The tradition of a newlywed dance dates back centuries, with guests of honor at formal balls officially opening the dance floor by initiating the first dance, thus allowing the rest of the invitees to do the same. Times have changed a bit, but the tradition remains of newlyweds starting off the wedding reception by sharing their first dance together as a newly married couple. There are so many choices that go into your first dance song, – as Philadelphia’s top live entertainment company we’re here to help!
First Dance Etiquette
The couple’s first dance usually takes place right after their introduction, and right before any other dancing or formalities. There you will have your 90-120 seconds of dancing with your new partner. Depending on how you decide on your timeline, after the first dance, we typically like to open the dance floor to the guests of the party and set the party atmosphere for the evening before dinner is served! This entire segment of your reception takes only around 10-15 minutes but causes great anxiety for those involved. We’re here to say don’t fret! Our experienced wedding musicians and band leaders can review newlywed dance etiquette, song selection, and more!
What is a Good Length for a First Dance Song at a Wedding?
Our first dance song length suggestion is anywhere from 1-2 minutes. Unless you have a specially choreographed dance, if you go over the two-minute mark it can seem uncomfortable for your audience. If your first dance song is too short, you may not give your photographer or videographer enough time to capture the special moments. A popular wedding trend we’ve been seeing recently are the bride and groom cutting their first dance song in half, choosing the first verse and chorus to dance, and then slowly fading the song out and moving along with the rest of the formal dances.
Another popular first dance trend is to dance with your partner for the first half of the song and then have your band or DJ invite the rest of your wedding guests to join you both on the dance floor for the remainder of the song. This is a great way to really be able to enjoy the entire song while also getting all your guests on the dance floor for a high energy dance set after the song finishes!
Whether you want something traditional or modern, the BVTLive! wedding DJs and bands will work closely with you to understand your ideal first dance goes without a hitch. Call today to learn more: (610) 358-9010
What Are Some Popular Wedding First Dance Songs?
There are so many different avenues you can choose for your first dance song: modern, classic, unique, up-tempo, ballad, and many more. It truly depends on what you and your partner see for the right fit of your wedding day. Whether you choose a slow/intimate song for your newlywed dance, or a fun up-beat first dance song, make sure it is something personal for you. Check out some of our favorite first dance song selections we’ve seen at weddings below:
Modern First Dance Songs:
Modern first dance songs are songs that have been released in the past few years. Here, we bring the late 2010s and early 2020s to the dance floor for an unforgettable, contemporary spin on your first dance. Check out our picks below!
Pointless – Lewis Capaldi
Hold My Hand – Lady Gaga
I’ll Never Not Love You – Michael Buble
Say You Won’t Let Go – James Arthur
God Gave Me You – Blake Shelton
If I Aint Got You – Alicia Keys
The Only Exception – Paramore
Marry Me – Train
Classic First Dance Songs:
Classic songs are classic for a reason; they just work. If you want a song that is timeless, and familiar for your guests young to old, the Classic first dance song list below is for you!
Have I Told You Lately – Van Morrison
Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton
At Last – Etta James
I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You – Elvis Presley (or the Haley Reinhart version for a modern spin!)
When a Man Loves a Woman – Percy Sledge
God Only Knows – The Beach Boys
Something – The Beatles
The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra
Amazed – Lonestar
Better Together – Jack Johnson
Unique First Dance Songs:
If you want a first dance song that can be uniquely yours, and one your guests probably haven’t heard before this is going to be the list for you! Check out our favorite unique first dance wedding songs below:
Golden Hour – JVKE
Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
My Cheri Amor – Stevie Wonder
I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing – Aerosmith
XO – Jon Mayer
Rather Be – Clean Bandit
Adore You – Harry Styles
Mine – Bazzi
Thinkin’ Bout You – Frank Ocean
Video Games – Lana Del Ray
You can also get some great first dance song ideas from attending our free Philadelphia wedding band showcase!
What Are Some Unique Trends for a Wedding ‘First Dance’?
The classic 1-2 minute formal dance isn’t for everyone, and as a premiere dance band agency we have seen all the trends come and go! Some of our favorite unique first wedding dance highlights are below:
- Turn a slow song into a fast-paced dance – Have you ever seen those YouTube videos where a couple is slowly dancing to their first dance song, the music cuts, and they break out into choreography together? We absolutely love this trend because it turns such a sweet intimate moment between the couple into an everlasting memory shared between everyone at the wedding. Plus, it’s fun and for the couples who want to go with the lighthearted route.
- Have your band do an “acoustic version” of your first dance song – A great way to create a memorable first dance is to have the lead singer of your wedding band perform your first dance song as a broken down version. So rather than with the full 8-12 members of the band, have them perform it as a duo with either just the keyboard or guitar. This is a mic drop moment, and one sure to have all eyes on you in the room.
- Invite your wedding party out to share it together – Don’t want the solo spotlight? Try this out! Invite your wedding party to the dance floor just before the chorus and share the moment amongst your closest friends and their partners!
What Are the Worst Wedding First-Dance Songs Ever?
There are only so many times you can hear Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” or John Legend’s “All of Me” as a first dance song. There’s nothing wrong with those two ballads, but if you don’t want to go with something that’s shared between so many couples we suggest exploring other songs that are out there.
Another recommended first dance tip is to really make sure to listen to the lyrics of the first dance song you choose – some of the most popular romantic songs turn a little sour when you start to really get into what the words are saying. For example, Stay with Me by Sam Smith, is a classic romantic ballad and probably familiar to your guests, but it’s actually about someone’s partner leaving them!
Should I Choreograph My Wedding’s First Dance Song?
The bridge and groom often ask us if they should take dance lessons for their wedding’s first dance song.
Whether you are an extremely confident dancer or a bit timid about dancing in front of people, the age-old question becomes “Should our newlywed dance be choreographed?” And from the thousands of weddings that we have performed we without a doubt say, it depends on the couple!
The reason we say this is because there is one thing you want to keep in mind: Your first dance is not about impressing guests, but more about sharing your first full intimate dance moment as a married couple. Many people who are not confident dancers feel that they need dance lessons, but if they are nervous what ends up happening at the wedding is that everyone can see the couple extremely stiff, trying to count their steps and focusing too much on the dance. If that is the case for you, we say DON’T OVERTHINK IT.
Simply choose a song that is important to you, and then hold your partner close and sway to the music. Your first dance does not need to be complicated or “impressive” but more about connecting with your partner. If you are a confident dancer and not super nervous, then we say go for it! Take lessons and do something that will really wow your crowd! If you have it locked in enough that you can really ENJOY the results of your lessons and have fun with the dance, then we say take advantage of that!
Can BVTLive! Help Me Choose the Best First Dance Song for My Wedding?
If you and your partner truly can’t decide on a first dance song, we suggest asking your experienced wedding musicians and band leader their opinions! At BVTLive!, our wedding performers boast a lifetime of experience in not only music but the entire event industry. We can ensure they’ve seen just about every iteration of a first wedding dance and contain a great deal of knowledge on how to make yours special.
Our BVTLive! wedding bands also can learn your first dance song even if you don’t find it amongst their already large song list, for your wedding day! All of this will be taken care of 90 days in advance of your wedding date through the BVTLive! planning portal, which houses all types of wedding and reception timeline information and allows you to create your own custom list of requested reception songs.
At BVTLive!, if your wedding dreams came true then so did ours, and we are dedicated and passionate about making it the best day of your life. Contact us today for premiere live entertainment for your wedding or event!
Blog Contributed by: Jackie Marshall