Please help us pick a wedding song
April 23, 2013 11:29 AM   Subscribe

I don't think we've heard our wedding song yet, maybe you have?

My fiancee and I need to pick a song for our first dance very soon (DJ wants to finalize info). We've listened to a ton of songs but none seem right. I'm holding on to the hope that there's still a perfect song out there.

Basically, this is what we're hoping for:

Lesser known. We'd like a song that is not widely used or suggested as a first dance song.

Slow tempo. We just want to do a low key prom-like dance.

Lyrics about being in love. Not about something else like the beautiful day or that I think I am falling in love.

Clear lyrics. Especially the chorus, since people probably won't have heard it before.

Modernish. Hopefully contemporary, but possibly maybe as old as the 80s-90s, nothing older, sorry.

Consistent lyrics. So often they have that one random lyric 3/4 of the way in that just kills it as a wedding song.

Non-gender specific lyrics. Not something like "you're the woman for me", etc.

For some reason, this is just really hard to find (probably because I see we're apparently really picky). Done a lot of googling. I've seen a few older threads here and gotten some good ideas I'll pass on to my fiancee, but would like to ask again with these criteria.

Thank you hive mind.
posted by cali59 to Media & Arts (69 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
We used Holly Cole's cover of Tom Waits' I Want You for our first dance.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:32 AM on April 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Gabrielle Aplin's cover of The Power of Love? It is slow, slow, though.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:38 AM on April 23, 2013

Freshlyground - I'd Like.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:43 AM on April 23, 2013

I sometimes wish I wasn't already married so that I could dance with my husband to Down by the Water at our wedding.
posted by anderjen at 11:44 AM on April 23, 2013

Neil Young's Harvest Moon
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:45 AM on April 23, 2013 [5 favorites]

We used Sons and Daughters by the Decemberists for our last dance. Another pair of friends used The Book of Love by Magnetic Fields.
posted by matildaben at 11:45 AM on April 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

Billy Bragg's Brickbat. (If you're planning on being childfree, though, it might not quite fit :P)

It does start out sounding not as positive, but I think it works the whole way through. And it's such a beautiful description of the push and pull of a relationship, and how people change but learn to love what results.

Anyway, it's OUR song, but you're welcome to borrow it. When my now-husband asked me "If I walked you down the aisle, would you fill my basket?" he didn't know that we were seeing Billy Bragg that very night. (And I just realized that today I'm wearing the shirt he made me buy that day so that he wouldn't propose to me with chili drips on myself. That's love, yo.)
posted by Madamina at 11:51 AM on April 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

Cassandra Wilson's version of "Harvest Moon" might be even more romantic than Neil's... though it might be tough to dance to...
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:08 PM on April 23, 2013

The Luckiest is the second greatest in-love song ever (after Happiness Writes White by Harvey Danger, which is probably too upbeat for slow dancing.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:10 PM on April 23, 2013 [6 favorites]

Power of Two by the Indigo Girls is a great one, although I don't know if it's as slow as some...
posted by acm at 12:10 PM on April 23, 2013

This was recorded in the 80s but it's an older song recorded by an older singer. Alberta Hunter's "Old Fashioned Love" is absolutely the song we would have used had there been dancing at our reception.

Slow, romantic, non-gender specific, and it's about love getting stronger all the time.

You get to the (slow) dance beat at about 1:15.

And let's not even start in on how cool Alberta Hunter is. Was.
posted by janey47 at 12:12 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

You might really dig After All by Brett James. Not well known at all, and it checks all of your boxes.
posted by msamye at 12:14 PM on April 23, 2013

Michael Buble, You and I
Jason Mraz w/ Colbie Calait, Lucky?
posted by trivia genius at 12:20 PM on April 23, 2013

Our two were:

Jill Barber: Chances
Rising Canadian songstress; not that well known. Slow, easy to dance. Romantic. Etc.

And Eels: Fresh Feeling. This one hits all the right notes.
posted by lukez at 12:24 PM on April 23, 2013

I second Harvest Moon by Neil Young.

Just don't choose Closer by NIN.
posted by Groundhog Week at 12:25 PM on April 23, 2013

We didn't have a first dance, but I walked down the aisle to "Once Upon a Time - Storybook Love" by Mark Knopfler aka the theme from The Princess Bride.
posted by Abbril at 12:25 PM on April 23, 2013

the cover of i can't help falling in love with you by ingrid michaelson is pretty good. and it only lasts around 3 minutes, so you're not like, waiting for it to end while people check their watches. heh.
posted by koroshiya at 12:25 PM on April 23, 2013

Johnny Cash, "Rose of My Heart."
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:28 PM on April 23, 2013

Orange Sky by Alexi Murdoch? It's contemporary enough (from the film Away We Go) and has a solidly repetitive chorus (In your love, my salvation lies...).
posted by librarianamy at 12:30 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Falling Slowly
posted by callmejay at 12:35 PM on April 23, 2013

Some friends of mine used the M. Ward cover of David Bowie's Let's Dance. It was lovely :)

Another cover: I like the Magnetic Fields and all, but I think the Peter Gabriel version of Book of Love is a little smoother and sweeter.
posted by Madamina at 12:48 PM on April 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ana (The Pixies).

Nobody really listens to the lyrics anyways.
posted by mazola at 12:59 PM on April 23, 2013

We used "Easy to Love" by Edith Frost. She is a little known indie artist. Below are the lyrics. I'm having trouble finding a sound clip without purchasing, but many of her other songs can be found on youtube. It's a simple little ditty, and fit our relationship perfectly. Below are the lyrics:

You’re so easy to love
You’re so easy to love
You make it hard for me
To carry through
With all the little things
That I should do ‘cause

You’re so easy to love
You’re just an angel from above
You’re just the lover
That i’ve always dreamed of
It seems you’re very easy to love

You’re so easy to love
You’re just an angel from above
You’re just the lover
That i’ve always dreamed of
It seems you’re very easy to love…
posted by fyrebelley at 1:08 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

The wife and I were going to use Grouplove's Cruel and Beautiful World, which is not well known, is slow, and sweet, in a different way.

We ended up using Only The Good Die Young, because it was a better fit for us, and because we love Billy Joel.

But the Grouplove song hits most of your criteria.
posted by disillusioned at 1:12 PM on April 23, 2013

We danced to Book of Love, as covered by The Magnetic Fields. I also like Take Care by Beach House and Ingrid Michaelson's cover of Fools Rush In. While I love Harvest Moon, I always thought it was about a man who recognizes that he missed his chance with a former lover, so it always struck me as a really weird wedding song.
posted by zoomorphic at 1:15 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Adele covering The Cure's "Lovesong" here
posted by bobdow at 1:19 PM on April 23, 2013

Just One Thing by My Morning Jacket - lyrics are at the YouTube page.
posted by interiority at 1:32 PM on April 23, 2013

We chose Eva Cassidy's cover of Fleetwood Mac's Songbird (Lyrics here). We edited out the long instrumental break in the middle to keep the wedding moving, but it's an amazing rendition.
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:35 PM on April 23, 2013

First Day of My Life by Bright Eyes. Here are the lyrics.
posted by jbickers at 1:41 PM on April 23, 2013

you owe me a Coke, Dixon
posted by jbickers at 1:41 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Be Mine - R.E.M.
posted by epj at 1:45 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

One time when I was really drunk I made my boyfriend promise to use Thomas Newman/Peter Gabriel's "Down to Earth" as our wedding song. It's the song from the end credits of Wall-E.
posted by troika at 1:57 PM on April 23, 2013

Priceless by Melanie Fiona.
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 1:58 PM on April 23, 2013

The single most romantic song ever written, and best wedding song ever is In Spite of Ourselves, a duet by John Prine and Iris DeMent. How many songs can you dance to that include lines like "He drinks like his beer like oxygen" and "Convict movies make her horny" and still bring the house to tears?

It's been done before I know, but I haven't heard it myself at a wedding. No link because I am at work.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:04 PM on April 23, 2013 [5 favorites]

My wedding song was Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space by Spiritualized. Chosen by me, a Spiritualized fan, because my ex would be content listening to Wagner for all eternity.

+Sampled Pachabel's Canon, subverting a wedding cliche
+Lyrics are totally wedding appropriate, if not wedding perfect
+Generally beautiful and touching.

I encourage you to reappropriate it!
posted by sweltering at 2:18 PM on April 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Jets to Brazil - Sweet Avenue. Meets all your criteria, and is damn gorgeous.
posted by missmary6 at 2:22 PM on April 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Our wedding song was Stay With You by John Legend. It's a beautiful song that still makes me teary.
posted by gnutron at 2:26 PM on April 23, 2013

I am seriously in the midst of having this exact same problem. Our top contender right now is:

My Favourite Book - Stars

Here are the options we have seriously considered so far:

The Luckiest - Ben Folds (but has gender specific references)
Then - Brad Paisley (but, you know, it's country)
First Day of My Life - Bright Eyes
A Thousand Years as covered by Kurt Schneider & Aimee Proal & Lindsey Stirling (you just have to get past that the song was originally written for a twilight movie)
Your Love is a Song - Switchfoot
posted by CharlieSue at 2:54 PM on April 23, 2013

We went with the original A Thousand Years as sung by Christina Perri. (yes, please ignore the fact that it's on a Twilight movie soundtrack)
posted by watch out for turtles at 3:22 PM on April 23, 2013

Ours was Our Love is Here To Stay, the version with Louie Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.

Whoops, missed the modernish, nevermind.
posted by mattu at 3:40 PM on April 23, 2013

Some guidance re: your personal tastes might have helped. If someone played Neil Young at my wedding it would be like a scene out of Carrie. But here are some ideas that I'm sure will be totally unsuitable.

Jessie Ware – Night Light (2012)
Band of Blacky Ranchette (Howe Gelb f. Neko Case) – Getting It Made (2003)
Cat Power – I Found a Reason (Velvet Underground cover, 2000)
Elite Gymnastics covering Taylor Swift?
The Circle Married the Line (2011) or Brandy Alexander (2007) by Feist
Jolie Holland – Crush in the Ghetto (2006) (technically more about a giddy walk of shame, but I'd totally get married to it)
Mount Eerie w. Julie Doiron and Fred Squire – You Swan, Go On (2008)
posted by wreckingball at 3:45 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

We went with Moxy Fruvous' "I Will Hold On".
posted by neilbert at 4:03 PM on April 23, 2013

Response by poster: Some guidance re: your personal tastes might have helped.

Fair enough, I just don't like making people feel like they shouldn't post something. I'd rather see too many suggestions than too little. But here are some songs we are considering that we like, but don't feel are quite right.

The Weepies - Gotta Have You (a little too fast, chorus is awesome but rest of song is a little odd)
Van Morrison - Days Like This (I really like the sound of it, but it's not about love)
Sade - By Your Side (thought it was going to be the choice but the beat started grating on us the more we listened to it)
Jack Johnson - Better Together (this might be the favorite right now, lyrics don't really "pop", if that makes sense)

Thank you all for your suggestions so far. I've forwarded a few of them to my fiancee.
posted by cali59 at 4:19 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Our first dance song was It's Only Time by the Magnetic Fields.

I'll walk your lands and swim your seas.
Marry me; marry me.
And in your hands I will be free.
Marry me; marry me.

Why would I stop loving you a hundred years from now?

posted by snowmentality at 5:33 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm going to walk down the aisle to I'm So Glad - Royal Wood, but it would work just as well (maybe better) as a first dance song.

posted by just_ducky at 5:51 PM on April 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Van Morrison's "Have I told you Lately That I love you" was my wedding song.
posted by IndigoOnTheGo at 6:32 PM on April 23, 2013

We had Pete Townsend's "Let My Love Open the Door (E. Cola Mix)" from the Grosse Pointe Blank soundtrack as our first song. Lyrics. Aw. Mr. Lexica heard this start playing and paused in his dinner preparations to come out from the kitchen to smooch me hard.
posted by Lexica at 7:12 PM on April 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Seconding John Price and Iris Dement with In Spite of Ourselves. Our band didn't know it so we couldn't dance to it, but it's on our wedding cd and its still my favorite.
posted by purenitrous at 7:49 PM on April 23, 2013 Roy Orbison.
posted by JohnE at 8:03 PM on April 23, 2013

Our wedding first dance song was Lyle Lovett's "She's No Lady, She's My Wife." But we had a live 3-piece jazz ensemble. They offered to sing it, but since the first line is "She hates my momma, she hates my daddy, too" we opted for an instrumental version. It was like our weird little secret. I don't hate my in-laws, really!

A friend's wedding song was "My Funny Valentine," which I thought was awesome. Obviously, I have odd taste.

How about "Lips Like Sugar" by Echo and the Bunnymen?
posted by mon-ma-tron at 8:15 PM on April 23, 2013

Swept Away (Sentimental Version) by the Avett Brothers.

It's got one gendered lyric ("... when you said that I'm your man"), but it's a m/f duet about being in love, being in the moment, and dancing. I think it's beautiful.
posted by The Notorious SRD at 9:08 PM on April 23, 2013

For You by Tracy Chapman
posted by Brody's chum at 10:27 PM on April 23, 2013

Our's is too old for y'all, isn't so much a traditional love song, is in fact older than both of us:
"A Long Time Ago" by Jim Croce.

Think back if there is a song that has meaning to you both, that doesn't fit the traditional mold, that might be better.
posted by SuzySmith at 10:32 PM on April 23, 2013

Been loving you too long, and Otis Redding rhymes with wedding ;)
posted by halatukit at 10:38 PM on April 23, 2013

Another vote for The Book of Love (Magnetic Fields). Had we had a first dance, that's what it would have been.
posted by charmcityblues at 12:03 AM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I agree with "The Book of Love" as well. Hard to pick between the original and the Peter Gabriel cover.

Also try Mirrorball by Elbow (though this may sound too freshly in love for you), The Power of the Heart - definitely Peter Gabriel's version, Lou Reed's (sorry Lou) just sounds kinda stoned. And I adore Patrick Wolf's The Magic Position.
posted by Athanassiel at 1:17 AM on April 24, 2013

We used "The Blowers Daughter" by Damien Rice.
posted by lloyder at 5:20 AM on April 24, 2013

I always recommend this for wedding songs: "Feels Like Home" by Chantal Kreviazuk. Or you might like the original by Randy Newman (I don't).

A friend of mine used "Come Away With Me" by Norah Jones; it was lovely and fits your criteria.
posted by yawper at 7:29 AM on April 24, 2013

My wife and I used Townes Van Zandt's beautiful "I'll Be Here in the Morning." (That YouTube version isn't of very good quality, though. We had a friend play it on acoustic guitar and sing it.)
posted by Dr. Wu at 7:39 AM on April 24, 2013

Check out "All That Is" by Garnet Rogers. That was performed at our ceremony, and at least lyrically seems to meet your requirements. And seconding "The Luckiest"; I'm currently arranging that for guitar/cello/SAB for my sister's wedding.
posted by jeffjon at 8:04 AM on April 24, 2013

Hem's Half Asleep seems like it might hit all your points...
posted by Pufferish at 9:07 AM on April 24, 2013

What about Cass Mccombs You Saved My Life?
Seems like it's in keeping with your tastes, it's beautiful, romantic and perfect waltz speed.
posted by stevedawg at 2:54 PM on April 24, 2013

Baby, would you marry me? by Svavar Knutur and Marketa Irglova (from Once) has a similar sound to the Weepies song you mentioned.
posted by tinymegalo at 1:47 PM on April 25, 2013

Beachwood Sparks' cover of "By Your Side" is beautiful. Pretty faithful to the original, but maybe different enough that it's not so annoying? (The original bugs me.)
posted by sportbucket at 3:18 PM on April 25, 2013

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