With every other song written as a love song, it’s tough to pick the right one for the first dance at your wedding. You can’t go wrong with any of these faves.
What we’ve seen some couples do: Start with a song from our list of Classic song choices to do the romantic first dance as a couple, then immediately break into a more upbeat song from the Modern list and invite all their guests on the dance floor with them. It’s a nice icebreaker to get people on the dance floor earlier than they planned, loosen everyone up and get the party going! Even if they have to go back to their table to eat dinner first, they’ll be happy and looking forward to getting back on the dance floor quicker!
As with all lists, the choices are subjective so if you don’t see your personal favorite, comment below!
1. At Last – Etta James
Favorite Lyric: “The skies above are blue/My heart was wrapped up in clover/The night I looked at you”
You all know this powerful ballad from the indomitable Etta James. It’s a soulful, classic song to share with your beloved.
2. Unforgettable – Nat King Cole
Favorite Lyric: “That’s why, darling, it’s incredible/That someone so unforgettable/Thinks that I am unforgettable too”
3. L-O-V-E – Nat King Cole
Favorite Lyric: “Two in love can make it/Take my heart and please don’t break it/Love was made for me and you”
Yes Nat made it on the list twice but that’s his own fault for being so earnest and charming. “Unforgettable” is a personal favorite of mine and is appropriate for a father/daughter dance as well.
Favorite Lyric: “Take my hand,/Take my whole life, too/For I can’t help falling in love with you”
In addition to being just lovely, “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” is easy to learn to play on guitar or ukulele if you feel like impressing your beloved.
Favorite Lyric: “In other words, hold my hand/In other words, darling, kiss me/Fill my life with song/And let me sing for ever more”
6. The Way You Look Tonight – Sinatra
Favorite Lyric: “There is nothing for me but to love you/And the way you look tonight”
Likewise, Ol’ Blue Eyes also made it on the list more than once. Either of these crooner tunes would be an excellent choice.
7. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)- Marvin Gaye
Favorite Lyric: “You were better to me than I’ve been to myself/For me, there’s you and nobody else”
This song, originally recorded by Marvin Gaye, has been covered so many times, you’d have no trouble finding a version you love.
Favorite Lyric: “Will you still need me, will you still feed me/When I’m sixty-four?”
“When I’m 64” might not be your first thought when planning your first dance but it’s something to consider. It’s a song about growing old with someone and was written when McCartney was only 16!
Favorite Lyric: “My gift is my song/And this one’s for you”
Whether you love Elton John or just love Moulin Rouge, “Your Song” feels deeply personal and sincere.
Favorite Lyric: “Lying close to you feeling your heart beating/And I’m wondering what you’re dreaming/Wondering if it’s me you’re seeing/Then I kiss your eyes/And thank God we’re together/I just want to stay with you in this moment forever”
A song about trying to remember an intimate moment forever.
11. Bless the Broken Road – Rascal Flats
Favorite Lyric: “But I got lost a time or two/Wiped my brow and kept pushing through/I couldn’t see how every sign pointed straight to you”
For the couple craving a more country sound, “Bless the Broken Road” is about he struggles on the way to happiness.
Favorite Lyric: “It shakes all over like a jelly fish/I kinda like it/Crazy little thing called love”
Have you ever felt that your love is like a jelly fish? If so, look no farther.
Favorite Lyric: “I hope life treats you kind/And I hope you have all you’ve dreamed of/And I wish you joy and happiness/But above all this I wish you love”
Let’s be honest, who among us hasn’t felt uplifted by Whitney’s whistle tones?
Favorite Lyric: “This can’t be love/Because I feel so well/No sobs, no sorrows, no sighs”
The Queen of Jazz herself for the couple that desires a more somber sound.
Favorite Lyric: “Say you love me/You know I do”
Sir Andy might be a controversial choice for some but listen to this song and try not to feel hopeful about the future.
Favorite Lyric: “It’s a beautiful night/We’re looking for something dumb to do/Hey baby, I think I want to marry you”
This song is unironically a jam. Goofy and fun, a great song to dance to.
Favorite Lyric: “It’s the way that you know what I thought I knew/It’s the beat that my heart skips when I’m with you”
18. Halo – Beyoncé
Favorite Lyric: “I found a way to let you win/But I never really had a doubt/Standing in the light of your halo/I got my angel now”
19. Love On Top -Beyoncé
Favorite Lyric: “Now everybody ask me why I’m smiling out from ear to ear/(They say love hurts)/But I know (it’s gonna take the real work)”
Beyoncé is the last artist who warranted multiple spots on the list. “Crazy in Love” in particular should be noted as it featured Jay Z long before the two would marry.
Favorite Lyric: “Shine a light through an open door/Love and life I will divide/Turn away cause I need you more/Feel the heartbeat in my mind”
An uptempo song to dance to featuring some excellent vocals from Rihanna.
Favorite Lyric: “This woman is my destiny/She said, ‘Ooh-ooh-hoo,/Shut up and dance with me'”
Another bop. If you want your guests to start out the night smiling, pick this song about backless dresses and beat up sneaks.
22. A Thousand Years – Christina Perri
Favorite Lyric: “I have died every day/waiting for you/Darlin’ don’t be afraid/I have loved you for a/Thousand years/I’ll love you for a/Thousand more”
Regardless of your feelings about the Twilight movies, Christina Perri sings about the kind of enduring love that we all want.
Favorite Lyric: “You’re my downfall, you’re my muse/My worst distraction, my rhythm and blues/I can’t stop singing, it’s ringing, in my head for you”
Is there anything more automatically romantic than a John Legend song? This one is a personal favorite.
Favorite Lyric: “I don’t like walking around this old and empty house/So hold my hand, I’ll walk with you my dear”
Possibly the most dramatic song on our list, “Little Talks” is about an enduring, supportive love.
25. She Keeps Me Warm – Mary Lambert
Favorite Lyric: “She says I smell like safety and home/I named both of her eyes forever and please don’t go”
An emotionally charged song demonstrating Lambert’s poetry roots.
26. One and Only -Adele
Favorite Lyric: “I don’t know why I’m scared ’cause I’ve been here before/Every feeling, every word, I’ve imagined it all/You’ll never know if you never try/To forgive your past and simply be mine”
One of the few Adele songs about the beginning of romance and all the worries that come with it.
27. Marry Me -Train
Favorite Lyric: “Together can never be close enough for me/Feel like I am close enough to you/You wear white and I’ll wear out the words I love you”
Train is known mostly for their quirky lyrics but “Marry Me” deals with couples reflecting on their relationships and looking toward the future.
Favorite Lyric: “And that was the day that I promised/I’d never sing of love/If it does not exist, but darlin’/You are, the only exception”
“The Only Exception” is a soulful, intense song that shows off Hayley Williams’ range and is a great pick for the right cover band.
Favorite Lyric: “I drove for miles and miles/And wound up at your door”
A song about devotion and the inability to escape your love.
Favorite Lyric: “Time after time I think ‘Oh Lord what’s the use?’/Time after time I think it’s just no good/’Cause sooner or later in life, the things you love you loose/But you got the love I need/To see me through
“You’ve Got the Love” is a cover of a 1986 song by Candi Stanton but with the classic Florence touch. With added harp and Florence Welch’s unique vocals, its an excellent choice.