10 First Dance Song Ideas & Popular Wedding Dances
All You Need to Know About Choosing Your First Dance Song
Congratulations, your Wedding is coming up, and it’s time to plan for your First Dance!
Have you thought of which song you will dance to? Will you be taking dance lessons? Are you confident enough to pull it off?
As we all know, wedding planning can be hectic, and thinking about the dancing part of it doesn’t particularly help with the stress either.
Let us help you think some things through.
The First Dance is not just something to get over and forget about.
In fact, it is a defining moment of the rest of your life as husband and wife.
For that reason, it deserves a little bit of attention and thoughtful consideration
Dancing Bonds the Two of You Together
Whether or not dancing is an enjoyable activity you share with your fiance, it will be a moment in time captured forever in photographs, so you don’t want to mess it up.
Admittedly, although some couples are hesitant about learning to dance, the confidence they build, and the bond they build between each other is worth the experience in and of itself.
Many couples opt to take some dance lessons to get polished up before the big day, and it’s definitely something to consider.
During the wedding planning time when stress levels are high, learning to dance is a natural relaxing activity, and also serves as an automatic date night when you need one most.
Out of all the planning chaos, couples usually say that taking wedding dance lessons was one of the most enjoyable things they did with each other before the big day.
Dancing is a Classic Life Skill
Don’t miss the chance to brush up on this very fun and timeless life skill.
Not only does dancing bond two people together, but it makes every celebration, including your wedding reception, that much more memorable and fun.
So, if you are thinking about dance lesson for your First Dance, you probably won’t regret it.
The next step is to choose that special First Dance Song!
Where to Start with Choosing the Perfect Song for your First Dance
There are couples who know what song totally defines them, and then there are other couples who aren’t sure where to start when looking for a First Dance Song.
There is no “right” way to do it, but let us give you some ideas.
The First Dance should be about you as a couple; it reflects your personalities and is also somewhat defining of the rest of the evening.
Tips for Finding the Song
If you are still having trouble finding the right song, here are some questions to consider:
Questions to Ask Yourselves
- What are a few words that describe you as a couple?
- Would you like your First Dance to be more traditional or fun? Something romantic or upbeat
- Do you want to use more than one song? A mashup?
- Is there a routine on YouTube or TV that you’ve seen and you like?
Remember, your actual First Dance will not be that long, so you wont be out there forever.
However, whatever song you chose to dance to, you want to make it a good one.
What is “Your Style” as a couple?
Now that you’ve asked yourselves some questions, let’s think about your style, which style fits you best, or perhaps just a style that you want to dance!
This will help you ultimately chose the songs that fit you best.
Out of the following, what is most “you” or what speaks to you? …Or, what kind of theme would suit your First Dance best?
10 First Dance Styles to Consider
- Traditional and Polished
- Hopeless Romantic
- Happy Go Lucky
- Smooth and Soulful
- Against the Grain
Let’s define these categories and styles, with examples of what a fitting song would be.
1.) Traditional and Polished
You like Good Taste and you are going for something Timeless.
Suggestion: Choose something Classic.
- Etta James – At Last
- Elvis Presley – Can’t Help Falling in Love
- Nat King Cole – Unforgettable
- Frank Sinatra – Fly Me to the Moon
- Elton John – Your Song
- Ingrid Michaelson – Can’t Help Falling in Love
- Frankie Valli and The 4 Seasons – I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You
- Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World
- Frank Sinatra – The Way You Look Tonight
You are outside of the box and want to add your own flair to it.
Suggestion: Choose something that might surprise your guests.
- Kygo – Firestone
- Ray LaMontagne – You Are the Best Thing
- The Lumineers – Ho Hey
- Arctic Monkeys – Baby I’m Yours
- Landon Pigg – Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop
- Mazzy Star – Fade into You
- Oh Wonder – Without You
- Alanis Morissette – Head Over Feet
- Van Morrison – Crazy Love
- Ed Sheeran – Tenerife Sea
3.) Hopeless Romantic
You are Sentimental and you want something Passionate.
Suggestion: Choose Lyrics that are important to you.
- James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go
- Extreme – More Than Words
- James Blunt – You’re Beautiful
- Christina Perri – A Thousand Years
- Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes
- David Gray – This Year’s Love
- Adele – Love Song
- Hero – Enrique Iglesias
- Heatwave – Always and Forever
- Charlie Puth – One Call Away
- Dave Matthews Band – You & Me
4.) Happy Go Lucky
You are going for something lighthearted and fun.
Suggestion: Choose a song with a cheery vibe.
- Sara Bareilles – I Choose You
- The Beach Boys – Wouldn’t It Be Nice
- Beyonce – Love on Top
- Michael Buble – Everything
- The Zombies – This Will Be Our Year
- Can’t Help Falling in Love (Cover) – UB40
- Stevie Wonder – You Are the Sunshine of My Life
- James Taylor – How Sweet it is
- Chris Brown – Forever
You want something that will fit the glove, fits the mood and is golden.
Suggestion: Alleviate the pressure and go for something mainstream.
- Train – Marry Me
- John Legend – All of Me
- Ed Sheeran – Perfect
- Jason Mraz ft. Colbie Caillat – Lucky
- LANY – ILYSB (Stripped)
- Plain White T’s – 1,2,3,4
- Bruno Mars – Just the Way You Are
- Lukas Graham – Love Someone
- Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
- Jason Mraz – I’m Yours
- Ingrid Michaelson – The Way I Am
- Jason Mraz – I Wont Give Up
- Ed Sheeran – Thinking Outloud
6.) Smooth and Soulful
You want a romantic and chill/ relaxing song.
Suggestion: Choose something grooving with a slow beat.
- Mariah Carey – Always be My Baby
- Sade – By Your Side
- Adele – Make You Feel My Love
- Brian McKnight – Back at One
- Al Green – Let’s Stay Together
- Lauryn Hill – Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You
- Robin Thicke – Lost Without You
- Norah Jones – Come Away with Me
You want to have dramatic flair and something really expressive.
Suggestion: Consider choosing one of these showy songs.
- Scent of a Woman – Por Las Cabeza by Carlos Gardel
- Top Gun – Take My Breath Away by Berlin
- The Greatest Showman – A Million Dreams
- Planetarium – La La Land
- Moulin Rouge – Your Song
- The Wedding Date – Sway by Michael Buble
- Saturday Night Fever – How Deep is Your Love by the Bee Gees
- Beetlejuice – Jump in the Line by Harry Belafonte
This one is pretty self explanatory; You like this genre!
Suggestion: Check some of these options out below.
- Blake Shelton – God Gave Me You
- Lonestar – Amazed
- John Michael Montgomery – I Swear
- Thompson Square – Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not
- Rascal Flatts – Bless the Broken Road
- Kane Brown – Heaven
- Brad Paisley – Then
- Lee Brice – I Don’t Dance
- Thomas Rhett – Die A Happy Man
- Dave Barnes – God Gave Me You
This genre is always a fun Blast from the Past!
Suggestion: Choose a song in this category to use in a mashup.
- Atlantic Starr – Always
- Bryan Adams – Heaven
- The Cars – Drive
- Sinead O’Connor – Nothing Compares to You
- Madonna – Crazy for You
- Journey – Faithfully
- Aerosmith – Don’t Want to Miss a Thing
- Right Said Fred – I’m Too Sexy
10.) Against the Grain
You are Individualistic and want to make an impression.
Suggestion: Choose a Song that Makes a Statement.
- Steve Miller Band – The Joker
- Aerosmith – Sweet Emotion
- Meat Loaf – I’d Do Anything For Love
- Metallica – Nothing Else Matters
- ACDC – You Shook Me All Night Long
- Van Halen – You Really Got Me
- Robert Palmer – Bad Case of Loving You
- Foreigner – Hot Blooded
- Walk the Moon – Shut Up and Dance With Me
Now that we have given you some ideas about choosing a First Dance Song, there are a few other First Dance FAQ’s to address and help you along your merry way.
Helpful First Dance FAQ’s
How Long Should the First Dance Song Be?
The pressure is off; The good news is that you don’t have to dance an entire song of 3-4 minutes!
Your First Dance Song can be as little as 2 minutes long. In fact, we usually recommend cutting your song between 2-3 minutes.
Most attention spans start to fade after 3 minutes, and you want to make the dance short and sweet.
Your DJ can help cut your music or fade it out.
You can choose to dance to your favorite part of the routine, or perhaps ask your dance instructor for their professional opinion.
When Should the First Dance Happen During the Wedding Reception?
There are a couple of ways of going about this.
A popular option is to start the reception with the First Dance, as the first act as man and wife.
That being said, you can have a grand entrance into the ballroom / reception area after everyone is seated and introduced, and then have the bride and groom announced onto the dance floor.
This sets the tone for the rest of the evening, and gets the dance out of the way.
Another option is to have the First Dance after dinner.
A good reason for this order is that it will encourage everyone else to start getting on the dance floor as well.
After the First Dance, Father of the bride may share a dance with the bride along with the Groom with mom would be next.
Both sets of parents can dance right after.
Should You Take Lessons to Learn to Dance for Your First Dance?
The First Dance is symbolic, and a memory that will last a lifetime.
That being said, it will be captured in photographs for years to come, and be a memory that will never fade.
The First Dance is important, and the benefit of learning to dance is that it is a hobby and life skill that you can use not only for the big day, but for many more celebrations to come.
Dancing with someone you love in an embrace is one of the most romantic things, and one of the best natural highs.
Holding someone in your arms for that long releases an endorphin release like no other, and for that reason creates magical and bonding moments that become a part of your history.
There are many timeless twirls and dips to get in your dance survival skills toolbox.
Once you learn it, you will always have it, so there will be no regret. For this reason, we highly recommend taking dance lessons.
When Should You Start Learning to Dance?
Start the dance journey 3-6 months before the wedding.
You will have a lot of last minutes things come up, and you don’t want to stress out about the funnest part of the wedding (the dancing!).
If you don’t start early, that’s ok, there are wedding dance bootcamps out there that will whip you into shape in no time.
Opt for one on one private lessons instead of group classes or online lessons. Nothing will replace a personally customized lessons specifically tailored to YOU.
Practice as much as you can to get the most out of building muscle memory.
It takes time, but well worth the effort.
Lastly, remember to find a song you both love with a good tempo. Choose a song that makes you want to move together and makes you happy
How to Choose the Perfect Dance Instructor / Dance School?
Naturally, you want to make the best used of your time and money.
Reputation is big in this department.
Reviews and referrals are always your best bet, also making sure that whoever you end up working with specializes in Wedding Couples and Choreography.
It has to be a good fit, and a big plus is if the dance instructor you are working with has accolades, competes professionally, and has been in the media, recognized for their success.
Don’t fall for the “too good to be true” free deals that you may see advertised online. The dance schools and dance teachers that are the real deal are worth it and are recognized.
You will learn more and faster from the true professionals than the free lessons that may be wasting your time, being taught by a beginner teacher with no experience.
What Dances Do Couples Usually Learn for Their First Dance?
This really depends and depends on the Song that you Choose. Some couples ask to learn the waltz, without realizing that the song they chose is not a waltz, and not in ¾ time.
That being said, you can’t just say you want to learn a Waltz!
Usually couples will choose a song, and their dance instructor will match it with an appropriate dance.
The other option is to have your heart set on a specific dance, and then make sure to find the appropriate music.
Wither way works, and no couple does it the same.
From the songs suggested in this blog, most of them fit into either a Romantic, Slow Dance category or Energetic one.
The following are a few examples of popular dances for Weddings.
Popular Dances to Learn for your First Dance
Waltz is a smooth dance with a lilting action that is timeless and fairy-tale like.
It is comprised of Box steps and travels around the dance floor fluidly in a counter clockwise fashion.
There is a specific footwork that belongs to this dance that makes it look so graceful.
It will take some time to hone in your Waltz skills with some dance lessons, but you won’t regret it!
Night Club Two Step
This is a slow and romantic first dance choice.
It’s straightforward, low key, and replaces the bear hug dance from high school, giving you a more sophisticated edge to your basic sway step.
This dance is one of my favorites to teach for Weddings because once you get into the groove, you are golden.
This dance is great for ballads and is one you can really relax while doing.
It will give you a swaying look that is put together, simple yet not boring.
Foxtrot progresses around the dance floor exuding elegance and charm, and is great for taking up the entire dance floor.
Sophisticated sounds from Frank Sinatra or more contemporary Michael Buble would fit this style well.
This is a medium paced dance and may include playful elements, as it is a cross between Waltz and Swing.
This one is a great choice not only for Wedding First Dances, but also Father / Daughter and Mother / Son dances.
If you want something bursting with energy, the Swing is a great choice.
It is a fun and fast dance with a lot of personality.
Some couples who opt for this dance also consider their attire, as swift movements require a lot of range of motion.
Getting some choreography will really add to the pizzazz of Swing, as there are a lot of options for lifts and dips, fast turns and even some kicks.
This dance is usually danced to Latin music, but it is a great choice for Wedding First Dances as well.
This is because the basic box step is similar of that of the elegant Waltz box.
However, it has a more modern 4/4 timing which matches most music choices of today.
This is a good dance that exudes a romantic vibe.
It is a slow dance, and easier to learn than some of the other faster Latin dances.
The Rumba is a very versatile dance which matches many types of music, and for that reason remains a practical one to learn.
Salsa has a very specific beat and sound to it, lively and fun, and usually not slow and romantic like most First Dance songs typically are.
This is a great dance to learn if you have plans to continue dancing after the Wedding as well, as it is one that has a vibrant nightlife attached to it.
Salsa is very rhythmic and has a fast tempo.
You will want to get training if you want to do this dance so you get the most out of it, and make sure to choose a song that reflects this dance style.
A Mashup is a grouping of several songs that are cut and spliced together, creating a dynamic masterpiece of variety, style and sounds.
Some dances to mashups are totally free form, some incorporate humor, solo sections, hip hop elements, and draw from a variety of other dance styles listed above.
Mashups have become more popular as couples choose to dance to a multiple number of songs in order to showcase their personalities.
Flashmobs are more of a modern trend that originated from the last decade.
They involve not only the participation of you and your fiance, but a select group of individuals that will perform an unexpected “surprise” dance routine which is choreographed.
Flashmobs have choreography that is usually expressive, and out of the box.
Most routines will begin with a handful of people and as the song plays on, more and more people join in the fun.
We hope you enjoyed this blog post.
Perhaps it gave you some new ideas, inspiration and given you a bit on information on what’ s to come in your wedding dance process.
If there are songs not on the list that we missed, feel free to let us know!
There are so many options, that listing all of them would take forever.
However, don’t forget to check Spotify and Youtube for playlists, specifically created for First Dance Songs.
Have a listen in the car as you commute to work, and that should also give you a few more ideas.
If you happen or are planning to be in the Las Vegas area, we offer wedding dance classes for engaged couples as well as bridesmaids.
Tell us more about your first dance ideas.
And feel free to leave a comment below with your wedding song and any suggestions.
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Good luck and enjoy the dancing journey!