Committing to eternity is substantive and sentimental, as is finding the song to encapsulate that forever feeling. When it comes to selecting the best tune for your first dance, consider songs that you connect with as individuals and as a couple. Whether it’s from a movie that you watched together on your first date or has meaning within your family, opt for a song that you both love and will withstand the test of time in your marriage.
Stay away from anything cliché—unless romantic comedies are your thing. Opt for something outside the box, if you’re never a duo to play by the status quo. From the likes of John Legend, Alicia Keys, Al Green, Halsey, and more, here are the best classic, contemporary, and nontraditional first dance songs for your wedding day—and to enjoy on each anniversary to come.
Tell the DJ or band to play one of these first dance songs, and your wedding reception will be one to remember. Whether you’re looking for a country ballad, a soulful tune or a popular first dance song that all of your guests can sing along to, we’ve compiled the very best first dance songs to kick off your wedding reception. After all, the opening tune will set the tone for the rest of your reception music. (So if you want your guests on the dance floor all night, you’ll want to pick a great first dance song.)
When there are so many varieties of wedding ceremonies and reception styles, how do you define what is traditional for you? Should you choose to have the first dance as a newlywed couple, there are quite a few options. The best advice is to do something meaningful for you as a couple.
Browse our favourite picks below, along with standout song lyrics that are sure to give you and your guests all those first dances feels.
When Is The First Dance At My Wedding?
The wedding first dance is the first dance between newlyweds as a married couple. This can be the first dance at the wedding reception. The first dance can also start the formal dances following the meal. The father-daughter dance and mother-son dance commonly follow this dance. The entire wedding party dancing marks the end of the ceremonial dances. The bridal party invites others to join.
It’s your wedding party. The timing of the bride and groom dance at the reception is based on your preferences. The first dance can be done immediately following the grand entrance. Your wedding party can surround you if you wish. If being watched makes you uncomfortable, that’s okay, too.
Talk to your wedding planner, coordinate with the DJ, and earn more by reading our suggestion on how to format your wedding reception.
What Is The Best First Dance Wedding Song?
The best first dance song as a couple is a subjective choice. BUT, if I had to choose just one song, it would be At Last by Etta James. Many brides and grooms prepare for months for their first dance by attending dance lessons. You may want to learn a magnificent waltz, spicy tango, or a glamorous dance routine you saw on Dancing with the Stars.
It is a wonderful surprise for the guests if the couple’s dance number entertains them. If you plan on doing a special, professional dance for your first dance, contact a local dance studio and get lessons.
When Should You Choose Your First Dance Song?
Pick out your first dance song well in advance so you can practice to that specific tune. The most important thing is to choose something memorable from the catalogue of wedding songs. First dance songs are a symbol of your love and commitment, so take your time in choosing.
Also, if you use the recorded version of the song, then practice to that version. If the band or musician will play it live, try to get a recording of their version ahead of time. This is important for practice. Again, talk about this with your wedding planner.
How Do You Make Your First Dance Special?
Making your first dance special is as simple as choosing a song that has meaning to you both — as a couple. Wedding first dance songs are remembered by the wedding couple for the rest of your lives. So, it’s important to pick a song that is significant to you. Some couples choose a funny song or an instrumental song. Those can be just as memorable as a touching ballad.
When the couple chooses the first song for a reason, it’s more special. Don’t be tricked into choosing a song because it was popular or traditional. Also, remember that though people are watching you, this dance is for you. Make eye contact. Chat with each other. Caress your partner. Enjoy the moment — it’s for you.
Does A First Dance Have To Be Slow?
No. The first dance at your wedding reception does not have to be slow. However, it does set the mood for the entire reception. If you don’t have a song, we suggest selecting a song where the lyrics mean something to you.
Why do you think that Sarah McLachlan’s song “Ice Cream” is on many first dance song lists? It’s because it has cool words like “your love is better than chocolate, better than anything else that I’ve tried.” Corny? Maybe. But who cares what everyone else thinks? Maybe you met at an ice cream parlour. Then, the song would be awesome as a first dance song.
It’s okay to be creative. You don’t have to be like everyone else and dance to the overplayed Celine Dion love songs (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
Not only does the song not have to be slow, but it doesn’t have to adhere to any musical genre. Many wedding couples take dancing lessons to a jazz song, classical, or a rock ballad. That way, bridal couples don’t look goofy Dancing in a circle through the whole song (like we did).
Couples who take dance lessons have a deeper connection to the song. It will have significant meaning to them the rest of their lives since they spent so long practising it. They will also have the memories of getting the lessons together — a great break from the stress of planning the wedding.
What Should You Choose For Your First Dance Song?
Being music enthusiasts, this was an easy choice for both my wife and me. We dedicated a song to each other during our courting stage.
Wedding couples should choose a song that means something to them. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be a slow song. This will be the first song as a married couple you will dance to — in public! All eyes are on you.
Best First Dance Songs for Your Wedding
500 Miles,” by Sleeping at Last
Lyrics of Love: “But I would walk five hundred miles/And I would walk five hundred more/Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles/To fall at your door”.
Ask your DJ to fade into the next song after the first minute or so if you don’t want to dance to an entire song in front of everyone.
“Unchained Melody,” by The Righteous Brothers
Lyrics of Love: “Oh, my love, my darling/I’ve hungered for your touch”.
“Amazed,” by Lonestar
Lyrics of Love: “I want to spend the rest of my life with you by my side/Forever and ever”.
“Perfect Duet,” by Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé
Lyrics of Love: “But darling, just kiss me slow/Your heart is all I own/And in your eyes, you’re holding mine”.
“All of Me,” by John Legend
Lyrics of Love: “Give your all to me/I’ll give my all to you/You’re my end and my beginning”.
“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” by Aerosmith
Lyrics of Love: “The sweetest dream will never do/I’d still miss you, babe/And I don’t want to miss a thing”.
“Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” by Jasmine Thompson
Lyrics of Love: “So I’m gonna love you/Like I’m gonna lose you/I’m gonna hold you/Like I’m saying goodbye”.
“The Way You Look Tonight,” by Frank Sinatra
Lyrics of Love: “There is nothing for me but to love you/And the way you look tonight”.
“At Last,” by Etta James
Lyrics of Love: “At last my love has come along/My lonely days are over, and life is like a song, oh yeah”.
“Sons and Daughters,” by Allman Brown
Lyrics of Love: “And I, I’ll wrap myself/Around your heart/I’ll be the walls of his heart”.
“Yours,” by Russell Dickerson
Lyrics of Love: “I came to life when I first kissed you/The best me has his arms around you/You make me better than I was before/Thank God I’m yours”.
“Kiss Me,” by Ed Sheeran
Lyrics of Love: “And your heart’s against my chest, your lips pressed in my neck/I’m falling for your eyes, but they don’t know me yet/And with a feeling I’ll forget, I’m in love now”.
“Escapade,” by Janet Jackson
Lyrics of Love: “Come on, baby, let’s get away/Let’s save our troubles for another day”.
“Sweetest Thing,” by Allman Brown
Lyrics of Love: “You’re the sweetest thing that I ever did see/Like a bird taking way/Tears that set you free”.
“Speechless,” by Dan + Shay
Lyrics of Love: “And I’m speechless/You already know that you’re my weakness/After all this time I’m just as nervous”.
“My Best Friend,” by Tim McGraw
Lyrics of Love: “I fall in love all over/Every time I look at you”.
“Give Me Love,” Ed Sheeran
Lyrics of Love: “All I want is the taste that your lips allow/My, my, my, my, oh give me love”.
“Your Song,” by Elton John
Lyrics of Love: “I hope you don’t mind/That I put down in words/How wonderful life is while you’re in the world”.
“A Thousand Years,” by Christina Perri
Lyrics of Love: “I have died every day, waiting for you/Darling, don’t be afraid. I have loved you for a thousand years”.
“Marry Me” by Train
Lyrics of Love: “Forever can never be long enough for me/Feel like I’ve had long enough with you”.
“I Am Yours,” by Andy Grammer
Lyrics of Love: “Still can’t believe it when you say you’re mine and/I am yours, I am yours, I am yours”
“Back To You,” by Twin Forks
Lyrics of Love: “Follow the signs right back to you/Back to you, back to you/I know they wind right back to you”.
“That’s When I Knew,” by Alicia Keys
Lyrics of Love: “That’s when I knew I fell in love/That’s when I knew you were the one”.
“Have You Ever Been In Love,” by Celine Dion
Lyrics of Love: “Have you ever been in love/You could touch the moonlight”.
“In Case You Didn’t Know,” by Brett Young
Lyrics of Love: “In case you didn’t know/Baby I’m crazy ’bout you/And I would be lying if I said/That I could live this life without you”.
“Falling Like The Stars,” by James Arthur
Lyrics of Love: “We’re fallin’ like the stars, fallin’ in love/And I’m not scared to say those words with you, I’m safe”.
“Only Wanna Be With You,” by Hootie and the Blowfish
Lyrics of Love: “I just want to love you, but you wanna wear my ring/Well there’s nothing I can do/I only wanna be with you”.
“Thinking Out Loud,” by Ed Sheeran
Lyrics of Love: “And darling I will be loving you ’til we’re 70/And baby my heart could still fall as hard at 23”.
“Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” by Frankie Valli
Lyrics of Love: “I love you, baby/And if it’s quite alright/I need you, baby/To warm the lonely night”.
“Can’t Help Falling in Love,” by Elvis Presley
Lyrics of Love: “Take my hand/Take my whole life too/For I can’t help falling in love with you”.
“Work Song,” by Hozier
Lyrics of Love: “When my time comes around/Lay me gently in the cold dark earth/No grave can hold my body down/I’ll crawl home to her”
“XO,” by John Mayer
Lyrics of Love: “Your heart is glowing/, And I’m crashing into you/Baby kiss me, kiss me”.
“This Kiss,” by Faith Hill
Lyrics of Love: “It’s the way you love me/It’s a feeling like this”
“Make You Feel My Love,” by Adele
Lyrics of Love: “No, there’s nothing that I wouldn’t do/To make you feel my love”.
“I Won’t Give Up,” by Jason Mraz
Lyrics of Love: “Well, I won’t give up on us/Even if the skies get rough/I’m giving you all my love/I’m still looking up”.
“We Will Dance,” by Steven Curtis Chapman
Lyrics of Love: “Sometimes we dance as one/And feel the beating of each other’s hearts”.
“Luckiest,” by Ben Folds Five
Lyrics of Love: “I love you more than have/Ever found the way to say/To you”.
“Better Together,” by Jack Johnson
Lyrics of Love: “Yeah, we’ll look at the stars when we’re together/Well, it’s always better when we’re together”.
“Spend My Life With You,” by Tamia & Eric Benet
Lyrics of Love: “Can we just feel this way together till the end of all time/Can I just spend my life with you”.
“I’m Gonna Make You My Wife,” by the Whispers
Lyrics of Love: “I’m gonna make you my world/You be my morning light/The star at night/Or the air I breathe”.
“Man on Fire,” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Lyrics of Love: “Only one desire/That’s left in me/I want the whole damn world/To to come dance with me”.
“Lucky,” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat
Lyrics of Love: “I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend/Lucky to have been where I have been/Lucky to be coming home again”.
“Never Let Me Go” by Florence + The Machine
Lyrics of Love: “Never let me go, never let me go/, And the arms of the ocean are carrying me/And all this devotion was rushing over me”.
“Love You Like I Used To,” by Russell Dickerson
Lyrics of Love: “Didn’t know I could ever love you more than I did/But baby I do, I don’t love you like I used to, no”.
“Girl You’re Alright,” by Paul Otten
Lyrics of Love: “All her friends tell me she’s got a halo/I think I knew that right from the get-go”.
“Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” by Sleeping At Last
Lyrics of Love: “Every little thing she does is magic/Everything she does just turns me on/Even though my life before was tragic/Now, I know my love for her goes on”.
“You & I (Nobody in the World),” by John Legend
Lyrics of Love: “All of the stars, you make them shine like they were ours/Ain’t nobody in the world but you and I/You and I”
“Say You Won’t Let Go,” by James Arthur
Lyrics of Love: “I know I needed you/, But I never showed/But I wanna stay with you until we’re grey and old”.
“You’re Still the One,” by The Maine
Lyrics of Love: “You’re still the one I run to/The one that I belong to/You’re still the one I want for life”.
“Mine Would Be You,” by Blake Shelton
Lyrics of Love: “Baby, if I had to choose/My best day ever/My finest hour, my wildest dream come true/Mine would be you”.
“Who Would Have Thought,” by Dylan Dunlap
Lyrics of Love: “Who would have thought that you’d make me love California?/And that’s saying a lot, ’cause I hated it here before ya”.
Check out our post on Can you DJ your own wedding?
“You Are My Sunshine,” by Jasmine Thompson
Lyrics of Love: “You are my sunshine/My only sunshine/You make me happy/When skies are “grey
If the top charts aren’t your jam, fear not—we’ve also got the best selections of unique first dance wedding songs that are anything but ordinary. Whatever your taste, choose something that you and your partner will both love and cherish for years to come