elopements/microweddings →
weddings →
theatre →
portraits →
for photographers →
personal →
news →
helpful articles →
engagement →

explore by category

I capture the unspoken — the glances, the silences — drawing from New York's pulse and the richness of global cultures. Every wedding is its own intricate narrative. Rooted in theatre and life's everyday rhythms, I document moments both transient and timeless. 

Hey, I'm susan!

How to Choose Your Perfect First Dance Song

Choosing the perfect first dance song for your wedding is a unique journey that reflects both your personal taste and the story of your relationship. Here’s a guide to help you navigate this special decision.

A black and white photo capturing a graceful wedding first dance with two grooms.

Things to consider when choosing your first dance song

Reflect on Your Personal Style and Relationship Start by considering the type of music you and your partner enjoy. Do you lean towards classic love ballads, upbeat pop, indie tunes, or perhaps jazz? Also, think about songs that hold special meaning in your relationship. This could be a song from a memorable date, a concert you attended together, or a track that always gets you both on the dance floor.

Consider the Dance Itself Do you envision a traditional slow dance, or something more choreographed and lively? Your dance skills and comfort level also play a crucial role. If you’re planning a simple sway, a slow and steady song is ideal. For a choreographed number, you might want something with a clear, rhythmic beat.


Lyrics Matter Pay close attention to the lyrics. You want them to resonate with your feelings and the occasion. Sometimes a beautiful melody can be deceptive, hiding lyrics that may not be appropriate or reflective of your relationship.

Consult with Your Wedding Band or DJ If you have a band or DJ, get their input. They often have vast experience with weddings and can suggest songs that work well for first dances. They can also advise on the versions or arrangements of songs to fit your dance style.


Test It Out Once you have a few options, take them for a test spin. Literally. Play each song and dance with your partner to see how it feels. This can be a fun and romantic activity leading up to your wedding.

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Unique Your first dance song doesn’t have to be a traditional choice or even a well-known love song. If there’s a song you both love, no matter the genre or theme, it’s worth considering. This is about your story and what feels right for the two of you.


Think About the Message You Want to Send Your first dance is a moment shared not just between you and your partner but with all your guests. Think about the message you want to convey through your song choice. It could be about your journey together, your hopes for the future, or simply a celebration of love.

Keep an Open Mind Sometimes the perfect song is one you least expect. Be open to suggestions from friends, family, and even your wedding planner. They might propose a song that surprisingly fits your relationship perfectly.


What are some popular first dance song choices?

When compiling this list I asked the internet to help me find some first dance song choices for you!

These songs were suggested as modern options:

  1. “All of Me” by John Legend
  2. “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran
  3. “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne
  4. “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri
  5. “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele
  6. “I Won’t Give Up On Us” by Jason Mraz
  7. “Everything” by Michael Bublé
  8. “Amazed” by Lonestar
  9. “Marry Me” by Train
  10. “Halo” by Beyoncé​

Two brides gracefully performing their first dance on a checkered floor at their wedding.

These were suggested as “classics”:

  1. “At Last” by Etta James
  2. “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley
  3. “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers
  4. “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys
  5. “My Girl” by The Temptations
  6. “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green
  7. “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King
  8. “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole ft. Natalie Cole
  9. “This Magic Moment” by Ben E. King and The Drifters


My personal favorite top first dance songs?

  1. “Lover” by Taylor Swift
  2. “Imagine” by Ben Platt
  3. Any cover of “Simply the Best”, especially by Noah Reid or Billianne
  4. “By Your Side” by Sade
  5. “I’m on Fire,” by Electrelane

A wedding photo of a bride and groom sharing their first dance at the Bowery Hotel.

In summary

Choosing your first dance song is an intimate and personal decision that sets the tone for your reception and creates a lasting memory. Take your time, explore your options, and most importantly, choose a song that feels like ‘you’. With these tips, you’re well on your way to finding a first dance song that will resonate with your hearts and leave a lasting impression on your guests.

join now

Join the Susan Stripling inner circle for exclusive insights into the art of photography & firsthand updates.

meet susan →

Get to know the artist who captures NYC's essence. Discover Susan's journey, her inspirations, and the passion that drives her every click. 

behind the camera

connect with susan →

Have a moment or a vision you want captured forever? Reach out and let's discuss how we can bring your photographic dreams to life. 

let's create together

explore galleries →

Delve into a world where every frame tells a story, where dramatic elegance meets timeless beauty. Discover the story of multiple events through Susan's lens. 

artistry beyond the ordinary

where will your journey bring you next?