – Eddie Rabbitt
July 1981, Step by Step
Remind your wedding guests of all the things he did to win your heart with this country song by Eddie Rabbitt. It will also remind you of how much effort your new husband invests in loving you as you deserve to be loved.
Don’t you know that step by step, step by step
You’ll win her love
For Your Eyes Only – Sheena Easton
August 1981, For Your Eyes Only Soundtrack
Sheena Easton’s sweet and subtle vocals on this 1981 hit are perfectly suited for the very beginning of your wedding. It can be played as guests are being seated by your wedding ushers.
For your eyes only, the nights are never cold
You really know me, that’s all I need to know
Sweet Baby – Stanley Clarke
1981, The Clarke/Duke Project
This beautiful jazz song from Stanley Clarke and George Duke is a nice change of pace for the wedding reception. It can be used to precede the wedding toast or the cutting of the wedding cake.
Ever always been captured by your smile, sweet baby
I will always be right there by your side
Right by your side
Sweetheart – Franke and the Knockouts
March 1981, Franke & the Knockouts
Who loved you from the start
Who treats you like a star
The ’80s was a decade filled with one-hit wonders, and Franke and the Knockouts joined that class with this song. It’s as pure as they come with the synthesizers and harmonies that define 80’s hits, and the song merits a place on the reception playlist.
How ‘Bout Us – Champaign
January 1981, How ‘Bout Us
Those who prefer R&B classics from the ’80s can easily work this song into a wedding celebration. Let it play during the seating period or as the wedding party precedes the bride to the altar.
Some people are made for each other
Some people can love one another for life, how ’bout us?
I Love You – Climax Blues Band
February 1981, Flying the Flag
This simple declaration of your feelings is a song that the bride and groom can dedicate to one another as they stand before the altar. It was a hit for the Climax Blues Band, and the lyrics are still relevant for a new generation of lovers.
Thank you, babe, for being a friend
And shining your light in my life
‘Cause, oh, I need you
Rapture – Blondie
January 1981, Autoamerican
Blondie had their share of 80’s hits, and “Rapture” was one of the best. It’s a sultry ballad that speaks of the passion newlyweds have for one another, and it is best saved for that moment when you prepare for the reception send-off.
Well now you see what you wanna be
Just have your party on TV
‘Cause the man from Mars won’t eat up bars when the TV’s on
A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do) – Raydio
February 1981, A Woman Needs Love
Raydio delivered this pop classic that features the vocals of Ray Parker, Jr. and a feel-good dance vibe. Any groom would find it to be a nice choice for that first dance with the bride.
When her eyes
Are begging for affection
Don’t put her off
Don’t make her wait
Just the Two of Us – Grover Washington and Bill Withers
February 1981, Winelight
Bill Withers is never a bad choice when it comes to wedding music, and this hit is often found among the dance music choices at a wedding party. Today and forevermore it is just the two of you, and the song reminds you to let nothing divide the unity you have created.
Just the two of us
Building castles in the sky
Just the two of us
You and I
Being with You – Smokey Robinson
March 1981, Being with You
Many couples like to play a song before they light the unity candle during their wedding ceremony. “Being with You” is a sweet and tender song from Smokey Robinson, and it celebrates how special the right person can make you feel.
I don’t care what they think about me and
I don’t care what they say, no
I don’t care what they think, if you’re leaving
I’m gonna beg you to stay
If you have a favorite wedding song released in 1981, not on our list, be sure to comment on it below so we can add it to the list. We do read and respond to all comments.
If you like this song list, be sure to check out our list of wedding songs from 1980.
Celebrating wedding songs of 1981. Where were you and what was happening?
If you were one of the weddings in 1981…
Congratulations on your wedding of 1981. You share your anniversary with the following events.
Celebrity Weddings of 1981
- Gary Sinise married Moira Harris
- Opal Stone married Ron Perlman
- Vince Neil married Beth Lynn
- John Grisham married Renee Jones
- Valerie Bertinelli married Eddie Van Halen
News Highlights of 1981
- Just moments after Jimmy Carter relinquishes the presidency to Ronald Reagan, 52 American hostages are welcomed home after 444 days in captivity in the American embassy in Tehran.
- After addressing a labor convention, President Reagan is shot by a would-be assassin, John Hinckley.
- In London, the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.
- Sandra Day O’Conner is the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- A baffling new disease begins appearing in the United States. It is later called acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
- On September 14, “Entertainment Tonight” premieres.
1981 Sports Champions:
- Just moments after Jimmy Carter relinquishes the presidency to Ronald The Los Angeles Dodgers win the World Series over the New York Yankees.
- Super Bowl XV – Oakland Raiders win 27-10 over the Philadelphia Eagle.
- The Boston Celtics win the NBA Title over the Houston Rockets.
- The New York Islanders win the Stanley Cup over the Minnesota North Stars.
Music Highlights of 1981
- Grammy’s Song of 1981: Better Davis Eyes – Kim Carnes
- Christopher Cross- Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)
- Kool & The Gang – Celebration
- Diana Ross & Lionel Richie – Endless Love
- Rick Springfield – Jessie’s Girl
- John Lennon – (Just Like) Starting Over
- Hall & Oates – Kiss On My List
- Sheena Easton – Morning Train
- Olivia Newton-John – Physical
- Blondie – Rapture
- Hall & Oates – I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)
- Kim Carnes – Bette Davis Eyes
- Stars on 45 – Stars On 45
- Air Supply – The One That You Love
- Hall & Oates – Private Eyes
- The J Geils Band – Centerfold
Entertainment Highlights of 1981
- Best Picture: Ordinary People: Ronald L. Schwary
- Best Actor: Robert De Niro – Raging Bull
- Best Actress: Sissy Spacek – Coal Miner’s Daughter
Top Television Shows:
- ABC Monday Night Movie, Alice, Dallas, The Dukes Of Hazzard, The Jeffersons, Joanie Loves Chachi, M*A*S*H, 60 Minutes, Three’s Company, Too Close For Comfort
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