Wedding First Dance: Choosing the right song

How to choose the right song for your wedding first dance?

Music is central to the wedding celebration, from the wedding processional to the music enjoyed late into the night, song choices inform the tone created on your special day. Accordingly, choosing the right song for your wedding first dance is integral to creating an atmosphere that best represents you and your partner.

We always recommend doing your research before you launch into this decision - and that is where we come in.

songs and music

Choosing the perfect song is sometimes easy - maybe you heard the song on your first date, or perhaps you sang along to it in the car on your first road trip.

For some, it's not so straightforward, after all some couples have wildly differing music tastes and still make the best team.

If nothing immediately comes to mind or resonates with you both in a profound way - we have rounded up some of our top techniques to navigate this decision effortlessly. 

kissing on the dance floor

Where do your music tastes overlap?

There are thousands of love songs deserving of a place on your wedding playlist - but how do you determine what ballad is right for you?

Even couples with different tastes in music may have areas of overlap. We always recommend focusing on songs and genres that both couples enjoy, this way you can fully cherish this special moment together.

Pick a genre

We always recommend choosing a music genre early in the process. This whittles down your selection pool and informs the style of routine you want to perform. It can vary from upbeat and spirited to slow and intimate, depending on your preferences. 

Some helpful questions here might be - have you a specific era that resonates with you both - songs from the ’60s, ‘70s, or ‘80s for example.

Some couples like to pick a song from the year either the bride or groom were born for instance. 

Focus on the lyrics 

Are there any lyrics that speak to you as a couple? Based on perhaps how you met or words that reflect memories you have experienced together? Focus on what song tells your love story in a warm and captivating way. 

Don’t be discouraged by the status quo

Traditional choices such as Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking out Loud’ or John Legends ‘All of Me’ are still widely popular choices. They are wonderful love songs that resonate with many couples, but you don’t feel the pressure to take the conventional route.

If a certain song feels right to you but doesn’t regularly make the ‘Best First Dance Wedding Song’ lists, we say, go for it.

If a certain ballad speaks to you as a couple, that’s what characterises it as the ‘right fit’. It does not have to be a quintessential wedding tune to make the cut.

In fact, if you choose a song you do not personally connect with - this also becomes apparent to your guests. In our experience, even the most unconventional weddings tunes can make for a wildly successful first dance.

the perfect wedding dance
romantic wedding song

Ensure your song is in fact - a dancing song

Some songs are easier to dance to than others particularly if you are a total beginner. You will want to choose a song with a good tempo that is easy to choreograph. You don’t want to make the process harder than it needs to be in the run-up to your big day.

However, there are no absolute rules when it comes to your song preference and most professional choreographers will be able to work with you on the song of your choice. 

Make sure it suits your first wedding dance style

If you decide you want your wedding dance to be slow and romantic, make sure you choose a song that reflects this choice. You want everything to be in harmony for this special moment. 

Don’t feel the pressure to have an elaborate story behind your first dance song 

The song you choose does not need an elaborate backstory to be special. In fact, it doesn't even need to be a song you have heard before. If you stumble across a song that resonates with you in the course of your research, that’s all that really matters. 

While a certain degree of sentiment may help you enjoy the moment, don’t be overwhelmed by the pressure to choose a song that speaks directly to your love story. After all everyone's journey to the aisle is different and you can still create an extra special moment. 

Take a high-level look at your wedding day

By now it is likely you have made several decisions about your big day.

Take a moment to reflect on these choices to establish what song best suits your wedding as a whole.

Are you having an outdoor or indoor wedding? Is your wedding themed? What music will be playing at other intervals throughout the day?

For example, a bohemian wedding may lend itself to a different class of music choices versus a classic or modern wedding. These choices can help to inform other features throughout the day such as the wedding first dance song. If you pick an upbeat routine with bigger dance moves, be sure all outfit choices, for example, the bridal gown, lend themselves to this decision. 

Choose a song that feels ‘you’

You want to feel like your authentic self on your big day, not some polished or performative version of yourself.

The moment is after all about you and your loved one and is less a performance than a moment to be cherished. Besides, this makes the moment more memorable for your guests also.

Try not to overthink it

Our best advice is to try not to overthink it. Too often decisions surrounding your wedding day can start to feel like a chore,

Remember this time is supposed to be fun and exciting.

While you don’t need to ruminate on this choice to the point of total frustration, we do recommend steering clear of certain choices.

Some songs don’t paint love or marriage for that fact in the best light - but commonly appear on wedding playlists. This is not the tone you want to set for your big day.

The problem is, some of the biggest hits ever written centre on heartbreak and may, in other settings, do well to get the crowd going.

We do however implore you to avoid such choices. Here are a few examples of songs to stay away from.

Finally…

Once you have made your final decision and both partners are happy with the result, we always suggest engaging with your band, DJ, or other live performers to ensure they can play your special song properly.

This is all the more important for the wedding first dance as often you will dance to a modified version (we always recommend keeping your wedding dance under 3 minutes). Good communication with your band or DJ will avoid any unwelcome hiccups during this special time. 

Your first dance is all about creating treasured memories, not only between the newlyweds but for the whole wedding party. Choosing a song that effectively captures the essence of your day is integral to this. Song choices designed to capture your character and story are the most effective way to create a sincere and authentic moment.

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