How to Find Your First Dance Wedding Song

Need a first dance game plan? Here's how to select the song that suits your style.
by The Knot
Bride and groom's first dance song
photo by Tim Tab Studios

Maybe you're dreading the much-hyped first dance. Or perhaps flaunting some fancy footwork is your ultimate fantasy. Scroll down to find which of the seven dancing personality types you two fit into, then peruse our suggestions for the perfect first dance song choice. Whether you have a band or DJ, they should be able to provide you with the exact song you request or a variation on the tune. In the end, a first-class first dance will come down to confidence, chemistry, and a whole lot of attitude.

Couple #1: The Traditionalists

For the traditionalists, the first dance is no small matter. In fact, many by-the-book brides and grooms regard their dance-floor debuts as the ultimate opportunity to drive home a display of grace and good taste. There's a reason "classic" is so popular—elegant and time-honored details never go out of style. Consider booking a couple dance lessons to ensure you have the moves to do the moment justice.

  • Songs to sample: "At Last" by Etta James; "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis Presley; "Unforgettable" by Nat King Cole; "Fly Me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra; and "Stardust" by Billy Ward & His Dominoes

Couple #2: The Jokers

Known as the "goofballs" of your friend group, naturally your first dance will provide excellent fodder for joke-cracking and other forms of farce. Choose a cheeky song to communicate your sense of humor or one with some sweet, but silly lyrics. You can really ham it up to get the chuckles going or choreograph an ironic dance to the lyrics.

  • Songs to sample: "She's No Lady" by Lyle Lovett; "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong; "In Spite of Ourselves" by John Prine and Iris DeMent; "Anyone Else But You," by The Moldy Peaches;  and "Loser" by Julian Moon.

Couple #3: The Hipsters

You live in a renovated loft. There's more gadgets than home goods on your bridal registry. Ever on the pulse of "what's hot," an old-fashioned standard just isn't suited to your event. After all, you love the unexpected. Still, you're game for first-dance formalities—as long as the artist isn't one you'll hear on a Top 40 list. Just remember, a song with no beat can cause a first dance meltdown, so don't sacrifice a good one for the sake of hipness.

  • Songs to sample: "Sleepwalking" by Modest Mouse; "We Found Each Other in the Dark" by City and Colour; "January Wedding" by The Avett Brothers; "Do You Realize" by The Flaming Lips; "Without You" by Oh Wonder; and "Baby I'm Yours" cover by Arctic Monkeys

Couple #4: The Hopeless Romantics

A passionate, sentimental pair, one of you always seems to be uttering the words, "They're playing our song." And suddenly you're both in tears, shamelessly waltzing and/or smooching in train stations, ballparks, and grocery aisles. Lyrics, just as much as melody, are important to you: poetic, intense, and emotional.

  • Songs to sample: "You're All I Need to Get By" by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell; "In Your Eyes" Peter Gabriel; "Make You Smile" by Elle King; "Say You Won't Let Go" by James Arthur; and "One Call Away" by Charlie Puth

Couple #5: The Rebels

Some people may call your sense of style unorthodox, but you just like going against the grain. While you generally prefer to do things your own way, there's a little part of you that can kind of get with the first-dance hype. As with other aspects of your individualistic lifestyle, your spin on the dance floor will be less about making a scene than it is about making a statement.

  • Songs to Sample: "Start the Commotion" by The Wiseguys; "The Joker" by Steve Miller Band; "Sweet Emotion" by Aerosmith; "Monuments and Melodies" by Incubus; "Trouble" by Cage the Elephant; and "Tear in My Heart" by Twenty One Pilots

Couple #6: The Wallflowers

You tend not to call attention to yourselves and you don't really love the spotlight. Alleviate the pressure and sway to a song that's familiar, easy to dance to, and innuendo-free. Trust us, no one expects a choreographed waltz, even the simplest shuffle will be just as sweet. Just don't stress, if you can walk, you can dance. And if you really want to step out of your comfort zone, professional dance lessons are so helpful when it comes to a successful spin on the dance floor, so go for it! Start about six months before the wedding. With enough practice and preparation, you'll be comfortably—and confidently—cutting a rug in no time.

  • Songs to Sample: "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong; "The Way You Look Tonight" by Frank Sinatra; "Dream a Little Dream of Me" by The Mamas and the Papas; "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran; and "All Of Me" by John Legend.

Couple #7: The Smooth Operators

You can't keep your hands off each other in public and you're never afraid to strut your stuff. Having all eyes on you has never been a problem, in fact, you enjoy it. Turn it up with a tune that's sexy, sensual, and made for moving and grooving. Your guests will feel the heat when it comes to your first spin as an official couple

  • Songs to Sample: "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" by Lauryn Hill; "Makes Me Feel This Way" by Sara Gazarek; "Beautiful" by Mary J. Blige; "She Keeps Me Warm" by Mary Lambert; and "Make You Feel My Love" by Adele.

For more music inspiration, click here.

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