The first dance between the bride and the groom at the reception can be a very special and intimate moment. It is a traditional method of celebrating the couple becoming man and wife by watching them have their first dance together in front of all of their family and friends, and then those friends and family join them in their celebration by dancing alongside them.
It is therefore important to choose a song that means something special to both of you and that will remind you of how happy you both were in that moment, no matter how many years later it is before you hear it again or how many times it comes on the radio.
If you’re into more of the classic romance feel, you can’t go wrong with songs like Etta James’ “At Last,” Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable,” or Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” If you’d rather keep things more modern, however, a first dance to songs like Bright Eyes’ “First Day of My Life,” Blue October’s “18th Floor Balcony,” or Ben Folds’ “The Luckiest” will ensure that there isn’t a dry eye in the house – yours and that of your new spouse’s included.
Though, if you’d rather not turn into a sobbing mess before you leave the dance floor, you can opt for something a little more upbeat but that’s still slow enough to work into a first dance. For example, Feist’s “1234,” Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend,” and The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” keep the romantic sentiment alive without getting overly sappy.
And if you’d rather just have fun with it and save the sentiment for more private moments when it’s just the two of you, songs like Erasure’s “A Little Respect,” Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough,” or Hall and Oates’ “You Make My Dreams Come True” will ensure that by the time the song ends, it won’t just be the two of you dancing up there. Everyone’s going to want to get in on the fun and share this moment with the bride and groom. There’s just something about ‘80s music that can win over a room.
Once you have your first dance song picked out, you may want to consider the execution. Do you want your DJ to simply start the song, and then you and your spouse join up on the dance floor together to dance along? Or do you want to do something slightly different and surprise the crowd?
If your answer leans more toward the latter, consider possibly learning a new dance together. Imagine the look on your parents’ faces when you both start dancing in sync to Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”! Not only will you successfully surprise your entire wedding party and guests, but you’ll have something extra special to show off or rewatch in the future once you get your wedding video back.
Group first dances can also be a nice touch if you’re the type of bride who doesn’t enjoy being the center of attention. For a group dance, you can choose from the “fun” song genre, which will really kick off the party, or you can select one of the sappier numbers for all of the couples to join you in what could be one of the most romantic moments of your reception.
Another idea you can explore is to incorporate practices from other cultures into your wedding. For instance, with a little assistance from the DJ, you can enact a sequidillas manchega, which is a kind of dance that is performed in Spanish weddings wherein the guests all take turns dancing with the bride.
It is custom during this dance for guests to hand the bride gifts of money as they each get their turn to dance with her, but you can customize this if it makes you uncomfortable. You can have your guests write little notes of advice or well wishes on little slips of paper and hand them to you to place in a small clutch or something as you dance. These notes can become some of the most cherished items from your wedding when you re-read them years later.
Ultimately, it’s your big day, so whether or not you want to stick to tradition or carve out a more personalized niche is your decision. Either way, it’s important not to let yourself get too caught up in the details and to allow yourself to have fun. Don’t forget, it’s a celebration of your and your soon-to-be husband’s love for each other; it shouldn’t be clouded by overwhelming stress.
Also remember to take a moment during the reception to just breathe and take it all in. The day is always over way too quickly for the money and time you spent on preparing for it, so it’s important to truly live in the moment while you’re in it and just enjoy yourself.