The pressure is on to find the perfect song to kick off the party. But what if you don’t have your own song? What if you can’t remember what was playing when your eyes met across a crowded club, or when you swiped to the right on Tinder. What then?
Chances are you’ve been diligently working your way through Spotify’s most romantic playlists and Shazaming like crazy whenever you hear something sweet, yet not too sickly. But if inspiration is still to strike then fear not, we’re here to help with our guide to choosing a first dance song that is more killer than cringe.
Listen to the lyrics
So you really love that track, but have you Googled the lyrics? It’s amazing how many beautiful sounding songs turn out to be inspired by heartbreak or contain other potentially inappropriate lyrics. The Police’s Every Breath You Take (which is darker than it seems, and features a character obsessing over a lost love) and Zero 7’s Destiny (we’ll let you look it up!), immediately spring to mind here. Then again, if you haven’t noticed until now, chances are nobody else will have either.
Yes you really love that catchy tune that’s constantly playing on the radio right now, but will you cringe when you hear it next summer? If you’re sure that you’ll feel then as you do now, then by all means throw some shapes to it on your big day. But don’t say we didn’t warn you.
And think of your other half
As in, are you really going to subject him to dancing to Westlife/JLS/One Direction (delete as appropriate) in front of his mates? Or maybe he’s the one desperate to show off his rather well-rehearsed steps to Backstreet Boys, while you would prefer to sway to Sinatra. Either way, try to find some common ground.
Don’t feel pressured to perform
If you’re a huge Strictly fan and love the thought of using your wedding as the perfect excuse to have a few cheeky cha-cha lessons, then by all means go for it. On the other hand, if you’re racked with anxiety at the thought of all eyes on you while you awkwardly shuffle, then you could always immerse yourself in a ceilidh first dance and share the love by getting all of your guests to join in.
Be open to ideas
Just as Rihanna found love in a hopeless place, you can find your perfect first dance song in the least likely setting. Whether it’s a car advert, the Orange is the New Black soundtrack or your Granny’s record collection, chances are you’ll hit gold when you least expect it.
And finally, if all else fails you can’t go wrong with…
The classics – Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon (or pretty much any Frank, come to think of it); Etta James’ At Last (which was originally written for a musical film but came to be the blues singer’s signature song); Bobby Hebb’s Sunny (I challenge you to listen to this without having a wee boogie); and Billie Holiday’s The Way You Look Tonight (my personal favourite version of this song. Westlife also recorded two versions – the mind boggles.)
The quirky & upbeat – Noah & The Whale’s 5 Years Time (featured in a SunChips advert, but try not to let that put you off); All I Want is You by Barry Louis Poliser (made famous in Juno); Bright Eyes’ First day of my Life (super cute lyrics).
The nostalgic – (I’ve Had) the Time of My Life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, as featured in Dirty Dancing and fantasised about since; Take My Breath Away by Berlin, the love theme from Top Gun; Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer (top marks for the shoes & dress lyrics here); You Never Can Tell by Chuck Berry aka the ‘Teenage Wedding’ song from Pulp Fiction (which was released 20 years ago this year – how is that even possible!).
The slow & sweet – Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s Atlas Hands (sample lyric – “I will remember your face, ‘Cause I am still in love with that place”. Sigh!); Foo Fighter’s Everlong (the acoustic version is beautiful, if you don’t feel ready to rock out just yet); KT Tunstall’s Under the Weather (very apt for a Scottish wedding and has a nice upbeat ending).
But you may wish to avoid…
Kaiser Chiefs’ Ever Day I Love You Less and Less, Kelis’ I Hate You So Much Right Now and Divinyls’ I Touch Myself. Awkward.
Are you any closer to finding the one? We’d love to hear what you will you be shuffling or spinning to! Christina x