Fantasy wedding scenario: a live performance from Ellie Goulding

Fantasy wedding scenario: a live performance from Ellie Goulding


Picking a first dance song for your wedding is the easiest thing in the world - but only if you and your fiancé have a song that's unofficially 'yours'.

If you don't happen to be one of those couples then it can be a bit of a self-conscious process. Do you keep it safe with classic first dance song territory or impress the music snobs with something a little bit off-beat? Do you slow dance your way through a John Legend ballad - see Kim and Kanye's slightly awkward first dance, where they actually had John Legend singing live (if only) - or book in some first dance lessons so you can impress a faintly alarmed crowd of guests with a Dirty Dancing lift? Decisions, decisions...

Whatever your preference, we've gathered up a few non-cheesy first dance songs to get you started. And if you want some A-list inspiration, scroll down to find out what 11 celebrity couples picked for their first dance. 

1) Love Me Like You Do – Ellie Goulding

Good for: soft, romantic vocals that you can still dance to 

2) Blur - Tender

Good for: that beautiful lyric 'love's the greatest thing... that we have' (first dance heaven)

3) Jose Gonzalez - Heartbeats

Good for: a really beautiful slow dance 

4) Love On Top – Beyonce 

Good for: serious pointy-finger-lip-synch stuff

5) By Your Side - Sade

Good for: a moving, soft, beautiful first dance

6) Hoppipolla - Sigur Ros

Good for: those euphoric arpeggios you can spin around the dancefloor to 

7) You Got the Love – Candi Staton

Good for: those very appropriate lyrics "sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air, I know I can count on you" 

8) Coming Home - Leon Bridges

Good for: a modern first dance song that already feels like an old classic 

9) Gotta Get You Into My Life - The Beatles 

Good for: a Beatles track that's not too obvious

10) Candy - Paolo Nutini 

Good for: romantic and whimsical. 'I'll even wash your clothes' croons Paolo - start as you mean to go on and all that...

11) The Luckiest - Ben Folds

Good for: a simple, beautiful piano ballad

12) Wonderwall - Ryan Adams

Good for: a little bit softer and more romantic than the Oasis original (sorry, Liam!) 

13) Madness - It Must Be Love

Good for: a happy tune that's so easy to dance to 

14) I've Got My Mind Set On You - George Harrison 

Good for: really-getting-into-it dancing

15) Can't Take My Eyes Off You - Lauren Hill 

Good for: someone who wants a classic first dance song with a cool, updated twist (and Lauren Hill's voice is amazing) 

16) God Only Knows  - The Beach Boys

Good for: Beach Boys / Love Actually fans

17) Everywhere - Fleetwood Mac

Good for: 'I wanna be with you everywhere' is surely the best wedding song lyric ever? 

18) If I Ain't Got You - Alicia Keys

Good for: romantic slow dancing 

19) Heroes - David Bowie

Good for: anyone! Who doesn't love a bit of Bowie?

20) Four Five Seconds - Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney

Good for: just a really great track - "if I go to jail tonight, promise you'll pay my bail" has a certain, er, romance to it we suppose...

21) Sky Full Of Stars - Coldplay

Good for: beautiful, raw romantic lyrics 

22) All Of Me - John Legend

Good for: slow, romantic with John Legend's honey vocals

23) Thinking Out Loud - Ed Sheeran

Good for: a nice slice of pop music everyone can sing along to 

24) All I Want Is You - U2

Good for: raw romance 

Celebrity first dance song choices. What did the A-list go for?

1) Prince Will and Kate Middleton

First dance song: Elton John's Your Song (perfomed live by Ellie Goulding)

2) Kate Moss and Jamie Hince 

First dance song: If There Is Something by Roxy Music

3) Beyonce and Jay Z

First dance song: Crazy In Love (the first song they collaborated on together - sweet)

4) Barack and Michelle Obama

First dance song: You And I by Stevie Wonder

5) David and Victoria Beckham

First dance song: It Had To Be You by Starlight Orchestra

6) Reese Witherspoon and Jim Tosh 

First dance song: Make You Feel My Love by Bob Dylan

7) Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan 

First dance song: Last Night On Earth by Green Day

8) Katherine Heigl and Josh Kelley

First dance song: Heavenly Day by Patti Griffin

9) Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi

First dance song: Ribbon In The Sky by Stevie Wonder 

10) Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes 

First dance song: Songbird by Fleetwood Mac 

11) Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban

First dance song: At Last by Etta James 

Need inspiration for the rest of your wedding? We've rounded up the best alternative weddings shoes as well as affordable wedding decoration ideas and alternative wedding dress designers who won't make you look like a meringue. We've also collated some seriously beautiful wedding readings that will make your guests cry 

How to plan your first dance (by an expert)

Want some more advice on picking the perfect first dance song if you've booked a band? We asked Ben Matthews from top acoustic band The London Essentials - who performed at the wedding of Holly Branson - for some tips. 

Do embrace the cheese if you want to

"Before you choose the first dance song make sure you book a band that still have a glint in their eyes! If the band has a good energy, that’s what’s going to spread through the room. Any song can lose its cheesy reputation with a band that can make it come alive all over again." 

Don't stress about a fancy choreographed routine 

"Remember, it's your day. If you’re the contemporary Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers then go to town, but no pressure. Ask the band to get the guests to join you on the dancefloor halfway through the song. You don’t need to be Lord of the Dance."

Don't make last minute changes

"If you've been listening to a different version of a classic song and want the band to play it then do say so. It’s probably best to give due notice though. I have a friend who was playing in a duo for a wedding, they were asked the day before the wedding to playing Natalie Cole’s brilliant ‘This Will Be (an Everlasting Love)’ as the first dance. There’s just no way to do that song justice as a duo with one day’s notice. It really stressed him out saying he couldn’t do it (most musicians reallly care about this kind of thing!) We’ve had to change a couple of songs last minute, once to a ska version, which was a fun challenge if a tad stressful!"

Enjoy yourself!

"It's always noticeable when the bride and groom treat their wedding as a party and want to have fun. They’re usually the most memorable weddings."