For some couples, this article may prove arbitrary. Some couples perhaps met at a dive-bar, after a Fonzie-esque chap had elbowed the Jukebox to begin playing “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” by Elvis Presley and totally have their first dance song in the bag. However, if you have not stumbled upon the proper happenstance to bring the both of you to an agree-able first dance song, I am here to help. Here are a few things to consider before choosing your first dance song.
1. Pick a Slow Song
Ideally, you do not want it to be above 100 BPM (beats per minute), unless you have a choreographed swing-dance up your sleeve. A slower song will relieve the pressure to be flawless dancer in front of your friends and family, while allowing room to slowly sway and look into the eyes of your loved one.
2. Pick a Song With a Positive Vibe
Just because a song is slow and melodic does not mean it would fit into the context of a wedding. For instance, the song ‘Let Her Go’ by Passenger is a seemingly sweet love song and I have seen it at many weddings, however, the singer is saying that he lost his girl and is lamenting this fact. Not necessarily sending positive vibes. Another first dance song I have seen pop up is “Imagine” by John Lennon, and while it is an incredible song on its own merit, John Lennon referred to it as ‘the virtual communist manifesto’, and I am not sure if that is the message you would like to encapsulate your couple-dom.
3. Don't Make Your Guests Feel Awkward
I am all for picking a humorous first dance song, but it is important that your guests are in on the joke, too. If you pick an awkward song that only you find awkward and then proceed to not know how to dance to it, then everyone is going to feel awkward. Therefore, if you decide that your first dance as Husband & Wife (or W&W or H&H - we don’t discriminate) is going to be The Funky Chicken, then you best be prepared to put on an entertaining performance.
4. Think Outside The Box
You do not have to pick a song from the list typical slow dance songs. There are vast options within the indie-rock and classic rock genre that provide lines of beautiful lyrics to capture even the most unique story. For instance, I knew a couple that were both into this band called ‘City & Colour’, a band not popular by industry standards. However, within C&C’s arsenal, they found the most incredible song – and perfect for dancing – called ‘We Found Each Other in the Dark’. This song told a story, was unique, and was special to both of them because they liked the artist. Here is a list of lesser-known songs that speak the language of love fluently:
- We Found Each Other In the Dark - City and Colour
- I and Love and You - The Avett Brothers
- Within the Rose - Matthew and The Atlas
- Hello My Old Heart - The Oh Hellos
- Higher Love - James Vincent McMorrow
- Take These Thoughts - Chris and Thomas
- Home - Phillip Phillips
- Downtown - Majical Cloudz
- Walkabout - Augustines
- You & Me - Penny and the Quarters
5. Don't Think Too Out of the Box
Give the lyrics to any of the songs you are considering a Google or Bing and see what they are really saying, and ensure there are no intense sexual themes - unless you want your grandmother to have the visual of you and your loved one getting freaky to Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”. In addition, while some Disney Movies have slow romantic songs, unless you are overtly fanatical towards Disney, don’t make that your first dance song. Holding yourself to Disney-couple standards is a high bar to set.
6. Make a List Together
It takes two to tango in this particular wedding task, and I do not believe it should be delegated to one or the other. I believe it is important to sit down together and come to the conclusion as a couple – think of it as practice in compromise. You will be able to keep each other in check – keep her from playing Taylor Swift and keep him from deciding that “I Got 5 On It” by Luniz is the perfect way to express his love.
7. Absolutely No 'Love Song' by The Cure
I simply cannot watch you make your entire guest list feel uncomfortable from the sound of Robert Smith practically crying into the microphone. There is just something about his tone that says ‘if you leave me I will hunt you down and find you’, that just does not seem fit for a Wedding. (The man pictured below is Robert Smith, for your edification.)