5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Father-Daughter Dance SongHere are some brainstorming questions to narrow down your choices for something uniquely you:
1. What kind of personality should the dance have? Do you want to leave everyone in tears … or in stitches of laughter?
2. Is the bride comfortable with a traditional waltz or an up-tempo salsa dance … or just a particularly musical hug? How about the father of the bride – is he amerengue or Macarena guy, or is he dreading putting on his dance shoes?
3. If you’ve already picked the couple’s first dance song, do you want the father-daughter dance to flow smoothly from it? Or would you prefer more contrast?
4. What kinds of experiences do the bride and her father share? What do they do together? What’s a lesson only dad could have taught her? There might be a song about it!
5. Is there a song they always sing along with in the car? A family in-joke they’d like to bring up again? The father-daughter wedding dance is a tradition (which is part of the reason there are so many appropriate choices), but it’s really about the two people dancing together … so going wild is always a great choice.Got those points in mind? Here’s a curated selection of father-daughter dance song suggestions that might just meet your taste!
TearjerkersWhen my sister-in-law got married just a couple of weeks ago, her dad announced at the rehearsal dinner that the wedding wouldn’t be complete until he’d made people cry. Between his bilingual toast and their supersweet father-daughter dance to Rascal Flatts’ “My Wish,” he met that goal! If you want everyone reaching for a hanky, these choices show the beauty of the father-daughter wedding dance by recalling some of the special moments in their years together. Some of them might verge on the cheesy … but “cheesy” is just another way of saying “don’t mind me, I’ve got something in my eye.” A few of our weepy faves:
- “Butterfly Kisses” by Bob Carlisle
- “Thank You for Loving Me” by Bon Jovi
- “Lullabye” by Billy Joel
- “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack
- “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty
- “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof
Faster FavoritesIf you’re coming right out of a romantic first dance into a father-daughter wedding dance, you might want to up the tempo as you transition into your celebratory dance party! (You could also start slow and have your DJ slip into something with a quicker beat – think Annie and Daddy Warbucks going from their father-daughter waltz, “Something Was Missing,” into the later number “I Don’t Need Anything But You.”) Faster songs are also great for families where the wedding means turning over a new leaf. If getting the family together for the wedding was a struggle, or if you’ve lost a few relatives in recent years and need to take your mind off the memorial table, something like Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now” – a sunny, hopeful choice – might make a great start to a more optimistic reception. On the other hand, my dad and I do a great Electric Slide – we couldn’t resist showing that off! Here are a few more father-daughter songs with a quick, fun tempo for dancing fast:
- “Windy” by The Association
- “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye
- “Anytime” by Journey
- “I Will Walk With You” by John Fogerty
- “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses
Nostalgic NotesNot so fond of weepy classics, but want a song that represents a father and daughter’s lifetime of magical moments? Look to something from your childhood. Did dad indulge you by watching your favorite cartoon with you every Saturday? What’s that Disney movie you watched religiously? How about a robotic dance to the Super Mario World 1 music, or a drinks-in-hand swing to the M*A*S*H theme? Deserving of special mention is a father-daughter wedding dance song with sing-along potential. Do you know (of course you do) “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”? That Tin Pan Alley classic from the turn of the twentieth century (and every daddy-daughter ball-park outing since) is actually about a girl who would prefer a sporty outing to a nice dinner. Don baseball caps to up the cute factor, and make sure everyone knows your mutual favorite team so they “root, root, root” for the right side. A few more special-interest songs to consider:
- “Father and Daughter” by Paul Simon (from The Wild Thornberrys)
- “The Rainbow Connection” (from The Muppets)
- “I’ve Been Everywhere” by Johnny Cash (for travel-loving families)
- “You’ve Got a Friend In Me” by Randy Newman (from Toy Story) – the “boy” bits are just because the singer really means it, right?
- “No Matter What” (from the stage version of Beauty and the Beast)
Cool and ClassicRetro chic is big in wedding planning, and the father-daughter wedding dance is a great place to bring in something period-appropriate. (But remember, mid-century buffs and Marilyn fans: “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” only sounds like it belongs on the list.) Stylish instrumental covers of old favorites are excellent choices, and the whole catalogue of the Benny Goodman Orchestra has potential, too. Even power ballads from the ‘80s are starting to hold retro charm! From big bands to geezer rock, dad and daughter can have a tasteful moment to these old-time tunes:
- “My Girl” by The Temptations
- “I Wish You Love” by Frank Sinatra
- “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles
- “Stand By Me” by Ben King
- “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra (yes, he does double duty on this list)
- “Happy Days Are Here Again” by Leo Reisman