First Dance Wedding Songs – A Guide

Written by    Last updated: June 20, 2016

Imagine the scene – you and your groom take to the floor amidst an excited hush from your onlooking guests. He spins and whirls you around with such grace and elegance that your guests think they are at the final of Strictly Come Dancing – or at least, you are Fred and Ginger! Perhaps you’d love to be able to dance like the experts, to Waltz or Jive or even Charleston at your wedding? Well, you can! The experts at Wedding Day Dance UK tell you exactly how to make your first dance fun, easy, and unforgettable for you and your guests! And what first dance wedding songs should you choose?

Wedding day couple enjoying their first dance wedding songs

Image courtesy of Wedding Day Dance UK

Keep it short

Most songs last 3-4 minutes and that doesn’t sound a long time, but if you’re not that confident and your dancing moves are the centre of attention, it can feel like an eternity. Keep your first dance short and sweet, around 2 minutes is ideal. This way your dance maintains impact and your guests don’t get bored. If you’ve ever been a guest at a wedding and thought the first dance dragged on, you probably don’t want to do the same!

Real Wedding by Anna Marie Stepney

Image courtesy of Annamarie Stepney

We’re all in this together

Ask your DJ or singer to invite your guests onto the dance floor. This works well if you dance for 1 – 2 minutes by yourselves before the announcement. If your first dance song is a short one, choose a second song to play immediately after. The DJ could also invite the parents first, and you should warn them beforehand to avoid an embarassing moment if they’re too shy to join you on the dance floor! If your first dance song is upbeat, you can invite your flower girls and page boys to join you on the floor first – all the guests will love it, and the kids will love it too!

Real Wedding by Evolve Photography

Image courtesy of Evolve Photography

Our story

Enhance your dance by playing a slideshow in the background using photographs taken throughout your relationship. The images will tell your love story as you dance. Ask your venue about using their projector, or search the web to hire one. It sounds so simple, but it’s a really touching and evocative moment, and a great opportunity for the guests to see how your story evolved.

Wedding Day Dance Couple

Image courtesy of Wedding Day Dance UK

Get the party started

Have a balloon drop or Flutter Fetti explosion set up above your dance floor, to be released at a key moment within your dance. This could be a key change within the music, or to mark the end of your first dance. It makes a fun, memorable impression, gets the party atmosphere started and looks great in photos!

Wedding Day Dance Couple

Image courtesy of Wedding Day Dance UK

Call in the professionals

Book some dance lessons in preparation for your big day. Learning to dance with the person you love is one of the most romantic things you can do. Your dance teacher will teach you the basics and create a dance to your song that you can practice, so you’ll be step perfect and confident during your first dance. Don’t worry about the nerves – many grooms have dug in their heels and said they are absolutely not going, but when they gave in they found it’s a lot more fun, and of course it also made the bride happy (very important)! The dance teachers have attended to many couples who are nervous and can’t dance, so they have ways to make you relax and enjoy yourselves.

Wedding Day Dance Couple

Image courtesy of Wedding Day Dance UK

Back up

Get the members of your bridal party in on the act. This is super-entertaining when you practice in advance, but keep it a secret! You start your first dance normally and half way through you are joined by your very own backing dancers! Either use the same music or change to something more upbeat and you can freestyle or have something choreographed. This never fails to delight the guests, and is a real highlight of the reception!

Real Wedding by Evolve Photography

Image courtesy of Evolve Photography

Music & lyrics

Choose a song that you love to listen to and read the lyrics to check they aren’t about heartache! There are no rules about what type of song you can have – it’s all about what the two of you find meaningful. Gone are the days when the first dance just had to be slow with suitably syrupy lyrics (almost as if the objective was to make the guests shed a few “awwww” tears). These days anything goes – you can dance to Florence and the Machine, or The Beatles if you like!

Real Wedding by JK Photography

Image courtesy of JK Photography

Here are the most popular first dance wedding songs of 2012:

Everything, Michael Buble
Amazed, Lonestar
Just The Way You Are, Bruno Mars
Let’s Stay Together, Al Green
Greatest Day, Take That
I’m Yours, Jason Mraz
Make You Feel My Love, Adele
At Last, Etta James
Fly Me To The Moon, Frank Sinatra
Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Andy Williams

The first dance is often the highlight of the reception for many guests – and a beautiful tradition still followed by many brides today. A wedding day is full of ‘firsts’ – your first kiss as a married couple, your first time being called ‘Mr and Mrs’ – and your first dance too! Make it special and memorable, and you’ll never ever forget it.

If you need help, call the experts – Wedding Day Dance UK. They provide private wedding dance lessons nationwide. One of their qualified dance teachers will create a first dance that matches your song, ability and natural style, so you will feel confident and comfortable on the dance floor. Lessons are available in all UK locations and they are scheduled for dates and times that suit you so evening, weekends and daytimes are all available.

How to choose and alternative song for your first dance

The music for your first dance requires special consideration, and here Yourocktheblock.com shares some of their tips on choosing the perfect first dance music.

Right at that ‘first dance’ moment, all eyes are on you and you want it to go smoothly. But more importantly, this is the point in your big day where it’s just the two of you. You’re in a small bubble, enjoying three minutes of romantic togetherness before the party kicks off. All the duties and formalities have fallen away.

OK, I am painting a rosy picture here. Your partner may well feel like this is actually a painful formality: they may be dreading it, as dancing to them means drinking five pints to build up the courage and then pumping the air with their fists. But let’s ignore reality for the moment and assume they are a romantic soul, just like you.

The song you choose should be personal and have meaning

If you are struggling to choose a first dance song then you may be tempted to go with an easily Googled classic, for example, Eta James’ ‘At Last’. A gorgeous song but really, where’s the meaning to you? Your first dance song should be one that resonated with you when you were falling in love with the person you are marrying. You have to think of the long game here. You are going to be married for a long time and you may well hear your first dance song a few times in the next few decades. Better your tune evokes happy memories about the rush of emotions, the crush, or the time you realised you really were falling head over heels, as well as the first dance at your wedding? Yes.

Consider the Music and Lyrics

A quick word on choosing a ‘comedy’ choreographed dance: DON’T. Unless of course you can be creative, original and really, really good at convincing your co-dancers that they should dance with all the conviction of a professional dancer. Otherwise it may come across as ill-conceived and anxiety provoking for your guests who may be forced to politely clap out of pity, if you are are lucky. Proper Salsa, Ballroom and other formal disciplines are pure gold if you are prepared to put the practice in and dance to the right tune. I wish I could claim the latter advice from personal experience, but unfortunately the guests at my wedding merely watched me shuffling around in a circle, clinging on to my new wife and grinning like an idiot, to the tune of ‘Fresh Feeling’ by Eels, a song we both love.

Be Selfish

As a provider of sound and light to couples who want to play their own music I always advise the bride and groom to think of their guests as customers who’ve come a long way to party and deserve a disco with tunes for everyone. With the first dance, however, this is not true. Be selfish, this is your moment and the song you both choose should be meaningful to you.

Yourocktheblock.com is a professional sound and light hire service for wedding parties in Northants and the surrounding areas. They are ideal for couples who want to be in control of their own music, because they simply deliver and set up all equipment for you. You provide the music, and they’ll provide rich, pure sound and a fantastic light and laser show!

ASK KATE: WHAT SONG SHOULD WE CHOOSE FOR OUR FIRST DANCE?

Kate Thompson has been offering heart-felt advice and sparklingly different wedding inspiration for ten years. She is married with two children, and often features in the national press. With her warm and caring nature and off-beat sense of humour, she’ll answer every question with knowledgable insight and understanding to help and inspire or simply restore your peace of mind.

Q. My fiancé and I are getting married on the 8th June 2013 and we are nearly sorted. We’re really stuck on a first dance song as we don’t have a favourite song and tend to differ in the artists we like, what do you suggest? Kind

A. There are so many love songs out there that could be ideal for you. I’d suggest spending one evening in with your fiance, listening to songs until you both find one you really love. You might want something easy to dance to or something with meaningful lyrics, a song that is upbeat that has all your guests smiling, or something more personal altogether. There are several ideas with sound file links for first dance songs in Wedding Songs to Remember. I also think you should check out some of these less mainstream songs as they are ideal for a wedding song:

  • I Belong to You – Nikki Sudden
  • Thank You – Led Zeppelin (beautiful lyrics)
  • LoveSong – The Cure
  • Crazy – Aerosmith
  • Truly Madly Deeply – Savage Garden

I hope that helps! Enjoy your music night x

Confetti.co.uk’s Top 10 First Dance Wedding Songs

The first dance, if you have one, will be one of the most magical moments of your wedding day. It’s one of the things you’ll remember the clearest afterwards, and you’ll undoubtedly put lots of thought into your song/music choice—you’ll want it to be special and meaningful to you and your partner. In fact, for many couples, their first dance song becomes something of a soundtrack of their marriage. So here, in no particular order, are Confetti’s top 10 wedding songs.

  • Savage Garden – Truly, Madly, Deeply
  • Roberta Flack – The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
  • Aretha Franklin – Say a Little Prayer
  • Top 10 Wedding Songs – Say a Little Prayer | Confetti.co.uk
  • The Monotones – The Book of Love
  • You+Me – You and Me
  • Jennifer Rush – The Power of Love
  • Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
  • Norah Jones – Come Away With Me
  • Westlife – I Wanna Grow Old With You
  • Celine Dion – Because You Loved Me

These ten songs were chosen by Confetti.co.uk’s staff. Comment your own first dance song/music below!

Wedding First Dance

The wedding first dance is a lovely tradition. It’s the part of the reception, after the wedding breakfast and speeches, where the bride and groom take their ‘first dance’ as husband and wife, in front of all their friends and family, to the sound of a much-loved and specially chosen song.

Picture the scene… the cake has been cut and the moment has come for the DJ to play ‘your song’. As smiling newlyweds you gracefully slide onto the dance floor and take your first steps… The music twirls around you, while every guest’s eyes are upon you, the whole room has paused to watch you dance. You sway together, smiling… you sway… you sway… a little sidestep perhaps… you sway some more… it’s only been 15 seconds… sway… your smile is fading slightly… the song still has 3.42 minutes to go… sway… sway some more… and on and on and on… until you wish you’d chosen a shorter song, or had learned some steps to make it a bit more interesting.

It takes two to tango

Will you sway and shuffle to your music for 60 seconds before inviting your guests onto the dance floor, or put on a finely rehearsed dance spectacular worthy of Strictly Come Dancing? More couples than ever before are seeking help from the professionals like the original First Dance Company who know all about this. They know that specialised dance lessons will not only help to take away the worry of that first dance, but also make it one of the highlights of your wedding day. You could start going to classes but private tuition will enable your instructor to choreograph a dance that is unique to you, and which complements your style and choice of music.

First dance lessons

An over anxious groom or a shy bride might not even consider the option of dance lessons, but actually learning a dance can help with the nerves some couples feel about the first dance. Taking lessons will help you to feel so much more comfortable and relaxed as you take to the floor and dance to your chosen song. You’ll actually enjoy it! Dance classes are fun, relaxed and informal. It can also be very romantic learning to dance together. You will also be learning a new skill and can enjoy dancing together time and time again at future events. Join a weekly dance class to keep you in shape, doing something more interesting than going for a run.

Many couples choose to take a five lesson course and learn a fully choreographed dance to their song. This way you know exactly what you will be doing, step by step. You will be able to confidently walk onto the dance floor knowing that your friends and family are in for a treat! You’ll enjoy the experience as much as your loved ones enjoy watching and you’ll all have a treasured memory and photos or film of the moment too.

Your dance can be as ‘wow factor’ or as understated as you like. You would be surprised at how much you can achieve even in just one or two hours. You’ll learn a few twirls, maybe an impressive dip and you will certainly feel much easier about the whole prospect of dancing in front of all your guests. Whether you have danced before or are complete beginners, your dance teacher will help you shine when it comes to your first dance.

First Dance Company is one of London’s best dance companies, with a special understanding for brides-and-grooms-to-be who want to have a memorable first dance! Two left feet or shyness is not a problem – they rely on years of experience to teach every couple how to make the most of the iconic moments on the dance floor. Questions or unsure if it’s for you? Visit First Dance Company’s Confetti page and they’ll be happy to help with any questions you may have!

Popular First Dance Songs for Weddings

Which song will you choose for that all important first dance? Will it be the ideal scene-setting tune that captures how you feel about each other? Maybe you’ll have something personal or the music that was playing when you met; a piece of music that provokes something shared that’s precious to you. Confetti presents a mixture of old and new wedding tracks guaranteed to set hearts stirring for your first dance.

Newlywed couple bride and groom first dance

1. Make you feel my love – Adele

The Bob Dylan penned anthem has been popularised by many artists before but it’s Adele’s sublime version that really captures everyone’s heart.

2. We found love – Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris

Rihanna’s bass driven theme of love against the odds has touched the heartstrings of couples everywhere. One of the most popular wedding tracks around.

3. Everything – Michael Buble

Buble’s perfectly crafted pop song maybe smooth and sugary sweet but there’s no doubting the warmth and generosity of the lyrics.

4. At last – Etta James

Nothing can sweep people off their feet like this soulful and soaring paean to finding love.

5. Amazed – Lonestar

One person’s cheesy hillbilly rock number is another’s romantic power ballad. If you can both agree on it, the lyrics are perfect for that special first dance under the lights.

6. One day like this – Elbow

Manchester’s elgaic indie band serve up an uplifting anthem sure to blow the wedding breakfast cobwebs away. A real heart pounder from their album The Seldom Seen Kid.

7. Can’t help falling in love – Elvis

How could we miss out Elvis. The king of rock’n’roll always had a heart of gold and you’ll hear it most clearly on this legendary track of newly found love.

8. You got the love – Florence and the machine

Florence and the machine’s dynamic update of a seminal dance music chart topper is a rousing way to celebrate your newly married status.

9. Wonderful tonight – Eric Clapton

Whilst the inspiration for this perennial slow dancing favourite was something much darker, it’s always there and abouts when couples think of a wedding song.

10. Love on top – Beyonce

We couldn’t really have a list like this without Beyonce could we? “Boy your lips taste like champagne…Baby it’s you, your the one I love.” This upbeat tune will have everyone’s feet twitching ready to join you on the dance floor.

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