One of the highlights of any wedding reception is the bride’s dance with her father, the first man in her life. The song should speak to the bride’s bond with her dad.
In the whirlwind of wedding planning, musical selections for the ceremony and reception are crucial in creating the right atmosphere. The first dance between husband and wife, as well as the father/daughter dance, must have the right music. Here are ten songs to consider for the bride’s dance with her father.
I Loved Her First by Heartland: There isn’t too much “twang” in this sentimental country ballad; in fact, the recurring lone fiddle rift is exquisite. A bittersweet ballad about being the first man in his daughter’s life, the singer advises, “. .be careful when you hold my girl.”
Turn Around by The Kingston Trio: A sweet lament to the way time seems to slip away. “Turn around, and you’re two, turn around, and you’re four, turn around, and you’re a young girl going out of my door.” This father is left wondering when his little girl grew up.
Landslide by Stevie Nicks: In the live versions, Nicks can be heard saying, “This is for you, daddy,” which may be part of the reason this song has played at weddings for the father/daughter dance. Not as sappy as some of the others, but instead expressing fear of striking out alone, Nicks’ deep and haunting voice is a reminder that no one knows everything about love.
Unforgettable by Nat King and Natalie Cole: Few father/daughter dance songs are as appropriate as this one. A duet between Nat and his daughter Natalie, this wedding staple is slow and jazzy, and a perfect tempo for dancing. Included in the praises is the line, “Unforgettable in every way, and forevermore that’s how you’ll stay.”
My Girl by The Temptations: Beginning with the heart-beat of a bass guitar, the quick tempo is held all the way through. Remember, the father/daughter dance does not have to be to a slow song; many brides prefer an up-beat song. The sunny harmonies and touching lyrics make this a solid pick for most any dance at a wedding.
Father and Daughter by Paul Simon: Simon’s trademark word weaving appears again in this whimsical, nostalgic mid-tempo song where memories of bad dreams, fishing, and star counting are painted by Simon’s unassuming voice. Simple and sweet but not overdone, the phrase that ends every chorus is total poetry: “As long as one and one is two, there could never be a father who loved his daughter more than I love you.”
What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong: Not much more can be said about this happiness-infused ditty. Armstrong’s signature gruff but disarming voice-over smooth strings and speed perfect for a slow dance make this an obvious choice. (Note: Michael Bublé has a gorgeous version which is a bit longer.)
Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole: Part Somewhere Over the Rainbow and part What a Wonderful World, Kamakawiwoʻole’s rendition of the two songs offers a Hawaiian-influenced sound that features his ukulele playing and gentle voice.
There Goes My Life by Kenny Chesney: A slow country song that follows a father’s journey from a scared teenager to a mature, appreciative, and protective father. The title phrase morphs from a regretful moan to a proud father’s observation of his daughter leaving home. Not for every bride, but truthful and touching.
In My Life by The Beatles: Short and to the point, this Fab Four ode recounts every different type of love one may run across in life, but comes to a conclusion that “In my life, I love you more.”
Music is a key element in personalizing a wedding and reception. This comprehensive list has something for every father and daughter’s musical style.