Aside from saying the vows and cutting the cake, having the first dance is without a doubt one of the most memorable events newlyweds can cherish long after the big day is over. And while this beloved tradition can definitely make your reception more memorable, choosing the perfect track can feel like a lot of pressure. Sure, there are plenty of romantic songs for wedding dances to choose from. But you want to find one that appeals to both partners’ music tastes, speaks to the unique nature of your relationship, and makes you feel comfortable enough to dance in front of all your guests.
First thing’s first: It’s a good idea to think about songs that are meaningful to your relationship, like the ones that you heard at your first concert together, or the one that was playing during your first kiss. Next, you can narrow down your choices by tempo. And of course, the lyrics will come into play as well, because if they encapsulate your bond well, the song can only make the dance more special.
According to a 2019 survey by The Black Tux of over 900 married people, a few of the most popular first dance songs include "Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers, “All Of Me” by John Legend, and “At Last” by Etta James. And while all of these are phenomenal picks, there’s something to be said for breaking the mold. From hit slow-jams to indie bops, these love songs are bound to make your guests bust out the tissues when you take a spin around the dance floor.
"Forever My Friend" — Ray LaMontagne
Forever my love / Forever the woman that I'm thinking of / I just think if we keep our hearts together / Just think if we build on this trust that we have for one another / Baby we can make this last a lifetime.
"You Are The Best Thing" is another popular Ray LaMontagne choice for wedding dances, but you can't deny how fitting this song's lyrics are for the occasion.
"Lucky" — Jason Mraz feat. Colbie Caillat
They don't know how long it takes / Waiting for a love like this... I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend / Lucky to have been where I have been / Lucky to be coming home again.
There's something impossibly romantic about this timeless duet. Maybe it's the combination of the laid-back acoustic guitar, the evocative lyrics, and the heavenly harmonies.
"First Day Of My Life" — Bright Eyes
Yours was the first face that I saw / I think I was blind before I met you / I don't know where I am, I don't know where I've been / But I know where I want to go.
For the unconventional couple, this bittersweet love song lends some subtle emo vibes to a first dance.
"Sweetest Devotion" — Adele
I wasn't ready then, I'm ready now / I'm heading straight for you / You will only be eternally / The one that I belong to ... There is something 'bout the way you love me / That finally feels like home.
Without a doubt, "Make You Feel My Love" is one of the top picks for wedding dances. But if you're looking for something a tad less predictable, this heartfelt Adele song is brimming with just as much heart and soul.
"Tennessee Whiskey" — Chris Stapleton
I've looked for love in all the same old places / Found the bottom of a bottle always dry / But when you poured out your heart I didn't waste it / 'Cause there's nothing like your love to get me high.
This bluesy ballad may not be the most likely song choice for wedding dances, but that's exactly why it shines. Between Chris Stapleton's smoky, soulful voice and the slow-dance-ready tempo, this one's bound to have your guests feeling all the feels.
"For You" — Tyler Shaw
For you I would travel to outer space / Take a bullet to the heart just to keep you safe / For you, anything for you / With you all the years just fade away / Like a dream in my arms but I'm wide awake.
In this hit single, Tyler Shaw tells the story of how he met his wife, and he released it right before they tied the knot. But that's not the only reason it's a stellar choice for your wedding dance — just listen to the words.
"The Way I Am" — Ingrid Michaelson
If you were falling, then I would catch you / You need a light, I'd find a match / 'Cause I love the way you say good morning / And you take me the way I am.
Looking for something quirky, sweet, and simple to swirl around the dance floor to? Here's your jam.
"Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" — Lauryn Hill
At long last love has arrived / And I thank God I'm alive / You're just too good to be true / Can't take my eyes off of you.
Lauryn Hill's R&B take on this throwback love song is oh so refreshing — not to mention romantic AF. Don't be surprised if your guests start grooving to it, too.
"Speechless" — Dan + Shay
You already know that you're my weakness / After all this time I'm just as nervous / Every time you walk into the room /I'm speechless.
Both members of the country pop duo Dan + Shay were married within six months of each other in 2017, and this song (which was released the following year) is meant to capture how they felt when they were watching their soon-to-be wives walk down the aisle. (You're not crying, I'm crying.) So, it's safe to say it's a spectacular soundtrack for your first dance.
"How Long Will I Love You" — Ellie Goulding
How long will I be with you? / As long as the sea is bound to / Wash up on the sand.
You'll be hard-pressed to find a pop song that captures eternal, unconditional love better than Ellie Goulding's cover of a classic folk song.
"Makin' Plans" — Miranda Lambert
If I wasn't by your side / I'd never be satisfied / Nothin' would feel just right ... Cause I'm not easy to understand / But you know me like the back of your hand.
If you and your spouse-to-be are country fans, look no further than this charming tune to set the tone for an intimate slow dance.
"I Am Yours" — Andy Grammer
I been lost, I been found / But I know who I am now, I am yours ... Now and always.
Andy Grammer's discography is chock-full of love songs that are too perfect for weddings (see "Fresh Eyes," "Always," and "I Choose You" for proof), but this one stands out due to the lyrics. Not only are the vocals and instrumentals overflowing with emotion (those strings, though) — but the words pack a heavy dose of vulnerability, making it a solid selection for that first dance.
"Lover" — Taylor Swift feat. Shawn Mendes
Can I go where you go? / Can we always be this close... Forever and ever?
You can't go wrong with this sway-worthy song, which is both super relatable and full of old-school romance vibes. And while the OG version works well, too, this duet remix with Shawn Mendes is ideal for wedding dances since it features the perspective of two people.