PLANNING: Our Favorite Classic and Alternative First Dance Songs for Today’s Weddings

June 15, 2011 ,
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A tried and true start to a successful wedding reception is to have the bride and groom introduced and then head straight to the dance floor for their first dance! Better to have the guests’ full attention early in the evening, rather than to wait until after dinner. But when it comes to which song you choose, think about a song that holds special meaning for just the two of you. Does that mean it has to be a tune you heard on your first date? Of course not. It might be a song or a medley of songs that symbolize your relationship today, and what your hopes and dreams are for the future. Certainly songs like “At Last” and “What a Wonderful World” are lovely and forever popular, but why not take a listen to something else?

As usual, we’ve got opinions and suggestions for first dance songs you might just love.

To be fair, you may know what your first dance song is already, some know it as soon as they hear it. But the world of music is vast and deciding on the perfect song can be a journey savored over the course of your engagement. Consulting with your bandleader on what they recommend or what they already play in their repertoire is tremendously useful. Describing the mood or style of dance you’re comfortable with is a must. Most couples prefer a slow song, but more and more are embracing a faster beat because it better fits their taste. Many bandleaders will learn a special song if they don’t already know it, or, are able to create an entire first dance performance customized just for you! For instance, one of our clients started their first dance to a “corny” slow song that shocked and horrified their friends. (You could hear the “They picked THIS SONG?”) Ten seconds into the song, the groom stopped, turned to the bandleader and acted like the wrong song was playing, only to have the bride embrace him from behind in a dramatic Latin dance move as the music changed into a sexy samba. The guests went wild as they figured it out and the dance went down in history! The point is, that entire routine was designed in collaboration with their willing (and fun-loving) bandleader and as a result, it perfectly reflected the newlyweds’ playful personalities.

But if a staged intro into your first dance is going one step too far (pun intended), at least consider a song list outside the norm. Here are some of our favorites:

Classic Oldies but Goodies :: From Soulful Swing to remake’s of 70′s Classic Rock

  • Comes Love (Billie Holiday)
  • Our Love is Here to Stay (Billie Holiday)
  • This Will Be, An Everlasting Love (Natalie Cole)
  • Betcha By Golly Wow (The Stylistics)
  • Wild Horses (The Rolling Stones)
  • Cruisin’ (Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow)
  • You’re Nobody Til Somebody Loves You (Dean Martin)
  • Chances Are (Johnny Mathis)
  • Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (Ashford and Simpson)
  • I Only Have Eyes for You (The Platters)
  • Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps (Doris Day)
  • You’re in My Heart, You’re in My Soul (Rod Stewart)
  • I Will (Beatles)
  • In My Life (Beatles)
  • Something (Beatles)
  • May This Be Love (Jimi Hendrix)

Modern Day Music :: Sexy Blues to California Pop Rock and Alternative Rock

  • 24/7 (Kevon Edmonds)
  • Marry You (Bruno Mars)
  • Blue Eyes (Cary Brothers)
  • You and I (Lifehouse)
  • Finally Forever (Chris Cornell)
  • You Want to Make a Memory (Bon Jovi)
  • This Never Happened Before (Paul McCartney)
  • A Million Ways (The Nylons)
  • All That I Am (Rob Thomas)
  • Angels (Robin Thicke)
  • The Way I Am (Ingrid Michaelson)
  • If I Ain’t Got You (Alicia Keys)
  • Glitter in the Air (Pink)
  • So High (John Legend)
  • Beloved One (Ben Harper)
  • Wonderwall (Ryan Adams)
  • Somewhere Only We Know (Keane)
  • Everlong (Foo Fighters)
  • When I See You Smile (Bad English)
  • Marry Me (Train)
  • Underneath it All (No Doubt)

Country Twang :: Classic Country and Contemporary Nashville

  •  Here (Rascal Flatts)
  • There You Are (Martina McBride)
  • Look at Us (Vince Gill)
  • She’s My Kinda Rain (Tim McGraw)
  • Crazy (Patsy Cline)
  • Your Everything (Keith Urban)
[Photo courtesy of Gabe Fredericks]


  1. I have to add Lovely Day by Bill Withers – since that’s the song Jay and I are dancing to in this picture!

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