Choosing your first dance song is an important part of the wedding planning process. The music and lyrics will help define your first moments of married bliss, and they’ll also trigger memories of the big day for the rest of your lives. Some couples decide on their special song long before getting engaged. Others, however, become overwhelmed by the endless options, and they can’t make a unified decision. If you’re struggling to choose a first dance song for your wedding, follow these six tips.
Wedding music checklist
Pick something sentimental.
Many couples want to find a song that relates, in one way or another, to their relationship. Maybe the tune played on the radio during your first kiss, or maybe it reminds you of an unforgettable vacation. No matter the reason, choosing a song with sentimental value will make your first dance extra special.
Consider your love story.
If you don’t have a special song, there’s no need to worry! You can still select something significant for your first dance. Think about important moments that have defined your life together thus far, whether it was a time when you dated long-distance or if you had an unusual start to your relationship. Then do your research, trying to locate lyrics that tell your particular love story. You may come across something that speaks to the two of you and decide to incorporate it into your wedding.
Focus on a genre.
Starting from square one can seem overwhelming, especially since there are thousands of wedding-worthy song options. Narrow down your selection by deciding to focus on one particular genre. This isn’t always an easy task since your taste in music may vastly differ from your fiancé or fiancée’s taste. Say, for example, that one of you loves jazz but the other prefers country, or that you adore soft rock while your partner would rather dance to hip hop. Finding a common ground will hopefully please everyone—and it’ll also introduce you to the art of compromise.
Decide if you want something traditional or contemporary.
Almost as important as the genre is the age of the song. Ask yourselves if you’d rather select a classic wedding song or a contemporary one. Each option has its pros and cons: Classic songs are timeless and never go out of style, but some brides and grooms may find them overused and predictable. Alternatively, contemporary songs may better suit your taste in music, but you may regret the choice in five years if the tune drastically loses popularity.
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Be mindful of the melody.
Of course, slow dancing works best with certain rhythms. Avoid choosing an upbeat song with a fast tempo (unless you plan to perform an untraditional fast-paced dance—then by all means, go for it!) You can also speak with your band or DJ in advance, asking them to customize the rhythm of a particular song to make it better suited for slow dancing.
Converse with your band.
Even if you don’t want to change the rhythm of a song, you should still discuss your first dance pick with the band or DJ to ensure they can properly play the tune. You can’t expect a rock band, for example, to know how to perform one of Taylor Swift’s top hits. Your band may be willing to learn a new a song for your big day. If not, consider blasting the tune from a speaker system instead, or choose another selection entirely. Just make sure both partners are happy with the final results. After all, the first dance song will be yours for many years to come!
This article originally appeared on Martha Stewart Weddings.