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A DJ Tells All: 5 First Dance Songs That Should Be Retired

Plus, what you should choose instead.

leila joel wedding first dance
Photography by: Erich McVey

When the music begins to play during your first dance as husband and wife, the last thing you want your guests to be thinking is, "Oh, this again? I've already heard it at three other weddings this month." Though you should always choose a song that is meaningful or important to you, there are a few tunes that longtime DJ Simon Tai of New York City's Remixology would encourage couples to think twice about. With over 18 years of experience and over 200 weddings under his belt, Tai knows the tracks that have had their day, and the ones that have yet to have their chance to shine. That's why he told us which five first dance songs he'd like to see couples retire for good, then offered more creative alternatives for each.

 

But if you really love a song, even one that may not be new or creative, Tai says you should just go for it. "When it comes to the first dance song, my philosophy is that the couple should do what feels right to them," he adds. "Even if you love a song that's considered cliché, you should still use it because it's your wedding."

 

Related: Wedding Music Checklist

 

If you like soulful pop…

Tai has heard enough couples choose Adele's "Make You Feel My Love" to add it to his list of songs that need a break. If you like this style, he says to consider something like "How Long Will I Love You" by Ellie Goulding instead.

 

If you like slow jams…

John Legend's "All of Me" became a first dance classic seemingly overnight. And it's easy to see why: The singer wrote the ultra-romantic tune in honor of his soon-to-be wife, Chrissy Teigen. But it's not the only option if you love this performer. Tai likes Legend's "Stay With You" as an unexpected pick. Want this vibe from a different artist? Go with "Don't Change" by Musiq, says Tai.

 

If you like indie rock…

There's nothing wrong with "Ho Hey" by The Lumineers, but your guests have likely heard it at weddings before. Instead, Tai recommends swaying to "Say You Won't Let Go" by James Arthur.
 

If you like indie pop…

We've all been to a wedding where the couple shared their first dance to "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran. Tai says you'll get a similar vibe from "ilysb (Stripped)" by LANY.

 

If you love piano-heavy, ethereal tunes…

Tai says you should skip playing "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri in favor of "I Get To Love You" by Ruelle. You'll get all the same ethereal sounds in a whole new way.

 

If you love the classics...

Then no alternative needed. Tai says you can't go wrong with a classic tune, even if it's a song you know other couples have chosen for their dance. Because they aren't overplayed on the radio today, a nice Frank Sinatra throwback or the soulful stylings of Etta James are always welcome. "If you play one of these classics, the younger folks will have heard it before but then the older generation are going to feel some kind of connection to it as well," Tai says.