How To Pick the Perfect First Dance Song for Your Wedding

We asked the experts, “What first dance songs do you recommend” and they came back with a stellar list of both cult classics and new favorites. Whether you are looking for something totally unique, old timey, modern, or as sweet as can be, these planners, photographers, and industry pros will help guide you to pick the perfect first dance song for your wedding.

Photo by Stephanie Kaslly Photography, Florals by Melissa Anne Floral Co., Dress by Bianka Bridal

If you’re a fan of country music and looking for something newer, we recommend Russell Dickerson‘s song,“Yours,” which not only landed a #1 spot on country charts, but also is oozing with romance. Hey, if it was good enough for Girl With No Job, it is for us!

Weddings by Susan Dunne says “First dances are always one of my favorite moments during the wedding day. It’s the first official dance they will share together as a married couple. There is something special when selecting a classical song such as At Last by Etta James and having Beyonce sing it. It puts a nice spin on a classical hit. Or perhaps, select new and hip; a couple of my favorite; “Rest of My Life” by Bruno Mars and “Never Stop” by Safety Suit (Wedding Song).

There are so many great choices out there. I recommend, the couple to select a song that is meaningful and represents them. Perhaps it’s the song that was playing in the background on their first kiss or the song that just simply reminds them of each other.”

Stephanie Kaslly of Stephanie Kaslly Photography recommends, “Choose a song that has a special meaning. I like “There Will Be Time,” by Mumford & Sons featuring Baaba Maal.”


Perfect First Dance Song for Your Wedding
Photo by KT Crabb Photography, featured in this Blush & Blue Southern Wedding

“We’ve collected a few songs that are popular by some standards but not widely used as first dance songs,” says the team at Ceremony App. They recommend:

“Brand New Start” by Little Joy. “Little Joy’s Brand New Start is the perfect first dance for an indie-esque couple looking for something with a casual beat and happy-go-lucky vibes. Whether you want to break out a few spin moves or just sway to the music, this song fits the bill. ‘There ain’t no lover like the one I’ve got. Ain’t no lover like the one I’ve got. She and I have a brand new start. Gotta give all my love.'”

“I Want You to Be My Love” by Over the Rhine. “No one has a voice like Karin Bergquist, and she brings all the feels in this song. Over the Rhine’s “I Want You to Be My Love” is pure, unconditional romance. The simple lyrics and soft piano create an ideal, slow and steady first dance. ‘Cause I want you. ‘Cause I want you. I know all you. All you’ve been through.’ Doesn’t get any better than that.”

“I Found You” by Alabama Shakes. “If you’re looking for a modern Motown sound, “I Found You” by the Alabama Shakes is your wedding anthem. It’s upbeat, fun, and says everything a first song should. ‘Well, I traveled a long way. And it took a long time to find you. But I finally found you.’ Melt into this one with your love while lead singer Brittany Howard brings down the house.”

Perfect First Dance Song for Your Wedding
Photo by Jorge Maciaw, featured here

If you are trying to combine different unique cultures, Melissa Barrad of I Do…Weddings & Events says, “Recently, I worked with a lovely couple to create a fusion celebration. The Bride is Hindu and the Groom is Costa Rican, so we wanted to honor both sides of the family–not just within the ceremony, but during the meal, as part of the decor and of course the music! So, we worked together to create a memorable first dance mash-up which included Indian music, Costa Rican music and their favorite Top 40 song. Each song was about a minute in length, and was choreographed to perfection!”

Jenna Miller at Here Comes The Guide shares her favorite suggestions saying, “All of these songs dropped in 2018 and are lesser-known-but-still-fantastic tracks!” You Are The Reason by Calum Scott and Leona Lewis, You Make It Easy by Jason Aldean, Saturday Sun by Vance Joy, I’ll Be There by Jess Glynne, Butterflies by Kacey Musgraves, I Like Me Better by Lauv, Morning Light by Justin Timberlake and Alicia Keys.

Nora Sheils, Owner of NW Based Bridal Bliss says, “The first dance is such a great opportunity to personalize your wedding. You can keep it classic with tried and true tunes like “At Last” by Etta James, “Can’t Take My Eyes of You” by Frankie Valli, “La Vie en Rose” by Louis Armstrong, or “Fly Me To the Moon” by Frank Sinatra.

Or you can do what I love, and mix it up with some favorites you adore as a couple. Love The Cure? Try Kate Melua’s slow remake of “Just Like Heaven.” Was a special song playing during the proposal? Play that! Big fans of the Smiths? Try the uber romantic “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.” Love Maxwell’s sexy vibe? Check out “Ascension.” Remember, it doesn’t have to be a slow dance! Have fun with it and don’t forget, you can always have the band/DJ fade it out or invite guests to join in if you don’t want to be in the spotlight too long.”

Kari Dirksen, Owner and Lead Planner at Feathered Arrow suggests, “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton. “You’re as smooth as Tennessee whiskey, you’re as sweet as strawberry wine, you’re as warm as a glass of brandy and honey I stay stoned on your love all the time.” I had a couple that danced to this as their first dance and it was the sweetest moment as they sang it to each other swinging around on the dance floor. It’s not your usual slow paced song but it’s not super fast and it just has those warm loving feelings and not your traditional first dance song.”

Perfect First Dance Song for Your Wedding
Planning by All You Need is Love Events, Millay and Young Photography

The planners at All You Need Is love Events give their top favorites: “Free Fallin” by Tom Petty, “If Not For You” by Bob Dylan, “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon, “Up All Night” by Beck. “I love all these songs for first dances and I think they are really unique and fun! Tom Petty and Bob Dylan are classics and Kings and Leon and Beck are more modern. I think they are all unexpected and can be really special to couples who want a little more unique approach and may already love these artists and/or these songs.”

Rachel of Rachel Red Photography says “One of my all time favorite first dance songs is “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green. The lyrics are simple, but speak of commitment and a lifetime of happiness together as a couple. #marriagegoals It’s also fantastic to dance to! Not too slow, so you can cut a rug or keep it at an easy sway.”

Finally, Krisy Thomas of Southern Sparkle Wedding & Event Planning says, “Can you really have a list of first dance songs without listing a song from Ed Sheeran? Ed Sheeran has been the king of wedding songs in the recent years. Year after year producing one hit wedding song after another. My favorite is “Perfect Duet” featuring Beyonce. His lyrics genuinely pull at the heart-strings and adding in Queen Bey…there isn’t a dry eye in sight.”

Tell us your best suggestions in the comments below!

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