How to Choose a Father-Daughter Dance Song (That’s Really About Your Dad)

How to Choose a Father-Daughter Dance Song (That’s Really About Your Dad)
Maybe you’re choreographing a father-daughter dance to wow the crowd. Maybe you’re planning to sway in place while dad fixes this moment in his memory … and tries to cope with being the center of attention. However you’re doing it, the perfect father-daughter dance song can make one of the most memorable moments in a day full of magic. But how do you boil down a whole relationship into a single song? And how do you start off a father-daughter wedding dance that represents who you are – not just to the father of the bride and his beautiful daughter, but to all your wedding guests? Read on: We have 20+ of our own father-daughter favorites to suggest – and a few questions to get you going on narrowing down dad’s and daughter’s playlists for the perfect wedding moment. father and daughter dancing at wedding

Amanda Marie Studio

5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Father-Daughter Dance Song

Here 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! father and daughter slow dancing

Brian Bossany Photography


When 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: father daughter wedding dance

Maison Meredith Photography

Faster Favorites

If 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: father and daughter dancing at wedding reception

Mad Chicken Studio

Nostalgic Notes

Not 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 dancing at outdoor wedding

Eric Vest Photography

Cool and Classic

Retro 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: father and daughter wedding dance

Brian Bossany Photography

The Final Selection

Once you’ve got your perfect father-daughter dance song in mind, read the lyrics thoroughly and make sure there’s nothing to cause an awkward moment. Decide how long you want everyone staring at you. Cutting the sad last verse, kicking out a weird intro, or inviting other father-daughter pairs to join you on the floor might help. And make sure to practice your waltz hold at least once. Found your father-daughter wedding dance song, but not sure every line is just right? (We’re looking at you, sexier lines from the otherwise-perfect “I’ve Had the Time of My Life.”) Seek out an instrumental version. No one else remembers the real lyrics, either, right? Do you think your dad would like to be surprised with the song? Or would he prefer to be involved in making a final selection for your father-daughter dance? Have you seen any particularly epic father-daughter wedding moments? Tell us all about it in the comments!

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May 16, 2019 09:07

My father was adamant with my sister (and I suspect he will do the same with my wedding) that HE will be the one to choose the father/daughter song. My guess is that he’ll go with “Butterfly Kisses,” but I wouldn’t mind something a bit more up-tempo!

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