The majority of newlyweds share a first dance at some point during the wedding reception. Sometimes selecting the perfect tune can be the source of much debate between sweethearts: whose family traditions to follow, differing taste in music, and whether or not the first dance requires choreography can all be points of contention.
Some lucky couples may have had “their song” since the early days of their relationship, and those luckier still have a connection to a song with an appropriate length, style, and content for a wedding. But what happens when the melody you and your beloved fell in love to is six minutes long, includes profanity, is too upbeat, or does not convey a loving sentiment? If you don’t have a backup song, we have some tips for how to make your unconventional first dance song appropriate for your wedding.
It’s typically agreed that a couple’s first dance should be around two or three minutes long. Unless your dance features elaborate choreography, any longer is asking for your guests to grow bored and impatient for dinner. To test this theory, grab your fiancé and practice swaying to your song of choice in the living room. As with wedding toasts, a minute is a lot longer than you may imagine, and the time will likely drag for you as well as your friends and family. To get around this, enlist the help of your DJ or wedding band to cut a shortened version of the song you love.
If you’re afraid of offending older guests, more conservative family members, or parents of young children at your wedding with a first dance song featuring words you can’t say on network television, you will once again want to enlist the help of your band or DJ. If the song is popular enough, there’s probably already a “clean” version for the radio, so be very clear with your DJ that the radio edit is the one that must be used. If a band is performing your first dance, then the solution is easy whether there’s a radio edit or not! Work with the band to make the offending lyrics family-friendly, and make sure the performers know that is what they are to sing.
Some couples may simply choose to have a faster dance number, if that’s the tune they love. But for those less confident in their moves on the dance floor, a slow jam tends to be the natural choice. If you and your sweetheart feel a special connection to an upbeat pop song, there are ways around it. Cross-genre covers have become increasingly popular, so with a little research, you may be lucky enough to find a slower, acoustic version of your song. For example, brides who love Beyoncé’s “XO” may be pleased to hear John Mayer’s cover.
Not a Love Song
Did a breakup ballad or political protest song happen to be playing during your first date and now it makes you think of each other – message notwithstanding? It’s certainly understandable if you feel uncomfortable using such a song as your first dance tune. We suggest considering an instrumental version: Unless your guests happen to know the song extremely well, they won’t be thinking about what the song is referencing, and its meaning for you and your spouse is where it belongs – between the two of you.
Opening photo by Chrisman Studios