First dance songs that haven't been done to death

Dancing between the rows
Photo by Melissa Doyle of Casting Memories

Not that I have anything against Etta James' "At Last" or Michael Buble's "Everything," — they're both perfect first dance songs — but I've heard them both WAY too many times at weddings. So, combining my database of musician friends (some of whom made the list) with the Offbeat Bride editorial team's tastes, we've compiled a list of totally not overused first dance songs… from the silly, to the romantic, to the extremely controversial!

Oldies but Goodies — along the same lines of "At Last"

  • The Beach Boys "God Only Knows" (hear it)
  • Shuggie Otis' "Strawberry Letter 23" (hear it)
  • Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get it On" (hear it)
  • Otis Redding's "That's How Strong My Love Is" (hear it)
  • Van Morrison's "Sweet Thing" (hear it)
  • The Zombies' "This Will Be Our Year" (hear it)
  • The Kinks "Waterloo Sunset" (hear it)
  • Toussaint McCall's "Nothing Takes The Place Of You" (hear it)
  • Al Green's "Love and Happiness" (hear it)

Sexy Romantic

  • (Ariel's) Me'Shell Ndegéocello's "Love Song #1" (hear it)
  • Ben Folds' "The Luckiest" (hear it)
  • Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" (hear it)
  • Massive Attack's "One Love" (hear it)
  • Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You" (hear it)
  • Portishead's "All Mine" (hear it)
  • Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" (hear it)

Wonky 'n Fun


  • (Megan's) Pavement's "We Dance" (hear it)
  • Jon Brion's "Here We Go" (hear it)
  • Neko Case's "This Tornado Loves You" (hear it)
  • Sufan Stevens' "The Dress Looks Nice On You" (hear it)
  • Wilco "I'm the Man Who Loves You" (hear it)
  • The Cure's "Friday I'm in Love" (hear it)
  • Bright Eyes' "First Day of my Life" (hear it)
  • Nick Drake's "Northern Sky" (hear it)
  • The Pixie's "La La Love You" (hear it)


  • Bird and the Bee "My Love" (hear it)
  • Obi Best "Nothing Can Come Between Us" (you can get a free mp3 here)
  • The Moldy Peaches' "Anyone Else but You" (hear it)
  • The Mountain Goats' "No Children" (hear it) — yes, some people find this song controversial!
  • Jeff Mangum's "I Love How You Love Me" (hear it)
  • She & Him's "I Was Made For You" (hear it)
  • Captain Beefheart's "I'm Glad" (hear it)

Jazzin' — along the same lines of Michael Buble

  • Sara Gazarek's "Makes Me Feel This Way" (hear it) or her version of "You Are My Sunshine" (hear it)
  • Harry Connick Jr.'s "Come By Me" (hear it)
  • Kurt Elling's "I Feel So Smoochie" (hear it)
  • Jamie Cullum's "I Think, I Love" (hear it)
  • Renee Olstead's " A Love That Will Last" (hear it)

Upbeat Swingin'

  • (Shrie's) Chuck Barry's "You Never Can Tell" (hear it)
  • Barry Louis Polisar's "All I Want Is You" (hear it)
  • Sly & the Family Stone's "You Can Make It If You Try" (hear it)
  • Huey "Piano" Smith's "Little Liza Jane" (hear it)

Laidback Easy-Peasy

  • Mayer Hawthorne's "Make Her Mine" (hear it)
  • Cat Power's version of "Sea of Love" (hear it)
  • Peter Gabriel's "Book of Love" (hear it)
  • Air's "Playground Love" (hear it)
  • The Fruit Bat's "When U Love Somebody" (hear it)

Dark and Romantic

  • Judas Priest's "Angel" (hear it)
  • Rammstein's "Ohne Dich" (hear it with English translation)
  • Type O Negative's "Love You to Death" (hear it)
  • Stone Temple Pilots' "Still Remains" (hear it)
  • Incubus' "Monuments and Melodies" (hear it)
  • Killswitch Engage's "My Curse" (hear it)
  • HIM's "Join Me In Death" (hear it)

Oh, you want more?

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  1. We used the George Harrison cover of "Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea" …. it really summed up our very tumultuous relationship leading up to our marriage (smooth sailing since)… We broke up so many times but just like the song … we kept "running back for more"… anyway we were so happy with the song choice… and we're HUGE George Harrison fans so that was a plus! I also wanted to say, unconventional though it may be… I think "No Children" is maybe one of the best love songs ever!

    1 agrees
  2. We danced to Sam Cooke's "That's Where It's At"

    Great for brides who want something old/classic, but not something that everyone has heard a billion times.

  3. Nice list! We used a Melody Gardot song (one of the happy ones, If the Stars Were Mine) and I'm always surprised to not see more of her on lists like these. 🙂

  4. We are going to use a mash up ha.
    Vermillion Pt 2- Slipknot
    Computer Love-Zapp & Roger (an ode to use meeting through a chatroom 14 years ago)

    1 agrees
  5. We danced to the old Gershwin classic, "Our Love is Here to Stay." There are some wonderful versions by Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong, or Billie Holiday, as well as more recent recordings.

  6. I love Trevor Hall's "The Lime Tree," The Used's "Smother Me," and Coheed & Cambria's "Wake Up." (Yes, that's another sad/breakup one, but it's so beautiful!)

    1 agrees
  7. I am SO thrilled you have Mazzy Star Fade into You on that list!! That was our wedding song back in 2004, so we are way ahead of the times. None of our friends or family had even heard of it and surely thought it was a strange choice, but that was always our song, just because. We first heard it in a pool hall and loved it….didn't even know the artist, but just wanted to play it again. And anytime we argued all it took was to hear that song and instantly the argument was over. It's the song that is magic for us. Thank you for the memories.

  8. Being a wedding photographer, I've heard just about all of these. However, I did hear a couple songs that were different from the norm…Sky Full of Stars by Cold Play and Madness by Muse.

    • We recently released a new CD by Chris Jasper (former Isley Brothers) and we are getting a lot of response from fans who have said that they are using first track "The One" as their wedding song….lyrically and musically, it is perfect. You can hear it on youtube here:

      Here are the lyrics:

      1ST VERSE
      Hello my love, there is something that I want to say
      You're that once, once in a lifetime love, here with me today

      You're the one that I love (I love)
      I've been waiting, waiting all of my life
      Girl, you're the one that I love (love)
      I've been searching, searching everywhere
      You're the one that I love faithfully, faithfully, yeah

      2ND VERSE
      You say that you love me, and I know it comes straight from your heart
      Tell me over and over and over again, we will never part


      You are that rare elusive treasure that no one can seem to find
      I feel so good inside knowing you're mine, mine


      Tell me over and over and over and over, over and over and over and over
      That you love me too
      Tell me over and over and over and over, over and over and over and over
      That you love me too

      Girl you're the one that I love
      I've been searching, everyday, searching everyday, I've been searching for you baby
      You're the one that I love, I've been waiting, waiting for you all of my life
      Girl, you're the one, you're the one, you're the one, you're the one
      I've been searching, everyday, searching everywhere

      I've been looking hear and there, looking everywhere, I've been waiting, waiting all of my life
      Girl, I've been looking hear and there, looking everywhere, I've been searching

  9. At our wedding, my husband and I danced to "Calling You" by Blue October. How's that for different?

  10. Why would you choose the Beach Boys "God only knows" when the first line begins with "I may not always love you" ?!!

  11. If you're a musicals fan, "You and Me" from Victor/Victoria is a fun choice 🙂

  12. I have to add "Waiting for a Long Time" by The Highwaymen. Wish that would have been the song we used to walk in and walk out. It was just our walk out song.

  13. Sinéad O'Connor's rendition of "You Do Something To Me" from Red Hot + Blue. Tender, understated, and not done to death.

    1 agrees
  14. In so many comments, I don't know if its been posted yet:
    Rio Reiser – Ich werde dich lieben

  15. The hubby and I danced to The Veronica ' s "Speechless" at our wedding.

    Early on in our relationship, I was just doing a random YouTube Wormhole excursion and came across that song. I sent the (now) hubby a link to it exclaiming "US! TOTALLY US!" He agreed and it's been our song ever since. is the link to song with the lyrics.

  16. You should check out Evermore, I Do by Summertime's End – beautiful wedding song!

    So see these hands, because they never held any others.
    And feel this heart, because it never belonged to another.
    And hear these words, because I've never said anything so true.
    I vow that I will love you now, so evermore, I do.

  17. These turned out to be all lesser-known Disney music. Not sure what happened there. Destiny isn't as romantic as some of these, IMO, but I like it and it's about space; given some of the other songs people have said they used in this thread, it's possible it'll be the perfect thing for someone. Links are all to YouTube, because I don't think Amazon sells most of these.

    Promise – parks (
    We Go On – parks (
    Remember the Magic – parks (
    Destiny – parks (
    Candle on the Water – Pete's Dragon (

  18. Great list! We are actually dancing to "Baby, I Love You" by The Ramones. It's one of our favorites and we love that it hasn't been done to death.

  19. For the animation film geeks like me, I really love "For the Dancing and the Dreaming" from How to Train Your Dragon 2. I personally especially enjoy the cover version from Erutan Music, but there's lots of versions, fast and slow on the youtubes 🙂

    And of course for the humorous bride and groom, but I'd be careful not to alienate the guests, a bit of Tim Minchin is always great.

  20. While Your Lips are Still Red by Nightwish
    Rock Your Soul by Elisa
    La Vie in Rose by Edith Piaf
    And for the anime fans, My Truth from Your Lie in April

  21. Great suggestions. We danced to "I Could Be the One" by Sonia of Disappear Fear.

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