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What's Up Weddings

Choosing the Right First-Dance Song

Jul 18, 2012 11:24PM ● By Anonymous

The song

There's a reason classic tunes still show up as first dances. They've got a melody ripe for classic dances and lovely heartfelt lyrics. "At Last" by Etta James, "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis Presley and "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong are all at the top of the list of classic first dance songs because they all have a timeless feeling to them, which reflects on the idea that the marriage will last forever.

No matter what, though, the song chosen for the first wedding dance should have meaning to the couple. While it doesn't necessarily have to be the first song they ever danced to together or anything like that, the lyrics should meaningful and memorable. Speaking of which, be sure to listen to the lyrics carefully. Songs like "I Will Always Love you," by Whitney Houston or "Every Breathe you Take," by The Police are not good first dance songs. (The former is about a break-up, while the latter is sung from a stalker's point of view).

Try out the song before you make a firm decision, meaning get on your feet and actually dance to it. You'll want to make sure it's the right tempo, meaning that it's not too fast or too slow. It's perfectly acceptable to have an upbeat song — you can even choreograph it to make it super-fun — but you can risk going too slow. "I'll be seeing you" by Billie Holiday is a beautiful, romantic song, but it's quite slow — so much so that you and your guests might get a little bored part of the way through.

The moves

Even the most groove-challenged people can get it together for their first dance, but it never hurts to  be more prepared by taking dance lessons. If you get on the dance floor and just start swaying, your guests will tune out pretty quickly. It's much more interesting if the couple knows a few good moves, whether it be the classic waltz, a tango or the foxtrot. After all, have you ever watched a pair of good dancers? It's a lot more interesting than the middle school-esque sways that some people try to pass off. Learning the basic moves only requires an hour or two of dance lessons, so you don't have to invest a lot of time or money into the effort.

You can even choreograph your first song if you really want to spice things up. A recent wedding dance trend is the "surprise" first dance, during which the couple starts off dancing in the typical manner to a typical wedding dance song. Then, surprise! The music changes and the couple breaks out into a choreographed upbeat number. Sometimes it's a popular, well-known dance such as Michael Jackson's "Thriller." This method is fun for guests and the couple alike, though it definitely takes away from the romantic moment for which the wedding dance is known.