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Sweet, Upbeat Mother-Son Dance Songs That Aren't Too Sappy

These eleven tunes may help keep everyone from crying while you dance with your mother.

The mother-son (or mother-daughter) dance is not only a touching moment, but it is also a great way to honor your mom for how she raised you.

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Photo: Roey Yohai Photography

After you get engaged and start planning your wedding, you'll discover so many elements to plan. Will you include special dances at the reception? Sure, the first dance is a tradition that almost all couples incorporate; however, you may also want to consider parent dances as well! Whether they're hosting the celebration, helped you plan the wedding over the course of months or even years, honoring their love and support through the planning process and your life is a wonderful way to say "thank you" and show your love for them at the wedding.

The father-daughter dance may be considered the more classic custom for including your parents in the wedding reception; however, the mother-son dance is a lovely tradition as well – and the mother-daughter dance is growing in popularity too! The mother-son (or mother-daughter) dance is not only a touching, special moment, but it is also a great way to honor your mother on the dance floor for how she raised you over the years leading up to the big day. Why not celebrate that love on the dance floor?

If you're looking for some great song ideas for this special dance between mom and son (or daughter), read some of our favorites below!

Mother of Groom in Red Dress
Photo by Roey Yohai Studios

What are good songs for a mother-son dance?

Choosing the right song for the mother-son wedding dance can be tough. You want to choose one that's meaningful for the special moment, but you also don’t want it to make you or your mother so emotional that you’re both sobbing on the dance floor. If you choose to include one, upbeat songs for the mother-son dance will keep the vibe light and positive – and keep your mom's eye makeup intact. For a fun twist, you may even choose to choreograph a mother-son dance routine together, which will also create more bonding moments with your mother leading up to the wedding reception. This will especially make her day if she loves Dancing with the Stars or always wanted to take dance classes!

If you need help choosing a good song to dance with your mom on the wedding day, we've gathered some of our favorites in four main categories: love songs turned mother-son dance songs, country favorites, song ideas inspired by mom, and classic favorites. No matter what genre of music you and your mom love, there's likely a perfect choice in the songs below – or these ideas may spark another tune that would be personal for you and your mom's relationship. 

Discover our suggested mother-son dance songs to help make that special moment with your mother extra special at the wedding:

Love Songs Turned Mother-Son Dance Songs 

Don't let the original purpose of a song deter you from choosing one that will be the perfect choice for you and your mom. There are plenty of tunes that have emotional lyrics that aren't over-the-top about romantic love and can instead be used to honor your special relationship with mom on the dance floor.

“How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” - James Taylor
Many songs that were written as love songs can easily be used as songs for mother-son dance routines. For moms that always love James Taylor when he comes on the radio or record player, this tune will show your mother (and all of your guests) how sweet it is to be loved by mom.

“Some Kind of Wonderful” - Michael Bublé
Again, this song was written as a love song, but its lyrics – such as "All you have to do is touch my hand to show me you understand" – can represent the unconditional love and understanding of your mom. It's a sweet song for this special dance.

“Halo” - Beyoncé
While this song was originally written about building walls up before finding true love, its lyrics are inspiring and can be reminiscent of a mother's love. If your mom loves singing this song in the car, it may just be the perfect song for your dance together at the wedding.

“Just the Way You Are” - Billy Joel
Billy Joel has a number of hits that are popular wedding dance songs; however, this one is ideal for a non-sappy mother-son dance. It may have been written as a love song, but the lyrics can also be interpreted as representing a mother's unconditional love of her son.

“God Only Knows” - The Beach Boys
This song has a melody that everyone loves, and the lyrics – though written as a love song – are also perfect for a mother-son wedding dance. "God only knows what I'd be without you" is a wonderful way to tell your mom that you appreciate her love and owe much of your current happiness on your wedding day to her upbringing over the years.

Country Favorites 

While some country favorites can be tear-jerkers – like "The Best Day" by Taylor Swift, "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts, or even "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack – we found a few country songs that will amplify the sweet moment, without being too sappy.

"Just to See You Smile" - Tim McGraw
Whether you and your mom have always loved listening to country music together or you want to have a country dance song at your farm or barn wedding, this upbeat song – that's also a popular father-daughter dance song – by the country legend is a great pick for the mother-son or mother-daughter dance at the wedding.

"God's Been Good to Me" - Keith Urban
Here's another song that's perfect for a farm, barn, rustic, or country wedding! Keith Urban's country tune will have your guests on their feet dancing – and not a tear in sight (unless one of your guests is especially sensitive to mother-son wedding moments!

"Home" - Phillip Phillips
If your mom is (or was) a fan of American Idol, she'll love singing and dancing to the season 11 winner's debut single "Home" – it's fun and sentimental... one of our favorite choices for mother-son dance songs.

"Mother Like Mine" - The Band Perry
She might tear up if she listens to every single lyric as you're both dancing to this song, but overall, this country tune by this group of siblings can be a lovely choice to honor everything she's done for you over the years. The melody has a sweet, happy sound that will keep the emotion of the moment apparent, without being too sappy.

Song Ideas Inspired by Mom 

Of course, a great song choice is one that was written about the relationship between mother and son, mother and daughter, or even just best friends or close relationships in general. A song like "Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler and "You Raise Me Up" by Josh Groban could become a tear jerker, so opt for something that's touching but won't leave you both in tears. Of course, this will vary depending on your life experiences, but here are some of our favorites.

“Mama Said" - Lukas Graham
Whether you had a similar upbringing to Lukas Graham or not, this song about his mom can be a fitting tune to celebrate with the one who has always stood by your side and given you advice for your life, wedding, and more.

“I’ll Always Love My Mama” - The Intruders
If you subscribe to the fact that you'll "always love my mama" then this song is perfect as a choice of dance songs. This tune will definitely make your guests want to get up and dance after – what more could you want for a sweet, non-sappy upbeat mother-son dance at your wedding?

"Dear Mom & Dad" - Us the Duo
This 2013 song may not be one typically known by your mom, but its lyrics are very fitting for this special moment. The lyrics "I never got what you were doing for me at the time, but now I see it, now I get it" can represent a son understanding the parenting of his mom and dad later in life – a wonderful sentiment on the big day.

"A Song for Mama" - Boyz II Men
This ballad is heartwarming, but the cool feel of the song should help to make it not feel quite as sappy as some other popular mother-son dance songs by crooners such as Elton John, Phil Collins, or Louis Armstrong.  The song is full of lyrics about childhood memories and most importantly, the love of a mother for her son.

"Dear Mama" - 2Pac
The late Tupac Shakur wrote this open letter to his mom and while it's not the typical song chosen for this particular use, it's definitely a great choice for moms who love hip-hop or rap music. To make it more appropriate for this sort of celebration, consider asking your DJ to mix parts of it in with another tune that you both love!

"Mama Said" - The Shirelles
If she loves girl groups or classic R&B and soul, this 1961 tune is a fun song that will bring you both – and all of your guests – back to yesteryear. If you're having a live band with female singers, this would be even more spectacular performed live!

Classic Favorites 

There are some songs that will be forever timeless, and these choices are all wonderful for the mother-son dance at your wedding. Choose a tune that you remember dancing to with your mom in the kitchen as a child or teenager to bring back those happy memories on your wedding day.

"Days Like This" - Van Morrison
Even if just to dance with your mother to the lyrics, "Oh my mama told me, there'll be days like this," this mother-son dance song idea is always a crowd favorite and perfect for those who love classic rock or '90s music.

“In My Life” - The Beatles
It's safe to say that your mom probably loves The Beatles, and this sweet melody from the Fab Four will put a smile on everyone's face. The lyrics "But of all these friends and lovers, there is no one [who] compares with you" can also be understood as a way to celebrate the love of a mother and son.

“You Are the Sunshine of My Life” - Stevie Wonder
Particularly sweet if your mom ever used the nickname "Sunshine" for you growing up, this classic is a great option for mother-son dance songs that will be loved by all. Have your mom dance to one of the all-time greatest hits if you're undecided on which mother-son wedding song to choose – you can't go wrong with this one!

“You’re My Best Friend” - Queen
If you would call your mom one of your best friends, she'll get a kick out of dancing to this song with her son – wedding stress aside, she's been by your side for your entire life, throughout the wedding planning process, and beyond... Make mom smile with this special mother-son dance song at the reception.

"In My Life" - Johnny Cash
In 2002, Johnny Cash covered this hit by The Beatles (also on this list!), making it another great choice if you or your family is a big fan of "the man in black." While the lyrics remain the same, the feel and vibe of the tune is different – so if you've always loved the tune, ask her which version she prefers!

"Isn't She Lovely" - Stevie Wonder
Another Stevie Wonder song made the list! He wrote this tune about his daughter, but depending on which part of the song is used, it can either be a perfect choice for brides dancing with their moms or to simply put the focus on moms who love a great compliment or time in the spotlight!

"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
This one will get all of your wedding guests on their feet and excited to start the party! It's a fun and joyous tune that's in the Grammy Hall of Fame for a reason, so if you're not sure what song to choose, this one is a great place to start.

Whichever song you choose for this special moment while wedding planning, it's sure to be a memory your mom will remember forever. She has stood by you and raised you into the man that your new spouse loves with all of their heart, so honor her with this experience she'll always cherish. Be sure to have your photographer get some great photos too! An easy Mother's Day gift is framing a professional photo of you and mom from your wedding day!

For more ideas, listen to 30 songs that real brides used for their father-daughter dance and discover Disney tunes to use for the big day