Prev Next

Playlist: Wedding First Dance Songs

That won't make you barf

couple hugging after their first dance

Sharing music and listening to new music shared by friends are two favorite pastimes of mine. It’s part of why it was such an important part of our own wedding. In choosing it, we dedicated an entire night to inviting our closest friends over and getting their suggestions for the cocktail hour, for dancing, and for other various playlists.

So last week when we asked all of you to give us your first dance songs, and you delivered in droves, I was basically in music heaven. We pored over your suggestions—I might have listened to every song (though maybe not because more are still coming in!), and pulled together a playlist of our favorites for you to enjoy.

Awesome First Dance Songs from APracticalWedding on 8tracks Radio.

1. “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles
2. “Love You Madly” by Cake
3. “Grow Old with You” by Adam Sandler
4. “XO” by Beyonce
5. “I and Love and You” by The Avett Brothers
6. “Faithfully” by Journey
7. “By The Way They Dance” by Jump, Little Children
8. “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love)” by Ella Fitzgerald
9. “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke
10. “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel
11. “I Just Called to Say I Love You” by Stevie Wonder
12. “The Best of Times” by Styx
13. “True Love” by P!nk ft. Lily Allen
14. “She Keeps Me Warm” by Mary Lambert
15. “Only Love” by Ben Howard
16. “Lucky” by Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat
17. “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers


Nontraditional First Dance Songs

1. “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne
2. “That’s How Strong My Love Is” by Otis Redding
3. “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds
4. “Sea of Love” by Cat Power
5. “Can’t Help Falling in Love” as covered by Ingrid Michaelson
6. “Life is Beautiful” by Keb’ Mo’
7. “Stuck on You” by Meiko
8. “The Book of Love” by The Magnetic Fields
9. “This Will Be Our Year” by The Zombies
10. “The Promise” by Tracy Chapman
11. “Tupelo Honey” by Van Morrison
12. “Stay Young, Go Dancing” by Death Cab for Cutie

First Dance Jamz

1. “When I’m Sixty-Four” by The Beatles
2. “You Are The Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder
3. “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show
4. “Excuses” by the Morning Benders
5. “Hallelujah (I Just Love Her So)” by Ray Charles
6. “Gold Digger” by Kanye West
7. “I Got You (I Feel Good)” by James Brown
8. “Think I’m In Love” by Beck
9. “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” as covered by Lauryn Hill
10. “Let’s Get it On” by Marvin Gaye
11. “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green
12. “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone
13. “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” by Nat King Cole
14. “How Does It Feel” by Slade
15. “Nothing Can Change This Love” by Sam Cooke

Slow and Weepy First Dance Songs

1. “Crazy Love” by Van Morrison
2. “I’ll Follow You Into The Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie
3. “Feels Like Home” by Chantal Kreviazuk
4. “Forever” by Ben Harper
5. “Heavenly Day” by Patty Griffin
6. “Blackbird” by The Beatles
7. “In My Life” by The Beatles
8. “Open Arms” by Journey
9. “Hold On” by Michael Bublé
10. “La Vie En Rose” by Louis Armstrong
11. “That’s All” by Nat King Cole
12. “I’m Glad There Is You” by Ella Fitzgerald
13. “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis
14. “Come Away With Me” by Nora Jones
15. “Into The Mystic” by Van Morrison
16. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”* by The Beach Boys

Modern Love Songs

1. “First Day Of My Life” by Bright Eyes
2. “I Chose You” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
3. “Johnny and June” by Heidi Newfield
4. “Mario Kart Love Song” by Sam Hart
5. “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz
6. “Naked As We Came” by Iron & Wine
7. “I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes” by Dierks Bentley
8. “January Wedding” by The Avett Brothers
9. “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson
10. “Reasons to Love You” by Meiko
11. “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds
12. “Marry Me” by Train
13. “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele
14. “You Ain’t Alone” by Alabama Shakes
15. “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by Lemar
16. “Just Breathe” by Pearl Jam
17. “Maps” by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
18. “I Found You” by Alabama Shakes
19. “Closer” by Tegan and Sara
20. “Laugh, Love, Fuck” by The Coup

More in Wedding Playlists Recent Posts Staff Picks

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • CJ

    “La Vie En Rose” by Louis Armstrong is actually what we danced to! I’ve been dancing for years, and my brother paid for blues lessons for my (now) husband, and we danced to that song because 1.) Wall-E and 2.) It’s just a really, really good song. Hands down, our first dance was one of my top three favorite things about our wedding.

  • Kayjayoh

    [my afternoon work music is now set]

    • lildutchgrrl

      Same! I’m enjoying the slow and weepy playlist now.

      One thing — I have my computer volume turned waaaaaaaay down, as far as it can go, and some songs are still ear-blastingly loud. I don’t see any volume control with this video format. Is it just me? (I’m using Chrome.)

  • Kayjayoh

    Man, every time I hear XO I love it a bit more.

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Meeee tooooo.

  • Grace

    We are not having dancing at our wedding, and therefore we are not having a first dance. But if we were, there is NO QUESTION in my mind that it would be to “You Ruined Everything” by Jonathan Coulton

    Honorable mentions to “The Way I Am” and “Giving Up,” both by Ingrid Michaelson.

  • Sara

    Gold Digger? lol.

    I love all of these. My dream first song – since I’m one of the few that is single and reading :) – is ‘Baby (you’ve got what it takes)’ LOVE that song –

  • Juliahjackson

    I love this. I’d like to throw in another non-traditional one: my husband and I danced to The Flaming Lips’ “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Part I.” This song has followed us throughout our entire relationship — and while it seemed a stretch, we both love the idea of fighting for our love. As empowered female robots. To my surprise, a good number of our guests were familiar with the song–everyone was singing along! :)

  • Allie

    These are fantastic! I found, strangely, that the biggest hurdle in picking a first dance song was that our favorite love songs tend to get all… death-y? (“I Will Follow You Into the Dark,” “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out,” and the ilk.) Is that a thing?

    Anyway, I’m so psyched about our eventual choice, “Let’s Be Still” by The Head & The Heart, that I had to share it:

    • Elizabeth

      I know what you mean! When I suggested “God only knows” my fiance looked at me and was like, “It’s about how if the guy gets dumped he might as well kill himself.”

      • Allie

        Hahah — that one too! Ah well, I can get over the fact that it starts off with “I may not always love you…” because it’s just SO GOOD.

      • Sarah E

        Yeah, Daft Punk’s “Something About You” starts out “I may not be the right one,” but it’s a song that always ran through my partner’s head about me in our early dating stages and now we always find each other’s eyes (at least) when we hear it.

    • Sonora Webster

      I have this problem too! Love the Ben Folds song, riiiiight up to the point where the old couple dies. I mean, it’s sweet and all, but just not quite what I think I will want to be thinking about at that moment…

      • Heather

        You can edit that out! We used that song and my husband bought some music editing software for like $20 and edited out a verse to make it shorter. TOTALLY DOABLE.

    • lady brett

      this is something i definitely discovered making our wedding playlist: by far my favorite love songs for it were kind of rough around the edges…because that’s what felt real and true to the depth of what we were talking about.

  • River

    Pretty sure our first dance is going to be “Into My Arms” by Nick Cave and Bad Seeds – even though I think it kind of focuses too much on our differences (the lyrics apply pretty literally to the two of us), it is definitely “our song.” Anyway, all of my other choices are musical theatre, which isn’t really fair to him…

    • Elizabeth

      That’s our song too! It was the first song on the first mix cd he ever made me. It made me feel so special and respected since I was terrified that difference would freak him out and would eventually lead to our un-doing. (He proposed to me in front of my church so that shows how wrong I was.) Anyway, my parents would throw a fit over this song so I’m glad you get to cherish it as I would like to. :)

      • River

        Awwww thank you for sharing this!! Yeah, Z put it as the final song on the Valentine’s day mix he gave me when we were first dating. I wept when I heard it for the first time. Love that proposal too, how sweet!!

  • ohyeahofcourse

    I’d never heard “Mario Kart Love Song,” but this is GREAT.

  • Giggles

    “Ho Hey” was the #1 song the week our daughter was born. So we’ve dubbed it HER song. We love dancing around the living room with her to it all the time.

  • Class of 1980

    “Love Is All Around” … either the original version by The Troggs, or the later version by Wet Wet Wet.

    • Rachel

      This was my processional!!! My best friend sang it with a harpist and it sounded really lovely (I think – walking into the wedding is more of a “floating on a cloud” kind of memory for me, haha)

  • Kelly

    these are great playlists for background music at work! :)

  • Cara

    I like “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers, and the lyric “I belong with you, you belong with me, you’re my sweetheart” is adorable… but isn’t the song about a guy trying to break up a couple? “I don’t think you’re right for him”? Maybe I’m too picky, but I wouldn’t want to hear that at my wedding!

  • Meg

    We danced to Alanis Morrisette’s “Head Over Feet”. I could be wrong, but I don’t think Jagged Little Pill gets a lot of play at weddings.

  • friedpod

    These are so fabulous, touching, amazing. I might also suggest adding some of these to a ‘wind down’ playlist (we did spotify and broke up the playlists into Cocktail Hour, Party Trifecta and Wind Down). Sort of a post dessert, pre throwdown when all the old people are getting ready to leave and everyone’s settling into a placid, adjusted level of drunkenness. Science. (BTW, we danced to Yaz).

  • Guest

    We did “All You Need is Love” as our recessional. I was inspired by “Love Actually” but I think our version was so special. We found a choral arrangement online and my community choir sang. My friend and my partner’s sister did the solos and played the piano and another friend played the sax. There’s actually a video on YouTube. Such a good wedding song!

    • Sarah E

      I was thinking to myself how sappy the song is. . . until I got choked up. Dammit, period. Thanks for sharing this :-)

  • EF


    Well, sheesh. This january wedding just found its theme song.

    • Rebecca

      Yessss and it’s SO wonderful. And more suited to an actual wedding, as opposed to the Avett Brothers’ song “I and Love and You” which is actually about, like, letting go of friends who you’ve fallen out of love with as you’ve grown older and figured out who you really are. I always think it’s weird when people include that as a good wedding song. Though the Avett dudes do rock!

  • Kate

    I’m now trying to think of a first dance song that would make me barf…

  • Mandi P

    Thanks! I really like the idea of having friends over to help make playlists.
    We’re going to dance to Lucky Star by Madonna. Can’t wait!

  • AndThenISawStars

    Obvious choice: She Said Yes by The Wedding Band

  • CII

    This is a great list. Just a note that “Make You Feel My Love” should be “as covered by Adele” since it was originally written by Bob Dylan, and originally recorded and released by Billy Joel. Just since the rest of the list seems to otherwise acknowledge when the version recommended is a cover.

  • Ten

    Open Window by Sarah Harmer is a super sweet wedding specific song.

  • Pingback: Friday Finds | Un White Wedding()

  • Rachel

    I don’t know who suggested “By the Way They Dance,” but that was our first dance song by my absolute favorite band (that few people have ever heard of). My best friend sang it for us over a recording that my now-husband magically took the vocal track out of (though you can still hear The Ghost of Jay Clifford every once in a while). Anyway, it was one of my favorite things about my wedding, and I’m really happy and surprised to see it here!

  • Guest

    First time posting…adore this site. The excellent writing, the back-to-the-meaningful-basics approach to the act of marriage, the community, the lovely ideas. I’m a great lover of The Avett Brothers, but have to say that the song I and Love an You is not a very wedding-ish song. The lyric is: “Three words that became hard to say: I and love and you.”

  • mygirltuesday

    First time posting…this is such a wonderful site with good writing, good ideas and good community feel. I love the back to meaningful basics approach to the act of marriage.

    Just need to add that I am a great lover of The Avett Brothers’ music, but their song I and Love and You is not so appropriate. “Three words that became hard to say: I and love and you.” Even if it is about a reuniting instead of a breakup, it’s not about a phase of a relationship that anyone should be in on their wedding day.

  • Kat

    I’ve always loved “The Story” by Brandi Carlile. Always pictured it as a first dance song. Her voice makes me cry a little (a lot), tbh.

  • abdouglass

    We are currently planning on dancing to Sleater-Kinney’s Oh. It is up beat and more jumping around, goofing off music which really works for us. When my fiance suggested it it just clicked. We may get a few odd looks but I think it will be a great way to start the party. The one we are having more trouble with is the mother/son, father/daughter dance because we want to do it together and finding the perfect song (appropriate for dancing with parents, something both sets of parents will like, something we like) seems to be much harder, though we have a few contenders, we just need to run it by the rents.

    (Also, I love lists like this because it gives me something to listen to at work, and helps us find new songs for our self DJed wedding list).

  • Emily Ardoin

    I just made a Spotify playlist with all of these songs on them. Guess I’ll spend the next 18 months listening to it to decide between these amazing songs which one we want to dance to!

  • L R

    I’m looking for wedding song inspiration and this post has done it! I’d like to throw in one of my own. We went to a ton of weddings last year and there was a couple who danced to “Sunday Kind of Love” by Etta James – on a Sunday. It’s the only first dance song I remembered. Perfection.

  • kjb

    Just read the most awkward songs playlist and Make You Feel My Love by Adele is on that list as well as this one….so which is it? Lol.

Shhh... Secrets Inside

A secret post emailed to you every week!

… plus our 20 best wedding planning guides

No, thanks.