We're far too familiar with the wedding songs that have been overdone. Let's find the best first dance songs that are out-of-the-box. With the help of some wedding professionals — the ones who've heard 'em all! — we compiled a list of unique first dance wedding songs that are anything but ordinary.
1. "500 Miles" by Sleeping at Last
This acoustic version of The Proclaimers' original hit is breathy, languid and sensual. It's an amazingly romantic rendition of a classic everybody knows — they've just never heard it like this. This song is for all the grooms who would gladly walk 500 miles for their brides.
2. "Lay Your Heart Next to Mine" by Steve Azar
"It is a little unknown song by an overlooked country singer (not that I am a country fan...more a punk rock girl!) but I had purchased this CD (yes, I am that old) for another song that really spoke to me at the time and when I heard this song I knew immediately that is spoke perfectly to Jeff and me. Now if we had only practiced our first dance."
—Laura Jacobson, Kismet Invitation Company
3. "Escapade" by Janet Jackson
Incredibly upbeat and fun, we've all heard this song — but not as a first dance at a wedding. What bride doesn't want to take her groom on an escapade? It's also the perfect precursor for a couple who just can't wait for the honeymoon.
4. "You Are the Best Thing" by Ray LaMotagne
"I've yet to tie the knot myself, but I'd go with something mildly upbeat, yet still slow enough to look great dancing. There are no long, awkward musical pauses in the song, it is not too repetitive and it will keep your guests attention."
—Alexandra Wise, Blush Botanicals
5. "There Will Be Time," by Mumford & Sons featuring Baaba Maal
Slow, intense and tribal, you won't find a more unique first dance wedding song. With lyrics like "I live to love and adore you, it's all that I am, it's all that I have," it doesn't get much more romantic either.
6. "Come Rain or Come Shine" by Ray Charles
"This is the song Chef Nimer and I (we're partners in business and life!) danced to at our wedding (at The Parker in Palm Springs). With lyrics like "Happy together, unhappy together and won't it be fine? Days may be cloudy or sunny...we're in or we're out of the money" — it perfectly captures what the married days ahead would be together and the fact that no matter what - we go through it all together."
—Jennifer Coman, Haute Chefs LA
7. "You Are" by Lionel Richie
Throw it back with this '80s love song: "All I want is to hold you, let me show how much I love you ... you are the sun, you are the rain, that makes my life this foolish game. You need to know I love you so and I'd do it all again and again."
8."Dreams Are More Precious" by Enya
"My husband and I actually chose two songs for our first dance, one that was slow and beautiful to start, and one to surprise our guests with a choreographed dance thrown in there unexpectedly. The slow dance song we picked was "Dreams Are More Precious" by Enya, and mid-slow dance it switched to a little hip-hop number! One song represented how he had been there for me after my dad passed away and the other was the fun side of us and how we love dancing together!"
—Kara Stout, Kara Stout
9. "Faster" by Matt Nathanson
The lyrics say it all: "You taste like sunlight and strawberry bubble gum ... you bite my lip, you spike my blood, you make my heart beat faster." This happy harmony is a great choice for couples who are so in love the sight of their beloved still makes their hearts skip a beat.
10."First Day of My Life" by Bright Eyes
"For my second (and last) wedding, this past November, we eloped and didn't have a first dance or song (no one there except us to hear it anyway), but the song playing in my head was "First Day of My Life" by Bright Eyes. It's absolutely perfect and sweet, especially if you're a little cynical. Happy to share this gem, since I'll never use it out loud."
—Jill Ryder, Shindig Bespoke
11. "Crush" by Dave Matthews Band
"I would say the best first dance song ever is "Crush" by Dave Matthews Band. It's definitely a song that's off the beaten path, but it's a perfect combination of slow and jazzy sultry parts that build into the more up tempo chorus. Plus, it's a pick that will earn you some serious cred with the music fans on your guest list."
—Leah Weinberg, Color Pop Events
12. "Home" by Edward Sharpe and Magnetic Zeros
"My husband and I did our first dance to "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. We wanted something that was a little different and more upbeat than your typical romantic slow dance song. The lyrics just happened to be perfect as well. Toward the end of the song, all of our friends and family got up and joined us on the dance floor totally unsolicited! They danced around us in a circle while clapping to the beat of the song. It was amazing because neither of us love having all eyes on us. It's one of my favorite memories from our wedding."
—Jillian Kling, jillian rose photography
13. "Latch" by Sam Smith
—Ashley Ruelas & Beatriz Cisneros, The Detailed Look
14."You and Me" the Wannadies
"This one my husband and I actually picked for our song. It's fun because you can vacillate between slow dancing and fast dancing. But, mainly I love the lyrics, it's funny and real and was so perfect for us."
—Jamie Chang, Mango Muse Events
15."Happy" by Pharrell
"I LOVE first dances because whenever I hear the song on the radio I think of the couple that selected it. Last year one of my favorites was "Happy" by Pharrell that ended in a conga line and everyone was on their feet (dancing or cheering). My hub and I danced to a medley that was choreographed by an amazing TV professional (he often works on Broadway and TV)."
—Cassandra Santor, Cassandra & Company Weddings
16."Waste" by Phish
"My first dance song at my wedding was the song "Waste" by Phish. It's a very simplistic love song about not needing to climb mountains, nor be an actor, nor be a writer to be happy— he just simply needs to "waste" his time with his lover. The song is about expressing a longing to "waste" your time with the person you love. What I love most about this song is in an age of social media bragging, and everyone wanting to be a reality TV star, the simplistic message of only needing to be with the one you love is good enough. You don't need to be doing something amazing every day, or brag-worthy, to be happy. Spending your time with the object of your love is far more important than any superficial jobs, titles, or social media status."
—Luke Walker, Clark+Walker Studio
17. "We Will Dance" by Steven Curtis Chapman
"I love first dance songs that aren't well known which is why for our first dance at our wedding, I chose "We Will Dance" by Stephen Curtis Chapman. It's a lyrically beautiful song that details the course of a relationship from the beginning to being a sweet old couple still dancing. To this day, it's one of my favorite songs wrapped in sweet memories.
18."Luckiest" by Ben Folds Five
"My husband Troy and I danced to the "Luckiest" by Ben Folds Five on our wedding day and it will always be my favorite. Still to this day, as the years have come and gone, we have held the tradition on our anniversary of finding a moment to stop and dance together to it. Some years it has followed a fancy dinner, others there has been a pregnant belly between us and now it more often seems that we have had little ones clinging to our ankles as we have held each other but it has always reminded me that amidst it all, I am still the luckiest."
—Heather Balliet, Amorology
19."Better Together" by Jack Johnson
"Our clients this weekend are having their first dance to Jack Johnson's Better Together. This song is entirely sweet with a soft but playful acoustic melody. Probably a more underrated first dance song, but definitely a favorite!"
—Mary Ellen Murphy, Off the Beaten Path Weddings
20."Spend My Life With You" by Tamia & Eric Benet\
"My husband and I are obsessive over for classic R&B love songs, and this song completely encompasses the essence of love and the moment you know you've "found the one whom your soul loves" The sweet lyrics and the beauty of the melody make it the ultimate first dance song which is why we picked it for ours!"
—Pamela Augustus, Love Anne Joy Design & Events
21."I'm Gonna Make You My Wife" by the Whispers
"The song that my hubby and I danced to was a classic "I'm Gonna Make You My Wife" by the Whispers. We had selected all of the music for our wedding well in advance. However, we were watching a movie and heard the song and knew from the first sentence that it would be the perfect first dance song! We took the dance floor and as soon as the song played, the entire crowd, young and old teared up as we danced. Almost seven years later and the song still makes me emotional!"
—Geomyra Lewis, Geomyra Lewis Weddings & Events
22."Man on Fire" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
"One of my favorite first dance songs ever is 'Man on Fire' by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. It's not a song you usually hear at weddings, but the beat and lyrics are so memorable. One of my clients a few years ago danced to that song for their first dance in a redwood forest, under the stars, and towards the end of the song invited their guests onto the dance floor! It was the perfect way to kick off a night of dancing!"
—Mirelle Carmichael, Mirelle Carmichael Photography
23. "Lucky" by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat
"Our wedding song was "Lucky" by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat, not only is it a beautiful song, with perfect lyrics for a first dance, but it was sung at our wedding by my brother and my daughter (who was eight years old at the time). It was incredibly special and we are so very lucky!"
—Kathy Gelbman, Sparkle and Ink
Listen to all these potential first dance wedding songs in our Spotify playlist with the best first dance wedding songs.
Thanks to Inspired by This for helping us round up the wedding vendors to get their insights on the best first dance songs.