Wedding Advice: The First Dance Music at your Wedding

First Dance at a Buxted Park WeddingA few years ago I was photographing a wedding at a small country house hotel near Wokingham in Berkshire. I can’t remember the tune the bride and groom chose for their exit from the ceremony room but it was something achingly trendy at the time. It happened that the audio for the ceremony room was controlled from the reception desk of the hotel – some distance from the room in which the wedding took place.

Clearly on this occasion the person briefed with pressing ‘play’ had forgotten to load the disc. There was an awkward pause as the grins on the face of the happy couple became a little strained as they waited for the music to start. Faintly you could hear the sound of clattering CD cases as the the receptionist was grabbing in a panic at a pile of discs. And promptly loaded the, uh, wrong one. It was Elvis’s  ‘Suspicious Minds’ that came out of the speakers….just a little bit too loud. Realising it was too late anyway, the bride and groom bravely set off down the aisle to the sounds of “…we’re caught in a trap,…can’t walk out…” ‘Suspicious Minds’ is probably not the first song that springs to mind when you think about your wedding soundtrack :)

The choice of music at a wedding is a very personal thing of course. Particularly if you are having a First Dance and want that wedding moment to be memorable.  It’s got to be something you both love but you probably have to bear in mind that the guests have to listen to it to so it’s worth approaching your music collection with an air of diplomacy. It’s with this in mind I humbly suggest a few favourite tunes that might not be such an obvious choice.

Nick Lowe – True Love Travels On A Gravel Road. Like all great singer/songwriters, Nick Lowe has the knack of making a song absolutely his own, even with cover versions. It’s been recorded by a number of artists over the years but I love this stripped down, quite emotional version. This recording is not very high quality but I think any couple that’s been together more than a few years and been through their share of ups and downs would agree with the sentiment that it’s the tough times that bind you together more deeply than the years when life is great and everything is going fine.

On a side note, I love the photograph that accompanies this video. It’s by William Gedney, a documentary photographer from America. The image is titled “Willie and Vivian” and was made in 1964. Willie had recently been laid off from his work as a coalminer and Vivian had given birth to 12 children when this image was made. Like all good journalistic photographs, it makes you want to know more about them and their lives. I wonder if they are still alive and what this photograph means to their children?

Nick Cave – Into My Arms. I didn’t care for this tune for years but listening to it recently it has a strange pull; the atmospheric melody and lyrics are quite mesmerising, some might feel it’s a little dark for a wedding music choice but it’s a compelling listen.

Richard Hawley – Baby You’re My Light. Richard Hawley has been a favourite for many years. I’ve seen him in concert more than a few times and had the pleasure of photographing him. This track is from early in his career and evokes that atmosphere of a faded fifties dance hall and the last dance of the evening. I find it quite cinematic in that sense, it hints at a story, a glimpse of someones life. Like a lot of Richard’s music, it sounds wonderful after dark, perhaps in the car on a long drive somewhere.

So what suggestions do you have for First Dance music? What did you have at your wedding? If you’re planning to get married in 2013 I would be interested to hear what ideas you might have or any ideas you might be kicking around. Leave a comment below and tell me more.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Claude

    A fantastic piece of writing.

    1. Simon

      Thank you Claude!

  2. Tom Francis

    Nice idea!

    1. Simon

      Thanks Tom!

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