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How to Select a Song for Your First Dance

Whether you barely remember a time in your childhood when you weren’t wearing tap shoes, or your only experience with dance was your high school prom, music will play an important role in your wedding.

Some of the music highlights will include walking down the aisle, leaving the ceremony, entering the reception space, or a special dance planned with a parent. And one of the most important moments will be the first dance as a newlywed couple! As you begin to build out the “Must Have” tunes on your wedding playlist, here are our best tips for how to select a song for your first dance.

You might not realize its significance. From the viewpoint of a team of pro photographers and videographers, we love the first dance because it gives you a few minutes to get centered and focused on one another. After the flurry of activities earlier in the day (from getting ready to taking formal photos) this will feel like a short pause in your agenda. This time also allows you two to get close and the movement will lead to some beautiful, dynamic photos. Your guests will also be quiet and enjoy a few minutes thinking about you, your new spouse, and the life which you will build together.

Photo of newlywed couple dancing at their wedding reception in Dallas, Texas

But now that you know it’s important, how to you make the right decision for which song to play?

5 Tips to Narrow Down Song Selections for the First Dance

We recommend asking yourself these 5 questions as you begin to narrow down your choices. Go through these questions on your own, and have your significant other do the same.

1. Is there a song that has played an important role in your relationship? Maybe there’s a song that your significant other dedicated to you during your courtship, or one that is tied to a special memory that you share together.

Wedding planning article: how to select the song for your first dance

2. Do you know of a song that reminds you of your significant other? You know, the sappy love songs that make your heart skip a beat. If there’s a song that instantly makes you think of them, then it might be a solid option to consider.

3. Are there any lyrics that remind you of your journey with love, or your relationship? Depending on the road that you’ve walked together, there might be a song that feels like it is able to share your story.

4. Have you heard a romantic song with a specific beat that feels like it would be the right pace? Just keep in mind that there might be songs that you like, but they aren’t the best for dancing. (If this is the case, there are tons of acoustic covers! Spend some time doing some research to find the best version that feels like it’s easy to dance to.)

5. Do you have a specific genre that you’d like to stay in? If so, search specific terms on Google to see what you can find. The best thing about using the internet as a tool for a planning task like this is that you will learn about or be reminded of songs that you wouldn’t have initially considered. Use search queries like “R&B First Dance Songs” or “Oldies for a first dance at a wedding” or “Pop first dance ideas” to help you find recommendations within the genre that feels true to who you are as a couple. You could also try searches like “Unexpected wedding songs” or “Unique first dance ideas.” Here are some lists that we found that might be helpful:

How to Decide on the Song for Your First Dance

Once you’ve narrowed it down to some of your favorites, select the top 3 choices of songs that you might feel comfortable using. Then follow these steps for how to select a song for your first dance.

How to decide on the song for your first dance and other wedding music tips from Joy Photo and Video
  • Look up the lyrics and read the words. Are there portions of the song that feel right, or that don’t? (Some love songs can take a strange turn!)

  • Spend some time on your own and press play. Close your eyes and listen. Can you visualize yourselves dancing to any of the songs?

  • Get your partner to listen to the top song selections on their own, too. Are they leaning towards or away from your favorite?

  • Ask your significant other to sit with you and listen to the music together. Does it evoke any emotions?

  • Lastly---try dancing! If you are on the fence with your top 2 or 3, have a ‘dance party’ in the kitchen with your significant other. This would make for a fun addition to one of your date nights and help things start to feel real. This will help you both decide on the song that feels right.

Photograph of Mr. and Mrs. during their first dance captured by Joy Photo and Video in Texas

We hope this helped you get more comfortable with how to select a song for your first dance!

Pro tip: if you narrowed down a few, don’t throw your other ideas out the window. Keep them on the list for your DJ or wedding band to play later in the evening. You can dance to these song selections along with your guests! Dance the night away.

If you’re looking for a photographer or videographer to help capture important moments like these, we’re here to support you from “Yes” to “I do.” We have a passionate team committed to supporting couples in Texas and Florida. Learn about our free engagement session promotion, and wedding packages and pricing.

[Photoshoot in the spotlight: Trini and Kevin in Dallas, Texas]

Choose Joy,

The Joy Team


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