The Not So Great Choices for Your First Dance Song

Believe it or not, these songs have been played at real weddings. Read on to avoid these classic faux pas.

Imagine this… 
You’ve had a lovely day. The wedding ceremony was the epitome of romance, the wine was flowing, the meal was exquisite and you’re ready to let your hair down. The newlyweds step onto the dance floor, taking each other’s hands and pulling each other closer. The music starts and after a few bars, you notice the odd awkward glance between guests. Then, you realise what the song is. Below, we share our opinions on wedding songs to avoid for your first dance

5 Top Tips to Avoid A First Dance Song Disaster 

  1. Google is a wonderful tool – so Google the lyrics of songs you think could be perfect for your first dance. Naturally, we only remember a small selection of lyrics to songs, and usually only the chorus, so make sure you actually understand the meaning of the song, before falling for sentimental, but misleading lyrics. On that note, always choose a clean version of a song – explicit content will be frowned upon by a portion of your guests, especially if you have invited children!  
  2. If you don’t know all of the lyrics in the first place, it’s probably not the perfect first dance song for you. Stay safe and choose a song that you and your other half know off by heart and can enjoy in that special moment. 
  3. Just because the song has a pretty piano part, or the soothing sound of an acoustic guitar doesn't mean it is a love song! Think of any Adele or James Blunt song and you’ll get the idea. 
  4. Don’t pick a song that is 7 minutes long. No one wants to watch that. Radio edits of songs, with the 3rd verse or self-indulgent guitar solo cut out, are created for exactly this reason. Our brains naturally tune out after that length of time, so track down a radio edit version of your favourite song and then everyone else can join in with the party sooner. 
  5. If you are having a band play your first dance, ask them to send through a sample or rehearsal, so you know it sounds how you imagined, especially if you have chosen an obscure song that are having to learn from scratch. 

From our experience, try and avoid these song suggestions at all costs: 

Always (Bon Jovi)

 ‘And I will love you baby - always and I’ll be there forever and a day’.  A drop dead gorgeous man declaring his undying love for his drop dead gorgeous girlfriend who has just left him for another man. ‘When he holds you close, when he pulls you near, when he says the words you've been needing to hear. I'll wish I was him 'cause those words are mine. To say to you till the end of time’ Avoid awkward situations at all costs! 

Suspicious Minds (Elvis Presley)

The title here is usually the big giveaway but people are suckers for a bit of Elvis. I suppose there is the one romantic line ‘because I love you too much baby,’ but beyond that, we suggest taking this song off your 'first dance options' shortlist.  

I Will Always Love You (Whitney Houston)

One of the biggest power ballads of all time and for a while, one of the most popular first dance songs. What could be more romantic than Whitney belting out at the top of her lungs that she’ll always love you? Um… the fact that it’s a break-up song? Ok, ok so we all know in the film she can’t live without Costner, but this particular tune wasn't written specifically for the film. ‘So goodbye, please don’t cry. We both know, I’m not what you need.’

As Long As You Love Me (Backstreet Boys)

A song about love at first sight or a song about how all your friends are telling you not to fall in love with a potential convict but either way you don’t actually care who they are? Not wedding appropriate. 

How Do I Live? (Leann Rimes)

Another massive hit in the late 90’s with Leann Rimes declaring that she couldn't live without you. ‘I need you in my arms, need you to hold, You’re my world, my heart, my soul. If you ever leave, baby you would take away everything good in my life’ Notwithstanding the somewhat desperate neediness this song conveys, it is somewhat dark and essentially another breakup song! 

With You (Chris Brown)

…Or really anything by Chris Brown. He divides a crowd, with his infamous relationship past often completely overshadowing any ounce of romance.

Every Breath You Take (The Police)

This just isn't a love song. It’s a song about stalking. ‘I’ll be watching you’…enough said! 

Separate Ways (Journey)

Everyone loves a bit of ‘Journey’ at a wedding… although it’s probably better keeping to ‘Don’t stop believin’ later on in the evening. Again, the title gives it away. 

My Heart Will Go On (Celine Dion)

Rose and Jack, the love story of the century. I can hear a sigh from the hopeless romantics amongst us as they reminisce about how much they cried the first time they saw that film in the cinema. But remember: you cried. The love of her live freezes to death. ‘Near, far, wherever you are, I believe that the heart does go on’. On top of that, it’s just far too cheesy. 

Careless whisper (George Michael)

This may start with a sultry saxophone, but then you realise it’s just a story of cheating and lies – not the perfect recipe for a happily married life!  

Hey Ho (Lumineers)

This might be a crowd pleaser, but check out the verse lyrics. “I don’t think you’re right for him.” The singer isn't even with the love of his life, let along marrying her. 

Wasn't Expecting That (Jamie Lawson)

This is a classic song that tricks people with its acoustic arrangement – but she dies at the end! This is not the song to kick start one of the best parties of your life.  

For more advice on choosing your first dance song, or even some tips for your choreography, check out articles on Dancing at your wedding