Maybe you're marrying a serious music lover, or perhaps you've heard the same first dance song at one too many weddings. Either way, you're looking for a tune that's one-of-a-kind and completely your own. But finding a unique first dance track is easier said than done. The music you choose should speak to you as a couple and feel both unexpected and original. That's why we tapped Shanon Cook, trends expert at Spotify, to get a little insight on how to select a song that fits the bill.
Her biggest tip? Try not to stress too much—it's your wedding, and this process should be fun. If you're set on twirling to something unexpected, scroll through our curated playlist, sourced by expert wedding planners, DJs, and bands who have (literally) seen it all. From poignant love ballads that everyone forgot about to upbeat tunes meant for showing off your choreography, these fresh songs, paired with Cook's advice, are sure to make for a first dance that everyone will remember.
How should a couple go about selecting a one-of-a-kind first dance song?
According to Cook, there are two different ways to approach this. "First, decide what style of first dance you're going for. Do you want a flashy, choreographed number that everyone will remember as the main event from your wedding? Do you want to do a traditional, romantic waltz? Do you both possess enviable salsa abilities that shouldn't be wasted? Once you figure out what impact—if any—you want to make, you can then focus on the specific tracks that match."
Alternatively, choose the song first. "If there's a song that has meaning to you both, has played a significant role in your relationship, or is simply a song you both really love, maybe that's your first dance track," she explains. "A good test is to stand in a room together, play the song really loudly and see what happens. If it feels natural to move to together, then maybe you have a winner. You'll know if it's not right."
What are a few underdog artists or love ballads that deserve first dance consideration?
"Check out 'First Began,' the Grammy-nominated track by R&B singer (and Maroon 5 keyboardist!) PJ Morgan," says Cook. "It's been popular in Spotify playlists, as has 'Why I Love You' by MAJOR, a very passionate and popular tune at weddings lately."
What's your best piece of advice for couples struggling to find a track that feels unique?
Don't force it, says Cook. "In this case, my advice would be to stop trying to find something unique! There's no need to feel pressured to emulate Beyoncé or show off eclectic music tastes," she explained. "Keep in mind the first dance song will have a better chance of resonating with your wedding guests if it's a song most people have heard before." If you're struggling to come up with something—or if you're arguing over it—ask a friend who knows you both well to step in, said Cook: "Ask them to suggest a few songs that they think reflect your relationship and cater to both of your music tastes."
What would you say to a couple that wants an upbeat song?
Cook says to choose that tempo matches your desired dance style—something she's learned from personal experience. "For reasons I can't quite explain, my husband and I chose to take swing dance lessons to choreograph our first dance. We spun around on the dancefloor to U2’s 'Beautiful Day,' a song we felt reflected our Hawaii wedding destination. And it just has a super positive, feel good vibe," she explains. "We were a bit clumsy and struggled a bit to keep up with the tempo (which I mostly attribute to the champagne), but we had fun."
For couples that want to take on a fast first dance song, Cook suggests the following. "Two up-tempo songs that Spotify listeners like as first dance song are Bruno Mars' 'Marry You' and Walk the Moon's 'Shut Up and Dance,'" she says. "I've always thought BØRNS' 'Electric Love' could be a really fun first dance song."
What other songs or genres of music are perfect (but unexpected) for the first spin?
Of course, there's no right or wrong on the dance floor. "If a bride and groom want to lose their minds to Meatloaf's 'I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)' in front of their friends and family, then they should have at it," says Cook.