How do you choose a first dance? What if you hate the idea of dancing surrounded by your friends, all eyes on you? Why should you waste time with a slow one if you just want to party?
The first dance is one of the most important parts of the wedding party (in my opinion). It’s a great ice breaker for nervous dancers, and 9 times out of 10 the dance floor gets fuller faster when there is a first dance, compared to when there isn’t.
A number of couples I’ve worked with were a little unsure about which song to have, or even if they wanted a first dance song at all. Over time I’ve worked out a sure fire way to make sure you, and your husband or wife to be, can come up with a great song that really means something to both of you.
Despite the soppiness of it, a slow first dance is probably your best bet if you are a little worried about dancing. If you’ve got moves, and you want to show them off, something faster can definitely work.
The thing I have learnt from playing hundreds of weddings, is that your guests won’t judge! They are happy just to see you and your new spouse sway from side to side, and have a little chat for 3 or 4 minutes – which is what most first dances end up being.
Weddings are frantic. People you haven’t seen in ages want to talk to you, everyone asks how you’ve been, you might have last minute plans to put into fruition, or speeches to worry about. Over the course of the day you hardly get a moment to yourself, let alone with your new husband or wife, so these 3 or 4 minutes spent together can be a welcome break. A time to sit back and think, “Woah, I’m married to this person,” before the day is over. First dances are a great way to put a momentary pause on a wedding day.
But I can’t dance!
It was nerve wracking when Laura and I had our first dance – I can’t dance to save my life – but it was definitely worth it to have a song played especially for us.
Every time we hear the song now we remember the great day we had together surrounded by family and friends.
Sometimes I wish I’d put more thought into choosing a first dance. Laura and I didn’t really have “a song”. We both love music, and there are so many tunes that represent highlights in our relationship. We just went for something that was fun and had good lyrics – You Make My Dreams by Hall and Oates.
Yeah – that’s a tune!
Having spoken about the wedding since, we’ve discovered we would have both chosen another song – The Cure Just Like Heaven – if we had done it again. Maybe the beautiful Katy Melua version.
Wow – was what the guitarist wears in this video ever ok?
If you don’t have an idea for a first dance song, or are contemplating not having one, I urge you to give it a little more thought.
My advice for picking your first dance is as follows…
Both write down separate lists of at least 10 songs. Songs that make you think of your other half when you listen to them. The ones that give you goose bumps, or send those tiny little hairs on the back of your neck standing on end. These don’t necessarily have to be songs you think the other person will like (usually there’ll be a common interest anyway), just ones you’re happy to admit to yourself that you like.
Then put the lists together without judgement. If there’s one similarity – bingo – you have your first dance!!
If there’s a few then make a playlist, and have a listen together. Listen to the words. Do you agree with the sentiment? Maybe google the meaning of the lyrics. It’s always worth checking the theme behind a song. I remember someone asking for Every Breath You Take as a first dance thinking it was a lovely love song. Actually it’s about obsession, and jealousy. Uh oh!
If you’ve managed to pick a fast song, and aren’t too keen on dancing in front of your guests, then see if your band can make an arrangement for you. Lots of our acts are more than happy to make a slowed arrangement of your first dance – Laura, and I asked Mister Kanish to slow down the first verse and chorus of You Make My Dreams, and it was great.
Here’s an example of a band playing The Rock Show by Blink 182 (a pop punk rocker) as a folky first dance…
First Dance Ideas
Below is a list of popular first dances that we’ve played in the past. It may give you some inspiration.
- You Are The Best Thing – Ray Lamontagne
- Ho Hey – The Lumineers
- Romeo and Juliette – Dire Straits
- You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon
- One Day Like This – Elbow
- You’re My Best Friend – Queen
- Lover Of The Light – Mumford and Sons
- Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
- I’ve Just Seen A Face – The Beatles
- Dancing In The Dark – Bruce Springsteen
- Mountains – Biffy Clyro
- Stand By Me – Ben E. King
- Your Body Is A Wonderland – John Mayer
- Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing – Aerosmith
Hopefully this has given you some ideas. Below is a montage video of Ben and Andy from Mister Kanish trying out some first dances from the past.
In the end if you’re really not keen on having a first dance that’s ok. But if it’s due to a fear of dancing alone in front of your friends you can always convince the best man or bridesmaids to join you with their partners within 20 seconds. Then the dance floor is full all ready for the band’s first set.
I hope you’ve found this useful. If you need help choosing a great band to play at your wedding give us a shout on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01489611684.