‘You Had One Job!’ Advice from a Wedding Band on Your First Dance Song

So right now you fall into one of two categories.  (A) You have spent hours researching songs and feel you can’t possibly narrow down your list of 100 amazing options that encapsulate your never-ending love for your partner.  Not quite you? Perhaps the next category is a better fit. (B) You have been given one job, and one job only.  Pick the FIRST DANCE! It is now a week to your wedding and you have a tonne of e-mails from your band, asking what song you have picked.  You desperately wish you could say ‘I Don’t mind, whatever suits you’. Sadly, you know this won’t fly so you have to make a DECISION.  You are now frantically searching social media for the answer… any answer.  The one song that will relieve you of this task.  This has led you here and we can help.  Who knows more about first dances than a wedding band? That’s right, nobody.  So Relax, we got you.

Popular Choices

Over the past few years, two names have dominated the first dance game. Ed Sheeran and Jason Mraz; two men with voices like velvet, who’s songs have love dripping from every verse.  Roughly half of the first dances we play will be a song from one of these two handsome men.  It’s almost as though they wrote songs specifically for love stricken couples to have their first dance, as a married couple, to.  It’s a crazy thought, I know. I’m sure that wasn’t their intention.

The top two choices from Ed’s catalogue are ‘Perfect’ & ‘Thinking Out Loud’.  Both songs are gorgeous and both are excellent options.  Their tempo and rhythm are perfect for showing off the dance moves you have spent hours practicing.  ‘Perfect’ is perhaps more current but ‘Thinking Out Loud’ still gets a look in, even this year.

Jason’s entry into our list is ‘I won’t give up’.  This is a lovely song. Your mother will be in tears as she grapples with that camera she bought specifically for this day, despite the fact that you are paying out your ear for a photographer!

Now we need to talk about the medium-sized elephant in the room.  Not a big one, medium sized.  Does it bother you that your cousin Frank, auntie Mary and Rachel from around the corner (who you used to fancy, but haven’t told your partner and invited her to the wedding anyway because your mothers are friends and it’s just easier this way) have all had a bloody Ed Sheeran song at their wedding?  If this doesn’t bother you, then go ahead with the popular choice.  They are excellent choices and your band will play them spot on as they have most likely already played them for a few other weddings.  Job done? Song picked? Read no further so.  If you’re not quite set, then read on… Sure you’re here now, might as well finish it!

Before I bore you any further, here’s our list of songs that have cropped up in the last while.  Some we have played for a number of weddings and others were quite majestic in their randomness.  We do like those ones.

  1. Perfect-Ed Sheeran
  1. I Won’t Give Up-Jazon Mraz
  1. Can’t Help Falling in Love-Elvis
  1. A Thousand Years-Christina Perri
  1. I Wanna Grow Old With You-The Wedding Singer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1A_X8VMIqU&t=82s
  2. Thinking Out Loud-Ed Sheeran
  1. How Long Will I Love You-Ellie Goulding
  1. Amazed-Lonestar
  1. Best of My Love-The Emotions
  1. This I Promise You-Ronan Keating

Obscure Songs

Obscure might not be the most appropriate term… but in general, when a first dance song is relatively unknown, it means that the couple has a special attachment to that song.  P.S. if there’s a funny or romantic back story to your first dance song, tell your band about it – we love bits of info like this!  It helps us play your song choice with the right feeling and sentiment that you want on your big day.  It also helps us get to know our clients better and we do a better job as a result, especially when it comes to picking the rest of your set-list.  You thought you had it bad picking one song? We get through about 50 in one night! Our top pick for an obscure song so far, is ‘I Wanna Grow Old With You’ from the film ‘The Wedding Singer’.  Adam Sandler and an acoustic guitar on an airplane just screams romance! We really enjoyed the quirkiness of this song and there was a brilliant back story which unfortunately we can’t reveal here.

Our Favourite First Dance

Our hand on heart favourite song to date is ‘Best of My Love’ by the Emotions.  We even added it to our set for other gigs after this wedding.  It was so much fun to play.  The vocals in this song are great and it really suited our singer’s voice.  It’s such an upbeat song, causing the night to really kick off!  We highly recommend this song!  Even if you don’t pick this particular one, it is great idea to start off with something fun and light to get people in the mood for dancing.  Slow and tear jerking first dances songs are lovely, but it can take a little while to get people back on the dance floor afterwards.  Mascara needs to be adjusted and all that.

Band Vs. I-Pod

Asides from picking a song, you also need to decide if you will have your band play for your first dance or if you want it to be played on an I-pod.  This can be a tough decision. You might want to hear the exact voice on the record or if you have rehearsed a dance, you might want to dance to that exact tempo. Of course this is 100% your decision and any band will respect your choice.  However, I will offer up our opinion on this.  Trust your band. We generally prefer to play a first dance for a couple, even if it requires a bit more preparation on our part.  Aside from anything else, every job we take on has the potential to yield other work for us.  We don’t want your guests wondering why the band aren’t playing the first dance as it looks bad on our part.  So yeah, trust your band, this is what we do for a living and we’re good at it.  If we weren’t, you wouldn’t have booked us!

When dealing with bands on issues such as first dances, don’t accept excuses such as ‘We don’t have time to learn your song’ or ‘You have to pick from this list of songs’.  That’s crap. They can make time.  If they want to be known as professional musicians, then they can make time.  By all means give them the requests a few months in advance, so they can have time to prepare, but don’t settle for excuses.  There are literally hundreds of bands that will learn your song for you.

Songs the band doesn’t like

Yes, not every member of our band will enjoy every song over the course of a 3-hour wedding set.  It’s impossible.  In the same way a chef might not like every single dish he prepares but each dish is part of the menu.  The chef appreciates that the person who ordered this dish has a reason for doing so.  It is for this reason that they give this dish the same amount of attention as any other.  At the end of the day, we consider ourselves professionals and we will do our job, regardless of our feelings on any particular song.  Now, the real trick is making it look like we’re having the best time of our lives, playing ‘Wagon Wheel’ for the 129th gig in a row.  But that’s a whole other article. Like, literally, there will be an article on ‘Wagon Wheel’.

We hope this helped some of you, regardless of what stage you are at in your wedding planning or how prepared you are.  Of course if you have any questions, we would be delighted to help, even if you haven’t booked us for your wedding.  Contact us at 4till6@gmail.com or on our Facebook/ Instagram ‘4Till6’.

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