The first dance has become an iconic part of the wedding reception, and whether you like the idea or not, it’s something you’ll need to plan when it comes to your big day. The problem is, choosing appropriate wedding music can be a lot more difficult than you might think.
While you might have a song in mind that you both love, is it suitable for a wedding dance?
Are you confident on the dance floor, or will you need to book some classes to perfect your moves for the big day?
Will you go down the traditional route, or do you want to express yourself with something more alternative?
There are lots of questions to answer, so we asked Music HQ, South Wales’ leading supplier of live wedding music, to give us their top tips on how to choose your first dance and song.
Since they have already put together a list of their top ten first-dance requests, we thought we’d use a few song titles to illustrate them.
When it comes to choosing your first dance song, there aren’t really any rules but there are some important points to remember.
First of all, make sure that you can actually dance to the song, as it’s vital that you feel comfortable enough moving to the music. Some songs have strange beats and some may have no beats at all.
However, if there’s a particular song that you like that is difficult to dance to, it is often possible to ask your wedding band or DJ to customise it for you. For example, they might be able to put a different rhythm underneath the lyrics to help you find the beat.
The next thing to remember is to ‘keep it real.’ If you feel uncomfortable about slow dancing in front of your friends and family for up to five minutes, don’t force it.
And if you would rather die than do the Funky Chicken, keep it restrained. The idea is to make your wedding feel as real as possible.
Choose a song and first dance that relates to you, your partner, and your combined personalities.
Don’t forget that you may be wearing a restrictive wedding dress or suit for your dance, which could prove problematic no matter how much dance practice you have put in beforehand. You don’t want to end up ripping the dress you spent a huge amount of money on!
Be careful about the lyrics of the song you choose, too, as many can have hidden meanings. For example, while the Police song ‘Every Breath You Take’ sounds romantic, it’s actually about a stalker! So do your research!
Also, don’t forget about your guests. Yes, it’s your big day and you should be able to choose whatever wedding music you want for your first dance, in whatever style. But if you are going to offend people with more conservative, sensitive tastes, it could cause problems for the rest of the day.
OK, so let’s get things warmed up a little by taking the easy route and choosing a simple love song that matches your tastes.
This is what we would call taking the traditional route – think Sinatra, Presley or Coldplay – simply emotional wedding music that resonates and gives you the chance to dance slowly and romantically.
You can’t really go wrong with being traditional, as these types of ‘slow jams’ never go out of fashion.
However, bear in mind that if you are looking for originality, you will need to think a little further outside of the box.
Crazy In Love
Not everyone likes the classics and some might prefer their choice of first dance music to be something with a little more personality.
While this is a harder route to take, it will certainly make for a more personal and unique moment for you and your guests that will be remembered for many years.
Start by narrowing down your musical tastes to find a common interest. Perhaps there is a song you heard at a festival that has a lot of meaning to your relationship? Or maybe there is a style of music you both like?
It’s not necessary to choose a song that already has meaning to you, either. You can create wedding music playlists on services like Spotify, share them with your partner, and select one that encompasses everything you have been looking for.
Two Become One
We’ll admit, the Spice Girls probably don’t appear in the list of top first-dance songs, but it was the best song title to represent this particular approach.
If you are feeling particularly creative, you can take the mash-up route.
You might have seen some of the many YouTube videos of first dances that start off traditional wedding music and end up exploding into something else entirely.
The idea is to lull everyone into a false sense of security with a slow number and then wow them with something upbeat and funny.
Don’t forget, the idea of the first dance is to get the party started, and this is a great way to do it. That said, if you do decide to take the mash-up route, it’s going to take a lot of planning.
You’ll need to select your tracklist and prepare it in advance – or ensure the DJ knows exactly what to play and when. And you will need to get a routine together to make sure you both pull it off.
Thinking Out Loud
Finally, the very idea of a first dance will be enough to fill a more introverted couple with creeping dread and undisguised horror. If you don’t like drawing attention to yourself and hate being in the spotlight, it can put a lot of unnecessary pressure on your big day.
However, there is a simple get-around. First of all, just choose a very basic song that is easy to sway along or shuffle to; some Ed Sheeran or Elton John, for example.
Secondly, ask your wedding party to come and join you after a certain amount of time, perhaps after the second verse of your chosen song.
This way, you will please everyone by giving them a romantic moment and get the party started without the need for a six or seven-minute complete dance routine.
Hopefully, these ideas will help you to choose a first-dance song that matches you perfectly as a couple. So whether you have a live band or a DJ, it will be an unforgettable moment for all the right reasons.
Photography: Sacha Miller