You would think that of all the things you need to do for a wedding, picking your first dance song would be one of the easiest, but you would be so wrong… For me, (I'm planning my wedding in October) it is proving to be a thorn in my side. I know what you’re thinking - of all the people, a wedding dance expert should have her song sorted in a heartbeat, especially since my fiancée also happens to be a ballroom dancer. The reality is, most of our nights have now turned into wine-fuelled YouTube marathons of romantic song searching, with no satisfying outcome.
I admit I get some couples who know their song before they've picked their venue (lucky ducks) but for those of you like me, who are getting lost in the cybermaze of romance and cheese, here are a few tips to try and narrow down your song choice.
1. The first place to start is the most obvious place - a song with some sentiment to you both. A song from your first date, your proposal, your first kiss... these are great options to consider first. This is where I started but came up empty as unfortunately the soundtrack of our relationship didn't play out like a great album. Most of the above things happened when no music was playing - or we forgot what was playing... However, I can assure you, you will at least have similar music interests and that is where you should start if your relationship playlist was much like mine. In this case, you should both compile a list of your favourite songs and see if you come up with any of the same song/artist. This will form your preliminary list.
Another great starting point is to look at some of your favourite movies. Generally, you can both decide on a movie you like or that has some significance to you, then it's as simple as listening to the soundtrack. Movie soundtracks usually have beautiful hidden gems that people might not have even heard of and are a great source of inspiration for your first dance.
2. Your song should suit your personality as a couple. If neither of you are very romantic do NOT think that you have to have a romantic song because that's "what is normally done" or worse, "because that's what your parents want." Make sure your first dance is a true reflection of you both as this will make sure you are both comfortable and confident with what can be an intimidating moment.
I tell all my couples there is no magic formula for picking a first dance song but if it's true to you then you can't go wrong. Like I said, if neither of you are very romantic, slow dancing to Celine Dion is going to make you uncomfortable on the dance floor, not to mention have all your guests go "who are these people?". But in the same token, if you are a more traditional couple, busting a move to a hard rock anthem is similarly going to make you and your guests feel a bit awkward.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with thinking outside the box - in fact, it makes your wedding more memorable and unique. Don't be hesitant to pick an upbeat song - these usually ensure your dance floor is packed as soon as you have finished.
3. Consider the theme and style of your wedding as this itself may lead you to a particular song, artist or genre. For example, if you are having a Gatsby styled wedding then that's a great place to start looking. Again you have the movie soundtrack, but also any song from the 1920s/30s could provide you with some dance floor magic. If you've got a vintage style wedding, make sure you don't pick a top 20 song but look back to the 60s and 70s for inspiration - or find a contemporary cover of a "vintage" song for a twist on your theme. For a romantic, ethereal wedding look to Disney - some of their songs are not as cheesy as you may think and will totally enhance the fairy tale aspect of your wedding. For a beach wedding, enhance your tropical feel with summer tunes - a personal favourite of mine is the cover of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, the perfect balance of romance on an island.
Ultimately there is no right or wrong song choice, whatever you pick will ultimately be right for you! However, make sure you pick something you can listen to over and over again without getting sick of it. Because if you practice, like I strongly encourage you to, you will be listening to this song many times before your big day.
If you need more inspiration check out my most popular song choices here.
Once you have your song - STOP LOOKING! Like everything else with wedding planning, the options are endless and you can end up with analysis paralysis, not to mention a YouTube addiction. Once you pick a song, stick with it. Your gut is always right and the more you swap and change the less certain you will be with your song. So choose carefully and be confident with your choice. Then all that's left is to - Come Dance With Me!