Tips for Choosing Your First Dance



Perhaps there’s a song you’ve loved since long before you were dating your spouse-to-be, one you determined you’d dance to at your wedding. Maybe you and your beloved have had “your” own song from the start. But what if you don’t fall into those categories? Here, four considerations that can aid in your decision-making.

Is there a song that recalls a particular time or memory from our relationship?

Your song might not be one you’ve discussed outright in the past, but one that speaks to your history as a couple, nonetheless. Maybe hearing a song that was on heavy rotation at a memorable time in your relationship transports you vividly back to that moment. Perhaps there’s a piece that consoled one or both of you during a difficult time.

One of the songs with the strongest hold on my own memory, for instance, is one I actually experienced alone. Around the time I started dating my husband, I had recently bought Keith Urban’s album Defying Gravity; I’d repeatedly play one of the tracks, “If Ever I Could Love,” that captured the sense of newness, purity, and the joy of discovery I found myself experiencing. Take time to consider what titles have played a similar role for you; list the songs that have held a particular meaning in your own lives to this point or remind you of one another.

What songs are meaningful in our family cultures?

Dancing to your parents’ or grandparents’ wedding songs convey a sense of timelessness and of respect and affection for the bonds of love that make up your families and their traditions. Elise’s parents’ song, “It Had to Be You,” holds a fond and particular significance to her to this day.

Would we like to dance in a particular style?

If you and your beloved are skilled at swing, ballroom, or a style of dance that reflects your heritage, incorporating it is fun and takes off some of the pressure for your first dance to be a completely serious, romantic affair. At a wedding I attended were the groom was a theatre teacher, the couple included a choreographed entrance by the bridal party at the conclusion of their first dance. Jiza and her husband performed a swing dance.

And keep in mind that though your dancing style might not be contemporary, your song selection still can be: a friend and her husband waltzed to Lifehouse’s “You and Me” at their reception.

What do we hope to convey about love and marriage?

Your witness to lifelong love doesn’t end when your nuptial Mass does; it’s manifest throughout your entire wedding day. Whether you communicate it directly or simply through your actions and decisions, you and your beloved speak the language of free, faithful, fruitful, and total promises, simply by virtue of who you are and of choosing sacramental marriage. There are a wealth of selections, both secular and Christian, that embody the language of wedding vows; songs that speak to the longing of our hearts for something more than this life, the glimpse of heaven pure, sacrificial love affords us, the constant battle to allow love to prevail over lust and selfishness, and the perfecting love of the Father, who rejoices simply in the fact that we exist. Take them to prayer and see what lyrics stand out and might lend themselves to your first dance.

Choosing your wedding song one that expresses who you are as a couple and strikes whatever mood--romantic, lighthearted, or otherwise--you intend might feel like a tall order, yet as wedding planning goes, it’s one of the less stressful decisions to be made. The Father sings over us, his children, in a particular way through the sacraments, and no matter what selection you make, the love between you and your spouse makes his rejoicing so visibly evident.

Get inspired by the team’s love song suggestions here. We invite you to share your own favorites and first dance selections, as well. Tell us about your song in the comments and on our social media!