45 of the Best First Dance Songs to Kick Off Your Reception
Your first dance as a married couple is kind of a big deal. Do you want to go big and set the tone for the night, execute an intricately choreographed routine or go the traditional slow dance route? No matter the vibe, you want to pick a song that speaks to who you are as a couple.
And though classics such as “At Last” by Etta James and “Your Song” by Elton John have been wildly popular for decades, a survey conducted by The Black Tux revealed that contemporary chart-toppers such as Adele and John Legend have also made quite the impression on newlyweds. With tons of options to choose from, here are 45 best first dance songs that will deliver all the feels—whether your goal is to have guests bop along or you don’t want a dry eye in the house.
1. “SEA OF LOVE” BY CAT POWER
Best lyrics: “Come with me my love/To the sea/The sea of love.”
Cue the Juno references but also the breathtaking chords
2. “RIVER” BY LEON BRIDGES
Best lyrics: “Oh, I wanna come near and give ya/Every part of me”
Just jump ahead to the 1:30 mark to get to the good stuff.
3. “WHEN I’M 64” BY THE BEATLES
Best lyrics: “Every summer we can rent a cottage/In the Isle of Wight/If it's not too dear/We shall scrimp and save/Grandchildren on your knee/Vera, Chuck & Dave”
A cheekier tune because a marriage without quirks isn’t a marriage at all.
4. “THINKING OUT LOUD” BY ED SHEERAN
Best lyrics: “So honey now/Take me into your loving arms/Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars/Place your head on my beating heart/I'm thinking out loud/Maybe we found love right where we are”
After all, you’ll be loving each other till (insert breathy pause) you’re 70.
5. “YOU ARE THE BEST THING” BY RAY LAMONTAGNE
Best lyrics: “Both of us have known love before/To come on up promising like the spring/To walk on out the door/Hearts are strong, and our hearts are kind”
For a tune that’s a little more upbeat…and hella romantic
6. “COME AWAY WITH ME” BY NORAH JONES
Best lyrics: “And I want to walk with you/On a cloudy day/In fields where the yellow grass grows knee-high/So won't you try to come”
Proof that songs can be love letters.
7. “LET’S STAY TOGETHER” BY MAROON 5
Best lyrics: “I am so in love with you/Whatever you want to do/ Is alright with me”
We love this modern take on the Al Green hit.
8. “IT HAD TO BE YOU” BY HARRY CONNICK JR.
Best lyrics: “For nobody else gave me a thrill/With all your faults, I love you still/It had to be you, wonderful you/It had to be you”
If it was good enough for Harry and Sally and Marla Hooch, it’s good enough for us.
9. “I CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF YOU” BY LAURYN HILL
Best lyrics: “You're just too good to be true/Can't take my eyes off you/You'd be like heaven to touch (Heaven to touch)/I wanna hold you so much (Hold you so much)/At long last, love has arrived”
Voted “Most Likely to Get Other Couples Up on Their Feet” and get this party started.
10. “FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE” BY STEVIE WONDER
Best lyrics: “For once in my life, I won't let sorrow hurt me/Not like it's hurt me before (Not like it's hurt me before)/For once, I have something I know won't desert me/I'm not alone anymore”
We all saw the Carpool Karaoke version. Enough said.
11. “ALL I WANT IS YOU” BY U2
Best lyrics: “You say you'll give me/Eyes in a moon of blindness/A river in a time of dryness/A harbor in the tempest”
You can’t go wrong with old-school U2. Bono = love.
12. “CRUISIN” BY SMOKEY ROBINSON
Best lyrics: “Baby, tonight belongs to us/Everything's right, do what you must/And inch by inch we get closer and closer”
A classic that will leave you floating on cloud nine.
13. “YOU SEND ME” BY SAM COOKE
Best lyrics: “At first I thought it was infatuation/But wooh, it's lasted so long/Now I find myself wanting/To marry you and take you home”
All we have to say is "wedding gold."
14. “WOULDN’T IT BE NICE” BY THE BEACH BOYS
Best lyrics: “Happy times together we've been spending/I wish that every kiss was never ending/Wouldn't it be nice?”
Runner-up: "God Only Knows." We’re crying listening to both, but your call.
15. “STAND BY ME” BY BEN E. KING
Best lyrics: “If the sky that we look upon/Should tumble and fall/Or the mountains should crumble to the sea/I won't cry, I won't cry, no I won't shed a tear/Just as long as you stand, stand by me”
It’s a classic for a reason, darling.
16. “Lucky” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat
Best lyrics: “Lucky I'm in love with my best friend/Lucky to have been where I have been/Lucky to be coming home again/Lucky we're in love in every way/Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed/Lucky to be coming home someday”
Cue the tears.
17. “Once in a Lifetime” by Beyoncé
Best lyrics: “’What are the words I'm needing to hear?’/’How do I know if I'll ever love again?’/Seeing your face makes everything clear/And I'll never be the same”
Because queen Bey never fails.
18. “Tu Amor Me Hace Bien” by Marc Anthony
Best lyrics: “Ay como te quiero/Ay como te adoro/Ay Lolita linda, tu eres mi tesoro”
In case you want to have a little salsa moment.
20. “Set Fire to The Third Bar” by Snow Patrol ft. Martha Wainwright
Best lyrics: “After I have traveled so far/We'd set the fire to the third bar/We'd share each other like an island/Until exhausted close our eyelids”
Hauntingly romantic and the perfect choice if you wanted to do a choreographed number.
21. “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol
Best lyrics: “If I lay here/If I just lay here/Would you lie with me and just forget the world?/Forget what we're told/Before we get too old/Show me a garden that's bursting into life”
Not only is it a great first dance song, but it’ll really hit home if you and your beau are also Grey’s Anatomy fans.
22. “Love Come Down” by Evelyn Champagne King
Best lyrics: “Your love has a force/Got me under your spell/So take me, I'm yours/And I can't help the way the I feel/I just can't help the way that I feel”
If you want your first dance to be more upbeat than slow, go with this disco pick.
23. “This Woman’s Work” by Maxwell
Best lyrics: “Pray God you can cope/I'll stand outside/This woman's worth/This woman's world”
Load up on the romance with this beautiful ballad sung in sweet falsetto.
24. “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt
Best lyrics: “You're beautiful/You're beautiful/You're beautiful, it's true”
Simple, understated and straight to the point. This song is sure to have everyone all in their feelings.
25. “It Will Rain” by Bruno Mars
Best lyrics: “'Cause there'll be no sunlight/If I lose you, baby/There'll be no clear skies/If I lose you, baby/Just like the clouds/My eyes will do the same if you walk away/Everyday it'll rain”
Because you simply cannot imagine a day on earth without your beloved.
26. “I Don't Want to Miss a Thing“ by Aerosmith
Best lyrics: “Don't want to close my eyes/I don't want to fall asleep/'Cause I'd miss you baby/And I don't want to miss a thing”
Talk about a classic. We guarantee some serious waterworks.
27. “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias
Best lyrics: “I can be your hero, baby/I can kiss away the pain/I will stand by you forever/You can take my breath away”
Few songs have been this devastatingly romantic.
28. “Anytime You Need a Friend” by Mariah Carey
Best lyrics: “When the shadows are closing in/And your spirit diminishing/Just remember you're not alone/And love will be there/To guide you home”
Because your partner is your bestest friend in the whole world.
29. “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele
Best lyrics: “I'd go hungry, I'd go black and blue/I'd go crawling down the avenue/No, there's nothing that I wouldn't do/To make you feel my love”
A perfect love ballad for your wedding, from the queen of love ballads.
30. “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston
Best lyrics: “Oh, I wanna dance with somebody/I wanna feel the heat with somebody/Yeah, I wanna dance with somebody/With somebody who loves me”
Celebrate your love and get the crowd going with this upbeat tune.
31. “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys
Best lyrics: “Some people want diamond rings/Some just want everything/But everything means nothing/If I ain't got you, yeah”
A classic tune to remind you that nothing in this world means anything without the love of your life by your side.
32. “Your Song” by Elton John
Best lyrics: “I hope you don't mind that I put down in words/How wonderful life is while you're in the world”
We’re not crying, you’re crying.
33. “By Your Side” Sade
Best lyrics: “You think I'd leave your side baby/You know me better than that/You think I'd leave you down when you're down on your knees/I wouldn't do that”
A love song that defined a generation. This tune will certainly bring nostalgia for the ‘80s and ‘90s babies.
34. “The Point of It All” by Anthony Hamilton
Best lyrics: "My day seem long whenever we're apart/It's like someone has thrown away my heart/You're a major part of my life/And no matter what the storm may bring, I'm fine with you"
If the smooth beat doesn’t win you over, then certainly the crooning vocals will do it.
35. “Just The Way You Are” by Bruno Mars
Best lyrics: “When I see your face/There's not a thing that I would change/'Cause you're amazing/Just the way you are”
An up-tempo song that your guests can also sing along to. Sounds like a winner to us.
36. “Kiss from a Rose” by Seal
Best lyrics: “There is so much a man can tell you, so much he can say/You remain my power, my pleasure, my pain, baby/To me you're like a growing addiction that I can't deny”
Seal has repeatedly refused to clarify what being “kissed on the grey” means, but that hasn’t had any bearing on how amorous this song is.
37. “Be Without You” by Mary J Blige
Best lyrics: “We didn't build nothing overnight/'Cause a love like this takes some time/People swore it off as a phase/Said we can't see that/Now from top to bottom/They see that we did that”
For a love that has endured many highs and lows and beat the odds.
38. “All My Life” by KCi and Jojo
Best lyrics: “Said I promised to never fall in love with a stranger/You're all I'm thinking of I praise the Lord above/For sending me your love, I cherish every hug/I really love you”
‘90s babies, this one’s for you.
39. “Shallow” from A Star is Born
Best lyrics: “I'm off the deep end, watch as I dive in/I'll never meet the ground/Crash through the surface, where they can't hurt us/We're far from the shallow now”
It may have been written for a movie, but we were not prepared to be beautifully gutted by this wonderful love song.
40. “Have You Ever Been in Love” by Celine Dion
Best lyrics: “Have you ever said a prayer/And found that it was answered/All my hope has been restored/And I ain't looking anymore/Have you ever been so in love”
If those sweeping vocals don’t lift your spirits and get you excited to start your new life, we don’t know what will.
41. “Spend My Life with You” by Tamia and Eric Benet
Best lyrics: “Now baby the days and the weeks and the years will roll by/But nothing will change the love inside of you and I/And baby I'll never find any words that could explain/Just how much my heart, my life, my soul, you've changed”
An ode to you and your person’s bright future.
42. “Breaking Free” from High School Musical
Best lyrics: “We're soarin', flyin'/There's not a star in heaven/That we can't reach/If we're trying/So we're breaking free”
For a cheekier first dance, take it back to simpler times with this breakthrough number by Troy and Gabriella. Bonus points if you learn the choreo too.
43. “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” by Selena
Best lyrics: “Y se emociona (y se emociona)/Ya no razona/No lo puedo controlar”
Bidi bidi bom bom = those heart palpitations you get each time your S.O. walks in the room.
44. “Can't Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley
Best lyrics: “Like a river flows/Surely to the sea/Darling, so it goes/Some things are meant to be”
There are a million iterations of this song you can find, but that only proves it’s a classic for a reason.
45. “ALL OF ME” BY JOHN LEGEND
Best lyrics: “How many times do I have to tell you?/Even when you're crying, you're beautiful too/The world is beating you down, I'm around/Through every mood”
This music video = marriage dreams realized. (John + Chrissy for the win.)