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The Perfect First Dance: Tips and Song Suggestions for Newly Weds

If you’re reading this, a big congratulations is most likely in order. You are, or someone you dearly love is, ENGAGED! What an exciting time in your life! 

However, you may find planning a wedding (and shared life) can get a bit overwhelming, but don’t fear! You’re not the first to go through this, and you won’t be the last. Here at UCan2 Dance Studio, we have helped countless couples make the extra special, and sometimes extra stressful, dance portion of their wedding unforgettable, and, more importantly, enjoyable. So even if we never see you in person, we hope these tips and song suggestions will help make planning your big day easier, because every new moment should be savoured as it happens, for better, or for worse ;).

To start, let’s discuss what the first dance is, and why you might need it. 

Traditionally, the first dance is the first time a newlywed couple dances together. This usually happens at the wedding reception and signals the start of the festivities for the night, opening the dance floor to guests following the first dance. Many couples choose to share special dances with their loved ones prior to the first dance, such as the well-known father-daughter dance. This is so you can honour all that person has done for you, and show their unwavering support as you move into this new stage of life. It’s also very special to look back at pictures or videos from these shared moments. However, you can mix up the order of these pre-prepared dances in whichever way you want, or dance with whoever you wish. It’s your big day, after all! You do what you want.

wedding dance, for couples, Auckland City
Make your wedding dance memorable!

When preparing for the first dance with your partner, there are a few things to keep in mind, including where you’ll be dancing, the type of dance you want to do, and so much more. So here are a few tips to help you have the perfect first dance! 

  • The Song Dilemma

Picking one song can be hard. You might have too many in mind, or no idea what to pick at all. There’s also the added layer of a second person, which could be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on how you look at it. We recommend making a date to pick your song. Go all out and dress up, make dinner and remember what the end goal is. You’re picking the song you’ll dance to as a married couple for the first time! Have three songs picked out prior to the date that you would like to dance to (some research may be involved in this, our song suggestions below should help here!) and make sure your fiance has their own list. Go through them as a couple, and give each of you two vetoes. This should leave you with two songs, one from each person. Decide between these top two by dancing around to them. Figure out what makes you feel the best and what reminds you of your relationship. 

If there is a song you both have on your lists, choose that one! You don’t need to go through the rest of the steps. And don’t forget to make sure the song is danceable for your chosen dance type. If you love a song, you could always try and find altered covers of it to fit the dancing style you want. Or perhaps make a medley of songs for your first dance so you can include more and experiment with different dance styles. That’ll surely keep your guests on their toes!

  • Keep it short and sweet.

The general suggested time is between two and three minutes. If your song is longer, you can get your DJ to fade it out or your band to play a shorter version of it.

  • Hire a professional.

This is a great option for beginner or professional dancers alike and can help make your first dance memorable! Many dance studios (including us!) will offer different packages for private wedding dance lessons, so you can choose the level of practise you want. We also offer significantly reduced prices for these packages, so you can have the first dance of your dreams without blowing your budget. The only thing you need is your song and we will teach you to dance to it! This means there is no need for you to figure out the dance type you want prior, which is usually one of the hardest aspects when picking your first dance, especially when you have little dance experience. You can check out the options we have here.

If you are severely against dance lessons, at the very least jump on YouTube and learn a few basics. There are so many tutorials out there, so utilise them. But definitely consider having even just one lesson with a professional, if only to eliminate some of the awkwardness and nerves. Perhaps it could be an early wedding gift from someone you love.

  • Make sure you can dance in your outfits!

We are not saying wear your wedding dress before your wedding day, but make sure you practise in something similar to what you’ll wear on the day. If you know you’ll be dancing in a ballgown or heels, make sure you practise with similar silhouettes and shoes so you know where to place your hands and feet to keep from tripping. You’ll be nervous enough on the night (even though you needn’t be!) and having that extra element of difference will be even more challenging. Also, don’t push yourself to wear something you’re not confident in. If you want to wear flats instead of heels, go for it! Again, it’s your day. Do what you want.

  • Practise really does make perfect. 

Do it with your choreographer, but also practise outside of your lessons. Do it before bed or when your dinner is in the oven. Practise your dips in the supermarket, or your spins when you walk your dog. Anything to really nail the moves and make you feel confident!

  • Smile! 

Breathe and make sure you savour this moment with your partner, because you’ll never experience it again. Make sure you have times in your dance where you get to look in their eyes and smile with them. Remind each other to laugh and enjoy this dance, both on the night and leading up to it. First dances should be fun, not stressful, so breathe and enjoy each moment with the love of your life.

first dances should be fun, not stressful, so breathe and enjoy eaach moment with the love of your life. WEDDING DANCE

Song Suggestions

Obviously, we recommend picking something personal between the two of you. A song you may have shared throughout your relationship and that reminds you of the other. But, if you need a bit more guidance, listen to the songs below to help you narrow down the genre or get inspired!


  • “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” Elvis Presley

  • “The Way You Look Tonight,” Frank Sinatra

  • “Endless Love,” Diana Ross, Lionel Richie

  • “Can’t Take My Eyes off You” Frankie Valli


  • “All of Me,” John Legend

  • “Like I’m Going to Lose You,” Jasmine Thompson, or go for Meghan Trainor and John Legend’s cover for duet style song.

  • “The Joker and The Queen,” Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift

  • “Love of My Life,” Harry Styles


  • “In Case You Didn’t Know,” Brett Young

  • “Die a Happy Man,” Thomas Rhett

  • “I Don’t Dance,” Lee Brice

  • “Better Together” Luke Combs

choosing the right music for your first wedding dance. gay male dancing at their wedding.

Soul and R&B 

  • “Stand by Me” Florence and the Machines (many covers, so check them all out if you want).

  • “If I Ain’t Got You” Alicia Keys, Usher

  • “La vie en rose,” Louis Armstrong

  • “This Old Heart Of Mine” The Isley Brothers


  • “In My Life," The Beatles

  • "You're My Best Friend," Queen

  • "Just the Way You Are," Billy Joel

  • “Nothing Else Matters,” Metallica

Folk and Alternative

  • “Like Real People Do,” Hozier

  • “Everywhere,” Fleetwood Mac

  • “Sea of Love,” Cat Power

  • “Let’s Dance,” David Bowie

That’s all the tips and suggestions we have today, but if you still need help, we recommend reading this Complete Guide to Planning a Wedding or view our gallery to get inspired by others.



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