So you've found the love of your life and decided to commit to each other in front of your closest family and friends but you have no idea what to do about your first dance. What song should you choose? Where do you even start? What kind of dance are you expected to do? Is the hairdo you choose going to hold up to the dance routine your fiance has chosen (ok I can't help you with this one).
But if you want to know how to choose the song for your first dance at your wedding, and how to approach the dancing, read the 5 steps below and you will be all set.
1. Pick a song that means something to the both of you
Duh right? Well, you'd be surprised at how many couples have asked me to suggest a song two weeks before their wedding and then they end up choosing a current pop song. Not that there's anything wrong with picking a current song. That can be great.
Here are some ideas: You can think of songs that both of you love that have an appropriate theme or maybe a song that was popular when you went on your first trip together. If you're having a hard time associating a song with a time or memory, then maybe pick one that is in a genre that both of you like.
Make a list and have fun with it. After all, this is supposed to be FUN, not a chore!
2. It doesn't have to be a classic wedding song
One major misconception people make is that all songs played at weddings have to be about love or follow a traditional theme (nope). "Excuse me DJ, why are you playing 'Highway to Hell' at a wedding?" (a question I actually got, and while they were asking me about 75 people were dancing like crazy).
This applies to the first dance song too. "At Last" by Etta James is a great song - a total classic - but you don't have to pick a song like that. Let's say you chose "Paper Planes" by MIA (I'm trying to pick a really unorthodox choice here).
Everyone is going to ask you why you chose that song and if your answer is that you met your fiance on a mountain climbing trip and this song was playing when you reached the peak and at that moment you looked into his eyes (ok I'm getting carried away here but if so...) then that is the song you must pick!
And that is a lot better than dancing to "At Last." Your guests are going to love the story. Don't worry about the rules and pick the song that really means something.
3. If you pick a fast song people are going to expect some serious dancing
This is pretty self explanatory. Most people pick a slow song and dance pretty slowly. Now whether that is because they love slow songs or because they aren't expert dancers is a discussion for another post.
But if you pick an upbeat song your guests are going to expect a show.
And if you feel comfortable dancing, then you should 100% go for it. It will look great on your video (if you do one), you'll have a lot of fun planning it and rehearsing and your guests will absolutely eat it up.
4. Some couples like to cut the song short
This one is for the slow dancers. Most songs are between 3 and 5 minutes and when you start getting closer to the 5 minute mark, that can feel like a long time to be slow dancing in front of 150 guests. In that case, my couples usually give me a cue to fade the song out or invite their guests to dance with them. The cue can be a time mark or something like "fade out after second chorus."
One warning though: Everything on your wedding day goes super fast - super fast! All the planning leading up to it might drag on, but the day of just flies by. This goes for the first dance too. A couple times couples have asked me to cut their song short and when I did they couldn't believe I had played the amount they asked for. So just keep that in mind.
5. Ask your DJ (me)
“Ben is incredibly knowledgeable about all genres of music. I didn't even have to give him much direction .. just told him a few genres we liked and a few songs and he made it happen.”
Nate S., Jericho, NY
“Ben was truly fantastic. He was very responsive and easy to get in touch with. He asked the right questions and understood exactly what feeling we were aiming to create that night, what music we loved and what we didn't love, and then he delivered it all perfectly and kept the dance floor full and happy all night. Absolutely wonderful, all around.”
Emily K., Princeton, NJ
So that's my spiel. Pick a song that is meaningful and dance in the way you feel comfortable with. Weddings should be fun and don't have to be traditional at all. I have acted as a "music therapist" with my couples before so if you want to lay on my couch, chat about your music history, childhood traumas or whatever, email me or text/call me at 917.589.1333. Thanks for reading.