One of the most anticipated parts of a wedding is the bride and groom’s first dance. It is an age-old tradition that is beloved up to this day. From classic weddings down to modern celebrations, the first dance of the couple is something that is never skipped and always looked forward to being witnessed by everyone.
The history of the first dance...
The first dance can be traced back to the 17th Century and was adapted from the custom that the guest of honour (usually royalty or a person with high social status) should open the event and lead the other guests to the dancefloor for a night of dancing and festivity. Waltz or ballroom was usually performed as they were the most popular and widely-known dances back then.
Another source has also a different story about the first dance. In medieval times, grooms were known to “steal” their brides and show them off to their friends by dancing around in front of a fire. Whichever one is more accurate, both chronicles have helped shape the first dance and have led the path to how it is done today.
The first dance has encountered a lot of changes and since evolved over the years. The modern first dance is now seen as a symbol of unity and love between newlyweds. A song of the couple’s choosing is played as they wow guests with impromptu or choreographed steps. We also see additional parts like the father and daughter dance (the father gives away his daughter), the mother and son dance, as well as a performance where the whole entourage takes the stage.
How do you pick the song for your first dance?
Picking a song for your first dance is not an easy feat as there are hundreds of beautiful and heartfelt tunes to choose from. But no worries, there are ways how you can trim down your selection. The first step is easy and you don’t have to look far: if you have a shared favourite song that conveys your love for one another, then you can use it. If you don’t have a couple’s theme song, you can go with classic wedding songs – something tried and tested. After all, they aren't used and loved by other couples for no apparent reason.
You can also go down memory lane and choose a song used by your parents at their wedding, making it sort of a tradition, and adding sentimental value to the dance. You can also pick something unexpected like a funky and fun wedding song that will add a fun flair to the dance. Lastly, you can arrange for a musician to make an original piece for you, something that is uniquely yours that you will cherish for life as a couple. Just remember, regardless of which route you’ll take, pick a song with a good beat -- something you and your partner will enjoy dancing along to.
Should you go for a live band or a recorded track for your first dance?
Opinions vary when it comes to how they want their first dance song to be played at their wedding. Doing it live or preferring something recorded both have their pros and cons. Using a recorded version of your wedding music ensures that you’ll be dancing to the song as how you practised it. The arrangement and tempo are the same and what you and your partner are used to. On the other hand, a string quartet, a full band, or an acoustic singer add a romantic air to the whole performance. And as we all know; nothing feels like the sound of live music.
Whichever you’ll pick, just prepare for unexpected troubles that you may encounter including but not limited to technical problems or difficult band members. Whichever way, you should come in prepared. If you’ll go for a recorded track, make sure to have it downloaded to a drive to not rely on the Internet connection. Give a copy to your planner and have a backup copy just in case. If you’re choosing a band, ask them to have a live run-through with the song so you can agree on an arrangement that fits your preference.
What's the ideal timing for a newlywed’s first dance?
First dance wedding songs should be heartfelt and romantic but should also be short and sweet. The ideal time for the dance must be around 2-3 minutes. Any more than that may feel like a lifetime, especially when all eyes are on you and your partner. If you have a choreographed routine, you may extend this for a couple of more minutes.
One way to transition from the dance to the next part of the program is to ask your DJ to fade the song when it reached a certain part or you can ask your guests to join you on the dance floor to signal that you’ve reached the end of the performance.
Now that we’re done with the run-through of all the quick facts that you need to learn about the first dance, we’ll move on to the list of the best first dance songs you can use for your big day. We know it’s quite overwhelming that’s why we’ve narrowed down the list for you. Whether you’re looking for a classic or in search of funkier and fun, we got them all in this detailed wedding song list. Scroll down below to choose your song!
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These classic wedding songs have been used not just for their novelty but for the romantic message they carry -- applicable to just about any love story. If you and your partner are looking for a song that has stood the test of time (just how you want your marriage to be)on your wedding day, then any of these ballads is for you:
- 1. Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis Presley
- 2. God Only Knows – The Beach Boys
- 3. Here, There, and Everywhere – The Beatles
- 4. At Last – Etta James
- 5. The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra
- 6. Just The Way You Are – Billy Joel
- 7. How Deep Is Your Love – Bee Gees
- 8. They Long to Be Close to You – The Carpenters
- 9. Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton
- 10. Endless Love – Diana Ross & Lionel Richie
Swoon-worthy and oh so sweet, this wedding love song playlist will surely make everyone’s heart melt during your first dance.
- 11. She - Elvis Costello
- 12. When I Fall in Love – Nat King Cole
- 13. Feels Like Home – Chantal Kreviazuk
- 14. She’s The One – Robbie Williams
- 15. Groovy Kind of Love – Phil Collins
- 16. Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
- 17. From This Moment On – Shania Twain
- 18. I Could Not Ask for More – Edwin McCain
- 19. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Frankie Valli and The 4 Seasons
- 20. All of Me – John Legend
You'll never bore your guests with these upbeat wedding songs – prepare your dancing shoes!
- 21. Fly Me To The Moon - Frank Sinatra
- 22. You Make My Dreams – Hall & Oates
- 23. Signed, Sealed, Delivered – Stevie Wonder
- 24. You & Me Song – The Wannadies
- 25. Home – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
- 26. I Melt With You – Modern English
- 27. I Was Made For You - She & Him
- 28. She’s A Rainbow – The Rolling Stones
- 29. Electric Love – BORNS
- 30. I'm Yours – Jason Mraz
Show your fun side and dance your happiness away with these popular wedding songs which everyone (young and old) will surely sing along to.
- 31. Teenage Dream – Katy Perry
- 32. Marry You – Bruno Mars
- 33. Love On Top – Beyonce
- 34. Shut Up and Dance – Walk The Moon
- 35. Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake
- 36. Young & Beautiful – Lana del Rey
- 37. True Love – Coldplay
- 38. Full-blown Love – BROODS
- 39. XO – John Mayer
- 40. Better Together – Jack Johnson
You can never go wrong with romantic country wedding songs with their catchy melodies and relatable lyrics and lessons.
- 41. Amazed – Lonestar
- 42. Marry Me – Thomas Rhett
- 43. God Gave Me You – Blake Shelton
- 44. Making Memories of Us – Keith Urban
- 45. Found It In You – Tiera Kennedy
- 46. Speechless – Dan + Shay
- 47. Made For You – Jake Owen
- 48. Then – Brad Paisley
- 49. You Make It Easy – Jason Aldean
Anthems of affection
Dance close and cheek to cheek and hear each other’s heartbeats as you start your journey towards the best days of your lives to the tune of these slow wedding songs.
- 50. A Thousand Years – Christina Perri
- 51. Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers
- 52. Make You Feel My Love – Adele
- 53. You Are So Beautiful – Joe Cocker
- 54. Falling Slowly – Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
- 55. I Won’t Give Up – Jason Mraz
- 56. Marry Me – Train
- 57. Such Great Heights – Iron & Wine
- 58. Please Be Patient With Me – Wilco
- 59.Turning Page – Sleeping At Last
- 60.I Don't Want to Miss a Thing–Aerosmith
More helpful reads for planning your wedding music:
If you're on the search for other wedding inspiration have a look at our best wedding theme ideas.
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