20 Non-Traditional First Dance Songs for Your Wedding Day

"nontraditional first dance wedding songs"

With the busy wedding season just around the corner, I've been thinking a lot about wedding planning lately - the ups and downs, the worth-its and not-so-worth-its, and all the little things that go into making the day happen.  Having planned a wedding myself last year, and having photographed dozens more on top of that, I thought it might be helpful to share some wedding planning tips and ideas every now and then for all those brides and grooms looking for a little extra "wait, how do I do this?" advice.  First up, music!

One simple way to let your personality shine or your wedding day is through your music choice.  We all love Etta James (and I'm pretty certain I can sing every word of "At Last", totally flat and off-key, of course...).  She's a wedding day staple - and one of her songs is on my list! - but Etta James isn't for everyone.  Taking the time to find a first dance song that's just right for you and your love is definitely worth it.  For some couples, this is a no-brainer - they've had "their song" chosen since the first time they swayed rhythmically together on the dance floor oh so long ago.  It's the song that stirs something deep inside of them and has been "their song" since the beginning.  For others, the first dance song is not such an obvious choice, and like all things wedding-related, it's a matter of searching high and low until they find "The One."  So, for those still searching and deciding, here are just a few suggestions for some totally awesome and definitely under-used first dance songs for your wedding day.

"nontraditional first dance wedding songs"

1. "In My Life" - Johnny Cash
Don't get me wrong, I love The Beatles, but Johnny voice just melts you in this one. 

2. "Into The Mystic" - Van Morrison

3. "Save Me A Saturday Night" - Neil Diamond 
It's just such a sweet song!

4. "Forever" - Ben Harper
"So give me your Forever.  Please, your Forever.  Not a day less will do from you."  It doesn't get more wedding appropriate than that, folks

5. "The Dress Looks Nice On You" - Sufjan Stevens
My bestie put this on a mix CD for me years ago and I always thought it'd be a nice wedding song.

6. "A Sunday Kind of Love" - Etta James
A lovely alternative to the all-too-popular "At Last."

7. "Birds of a Feather" - The Civil Wars
Imagine a starlit sky, with twinkle lights glowing above the dance floor and "who-o-o-o-o- could do-o-o-o- without you-ou-ou-ou?" drifting through the evening air as you're "dancing with the ball and chain."

8. "The Book of Love" - Magnetic Fields
It's a little bit quirky but a whole lotta awesome.

9. "Toothpaste Kisses" - The Maccabees
Very sweet, and just a little upbeat.

10. "You & Me" - Penny and the Quarters
You and me, you and me, nobody baby but you and me.

non-traditional first dance songs

11. "Nothing Can Change This Love" - Sam Cooke
"You Send Me" is a Sam Cooke wedding staple, but I prefer this little diddy instead.

12. "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" - Queen
For something a little more fun to really get you moving.

13. "I Was Made For You" - She & Him
This song is like sunshine and lemonade for your dancing feet.

14. "I've Just Seen A Face" - The Beatles
 I meant it when I said I loved The Beatles.  This was our "walk down the aisle" recessional song and one of my all-time fave Beatles tunes. 

15. "Say Hey (I Love You)" - Michael Franti & Spearhead
 There's no way you can listen to this song and NOT want to dance with the one you love.

16. "I've Got You Under My Skin" - Frank Sinatra & U2
An non-traditional duo for a non-traditional dance.

17. "Happiness Is You" - Johnny Cash
I know, two Johnny Cash songs on one list.  What???  This one is for the folks who want something just a little bit country and a little bit vintage.

18. "Sweet Pea" - Amos Lee
Toe-tapping, folky sweetness at its finest.

19. "A Wink and A Smile" - Harry Connick Jr.
Okay, it's from Sleepless in Seattle so maybe it's not so "non-traditional" but it's a goodie.  And I have yet to hear it as a first dance song at a wedding.

20. "Crazy Love" - Bob Dylan & Van Morrison

What was (or will be) your first dance song?  Anything you'd like to add to the list?





  1. What a lovely lovely list!

    We danced to "At The Beginning" By Richard Marx and Donna Lewis. It was the first song on a mix I made for Jeremy almost 8 years ago.

    One of my favorites is "Dance me to the End of Love" by Leonard Cohen. And the official video makes me cry ALL the time.

  2. #2!! I get choked up just listening to that song! One of my favorites of all time!

  3. Also great options! You guys had a lovely first dance - and an awesome dance party afterwards!

  4. Birds of a feather is such a great one!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  5. Lynsey @ coffeeformom.comApril 27, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    What a great list!

  6. We danced to "Love Your Love the Most" by Eric Church :)

  7. Dela by Johnny clegg- it's from a kids movie but it's such a fun, sweet song.


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