You’ve probably thought of one or two songs you want on your wedding playlist - maybe a sassy ‘70s hit for your garter toss? Or a doo wop ditty for your cake cutting? - but you don’t want to forget about the evening’s star track - your first dance song. Finding the right melody for your first spin around the dance floor as a married couple can be tricky, especially if you don’t know where to start. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything out there on Spotify and iTunes, have no fear, we’re here to help.
Here’s how to find the perfect first dance song.
Choose a genre
Deciding on a genre will help you narrow down your options significantly. The first thing you’ll want to do is cross out all the song styles you 100% don’t want. Not a fan of swing hits? Hate country music? Great, you’ve already taken thousands of songs out of the running. Next you’ll need to find your niche. Scroll through your music library and try to determine where most of your songs land. If 99.9% of your library is jazz - you’ve probably nailed down your genre. P.S. you may have to make a few compromises if your soon-to-spouse loves a different style than you, so try your best to find middle ground.
Select a speed
The next thing you’ll want to focus on is tempo. Now, classically, the first dance is a slow one, but it definitely doesn’t have to be. If the two of you want to shimmy and shake around the dance floor to an upbeat number, that’s your prerogative. Find a song speed that suits your rhythm and go with it - you don’t have to stick to tradition if you don’t want to.
Don’t let it drag on
You want to savour your first dance, but you don’t want it to drag on. Choose a song that’s short and sweet so that you can savour the moment without leaving your guests fighting back yawns. Around three minutes is the perfect length, so you should probably cross tracks like Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby” off your list (the full-length version is nearly 17 minutes long).
Talk to your friends
Ask your mates which songs were in the running for their first dances. They probably had to strike down a few options before deciding on “the one”, and what didn’t work for them might work perfectly for you.
Make a list of songs that are special to you
Sit down with your fiancé(e) and craft a list of all the songs that you hold near and dear to your hearts. Include everything from the songs your parents used for their first dances to the tracks that played on your first date. Put them all onto a playlist and try waltzing around your flat to them - you may just find the one.
Explore your library
Now it’s time to dig into your library. Put your iTunes or Spotify account on shuffle and see what comes up. You may rediscover a song you loved but totally forgot about it. This is a great way to jog your memory, so be patient and take your time wading through. Worst situation: you end up having a solo dance party to your favourite tracks from the past.
Ask a professional
If you really can’t decide on a song, it might be time to turn to the pros. Ask the band or DJ you’ve hired for a few suggestions. They’ve probably performed at their fair share of weddings already (meaning they’ve witnessed a number of first dances), so they should be able to offer up at least a handful of options.
Scroll through film soundtracks
If you’re really up a creek without a paddle, try checking the soundtracks from your favourite films. Rom coms, Oscar noms and even a handful of Disney movies have wedding worthy ditties on their tracklists.
Analyze the lyrics
Before you set your first dance song in stone, you’ll want to read through the lyrics. Why? Some songs sound ultra romantic upon first listen, but might actually have the opposite sentiment when you analyze their words (musicians can be tricksters). For example, Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” is a love song, but it’s also about someone leaving, so you may want to skip it for your wedding day.