As a wedding entertainment supplier, we consult with our clients and prepare the music for one of the most important events at the wedding reception – the first dance (or bridal waltz, as traditionalists would call it).
Over the years of working as an entertainment manager, lead performer, DJ and MC, it never fails to surprize me the interesting choices that are made by my clients. After all this is their first dance together as man and wife – the music choice is significant, and is often chosen to reflect the personality of the new couple.
The more popular choices over the years have included:-
At Last – Ella Fitzgerald
I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
Still the One – Shania Twain
Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
The Way You Look Tonight – Michael Buble
Just the Way You are – Billy Joel
These are beautiful and timeless songs, and sometimes the bride and groom will not have a great deal of choreography for these dances. They take the opportunity to sway in each other’s arms, taking that special moment to really appreciate and feel the excitement of the day.
Some of the more interesting choices I have seen over the years have included various medleys which commence with a slower ballad, only to dramatically change into a fast paced rock and roll song, with the bride and groom breaking into a fabulous rock and roll routine – a real crowd pleaser. Another example which is similar – a ballad to start with, then “Everybody Dance Now!” suddenly rings over the PA and the bridal party runs onto the dance floor, hands in the air, pumping their arms, and the entire function begins clapping along.
My all time favourite “left of centre” first dance choice (which I have yet to see at one of my functions) is the infamous “Thriller Dance”, which quite a number of bridal parties have surprized their guests by suddenly breaking into at the reception. Yes that’s right – the entire bridal party had learned Michael Jackson’s Thriller Dance for the wedding first dance – quite amazing really. If you look on Youtube you will be delighted to see footage of this first dance at various wedding receptions.
The above three examples reflect my earlier mentioning of the trend from the past few decades of the first dance reflecting a couple’s personality, rather than being just about a traditional, choreographed dance routine.
Some of the less theatrical choices I have seen trending over recent times, particularly with the younger set, have included:-
The Wedding Song – Angus and Julia Stone
Over the Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwoʻole
You are the best thing – Ray LaMontagne
Better Together – Jack Johnson
Daughters – John Mayer
These are all quite poignant, lyric driven songs that really evoke the emotion, and often lend to less choreography and more swaying and engaging in the moment of the first dance.
I have certainly seen more than a few tears in people’s eyes whilst watching their son’s / daughter’s / relative’s / friend’s first dance together as husband and wife.
It is a very personal choice for brides and grooms – and it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to spend that special moment with so many wonderful and diverse people.
Rosie Kalber is a wedding and corporate entertainment consultant from Melbourne, Victoria, with over 10 years performing and event coordinating in the industry.
A boutique entertainment group from Melbourne, Australia.