So you're planning your wedding. You've already made what seems like one billion decisions, and that little hint of "Wedding-Planning-Fatigue" might be starting to set in. At this point, choosing a first dance song is just one more decision to make... But, have no fear fiances, this detail CAN be an exciting and fun opportunity to create a beautiful and lasting memory together, and the task is a lot less daunting with a little bit of guidance, so let's dive in!
Here is a step by step guide you can use to make this decision a heck of a lot easier (and a heck of a lot more fun):
Step One: Imagine Your Wedding Day
Is your wedding Formal? Laid back? Intimate and Romantic? Rustic? Beachy? Think about the vibe of your wedding day and start to imagine what kind of song would fit that vibe. If your day is all about romance (rose petals, candles, lace, etc.) then you'll want to choose a song that makes you feel romantic. If your day is all about laid back fun (outside, yard games, craft beers, etc.), then you'll want a song that expresses that feeling. Once you've figured out your wedding day vibe...
Step Two: Pick a Genre
Choose a genre of music that will fit that wedding day vibe. For example:
Formal: Big Band (Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin)
Laid Back: Acoustic, Indie (Jack Johnson, Van Morrison, Edward Sharpe)
Fun: Motown, Pop, Rock (Stevie Wonder, Bruno Mars, King Harvest, Pharrell)
Intimate: Country Ballad, Singer/Songwriter (Ray LaMontagne, Adele, John Legend)
Rustic: Country, Folk (Zac Brown Band, The Avett Brothers, Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan)
By no means is this list exhaustive, but hopefully it offers a starting point. Once you've settled on a genre of music that both you and your fiance enjoy and that matches your wedding day vibe, you're ready for...
Step Three: Explore
Explore a bunch of music within that genre. Spotify is an amazing resource (and free!) to explore different genres of music. Type in "Motown" and you'll find a number of playlists with top Motown tracks that you can listen to. Write down your favorite tracks, and don't feel like you have to find the perfect one! This step is all about generating ideas and having lots to choose from. Once you have your list, you're ready for...
Step Four: Google the Lyrics
It's very important that your first dance song has the right sentiment in the lyrics. Many seemingly romantic songs are actually about heartbreak, unrequited love, etc. So, google the lyrics of each of the songs you have on your list and eliminate any that don't quite fit the bill.
Step Five: Does it Make You Want to Dance?
Listen to your narrowed down list and eliminate any songs that don't make you want to move and groove with your partner. If you've really never danced before or aren't typically inspired to move and groove as it is, this is a great time to seek out dance lessons. Your instructor will be able to help you narrow down your list of songs to THE ONE and teach you how to move with grace and confidence to that particular song. If dance lessons aren't a reality for your budget or timeframe, no worries! Simply go back to step one as you listen through the songs again. Imagine your big day, imagine that one special moment of your first dance as you listen to each song. Go with your gut and choose the one that feels right.
After you choose THE ONE First Dance Song, contact your DJ or band to create a shorter version. Most songs these days are upwards of 3 minutes long, which is just too long for a first dance. We recommend 1-2 minutes tops for a great first dance that will keep your guests engaged and excited. Most DJs are willing to cut your song free of charge and most bands are happy to accommodate as well. If for whatever reason, your band or DJ are unable to make the song shorter, just invite your guests onto the dance floor to finish the song with you! (This is also a great way to get folks out on the dance floor right away and get the party started).