I love music that is real, born out of real life. That was the real motivation behind these 4 modern love songs for your first dance. And if you’re a couple that’s anything like me, your first dance is sort like a statement of what brought you together and the sentiment behind what’s going to keep you together. I’ve combed through my favorite artists and bands and picked out 4 songs that I think are really meaningful or just plain fun. I’m presenting presenting my favorite one last, and I picked them based on the fact that 1) they’re different. 2) you can really get down to them- so make sure you break out all your best moves! Even slightly choreographed first dances photograph better than ones where couples just sway in a circle. 3) They’re not too long, and they have beautiful meaningful lyrics that speak not only to love in its happy clappy form, but to the idea that love is hard and had deep challenges but that’s also what makes it beautiful. I linked to their videos and I put my favorite lines below.
NERD ALERT: With one of the songs, Ulysses, it helps to have to some background knowledge of Homer’s Odyssey, which I’ve read 2-3 times and each time I love it more. Get an updated English version that also retains its verse form. If you’ve never read classical literature, The Iliad and the Odyssey are a good place to start.
The Heart- Need to Breathe
I’m not going to lie, I first heard this song on Heart of Dixie, one my of favorite mindless pleasure TV shows. It was on the very last episode of the show, and I love how it speaks to the enduring nature of love.
Favorite Lyrics: Be my winter in this living hell/be my dying wish in this wishing well/oh well.
This song is just a fun upbeat dance song. It’s perfect for the couple who wants something different and fun with lyrics that people can think about a bit, without getting too caught up in their meaning.
Ulysses- JOsh Garrels
JOsh Garrels is totes my fav. I could listen to him all day and never get tired of him. His lyrics have a lot of meaning and depth and reflect the idea that love is often beauty and difficulty mixed together in a precarious balance. I love everything he creates. Ulysses is perfect for the couple who overcame a lot to arrive to their wedding day and they want to acknowledge that without making it huge focus. Making Ulysses a first dance choice makes it a super intimate moment they can share between both themselves and with their guests.
Favorite Lyrics: I’m sailing home to you I wont be long
By the light of moon I will press on
Million Miles- JOsh Garrels
Million Miles is a simple song celebrating longevity in relationships and love. I love that the song reaches into the futures with hopes that their life and love continues just as strongly as it started.
As we grow old, may it be told, that we,
never lost our flame
If love’s a fire, Then our desire, is to burn,
Band of Gold- The Gray Havens
Honestly, if I could do my wedding over again, this is the song I would pick for our first dance. It’s a beautiful simple song about commitment in marriage and hope in spite of the fact that this singer songwriter and couple both know that marriage has moments of tough interspersed with hope and optimism.
And the storms that come and cover up the moon
They may steal away the starry skies we knew
But they can’t take away can’t take away what’s true
I belong, I still belong, I belong to you.
And there you have it! 4 modern love songs for your first dance is in the bag. I’d love to hear your suggestions for first dances that will inspire people to try new music, and be meaningful for you and your new spouse to break it down to.