While wedding trends come and go, there are a few things you can generally expect to see at any celebration. The first dance, during which the newlywed couple takes to the dance floor as guests look on, is one such example. It's an exciting moment for any pair to show off their personalities through their song choice and the type of dance they perform, but when the couple in question happen to be celebrities, it tends to be even more fun to see. Whether you love reading about A-list love stories or you’re looking for inspiration for your own first dance music, these musical reception moments are ones to pay attention to.
Here, we’ve rounded up our favorite celebrity first dance moments, from royal couples to Beyoncé and Jay-Z's iconic first dance (to one of their original songs!) and special music moments for actors like Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Neil Patrick Harris.
Barack and Michelle Obama
When Barack and Michelle Obama (then Michelle Robinson) were married on October 3, 1992, the duo chose an absolute classic for their first dance: “You and I” by Stevie Wonder. Leave it to the former POTUS and FLOTUS to select a timeless number that, just like them, will never go out of style.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Millions of royal watchers tuned in to watch Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's May 19, 2018, wedding live, but their evening reception—and their first dance—were kept relatively private. Thanks to the duo's recent Netflix documentary series, fans have now learned that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex took to the dance floor to the sound of “Land of 1,000 Dances” by Wilson Pickett for their first married twirl.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z
Married in a private ceremony on April 4, 2009 (which was decorated with a reported 70,000 white orchids), Beyoncé and Jay-Z famously shared their first dance to“Crazy in Love"—a particularly sweet moment, since the song was actually the couple's first collaboration!
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi
In August of 2008—just after same-sex marriage was legalized in California—Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi glided around the dance floor to “Ribbon in the Sky,” a Stevie Wonder classic. The two tied the knot with a stunning backyard wedding at their Beverly Hills home.
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin
“Why Shouldn’t I?” by Cole Porter was the soundtrack to George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin's first wedding dance in Venice, Italy, at the couple's star-studded wedding in 2014. They even surprised their guests with a special performance by Nora Sagal, the teenage daughter of family friends, who sang this classic serenade.
Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas
According to People, Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra 225-person wedding weekend in December of 2018 was full of dancing. But the moment when the couple swayed to “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack for their first dance takes the cake for the sweetest moment they shared.
Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka
In 2020, Neil Patrick Harris reflected on the Kelly Clarkson Show about his first dance with his husband David Burtka—the two actually danced to “A Moment Like This” by Clarkson herself at their 2014 wedding in Italy.
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban
In an interview with etalk, Keith Urban revealed that his first dance with Nicole Kidman at their June 2006 wedding in Manly, Australia, was a classic by Etta James: The duo decided to dance “At Last." The romantic ceremony included guests like Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts, and more.
Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth
Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth celebrated their marriage by dancing to an iconic song by folk legend Bob Dylan: "Make You Feel My Love.” The two got married in an intimate ceremony at Witherspoon's Ojai, California, 1920s estate in 2011.
Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds
In 2012, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Yip Harburg (but performed by Florence Welch!) set the scene for power couple Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds' romantic first dance at their private wedding in South Carolina.
Prince William and Kate Middleton
Who didn't tune in to watch Prince William marry Kate Middleton? While we all saw the ceremony, we didn't see the reception—luckily, we did hear all about their first dance. This royal couple chose a song by the groom's late mother's close friend, Elton John. Their pick? "Your Song," a classic love song, which was performed live by England’s own Ellie Goulding (who, at the time, was still a rising star).
Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian
While Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian danced to a medley of various songs at their 2017 wedding, the standout tune was “Tale as Old as Time” from Beauty and the Beast, one of the most romantic Disney classics. The wedding took place in New Orleans with a star-studded guest list including celebs like Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Kim Kardashian.
Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel
At Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel's 2012 wedding in Italy, they shared their first dance to “A Song for You” by Leon Russell. Years later, in an incredibly sweet gesture for the couple’s fifth anniversary, Timberlake recorded himself singing “A Song for You” song to his wife to celebrate their continued love.