The 15 greatest wedding first dance songs

20 January 2022, 15:31 | Updated: 20 January 2022, 16:06

The 15 greatest wedding first dance songs
The 15 greatest wedding first dance songs. Picture: YouTube / Ed Sheeran

By Tom Eames

Picking the perfect song for your first dance at your wedding is always a tricky one.

Not only has it got to have the right mood, but you've BOTH got to like it enough to be the song you'll remember most fondly for the rest of your lives.

Plus, you need to pay close attention to the lyrics. Some songs might sound all lovely and slushy, but look closer and it's actually anything but (we're looking at you, 'Every Breath You Take'), and you'll be raising a few concerned eyebrows.

Perhaps you've already got 'your' song, but if not, here's a list of suggestions that may help you out.

  1. Ed Sheeran - 'Perfect' OR 'Thinking Out Loud'

    Ed Sheeran - Thinking Out Loud (Official Music Video)

    "I see my future in your eyes" / "I fall in love with you every single day"

    Yes, we know these Ed Sheeran ballads are two totally different songs, but it's hard to pick between them!

    Both are beautiful love songs by the modern master, and would work perfectly as a first dance song.

    Ed Sheeran - Perfect (Official Music Video)

    'Thinking Out Loud' is a tad more jaunty in the style of Marvin Gaye (and even has a routine for the dance itself in the music video), while 'Perfect' is a pure love song (a song you once picked as your favourite song ever!).

  2. Etta James - 'At Last'

    Etta James - At Last - Lyrics

    "My lonely days are over"

    Such a stunning love song, it was as if this was written specifically for first dances at weddings.

    Even Barack and Michelle Obama used it at his first inauguration ball, sung by Beyoncé no less.

  3. John Legend - 'All of Me'

    John Legend - All of Me (Official Video)

    "You’re my end and my beginning"

    This simple piano-led ballad spells it out for you: "all of me loves all of you".

    The song was inspired by John Legend's then-girlfriend Chrissy Teigen, and we bet many couples have found it very special too.

  4. Elvis Presley - 'Can't Help Falling in Love'

    Can't Help Falling In Love ('68 Comeback Special 50th Anniversary HD Remaster)

    "Take my hand, take my whole life too"

    Many artists have sung this love tune, but Elvis's 1961 version is particularly special.

    The song is actually a lot older than you might think, as the melody is based on the romance 'Plaisir d'amour' by Jean-Paul-Egide Martini, from way back in 1784!

  5. Eric Clapton - 'Wonderful Tonight'

    Eric Clapton - Wonderful Tonight [Official Live]

    "And the wonder of it all, is that you just don't realize how much I love you"

    It might be a tad schmaltzy, but who doesn't love a bit of schmaltz every now and then?

    Eric Clapton wrote the song for his then-girlfriend Pattie Boyd (who divorced George Harrison in the same year).

    He penned it while waiting for her to get ready to go to Paul and Linda McCartney's annual Buddy Holly party. Let's just ignore the fact they divorced a few years later.

  6. Ellie Goulding - 'How Long Will I Love You'

    Ellie Goulding - How Long Will I Love You (Official Video)

    "As long as stars are above you"

    This song was originally by the Waterboys in 1990, but Ellie's version is particularly gorgeous.

    The moving song was featured in the 2013 romcom About Time, which you'll know is a rather emotional watch if you've seen it!

  7. Lonestar - 'Amazed'

    Lonestar - Amazed (Official Music Video)

    "I want to spend the rest of my life with you by my side"

    Moving into power ballad territory now, this 2000 country classic couldn't be more full of love and affection.

    When co-writers Chris Lindsey and Aimee Mayo wrote the song, they were in the process of falling in love themselves and drew upon their burgeoning romance for inspiration. Aww.

  8. Al Green - 'Let's Stay Together'

    Al Green - Let's Stay Together

    "I'm so in love with you"

    If you're looking for a bit more soul in your first dance, look no further than Al Green.

    You might need to learn a few steps for this one, though.

  9. Elton John - 'Your Song'

    Elton John - Your Song (Top Of The Pops 1971)

    "How wonderful life is while you're in the world"

    Such a fantastic ballad from Elton John about how much someone means to you, even if you can't show it in incredibly huge statements.

    Sometimes, all you need is a simple song and cute little dance together.

  10. Paul McCartney - 'This Never Happened Before'

    This never happened before LYRICS Paul McCartney

    "This is the way it should be"

    McCartney said that this beautiful track is “a straight love song and, you know, I’m a lover, not a fighter as they say. I think that’s such an important thing in the world”.

    He actually gave the song to his masseuse as a gift after she heard a demo, and she gave the song its first official play as the first dance to her wedding shortly after! 

  11. The Beatles - 'Something'

    The Beatles - Something

    "I don't need no other lover"

    Macca's bandmate George Harrison wrote perhaps the Beatles' greatest love song in the form of 'Something'.

    Just like Eric Clapton after him, its main inspiration was his then-wife Pattie Boyd. She must have really been something.

  12. Elbow - 'Mirrorball'

    Elbow - Mirrorball (Abbey Road / Orchestral Session)

    "Everything has changed"

    Taken from Elbow’s Mercury Prize-winning fourth album, Guy Garvey said this song “is very simply about the morning after meeting somebody and falling in love”.

    He added: “It’s about not wanting to wake her up and going out into the world and noticing that everything is different. It’s a very traditional love theme”.

    Sounds perfect for a first dance, if you ask us.

  13. Labi Siffre - 'It Must Be Love'

    Labi Siffre - It Must Be Love

    "Nothing more, nothing less, love is the best"

    A bit more a jaunty number compared to the other songs on this list, this song celebrates love and all that it brings.

    You may know Madness' version better, but you can't go wrong with Labi's original.

  14. The Beach Boys - 'God Only Knows'

    Beach Boys - God Only Knows lyrics (Lyric Video)

    "God only knows what I'd be without you"

    Often voted the greatest love song of all time, this Beach Boys song never gets old.

    "It's very emotional, always a bit of a choker with me," Paul McCartney once said of the ballad. He's not wrong.

  15. Peter Gabriel - 'The Book of Love'

    Peter Gabriel - The Book of Love

    "You ought to give me wedding rings"

    Originally by The Magnetic Fields in 1999, Peter's cover version of the quirky love song is incredibly soaring and stunning.

    Gabriel said it is “deeply romantic and a little cynical at the same time, which opens it to an audience that wouldn’t buy slush.”