How To Choose Your First Dance Song

The song you choose for your first dance will forever bring back memories of your happy day. Read our tips on how to pick the right song.

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Jonathan David Photography

For some the first dance is the spectacular opening of a wedding reception and an opportunity to show off their dancing skills, for others it is a much less formal way to get the party started, and some even prefer to ditch the tradition altogether. Whether you want to start with a classic waltz, something sentimental or something quirky and unexpected, make sure that it is meaningful to you and that is gets you moving on the dance floor!

Going down memory lane

Not sure where to start? Talk to your partner and try to remember all the songs that are important to both of you. Think of all those songs you remember from summer holidays, Christmas celebrations, birthday parties… Maybe there is a really special song you remember from your first date? Or from the first gig you attended together? It will be fun to go through all those memories while brainstorming! There may be a lot of songs worth considering for the first dance, so make a list of your favourite ones. To make the selection process even more fun, play each of the songs you shortlisted. Listen carefully and ask yourselves which one is the most romantic, the most danceable and the most appropriate for the occasion.

Classic, contemporary or unconventional?

From the old hits to current chart-toppers, your first dance song can be literally any song you like. It can be something sentimental and even a little bit cheesy or something alternative and rebellious if that is more your cup of tea. The traditional first dance tune is, of course, the waltz. The custom was established in the famed European ballrooms from 17th and 18th century where the first dance was the grand opening of a ball, and it has later become a tradition at wedding receptions. If you want to stick to this tradition, then pick a classic waltz or perhaps a contemporary tune that allows you to show off your ballroom dance skills. Need fresh ideas? How about the Neville's Waltz by Patrick Doyle from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire or First and Last Waltz by Nickel Kreek? Or perhaps the darkly romantic song Take this Waltz by Leonard Cohen?

Nowadays it can be pretty much any song from a pop ballad that requires a very slow dance to something energetic like 1960’s rock’n’roll, your favourite band from the 1980’s or 1990’s or a new song which you proclaimed as your personal anthem. How to narrow down your options? A good tip is to pick a music genre first and then list all the tracks that could potentially be your first dance tune. From jazz to hip hop and bossa nova, it can be any gender you love.

Can you actually dance to the song?

And when you make a list of options, ask yourselves which songs have the right melody and the right beat. Pick something that will inspire everyone at the wedding to jump to the dance floor. Do you know any dances already? Choose a song that is suitable for that type of dance. Have you booked a wedding band? Speak with the musicians and ask them to adjust the speed or rhythm to make the song more danceable. They can speed up or slow down the song to make it perfectly suited for the moves you practiced.

Some songs are drop-dead romantic, others are wonderfully cheerful and up-lifting and some are simply perfect for dancing. If you are searching for inspiration, speak with your wedding band or DJ because they have a huge experience and know which songs will really get the party started. If you want to take some dance lessons, you can also ask your teacher to suggest some tracks and show you choreographies you can easily learn. We also have a carefully selected list of first dance songs to inspire you so sit back, listen and enjoy!

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