Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Best First Dance Songs for a Wedding

Congratulations on your engagement!  One of the key decisions of the wedding reception will be the song for your traditional first dance together as husband and wife.  For some couples, the decision will decision will be easy, as this will be a song that has a special meaning in your relationship.  For example, the song that was on the radio during your first kiss; or the song that was playing when you proposed at the Pearl Jam concert.  When the choice is not so obvious, you will need to conduct research to find a song with the perfect mood, lyrics and tempo for that magical moment.

Your Special Moment (Photo Courtesy of Al Ojeda Photography)
Browsing the internet, there are many contrived lists of suggested special songs for weddings that were clearly not compiled by wedding professionals. These lists may feature songs that are hard to dance to; or worse, contain inappropriate lyrics (e.g., a song  about a bittersweet romance).  Below are listed 50 danceable songs with uplifting lyrics to consider for a bride and groom's first dance.  These tracks span various genres; and  importantly, have been used at real weddings!

The first 25 tracks are Modern or Alternative Tracks, while the second 25 are traditional and timeless selections!

25 Modern or Alternative First Dance Songs

You Are the Best Thing - Ray LaMontagne
Crash Into Me - Dave Matthews Band
In a Little While - U2
Marry Me - Train
I’m Yours - Jason Mraz
I Do - Colbie Caillat
Just the Way You Are - Bruno Mars
Desire - Ryan Adams
Do You Realize - The Flaming Lips
Fade Into You - Mazzy Star
I Only Have Eyes for You - Jamie Cullum
First Day of My Life - Bright Eyes
Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop - Landon Pigg
Flightless Bird, American Mouth - Iron & Wine (from the movie Twilight)
The Way I Am - Ingrid Michaelson
True Companion - Marc Cohn
Angel - Robin Thicke (don’t let the fact that Kim Kardashian used the song discourage you!)
By Your Side - Sade
Stay With You - John Legend
Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not - Thompson Square
All That You’ll Be - Emma Bunton
Slave to Love - Bryan Ferry
Lovesong - The Cure, 311 or Adele
Come Away With Me - Norah Jones
Make a Memory - Bon Jovi

25 Traditional and Timeless First Dance Songs

When a Man Loves a Woman - Percy Sledge
You Make Me Feel Brand New - The Stylistics
These Arms of Mine - Otis Redding
It Had To Be You - Harry Connick, Jr.
The Way You Look Tonight - Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett
At Last - Etta James
Unchained Melody - The Righteous Brothers
We Have All the Time in the World - Louis Armstrong
Can’t Help Falling In Love (With You) - Elvis Presley
I Will - The Beatles
Bless the Broken Road - Rascal Flatts
Amazed - Lonestar
From This Moment - Shania Twain w/Bryan White
It’s Your Love - Tim McGraw and Faith Fill
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - Marcia Griffiths
Saving All My Love For You - Whitney Houston
Heaven - Bryan Adams
Don't Want To Miss a Thing - Aerosmith
Always and Forever - Heatwave
How Deep is Your Love - The Bee-Gees
Through the Fire - Chaka Khan
My Cherie Amour - Stevie Wonder
Beautiful in My Eyes - Joshua Kadison
Crazy for You - Madonna
Someone Like You - Van Morrison

What songs would you add to these lists?  (Please comment below, and check out my comment with reader suggestions from social media responders!).

Should You Be Bound by Lyrics?

There is divided thought on this topic, but what should you do if you love the mood and general sentiments of a song, but there are several lyrics that do not apply to your love story, or may be bittersweet?  Our thought is to let the mood of the song prevail, and be permissive with lyrics.  For example, Adele's "Make You Feel My Love" contains a lyric about rejection, but otherwise is overwhelmingly about the power of love.  We say 'yes.'  Of course, her "Someone Like You" would be wildly inappropriate, as it is a breakup song.  One final scenario is those couples who traveled a long and winding road to the wedding altar - where a song such as Rascal Flatts' "Bless the Broken Road" would be a great selection.

Ambient DJ Service is an award-winning mobile DJ entertainment company based in Central NJ and  specializing in weddings.  To learn more about our services, visit us on the web at www.ambientdj.com.  We look forward to seeing you on the dancefloor!

2011, By Gregg Hollmann, All Rights Reserved.


  1. Some additional suggestions via social media responders:

    The Luckiest - Ben Folds
    Forever - Ben Harper
    If I Should Fall Behind - Bruce Springsteen
    Longer Than - Dan Fogelberg
    The Rainbow Connection - Kermit the Frog

  2. Great post Gregg... Lovely selections...
    While working at a wedding, I loved a couple's choice: "Baby I Love You" by The Ramones... :)

  3. Ida, not familiar with that one... will check it out. I always love discovering the next great new (or old) song!

  4. Great list... of course I have a list of my own...

    Kelly Clarkson "A Moment Like This"
    Case "Happily Ever After"
    Tamia & Eric Bennet - "Spend my life with you"
    Lisa Tucker - "I am for you"

    I absolutely love these songs because they aren't too overdone except for the Kelly Clarkson song.

    Speaking of overdone, I am very happy to see you did not include K-CI & Jo Jo's "All my Life" That one needed to disappear from weddings a long time ago. Yet, I still hear it frequently at weddings.

  5. Thank you Terri for your comments and suggestions! They are great choices that I will add to our master list. I am familiar with all of the songs but Lisa Tucker's.

  6. Lisa Tucker's song is my favorite out of that list. Not many people heard of her. However, she was a contestant on American Idol about four or five years ago.


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