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35+ wonderful ideas for your first dance

Traditions worldwide and dating as far back as the 17th Century have the newly married couple taking centre stage for the first dance. The first dance was originally a custom held by wealthy families hosting balls in which the guest of honour or hosts opened up the dance floor for all. This once upon a time social norm began first dance tradition at weddings and has held strong since. The first dance is an extremely personal moment for the couple, and could ultimately be the ONLY personal moment the couple get all evening as they are generally busy entertaining their guests throughout the day.

The first song is usually a special song and should symbolically hold meaning for the newlyweds. Does it have meaningful lyrics? A beautiful melody? A sentimental mood? Did it play in the background on the first night you met? Or perhaps it is just the easiest song to dance to because one of you have two left feet? Whatever the deciding factor is,, understand there are no rules to follow or people to please. This moment is the couple’s moment, and no matter what song is chosen, it will be perfect for them, and them alone, as a secret only they share in the moment. Being that ballroom type dancing is not a common skill in our era, many couples opt to take lessons and learn a choreographed dance. Teaching and rehearsing the "first dance" is now a service offered by many dance instructors and studios.

Couple dancing at their wedding

But...what if you’re a rule breaker and you’ve decided nothing in your wedding will be customary or traditional? Many couples are now breaking away from the “norm” and starting new trends that are catching on everywhere, especially with the help of social media and YouTube. By searching “first dance” you will see just what we mean! My favourite? Couples start of the evening with the “traditional” slow, romantic song, creating the visual that they are following custom, and all of a sudden, the music changes, and the couple break out into a sudden choreographed dance routine! Using songs that clash is even better. Depending on the time of the year, or theme of the wedding, couples have busted out into their own versions or copied and simplified choreographies from Thriller, Grease Lightening, Hit Me Baby One More Time, Bye Bye Bye, Uptown Funk, Rocky Horror Show, and Footloose.

A group of people dancing at a wedding in Wicklow

Couples have even gone so far as to make it a “flash mob” type event where members of the bridal party or family join the dance, making the already memorable event, even MORE memorable. Just when you thought your commitment to being in the bridal party only consisted of expensive clothing and lots of pictures, your job description became updated! Or perhaps… you have a partner who simply does not dance - Slow, fast, single or in groups. What then? Don’t panic, there is no need to cancel the “first dance”. Many newlyweds with uncooperative partners have chosen to do a “surprise” dance with their bridesmaids or groomsmen which is always a sight to see and a memory to keep.

If you do find yourself stuck for first dance ideas, a great place to start is with the DJ or band that you have booked. They are professionals and will usually have years of experience performing at weddings. They personally will know, or may have even created the soundtrack to hundreds of first dances already. If you are having difficulty deciding on just one song, consider making it a mix of a couple of songs. Remember, there is no right way, there is only your way!

Here are a few of the most popular first dance songs:

Current Hits:

All of Me – John Legend

Marry You – Bruno Mars

Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran

Stay with Me – Sam Smith

A Thousand Years – Christina Perri

Grow Old With Me – Tom Odell

Baby I'm Yours – Arctic Monkeys

Only Love – Ben Howard

I Won't Give Up – Jason Mraz

How Long Will I Love You – Ellie Goulding

The Classics

At Last - Etta James

Have I Told You Lately? - Van Morrison

Stand By Me - Ben E. King

Every Breath You Take - Sting

Blue Moon - Elvis Presley

Eternal Flame - Bangles

God Only Knows - Beach Boys

You Do Something To Me - Paul Weller

Everything I Do (I Do It For You) - Bryan Adams​​

More Than Words - Extreme


Fade Into You - Mazzy Star

Black - Pearl Jam

Lovesong - The Cure

Hysteric - The Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’s

Falling Slowly - Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

Hotel Yorba - White Stripes

Home - Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros

Do You Realize - The Flaming Lips

Everlong - Foo Fighters ​

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out - The Smiths

Ceilidh or Folk Band

Feels Like Home -Chantal Kreviazuk

Have I Told You Lately -Van Morrison

Wish I Had Someone To Love Me -Dubliners

Falling Slowly – Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose -Robbie Burns

*folkloric list comprised by Written by Ruthe Graham from Celtica

Provided by Tulfarris Hotel & Golf Resort. Located just 45 minutes from Dublin City and 25 mins from the M50, one of Ireland's most picturesque wedding venues, boasting a breathtaking backdrop of lush green meadows and glistening lakes.

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