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Top 10 First Dance Songs To Consider for Your Wedding Day

As Honeydew Marmalade’s lead singer, I’ve seen and performed a lot of first dance songs, and have had the joy of witnessing these magical moments unfold. I love my job, and I think the first dance is so important to get right. I always want to deliver that song with perfection, and make it as unique and lovely as I can with the band behind me. 

In my experience, after speaking with couples, we often come to the same idea that the song should start soft, usually with an acoustic guitar or solo piano performing, and then build up slowly with the full band coming in after nearly a minute so they can enjoy that first tender moment. When the music kicks in, the rest of the guests will make their way to the dance floor, joining the newly wed couple.

We get a lot of requests for different first dances. Usually these songs are ones that mean a lot to the couple. Maybe it was the song that was playing when they first met, or reminds them of the early stages of dating. Perhaps it was the song playing when they both said that they loved each other, or when they got engaged. But a lot of couples when we speak to them are really unsure as to what to have, but we’re on hand to help guide you towards choosing that perfect song. 

I have come up with 10 songs that I personally think deserve a look at when picking that first dance.

When putting this list together I considered a few things; the lyrics, the vibe, a slow intro building into a bigger middle when your guests and friends and family can join, and songs that are a little more left of field, and less obvious and conventional. You can find the Spotify playlist of all of these songs at the bottom of this blog page.

So let’s get into it shall we…

10. ‘’Flightless Bird, American Mouth’’ by Iron & Wine

Coming in at number ten is the song by the American singer songwriter Ervin Beam, going by the artist name Iron & Wine. This song you may know from the hit vampire film Twilight, where Bella and Edward were dancing together at their prom night under the fairy lights in that iconic scene. Regardless of how you may feel about the movie, it is a beautiful song that evokes such emotion from the listener.

9. ‘’Delicate’’ by Damien Rice

Damien Rice is one of the best songwriters to ever put paper to pen, with his lyrics pulling at your heartstrings. ‘’Why do you sing Hallelujah, If it means nothing to ya?, Why do you sing with me at all?’’ is sung with such angst that it can make even the coldest of hearts melt. 

8. ‘’The Luckiest’’ by Ben Folds

It’s my mum’s favourite song, so I had to get it in this list. It’s a piano accompaniment of a man singing of how lucky he is to have his loved one in his life, which will ring true for so many people.

7. ‘’Time After Time’’ by Cyndi Lauper 

There are three brilliant versions of this song to pick from. Personally, the original will always be the best of the bunch for me, as Cyndi Lauper is one of the best songwriters and singers of all time. If you want to pare back the 80’s vibe and hear a softer version, Eva Cassidy’s cover is stripped back and beautiful. The third version is our boy Ervin Beam once again (Iron & Wine) who delivers a wonderful acoustic take of the song. 

6. ‘’Being in Love’’ by Wet Leg

Wet Leg have taken the UK by storm over the past year, with their two major singles ‘Chaise Longue’ and ‘Wet Dream’, but this song is a little less known from their debut album and sings simply of ‘Being in Love’. “It feels like someone has punched me in the gut” – a feeling that anyone who has felt love before can really understand.

It’s a much more upbeat and unconventional first dance option, for those who don’t want a ‘hold me close and sway me’ vibe, and are looking for something more fun. I think it’s a great option for those less inclined for PDAs (Public Displays of Affection).

5. ‘’Like Real People Do’’ by Hozier

Now we are getting into our top five. I’m so confident that each of these picks make for a perfect first dance that I dare anyone to listen and not fall in love with them.

Hozier is one of the best songwriters we’ve seen this side of the millennium, and he is wonderful at constructing beautiful songs. This is from his debut self-titled album, with the lyrics ‘’Honey just put your sweet lips on my lips, We should just kiss like real people do’’. The melody accompanying will tap right into your feels. 

4. ‘’Romeo and Julietby Dire Straits

A classic love song about one of the oldest love stories of all time. The concept is so ambitious to write about and delivered with such originality, I love it. It gives this iconic story a modern twist with lyrics about streetlights and the movies. 

Juliette, I’d do the stars with you… anytime”. I don’t think any line has ever been more romantic. 

3. ‘’Candy’’ by Paolo Nutini

Paolo Nutini is just brilliant. Singing about Candy as a euphemism, asking for some loving after his hug. If I were to perform this song, I would do the intro solo and have the band come in to accompany me in the second verse, as it would be such a lift when the guests joined on the dancefloor. I’m eagerly awaiting the day that someone requests us to play this song.

2. ‘’The Book of Love’’ by The Magnetic Fields

One of the best love songs ever written, originally by Peter Gabriel, has been taken and put through the vocal chords of the main singer Stephin Merritt – who delivers it with almost a cynical approach that takes it out of the ‘cringe zone’ that can easily be considered for the original song. 

It sounds like the singer is almost disinterested, whilst singing of heart shaped boxes and things we’re all too young to know, it makes a real juxtaposition that just works. It comes from their album ‘69 Love Songs’ which genuinely has 69 love songs on it, worth a listen if you can spare the week to get through it.

1. ‘’Home’’ by Edith Whiskers

This haunting melody was originally written by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, which as a stand alone would make a wonderful first dance song. But I think the delivery of Edith Whiskers, nowadays going by the artist name Tom Rosenthal, takes the punch, as he slows the tempo down which makes it sound more of a love song than the original. Singing of how ‘Home is wherever I’m with you’, I think perfectly sums up how you are making a forever commitment to your loved one. I think it would just be perfect.

If you wanted Honeydew Marmalade to do this on your big day, I would do an amalgamation of both songs, as (you guessed it) starting soft and building the instruments in.

Me and my fiancé, who I am marrying next July are very likely going to have this song as our first dance, and I cannot wait. It is going to be wonderful.

Written by Olly Andrews – Lead Singer of Honeydew Marmalade