The tradition of the first dance stems from old, European balls where hosts would throw large and lavish dances to celebrate various events. The hosts (in this case, the bride and groom) would share a dance as a way to invite the rest of the guests to join them. Typically this would be a waltz and by the end of the song, the whole room would be twirling with ridiculously poofy dress skirts.
In our modern tradition, the first dance is more of a kick-off to a new life, or symbol of the wedding couple's first shared experience. It is among many "firsts" that the couple publicly share throughout the festivities (first kiss, first promise, first cake-in-the-face). In an evolution of the tradition, father/daughter and mother/son dances have evolved as part of the "send-off" or giving away ritual.
A good band will usually be able to play most songs for your first dance. If you have a special song that you would like to dance to, check with the band and they can most likely play or learn it.
If you are having trouble choosing, here is just a few suggestions of effective first songs:
- The Way You Look Tonight -Frank Sinatra
- I Won't Give Up -Jason Mraz
- Lucky -Jason Mraz/Colbie Collait
- Unforgettable -Nat King Cole
- What a Wonderful World -Louis Armstrong
- Just A Kiss -Lady Antebellum
- At Last -Etta James
- Better Together -Jack Johnson
- Stand By Me -Ben E. King
- Marry Me -Train
- Bless the Broken Road -Rascal Flats
- L.O.V.E. -Natalie Cole
- Just the Way You Are -Billie Joel
- My Girl -Temptations
- Fly Me to the Moon -Frank Sinatra
- Your Song -Elton John
- Everything -Michael Buble
- In My Life -Beatles
- Can't Help Falling in Love -Elvis Presley
- As Time Goes By -(From Casablanca)
Here's a first dance to "Come Fly With Me" by Frank Sinatra
Now obviously a first dance can be successful without all of the preparation and dancing ability as the couple above; in fact, some of the best and most effective first dances are where the band plays a short, 1 minute version of the song. This is easily done with either a good band or a good DJ.
For you thrill-seekers; It seems that, lately, a unique tradition has arose that requires quite a bit of preparation and guts: The "flash mob" first dance -
Obviously this is not for the faint of heart (and can get pretty cheesy if not executed right). If this is on your bucket list, get ready for some rehearsals.