Planning a wedding means making all kinds of choices. From the venue to the menu to the clothing to the decor, every little thing comes with a series of decisions. It can get overwhelming pretty quickly. And one decision that can be surprisingly difficult is the choice of parent child wedding dance songs.
While your wedding is a celebration of the love between you and your new spouse; the parent dances are a moment that gives a special thanks to the people that raised you. The song you choose matters.
After all, the last thing you want to do is pick parent wedding dance songs without considering the lyrics. You don’t want your guests to be made uncomfortable by lyrics that are specifically about romantic love while you dance with your dad under a spotlight.
So how do you choose the right father-daughter and mother-son dance songs for your wedding? And what if you don’t have a relationship with your parents? What if you have more than one father or mother? What about step-parents?
Don’t panic. We’ll help you figure out the best way to select your parent child wedding dance songs and give you a few suggestions of tunes to help you on your way.
The Choice is Yours
Best parent dance songs wedding websites are a great resource to find potential songs, but before you start looking through titles, you need to keep a few things in mind.
First and foremost, remember that there are no rules saying songs to dance with parents at wedding receptions have to sound a certain way. Many people choose sentimental songs about parents and children, but you don’t need that kind of song if you don’t want it.
The most important thing to keep in mind while choosing a song is whether or not it reminds you of your relationship with your parent. That can mean a song with lyrics that makes you think of them or a song that you grew up singing together—it can mean anything as long as the song is important to you for some reason.
Your selection of parent child wedding dance songs can be slow, uptempo, sentimental, silly, an inside joke, or anything else. It’s YOUR moment with your parent. So you don’t even need to include them when making your choice. You can surprise them on the dance floor!
If you do decide to include your parents in the selection process, you can ask them questions about music genres they like or songs they think of when they think of you. You can each make lists of possibilities and whittle them down together to find the perfect song for you.
No matter what you pick, make sure you have a song that will run at least two minutes and at most four minutes. That gives your photographer plenty of time to get some good shots of you and your parents without letting the emotion of the dance overstay its welcome—you want people to get misty-eyed, but you still want them to get out on the floor and dance when you’re done.
Keep Movement on Your Mind
When picking your parent child wedding dance songs, you need to think about how you will dance to the songs you select. Will you choreograph your parents wedding dance songs or will you go for a simple, improvised slow dance to share the song?
This can make for a tougher decision than it seems on the surface. Since both members of the married couple will be dancing with at least one parent, you need to fit your choice to everyone that will be involved in this part of your reception.
If one part of the couple does a fun, choreographed routine with both parents and the other half of the couple opts for a slow dance with one parent, it may give off weird vibes. If you don’t mind having different feelings to the parent child wedding dance songs you select, then go for it—just be prepared if the crowd gets a little confused about how they are supposed to feel at the moment.
You can also factor in how you want to structure your dances. Some couples choose to have both parent dances at the same time. Some will switch between dancing with their own parents to dancing with their new in-laws part way through their song.
Some people forgo the parent dances altogether or do one big, choreographed number with every parent at once and forgo the traditional one-on-one dances. It’s up to you. Again, there are no rules. The only thing that matters is how you feel about this part of your wedding.
If you choose to do any choreography or structured ballroom style dances like a waltz, it may not hurt for the people involved to take some dance lessons together to make sure everyone knows what they’re doing.
If it is an LGBTQIA+ wedding, dance lessons can help make sure everyone knows how to lead and follow. Many people from older generations only learned how to dance with rigid gender roles, so some dance lessons can help them get up to speed on how to embrace a dance they may not have encountered before.
When Do You Dance?
Besides finding songs to dance with parents at wedding receptions, you need to figure out when you will hold your parent dances. What order are you going to put your dances in?
Generally, at modern weddings, the newly married couple will share the first dance. Then the parent dances will take place. After that, the dance floor will open up to everyone and the real party begins.
But just as there are no rules for what songs you pick, there are no rules for when you have your dances. You can have your DJ or band announce the parent child wedding dance songs part way through your reception dance if you like.
You can also do the dance with your chosen parent after they give a toast during the meal portion of your reception. That can make for a great emotional moment—the father of the bride says a bunch of loving things and then immediately dances with his daughter. Talk about an unforgettable toast!
The best thing you can do is consult with your DJ or band to see when they recommend doing your parent child dances and develop the schedule for your reception in consultation with them.
Some Suggested Songs
Instead of breaking these suggestions into categories like “step father daughter wedding dance songs” or similar categories, we are going to list songs by the mood you want to evoke. This is by no means a comprehensive list. The right song for you may not be here, but we hope this will help you in your decision making.
Unforgettable by Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole
Times of Your Life by Paul Anka
The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra
Then They Do by Trace Adkins
He Gets That From Me by Reba McEntire
That’s What Mama’s Do by Jason Williams
Rhythm and Blues
Sweet Pea by Amos Lee
You Are the Sunshine of my Life by Stevie Wonder
A Song for Mama by Boyz II Men
Folk and Alternative
My Darling by Wilco
Teach Your Children by Crosby, Stills, and Nash
Daughter by Louden Wainwright III
Fun or Unusual Choices
My Girl by The Temptations (fun)
Take Your Mama by Scissor Sisters (unusual)
Daddy by Psy (fun and unusual)
True Colors by Cyndi Lauper
Lullabye (Goodbye My Angel) by Billy Joel
First Man by Camila Cabello
There Is No Wrong Choice
No matter what parent child wedding songs you choose, you don’t have to worry about making the wrong choice. The only way you can choose the wrong song is by picking one that you don’t care about or associate with your parent at all.
Every parent, be they biological, adoptive, or a surrogate parent figure, has a unique and special relationship with their child. The song you choose to dance to only needs to be a part of that bond. As long as the song is special to you and your parent, you’ve made a perfect choice.