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Choosing Your First Dance Song

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If you’re having tsuris about narrowing down and choosing a first dance song, I don’t blame you. There’s, like, a bajillion songs in the world, and agreeing on a tune that’s also “appropriate” for a wedding is super stressful.

There could be a number of reasons why you can’t settle on a song. Maybe you both met while doing a super romantic dance craze of our late 90s/early 2000s college days like, um, “grinding” to Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me” at the go-to college dive bar. Or maybe you guys have polar opposite tastes in music since you love Martina McBride and he has Flo Rida listed as a favorite in his Pandora account. Another possibility is that you are both scared out of your minds to have 200 of your closest friends and family watch you figure out what to do with both of your left feet as you attempt to partake in an age-old tradition and stumble along to a song that does anything, but make you look like “the Hough Duo.”

These are all very legit reasons to roll your eyes about your first dance. Just take comfort in knowing that your first dance is yet another opportunity for you two to show just why you’re a fabulous couple. Make it about YOU. Not the steps. Not the song. You.

How?

Well, obviously you have to pick the song that’s special for you both. There are different kinds of “special” and you haven’t come to “The Wedding Mind Readers.” You’re at “The Wedding Yentas,” so let’s have an open discussion about what you need to actually ask yourself.

Is there a song that has a special meaning to your relationship? Was there something playing in the background of the place where you first met, and the music swelled as you laid eyes on each other and drums pounded as he took your breath away, and a dramatic key change orchestrated your first exchanged smile? If so, you either met on the set of a Nicholas Sparks book-turned-movie or you have a really cool life. And if that’s the case, well, there’s your song.

Also, there might be a song that reminds you of an event that you enjoyed together. Maybe a musical, or a concert, or a charity dinner. Perhaps you will enjoy dancing to a song that played during a special memory you made together.

Consider the style or theme of your wedding and think about songs that may fit in. For example, if you’re having a sea side wedding, a beachy song might be a perfect choice for your first dance (think: Beach Boys). If it’s a destination wedding, maybe choose something that’s from that geography’s culture or local song book.

Be cheesy. Cheesy doesn’t equal tacky. Let’s face it, the first dance is a pretty romantic part of the wedding, so brainstorm some ultra-romantic songs. I’m talkin’ about the ones that are played on late-night infomercials where the titles scroll across the screen and a washed up D-List actor describes the album while sipping a glass of wine. Yeah, that guy.

Crossing fingers here, but maybe you both love the same band or singer? If that’s the case, choose a song from that list. Are you both Jason Mraz fans? He’ll definitely have a few options that would work perfectly for a first dance. Narrowing down your choices using this method makes selecting a single song much easier.

Once you’ve decided on your song, make sure that your DJ can get it (if it’s obscure), or that your band can play it. For example, my husband and I danced to “For Once in My Life” which most people know as a Stevie Wonder song. But unless Stevie himself was going to play at our wedding, it’s one of those songs better left alone. For a jazzier and more romantic version, we asked our band to play it like Michael Buble performs it, and it sounded great. They did a little research and got their act together perfectly. I liked that it was a known song, but the version wasn’t as well-known so people weren’t as quick to judge or compare with the radio cut by Stevie.

Even after these pointers, if you’re still not obsessed with your first dance song and you don’t care to bathe in a pool of its sheet music, it’s okay. After all, it is just a dance and takes up approximately 3.5 minutes of your entire wedding day. No one is going to know if it isn’t the single song that exactly describes the way your heart beats for your partner. If you both just like it and it serves the purpose of a step-together-step-touch, then you’re good to go. It does not have to be the defining moment of the world’s greatest romance.

And if you’re not interested in doing a choreographed number and the idea of swaying back and forth like 7th graders gives you anxiety, choose something upbeat and fun! There are no rules. It’s your wedding day and your dance.

If you’re not even sure about being the center of dancing attention, you can always ask your MC to invite everyone to dance with you. One big group first dance to start off the evening and, oh look, it just happens to be your first dance as marrieds.

What first dance song did you choose? What are you thinking of using? Share some of your ideas here!

The Wedding YentasTM , A Guide for the Jewish BrideTM, is a wedding planning site that offers tips, explanations of traditions, a vendor directory, and Real Weddings showcasing authentic and professional images for couples planning Jewish weddings. To read more articles and features by The Wedding YentasTM click here!
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