Choosing your first dance song may not be one of the more easy, straightforward decisions when it comes to wedding planning, however spending a little bit of extra time finding the perfect song can make a big difference on the day. For some couples, finding a song that they both love and feel comfortable dancing to can be a no-brainer, however for others finding that elusive “perfect” song can be a little trickier. Before you start listening to every song under the sun, Roshin & the team at The Next Step Co have compiled a few great tips to guide you through the process to keep it as simple and as fun as possible!

Now before we get stuck in, you must know that there is no right or wrong when it comes to your Wedding Dance and choosing a song. Deciding what you want your First Dance to look like, whether that be an intimate ‘no one else in the room’ slow sway, singing the lyrics loudly to each other, a private moment shortly after the ceremony or a showstopping medley number that gets your guests cheering; deciding what you want that moment to feel like is entirely up to you and you don’t need to conform to any outdated traditions. Having that vision in your mind of what you want that moment to mean for you and/or your guests is the best conversation to start with!

Ok, let’s dive straight in…

Decide on a Genre

What genre do you both like and that will suit your celebration? Sometimes it’s easiest to start out with what you don’t like and then hone in on what you both agree on. You’re both going to have deal-breakers, so find the commonality in what you envision for the dance. Do you want slow and romantic or upbeat and light-hearted? Do you want classic tones or something a little more contemporary? Also factor in what music genre suits your personalities and if it works well with your wedding style. For example, you might have a more formal, black-tie event and want to keep your first dance in theme with an old favourite or classic. Or you may have relaxed whimsical vibes and will be dancing under festoon lights outside, so consider what kind of atmosphere you are trying to build on the night when making music choices. Start creating playlists with songs that you both love without worrying if it feels first dance “appropriate”, remember whichever song(s) you choose on the day is just adding a meaningful layer of your unique love story to your big day.

Consider a Cover

So, you’ve jumped on Spotify and are starting to compile your playlist, but you still feel you and your partner aren’t on the same page. Covers can be an amazing way to bridge the gap between what you and your partner want. Start looking at covers of your individual favourites. Covers can keep those elements that are special to you whilst giving the song a completely different feel from the original. You might love the lyrics of one song but your partner doesn’t love the style, so do a little research and you may just find the perfect cover that you’re both happy with. Additionally, if you both love a song but it feels crazy fast or too somber, there may be a unique cover out there that’s right on the money. There are some fabulous contemporary covers of the old-school classics that might feel more suitable for your celebration!

Think About Your Wedding Attire

When choosing your song be mindful of any restrictions your attire might bring. If you’re wanting to really move around the dancefloor or wanting to keep it up-tempo just be wary if your wedding gown or suit allows for large, speedy movement. Some designs can be restrictive around the legs whilst others may impede arm movement, not to mention lengthy trains on dresses, so be sure to consider dress and suit restrictions. If you are absolutely decided on something fancy and footloose but have clothing that might not be suitable, there’s no better excuse for a second outfit (costume change) so you’re ready to let loose on the dancefloor!

Live Music 

Great to also note, is it important to you to have your first dance song played live? Does your band have this song in their repertoire or are they willing to learn it? If you are planning on some intricate and complicated choreography know that the band will always sound different live to the original you’ve been practicing to so you actually might prefer having the original mp3 song played. In addition, you might love a song so much that the original can’t be beaten. On the contrary, a band might be able to work with you to give a completely different take on your song; gently nudging it further towards your vision/working it in with your style!

When Will You Have Your First Dance? 

When you have your first dance can be important to setting the tone for your celebration. Are you going to dance as soon as you are announced into the reception? Or will you have your wedding dance at the conclusion of your formalities and the opening of your dance floor? Generally, if you are going for a more soft, romantic moment, having your first dance earlier in the celebrations can work well as a mini-interlude or moment between meals/speeches. If you are opting for a fast, upbeat song you might want to consider leaving this for the end of the formalities so that everyone can jump up and kick off an epic night on the dancefloor! There are absolutely no rules or a “proper” time here but it is great to consider how the flow of your song choice/type of first dance can help create the atmosphere that works best for your celebration.

Shortlist Your Favourites

Start creating a short playlist of your favourites and then test them out. Find a time when you are both feeling relaxed and throw on your shortlist and have some fun! Dance around together to each song with no expectations, just grooving it out to see what beat feels good. Trust me when I say you might loooove a song but when you try to dance to it, it just doesn’t feel right, and that’s ok! Keep narrowing down those songs that feel right and tick the ones off that just feel awkward. Note you might not feel fabulous with your moves just yet, just try and tune into what you are both enjoying.

An Emotional Connection

Choose the song that you both have the best emotional connection with. At the end of the day, your wedding dance is another opportunity to add more meaningful memories to your special day. So don’t overthink if your final choices are not super lovey-dovey or what you think you are more on the traditional side. Choose the song that you both have the best emotional connection with. The winner will be the one that gets you in the feels and you know you could listen to on repeat.

Go With Midtempo

If you are still unsure, go with a song with a mid-tempo. Dancing to fast songs can be tricky but what most people don’t realise is dancing to really slow songs takes quite a bit of control, and a little more practice for the novice dancer to really hit that effortless look. Opt for a mid-tempo song as these are easy to move around to, avoiding anything too slow or too fast. Don’t be too strict with this rule, but let a tempo range of 80 to 120 BPM (beats per minute) guide you if you are wanting a natural and relaxed feel.

Finally, remember there are absolutely no rules when it comes to choosing your first dance song. Your wedding day is a beautiful medley of meaningful moments so choosing a song that you both love and feel comfortable with, will lead to truly unforgettable moments dancing in each other’s arms.

About The Next Step Co: Roshin & The Next Step Co is a (team of) wedding dance choreographer(s) and has taught hundreds of couples their First Dance. If you want to check out some of their great playlists for inspiration or need help with a few moves, they’ve got your First Dance needs covered at The Next Step Co.

Images of Jelena & James by Rick Liston