What should our wedding's first dance song be?
July 20, 2008 1:57 PM   Subscribe

Need help picking a song for our first dance at our wedding.

So this Sept my fiancee and I are tying the knot and we're having a really difficult time picking a song for a first dance. The closest we've found is I'm Yours by Jason Mraz. Biggest downsides here are that its a bit too recent and I don't really like Jason Mraz in general. What we like about it is that its got a really nice tempo - slow enough for a first dance, but still with a "happy" vibe.

Another shot was Iron and Wine's cover of Always on My Mind but like most love songs I've found its not really an "I love you" in a good way type of song.

Our tastes are pretty broad - most recently I've been listening to the new Iron and Wine album and The National. She's a Modest Mouse and the Killers fan. We'd like something kind of classic and timeless. Willie Nelson has been suggested and Johnnie Cash. I've tossed around some Bob Marley songs as well as even some country tunes.
posted by bitdamaged to Grab Bag (52 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
A few that come to mind:

"Longer Than" by Dan Fogelberg
"Something good this way comes" by Jakob Dylan
"Happy together" by The Turtles
"Fairy Tale" by The Galoots (bluegrass band, gorgeous ballad about love and reality)
"I'll work for your love" by Bruce Springsteen
"Baby I love your way" by Peter Frampton
"Your own special way" by Genesis
"Loves me like a rock" by Simon and Garfunkel
"I'll never let you go" by Steelheart (pick this if you want to put an exclamation point over the heads of everyone in the crowd - balls-out 80s hair-metal power-ballad, but exactly the lyrics you're looking for)

I know those are all over the place, but the Johnny Cash-Modest Mouse-Jason Mraz continuum is pretty broad, too.
posted by jbickers at 2:11 PM on July 20, 2008


We did Elvis' take on "Fools Rush In" - A little poppy, but good for irony.
posted by mincus at 2:17 PM on July 20, 2008


My friend had the Ramones cover of 'Baby I love you' at his wedding. It sounded perfect.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 2:20 PM on July 20, 2008


Just got married, just went through this. We chose "Tomorrow in Her Eyes" by Ron Sexsmith for the lyrics and for the length. Length is a consideration - you don't want to be out there for 5+ minutes. It feels like forever with people staring at you. Even 2.5 minutes is a long time.

"Forever" by Ben Harper is a popular choice. I really like "Sparkle and Shine" by Steve Earle, though it's a tad one-sided.
posted by jimmythefish at 2:24 PM on July 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Crazy Love by Van Morrison.
posted by beachhead2 at 2:32 PM on July 20, 2008


"Save The Last Dance For Me" the Drifters
posted by jonmc at 2:36 PM on July 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dean Martin, "Ain't That a Kick in the Head"
posted by scody at 2:37 PM on July 20, 2008


I second "Happy Together" by the Turtles. It's a great love song, but I'm not sure if it's slow enough for you. I think classics are good. They'll never go out of style and all your guests will know them.

I also second "Baby I Love You", either by the Ronettes or the Ramones. Such a great song with great lyrics for a first dance.

It might be cheesy but I always loved the lyrics to Have I Told You Lately. It's a sweet song with plenty of love.
posted by LoriFLA at 2:42 PM on July 20, 2008


Another gorgeous love song, and one of my favorites, is Someone Like You by Van Morrison. I'm not sure it's "love" enough because it doesn't mention the actual word.
posted by LoriFLA at 2:50 PM on July 20, 2008


Frank Sinatra - The Way You Look Tonight
posted by nooneyouknow at 2:51 PM on July 20, 2008


"let's stay together", al green
"the book of love", magnetic fields
posted by rmd1023 at 2:53 PM on July 20, 2008


Sign of the Times by Bryan Ferry. Lyrics here.
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:05 PM on July 20, 2008


"Nothing's gonna stop us now" - Jefferson Starship

Looking in your eyes I see a paradise
This world that I've found is too good to be true
Standing here beside you, want so much to give you
This love in my heart that I'm feeling for you

Let 'em say we're crazy, I don't care about that
Put your hand in my hand baby don't ever look back
Let the world around us just fall apart
Baby we can make it if we're heart to heart

And we can build this thing together
Stand this storm forever
Nothing's gonna stop us now
And if this world runs out of lovers
We'll still have each other
Nothing's gonna stop us,
Nothing's gonna stop us now

I'm so glad I found you, I'm not gonna lose you
Whatever it takes I will stay here with you
Take it to the good times, see it through the bad times
Whatever it takes here's what I'm gonna do

Let 'em say we're crazy, what do they know
Put your arms around me baby don't ever let go
Let the world around us just fall apart
Baby we can make it if we're heart to heart

And we can build this thing together
Stand this storm forever
Nothing's gonna stop us now
And if this world runs out of lovers
We'll still have each other
Nothing's gonna stop us,
Nothing's gonna stop us now

Oh, all that I need is you
All that I ever need
And all that I want to do
Is hold you forever, and ever and ever

And we can build this thing together
Stand this storm forever
Nothing's gonna stop us now
And if this world runs out of lovers
We'll still have each other
Nothing's gonna stop us,
Nothing's gonna stop us now
posted by JujuB at 3:05 PM on July 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


the two songs i constantly go back and forth with are both very untraditional. one is rivers cuomo "i was made for you", which is NOT soft or anything, but the lyrics are really sweet and it's appropriate for our relationship, if only there was a reference to netflix and math 324 somewhere in there. the other one is "my favourite book" by stars -- we are both big readers, so i think it's sweet to call each other our favorite book. also, the music is very jazzy, very good to dance to. i also love "into my arms" by nick cave but i don't think it's really a good dancing song.

i've seen "luna" by the smashing pumpkins, "sea of love" covered by cat power, "wonderwall" covered by ryan adams (was puzzled by this choice), and "green eyes" by coldplay.
posted by kerning at 3:16 PM on July 20, 2008


ingrid michaelson's "the way i am" is adorable and poppy and funny and smart. i'm not planning on getting married anytime soon, but the first time i heard it i thought, "gee, that would make a great wedding song for someone like me."

If you were falling, then I would catch you.
You need a light, I'd find a match.

Cuz I love the way you say good morning.
And you take me the way I am.

If you are chilly, here take my sweater.
Your head is aching, I'll make it better.

Cuz I love the way you call me baby.
And you take me the way I am.

I'd buy you Rogaine when you start losing all your hair.
Sew on patches to all you tear.

Cuz I love you more than I could ever promise.
And you take me the way I am.
You take me the way I am.
You take me the way I am.
posted by thinkingwoman at 3:19 PM on July 20, 2008


"Groovey Kind of Love"- Phil Collins
"Sunrise Sunset" - Wedding song from Fiddler on the Roof
posted by JujuB at 3:20 PM on July 20, 2008


'Yearnin'

The Black Keys, album "The Big Come Up"

upbeat, raw, and classic good song to swing to.
posted by mistsandrain at 3:28 PM on July 20, 2008


True Companion - Marc Cohn

Always been a favorite of mine.
posted by jazzman at 3:29 PM on July 20, 2008


Teddy Pendergrass - When Somebody Loves You Back
Sixpence None the Richer - Kiss Me
How Sweet It Is - Marvin Gaye, James Taylor, Michael Buble, Liz Lands
posted by nooneyouknow at 3:43 PM on July 20, 2008


... dare i suggest "never gonna give you up" by rick astley?
posted by rmd1023 at 3:46 PM on July 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


JujuB: i hear it a lot at weddings, but i think of "sunrise, sunset" as the song that gets played when the couple dance with their parents rather than their first dance with each other.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:48 PM on July 20, 2008


Jo Stafford: You Belong To Me.
posted by hortense at 3:49 PM on July 20, 2008


Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" was el_lupino and I's rather untraditional autumn-wedding first dance. Our musical tastes are wide-ranging and wildly divergent, and Neil is one of our areas of overlap. The song's tempo is perfect and the lyrics are simple but substantial and poignant.
posted by jocelmeow at 4:04 PM on July 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


"With Whom to Dance" by the Magnetic Fields
"Love You" by Syd Barrett (This version is a bit rough, but you get the idea)
"I Will" by The Beatles
posted by kitty teeth at 4:14 PM on July 20, 2008


i carry your heart by michael hedges. (this is a rather bad YT video of an early, live version, but the version on the record "taproot" is positively lovely.)


the lyrics of the song are an ee cummings poem:



i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

ee cummings
posted by CitizenD at 4:27 PM on July 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ours was What a Wonderful World
Louis Armstrong

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD
(George Weiss / Bob Thiele)

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

The colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shakin' hands, sayin' "How do you do?"
They're really saying "I love you"

I hear babies cryin', I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world

Oh yeah
posted by maloon at 4:50 PM on July 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


My husband and I chose "Because of You" by Tony Bennett. We liked the swoony old-school sound, and the lyrics were perfect. He found it after a long search for wedding songs. (We realized as we were looking through our music collections that our favorite love songs are usually tinged with misery somehow.) After the wedding, we found out that it's actually a pretty common wedding song (or had been common back in the day).

BECAUSE OF YOU (Tony Bennett)

Because of you there's a song in my heart
Because of you my romance had its start
Because of you the sun will shine
The moon and stars will say you're mine
Forever and never to part

I only live for your love and your kiss
It's paradise to be near you like this
Because of you my life is now worthwhile
And I can smile
Because of you

I only live for your love and your kiss
It's paradise to be near you like this
Because of you my life is now worthwhile
And I can smile
Because of you
posted by TEA at 5:25 PM on July 20, 2008


We did Papa Was A Rodeo, but, as noted above, the Magnetic Fields catalog generally provides numerous good options.
posted by pokeydonut at 5:53 PM on July 20, 2008


Storybook Love from the Princess Bride soundtrack
posted by knile at 6:01 PM on July 20, 2008


My wife and I did "When I'm Sixty-Four" by the Beatles, and I'm still really happy with that choice.
posted by Shohn at 6:25 PM on July 20, 2008


If I had it to do over again, I'd go with "Cheeseburger In Paradise."

For you? How about "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka?
posted by spilon at 7:16 PM on July 20, 2008


I really like Square by The Band Of Blacky Ranchette, a Howe Gelb alt-county supergroup. Nice, sweet, slow but moving, not too long (3:23).
posted by asuprenant at 7:33 PM on July 20, 2008


The Luckiest, Ben Folds

I Will Follow You Into the Dark, Death Cab for Cutie

I'm also partial to Cat Power's version of Sea of Love.

We didn't do the first dance thing, but those were contenders when we were still considering having one. "Our" song is "Into My Arms" by Nick Cave, but might be a little odd depending on the crowd, since it is Nick Cave and all. We used The Luckiest and Sea of Love in the pre-ceremony set that played while everyone was being seated, I Will Follow You Into the Dark as the recessional, and Into My Arms played as one of the slow songs during the reception.

Good luck, and congratulations!
posted by bedhead at 7:47 PM on July 20, 2008


"At Last" by Etta James
posted by wherever, whatever at 7:53 PM on July 20, 2008


"First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" by Roberta Flack.
Lovely, lovely song.

Of course, I'm not yet married, so I've not yet had to make this choice. At the rate things are going, I might have the "Hallelujah Chorus" played for my first dance.
posted by heathergirl at 7:56 PM on July 20, 2008


Ok, I lost this the first time around (accidentally closed the window), so let's try again. I'm not too traditional, so I'm not sure how these would work...

For You, For Me, Forevermore by Ella Fitzgerald or Judy Garland and Dick Haymes (lyrics only)
Marry Me by Tender Forever (might be kind of dark)
Your Smiling Face by James Taylor
Grow Old with Me by Mason Jennings (check the lyrics, though)
Ballad for my One True Love by Mason Jennings
Hotel Yorba by The White Stripes (DO NOT watch the video! It almost killed this song for me.)
What a Lovely Day by Chelsea Ryan
Hello Mary Lou by Creedence Clearwater Revival
The Idea of Growing Old by The Features
You Belong to Me by Jason Wade
Starting a New Life by Van Morrison (lyrics only)

There's a terrible little part of me that would LOVE for someone to use this as a tongue-in-cheek first dance song: Baby's Got Sauce by G. Love and the Special Sauce.
posted by runningwithscissors at 8:04 PM on July 20, 2008 [4 favorites]


Heaven, Joan Armatrading
posted by theora55 at 8:17 PM on July 20, 2008


"At Last" by Etta James
posted by mikeand1 at 8:18 PM on July 20, 2008


A friend of mine was going to surprise his to-be wife with having the "Chicken Song"* be the first dance.

He chickened out.

*You put your right foot in,. You put your right foot out; You put your right foot in,. And you shake it all about..."

Ok, I guess it's called the Hokey Pokey but to me it'll always be the "Chicken Song" - on preview; nothing to do with my buddy, it's because I first learned it as a roller-derby thing and it involved flapping your arms like a chicken.

posted by porpoise at 8:40 PM on July 20, 2008


California Stars by Wilco. So lovely and sweet.
posted by naturesgreatestmiracle at 3:17 AM on July 21, 2008


We used "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye". We liked the sentiment, and the crowd seemed to like it a lot.

Congratulations, and best of luck!
posted by dinger at 7:02 AM on July 21, 2008


Queen - My Best Friend

Ooh you make me live
Whatever this world can give to me
It's you you're all I see
Ooo you make me live now honey
Ooo you make me live

Ooh you're the best friend that I ever had
I've been with you such a long time
You're my sunshine and I want you to know
That my feelings are true
I really love you
Oh you're my best friend

Ooo you make me live

Ooh I've been wandering round
But I still come back to you
In rain or shine
You've stood by me girl
I'm happy at home
You're my best friend

Ooo you make me live
Whenever this world is cruel to me
I got you to help me forgive
Ooo you make me live now honey
Ooo you make me live

You're the first one
When things turn out bad
You know I'll never be lonely
You're my only one
And I love the things
I really love the things that you do
You're my best friend

Ooo you make me live

I'm happy at home
You're my best friend
Oh you're my best friend
Ooo you make me live
You you're my best friend
posted by kidsleepy at 7:51 AM on July 21, 2008


Billy Bragg -The fourteenth of february

I think it's a perfect wedding song! Here's the lyrics
posted by dm_nyc at 8:16 AM on July 21, 2008


Better Together by Jack Johnson has a good tempo for slow dancing and just makes me want to squeeze peoples' cheeks, it's so sweet. It has that happy sound you're looking for, too.
posted by alpha_betty at 8:30 AM on July 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


We had Jersey Girl by Tom Waits

Lyrics here.
posted by triggerfinger at 11:03 AM on July 21, 2008


Because our tastes seem similar, I'll let you know what we used. Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but not the album version - the soft, acoustic, version I found only in the iTunes Store. Here's a direct link to the song (pops iTunes) --> LINK
posted by spoons at 2:30 PM on July 21, 2008


We used I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever by Stevie Wonder. (From the movie High Fidelity! Yay!) It starts off slow, but there's a definite moment where others can begin dancing so you're not alone out there for ten minutes. We asked our parents beforehand if they would join in, and it worked out beautifully.

We also made a relatively impromptu choice of Cat Stevens' If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out as the father-daughter dance, which was also lovely.

The music before the ceremony was entirely The Decemberists. Might have been a weird choice, but it worked for us.

Good luck choosing, and congratulations!
posted by meggan at 4:57 PM on July 22, 2008


> slow enough for a first dance, but still with a "happy" vibe.

I have weird tastes, but: "Luna," by Alessandro Safina; "God Only Knows," by the Beach Boys; "Songbird," by Eva Cassidy; "All You Need is Love," by Lynden David Hall (it's a very nice cover) (these last three were heard in the movie "Love Actually"); "Someone Like You," by Doris Day; "Crazy Love," by Bryan Ferry (on She's Having a Baby soundtrack); "I Want to Hold Your Hand," by Brad & Nikki Boyer (A Beatles Tribute — Number One Again); "Annie's Song," by John Denver (sappy as hell, but sweet as hell — great version on An Evening with John Denver); "Annie's Other Song," ditto — quicker beat than the first, though, and not as overplayed the first; and "Moondance," by Chris Botti (off August Rush soundtrack) (instrumental).

Not slow, but fun for somewhere in there: "Red Sweater," by the Aquabats; "Is This The Way to Amarillo," by Tony Christie; "Here Comes My Baby," by the Tremeloes (this is a VERY fun song for a wedding reception); "The Grooviest Girl in the World," by Fun and Games; "Sunshine and Summertime," by Faith Hill; KISS's cover of "Then She Kissed Me" (it's good! and not what you'd think); Willie Nelson's cover of "Unchained Melody";

And just because you didn't ask, the worst song for a wedding reception: "Flying Saucers," by Nina Hagen. Runner-up: "Eros," by Rod McKuen.

I'm sorry, I know this would be much better with audio samples, but it's been a long day and I really don't want to dig up links for all of these. I can send you MP3s (shoo, shoo, RIAA) if any particular ones catch your eye and you can't dig up elsewhere.
posted by WCityMike at 5:51 PM on July 22, 2008


I just heard this song for the first time today, and when I read the lyrics, I thought of this question (MetaFilter might be eating my brain). It's on the longish side, but maybe the DJ could fade it early. Good God, it's beautiful: One Day Like This, by Elbow.
posted by runningwithscissors at 3:13 PM on July 25, 2008


WCityMike: ""Here Comes My Baby," by the Tremeloes (this is a VERY fun song for a wedding reception)"

Er, my brain just played me back the chorus on that one: "here comes my baby, here she comes now / And-a it becomes as no surprise to me / with another guy".

Never mind on that one. Great beat and melody -- SLIGHTLY inappropriate lyrics for a wedding reception, though, don't you think?
posted by WCityMike at 10:22 AM on July 28, 2008


another possibility: Paul Weller's forthcoming single, All I Wanna Do (Is Be with You)
posted by scody at 2:52 PM on July 28, 2008


Mine was Do You Realize, by The Flaming Lips.

I can't second the suggestion about picking a song by length, though (or having your DJ fade one out if it's too long).
posted by jmevius at 12:21 PM on July 30, 2008


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