Father-daughter dances are a traditional part of an American wedding and they are growing in popularity in the UK. It’s a lovely way to express appreciation for your dad, and to bring a change of mood to the day – it’s also a chance for heartfelt emotions – rather than romantic ones – to come to the fore.
Order of dances at a wedding
There is no universal agreement about the order of dances at a wedding. In some cultures it’s traditional for father and daughter dances to start the proceedings, with the father handing his daughter to the groom for them to move into their first dance. In many modern weddings it’s usual for the bride and groom to start the dancing, followed by father and daughter and/or mother and son. The order isn’t as important as making clear to your guests what’s going to happen so they know when they are audience and when they are participating.
Regardless of the order you choose, father and daughter dance music needs to achieve a number of things: it should be meaningful to you and your father, it should be easy to dance to, and it should be music that the guests can recognise, so that they can feel like part of the occasion. If you’re having a live band, picking something that they are already familiar with means that you’re likely to get a much better performance than if they’ve had to learn something that they will be playing for the first, and maybe only, time.
Slow father and daughter music
- “Daddy’s Little Girl” by Michael Bolton. This slow and soulful ballad is a perfect tearjerker, often used in the USA for Sweet Sixteen parties.
- “Lullaby” by Billy Joel. This is a true slow tune, the words are beautiful, although some people might find it a little downbeat for their wedding
- “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban/Westlife. This song, which bears a strong resemblance to Danny Boy, is a real tearjerker.
Faster and more fun father/daughter dances
- “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. This could have gone in the singalong section as easily as here, but it’s such a great dance tune that we think it’s the perfect father/daughter dance material for a family who are confident about their dance floor moves.
- “My Girl” by The Temptations. One of the loveliest songs ever, and if you go and find the old black and white videos, they even give you some fab choreography to learn!
- “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen. If Dad is a rock fan, this song bridges the gap between emotional depth and a full-on guitar solo to give you the best of both worlds.
Singalong father and daughter dance music
- “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley. Soulful and yet not directly related to fathers and daughters, this is the perfect song for those who don’t like to be sentimental but still want to express their feelings – and of course, everybody knows the words to this one.
- “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole. A father-daughter duet for a father and daughter dance is always special and this is one that most people can sing along to as you dance.
- “True Colours” by Cyndi Lauper. The original and best version which will have your guests belting out the chorus!