How to choose your first wedding song

Red Soda Boston Wedding Strings Vocals

How to choose your first wedding song

Every year, one or two songs are released that seem almost as if they’ve been written exclusively for couples that are about to get married. These hits rocket into high rotation at weddings, owing to their ability to capture the love and commitment that two people have for one another.

Choosing the perfect song for your first dance isn’t about following trends, though. Instead, it’s an opportunity to reflect the way you feel for one another and who you are as a couple.

Wondering how exactly to choose the right wedding dance music? Read on.

What exactly is a first dance?

Also called the Bridal Waltz (although it rarely involves actually waltzing), the first dance typically happens after dinner and speeches are done, marking the end of the formalities.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. At Lebanese weddings, the reception starts with a pre-dinner bridal waltz. Guests follow suit, working up an appetite on the dance floor. Similarly, at Jewish weddings the night starts with the Hora, with the first dance taking place immediately before or afterwards.

Regardless of your heritage, weddings are a highly personal event and having a first dance is by no means mandatory! However, it’s one of the most popular wedding traditions for good reason—it’s one of the first acts you’ll perform together as a married couple. Perhaps most importantly, the first dance also paves the way for a raging dance floor!

Should we choose a traditional or modern song for our first dance?

If you attended a wedding in the mid-2000s, chances are you probably heard the falsetto of The Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”. While the hit felt like a fresh take on romance in 2004, by most couples’ third wedding anniversaries it sounded a bit tired.

Simply put, some of the best wedding dance songs are those that have stood the test of time. A great example is Etta James’ “At Last”. First released in 1960, the enduring classic continues to be one of the most popular wedding songs of all time. According to Spotify, it was only second in popularity to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” in 2016.

With that being said, many modern songs—such as Beyonce’s “Halo” or John Legend’s “All of Me”—will age well and may even go on to become classics.

Basically, when it comes to choosing dance music for weddings, both modern and traditional tunes work. Just be sure to ask yourself: “Will we want to dance to this song at our 50th wedding anniversary?”

We’re pro at kitchen dance parties, but nervous about cutting a rug in front of our guests. What music do you suggest?

You’re not alone—unless you’re a trained ballroom dancer or have a choreographed dance prepared, performing for an audience can feel intimidating.

Stripped-back acoustic songs suit most couples, since no fancy footwork is needed. For example, “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran or “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri are both solid choices for bridal dance songs. (We can only wonder if Sheeran’s first dance at his own wedding will be to “Perfect”, which he wrote for his fiance?)

Shorter songs can also take some of the pressure off. You may want to choose a song that’s three minutes or less, or speak with us to see if we can modify and shorten your favorite song.

How can we choose a song that reflects our relationship and us as a couple?

Even if you’ve had a shared song since the start of your relationship, it might not be the best to dance to. Or, maybe you and your partner have entirely different tastes in music. That’s why instead of relying on an old favorite, it might be best to choose a fresh song that symbolizes your new life together.

For inspiration, check out some of the “best of” lists online for bridal dance songs or listen to the Popular Wedding Song audio tracks on our website. We’re also happy to make suggestions.

No matter what song you choose—and whether you’re capable of ballroom moves or have two left feet—we have no doubt that your first dance will start your marriage off on the right note.