A couple's first dance together signifies their union and helps to establish the style and tone of the festivities. It's completely OK for the happy couple to choose a song with personal significance that isn't a showy romantic ballad. If it is a romantic show-stopper, though, your guests are much more likely to be enchanted.
These 10 first dance wedding songs don't necessarily pour on the romance and drama, but they'll deliver the goods when it comes to creating a significant, touching moment on the dance floor -- even if you have two left feet. We'll start the countdown with a pretty unforgettable song on the next page, and we'll share a few first-dance picks nominated by "Say Yes to the Dress" fans on Facebook.
10: Unforgettable: Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole
Written by Irving Gordon and made popular in 1951 by Nat King Cole, this slow, sweet number was revitalized in 1991 by Cole's daughter Natalie for her album, "Unforgettable: With Love." Through the wizardry of modern sound mixing, she sings the song as a duet with her deceased father. There are a number of other treatments available from different artists, but these two are -- unforgettable.
9: When a Man Loves a Woman - Michael Bolton
A Grammy winner in 1991 for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Male Artist, Michael Bolton's remake of this popular 1966 Percy Sledge tune has drama, power and sex appeal. You can find it on Bolton's album, "Time, Love & Tenderness." The groom will look like a romantic hero while this song is playing, and the bride will be the perfect focus of his adoration.
8: You're Still the One - Shania Twain
If your trip to the altar has been a long journey, "You're Still the One" might be a perfect fit for your first wedding dance. It's a celebration of making it through the hard times to the other side. From Shania Twain's album "Come On Over", "You're Still the One" was a monster crossover hit for her that could bring some subtle Country ambiance to your reception.
7: Come Rain or Come Shine - Ray Charles
Written in 1946 for the musical "St. Louis Woman", this Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer collaboration is sexy and sassy. Quite a few artists have recorded "Come Rain or Come Shine." Besides the classic Ray Charles version, check out cuts by Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Frank Sinatra and many more. Feel the heat as you dance to this classic.
6: Can't Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley
If you're an Elvis Presley fan, (and who isn't), then this 1961 love song from the album "Blue Hawaii" is a great choice for that first foray onto the dance floor as husband and wife. "Can't Help Falling in Love" is one of Elvis's most enduring romantic ballads and the one he often concluded his concerts with. For you trivia buffs, the melody is an homage to the French song, "Plaisir d'Amour."
5: Unchained Melody - The Righteous Brothers
Why is the melody unchained? "Unchained Melody" was originally written for the 1955 movie "Unchained" about prison inmates finishing out their sentences and hoping their loved ones on the outside were still waiting for them. Rendered sizzling hot and sensual by Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in the movie "Ghost", "Unchained Melody" is a steamy choice whether you own a potter's wheel or not.
4: Breathe - Faith Hill
Written by Stephanie Bentley and Holly Lamar, this country-western new favorite is the title cut from Faith Hill's 1999 album "Breathe." Chocolate sweet and fun to dance to, it's a female vocal with a country sensibility that still manages to sound sophisticated, lush and just a little naughty. If your want to add a little western flair to your reception, it'll be a perfect fit.
3: How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - James Taylor
"How Sweet it Is" reached No. 6 on the rhythm and blues charts when it was originally recorded by Marvin Gaye in 1964. In 1975, James Taylor made it into a pop and easy listening hit with the help of his then wife, Carly Simon, singing backup. If you don't want your reception to get too sentimental, this one's a winner. It's a fun, energetic, toe-tapping number.
2: You Are So Beautiful - Joe Cocker
A very romantic tribute that will make that first dance special, "You Are So Beautiful" was a collaboration between Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher. There may have been a third participant as well. Rumor has it that the Beach Boys' very own Dennis Wilson also helped craft the song. But, no one has forgotten Joe Cockers' off-key, yet moving, treatment of the tune.
1: At Last - Etta James
What could be more perfect for a first dance song than "At Last," the 1961 rhythm and blues classic sung by Etta James? If your love has "finally come along" and your "lonely days are over," this one's for you. Written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren in 1941, "At Last" was a big hit for the Glen Miller Orchestra way back in 1942. It's a popular first dance wedding tune for a good reason; it's a touching, slow number with loads of class.
Lots More Information
- 5 Sentiments to Engrave on Your Wedding Ring
- 10 Strange and Unique Wedding Cakes
- How Marriage Works
- Ultimate Guide to Fake Wedding Cakes
- Why do grooms carry brides over the threshold?
- "Song Facts." Undated. 6/7/10.http://www.songfacts.com/categories.php
- AOL Radio Blog. "10 Best Wedding Songs for the First Dance." Undated. 6/7/10http://www.aolradioblog.com/2009/06/05/10-best-wedding-songs-for-the-first-dance/
- Carrigan, Laura Webb. "The Best Friend's Guide to Planning a Wedding." Harper Collins. 2001.
- Get Married. "115 First Dance Wedding Songs." Undated. 6/7/10.http://www.getmarried.com/wedding-blog/2010/03/19/top-115-first-dance-wedding-songs/
- Rothstein, Barbara and Gloria Sklerov. "The Complete Wedding Music Guide and Planner. Andrews McMeel Publishing. 2002.
- The Knot. "50 Classic First Dance Songs." Undated. 6/7/10.http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-music-ideas/articles/50-classic-first-dance-songs.aspx?MsdVisit=1
- The Knot. "Wedding Songs: 10 New First Dance Songs." Undated. 6/3/10.http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-music-ideas/articles/new-classic-first-dance-wedding-songs.aspx
- WedAlert. "First Dance." Undated. 6/7/10.http://www.wedalert.com/songs/firstdance/index.asp