Best Wedding Songs for 2011: How to Move Past the Clichés


At GigMasters we recently conducted a survey of brides, grooms and wedding professionals. We asked them which songs they were choosing for things like the First Dance, Father/Daughter Dance, Mother/Son Dance, etc. The results compile our list of the best wedding songs of 2011.

The survey results may surprise you, because they’re so unsurprising!

bride in strapless dress dances to her first dance
Photo courtesy of Studio B Photography in Atlanta, Ga.

Etta James’ classic hit “At Last” is still the most popular choice for first dance songs, followed closely by the Elvis hit “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.” “What a Wonderful World” is not only still a popular first dance song, it’s also a popular Mother/Son dance song.  “Butterfly Kisses” and “Unforgettable” are still dominating the Father/Daughter dance.

The only place where there does seem to be some movement is in the “wedding party intro” song. Classic dance songs like “Celebration” and “We Are Family” are being edged out primarily by the Black Eyed Peas various dance anthems. But, even with those songs there isn’t much variation.

As we’ve been publicizing the results of this survey we’ve gotten a lot of interesting responses. Some people are embarrassed to discover that “their” song is shared by lots of other couples. Other people aren’t bothered at all. As one newlywed told me “My song is a cliché, but that just means we get to dance to it every time we go to a wedding.”

If you’re looking for a first dance song that isn’t a cliché, think about what makes music personal to you. Don’t worry as much about meaning and think more about events in your life. My husband and I chose “Sewanee River” for our first song! Why? Well, believe it or not, it was the first song we ever danced to together. I heard about a couple who chose Gorillaz’ “Dare” for the same reason.

If you’re worried that others will misinterpret the meaning of  “your” song, just ask your DJ or bandleader to explain the story behind it before the music starts. Ultimately though, don’t forget that as with all things wedding related, it’s less important what others thing and more important what works for you!