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Tips From an Irish Wedding Band on Picking First Dance Songs

First Dance Song Choice


You Had One Job! Advice from an Irish Wedding Band on Your First Dance Song


So right now you fall into one of two categories. (A) You have spent hours researching songs that most Irish Wedding Bans perform and now you can’t possibly narrow down your list of 100 amazing songs that encapsulate your never ending love for your partner. Not quite you? Perhaps the next category is a better fit. (B) You have been given one job, and one job only. Pick the FIRST DANCE! It is now a week to your wedding and you have a tonne of e-mails from your wedding band, asking what song you have picked.

You desperately wish you could tell them, ‘I Don’t mind, whatever suits you’. Sadly you know this won’t fly, you will have to make a DECISION. So you are now frantically searching social media for the answer, any answer. The one song that will relieve you of this task. This has led you here. We can help. Who knows more about first dances than a wedding band? That’s right. Nobody. It is literally our job as a wedding band. So Relax, we got you. 


The Popular Choices


So over the last couple years, two names have dominated the first dance game. Ed Sheeran and Jason Mraz, two men with voices like velvet and who’s songs have love dripping from every verse. Roughly half of the first dances we play will be a song from one of these two handsome men. It’s almost as if they wrote songs specifically for love stricken couples to have their first dance as a married couple to. It’s a crazy thought, I know. I’m sure that wasn’t their intention. 

So the top two choices from Ed’s catalogue are ‘Perfect’ & ‘Thinking Out Loud’. Both songs are gorgeous, and both are excellent choices. Their tempo and rhythm are perfect for showing off how long you have spent practicing you dance moves. Perfect is perhaps more current, but Thinking out loud still gets a look in, even this year.

Jason’s entry into our list is ‘I won’t give up’. This is a lovely song. Your mother will be in tears as she grapples with that camera she bought specifically for this day, despite the fact you are paying out your ear for a photographer. 

Having The Same Song As Someone You Know

Now we need to talk about the medium sized elephant in the room.  Not a big one, medium sized. Does it bother you that your cousin Frank Dublin, Auntie Mary from Kilkenny and Rachel from around the corner (you used to fancy her but haven’t told your partner and still gave her and invitation to your big day anyway because both of your mothers are friends and it’s just easier this way) have all had a bloody Ed Sheeran song at their wedding. If this doesn’t bother you then go ahead, go with the popular choice.  They are excellent choices and your band will play them spot on, they have more than likely already played them for a few other weddings. Job  done? Song picked? Read no further so. Or maybe if you’re not quite set, then read a bit further. Sure you’re here now, might as well finish it. 


Before I bore you any further here’s our list of songs that have cropped up in the last while, some we have played for a few different weddings around Ireland, and others were quite majestic in their randomness. We do like those ones. 


  1. Perfect-Ed Sheeran 
  2. I Won’t Give Up-Jazon Mraz 
  3. Can’t Help Falling in Love-Elvis
  4. A Thousand Years-Christina Perri
  5. I Wanna Grow Old With You-The Wedding Singer
  6. Thinking Out Loud-Ed Sheeran 
  7. How Long Will I Love You-Ellie Goulding
  8. Amazed-Lonestar
  9. Best of My Love-The Emotions
  10. This I Promise You-Ronan Keating


Obscure Songs

Obscure might not be the most appropriate term, but in general, when a first dance is a relatively unknown song ,it means the couple has a special attachment to that song. P.S if there’s a funny or romantic back story to your first dance song, tell your band about it. We love bits of info like this. It helps us play your song choice with the right feeling and sentiment, that you want on your big day. It also helps us get to know our clients better and we do a better job as a result, especially when it comes to picking the rest of your set-list. You thought you had it bad picking one song? We get through about 50 in a night same as most other Irish Wedding Bands, we like to work hard!

Our top pick for an obscure song so far was ‘I Wanna Grow Old With You’ from the film ‘The Wedding Singer’. Adam Sandler and his acoustic guitar on an airplane, that just screams romance! We really enjoyed the quirkiness of this song, and there was a brilliant back story to this which unfortunately we can’t reveal in this article.

Our Favourite First Dance

So our hand on heart favourite song to date has been, ‘Best of My Love’ ,by the Emotions. We even added it to our set, for other gigs after this wedding. Tt was so much fun to play. The vocals in this song are great and it really suited our singers voice. It’s such an upbeat song, and the night just kicked off from there. We highly recommend this song! Even if you don’t pick this song it is great idea to start off with something fun, and light, to get people in the mood for dancing. Slow and tear jerking first dances songs are lovely, but it can take a little while to get people back on the floor afterwards, especially at Irish Weddings. Mascara needs to be adjusted and all that.

Band Vs. I-Pod

Asides from picking a song, you also need to decide, if you will have your band play your first dance, or if you want it to be played on an I-pod. This can be a tough decision. You might want to hear the exact voice on the record, or if you have rehearsed a dance, you might want to dance to that exact tempo. Of course this is 100% your decision, and any band will respect your choice. I will offer up our opinion on this. Trust your band.

We generally prefer to play a first dance for a couple ,even if it requires a bit more preparation on our part. Apart from anything else, every job we take on has the potential to yield other work for us. We don’t your guests wondering why the band aren’t playing the first dance. It looks bad on our part. So yeah. Trust your band, this is what we do for a living and we’re good at it. If we weren’t, you wouldn’t have booked us.

When dealing with bands on issues such as first dances, don’t accept excuses such as ‘We don’t have time to learn your song’ or ‘You have to pick from this list of songs’. That’s crap. They can make time. If they want to be known as professional musicians, then they can make time. By all means give them the requests a few months in advance, so they can have time to prepare. Don’t settle for excuses. There are literally hundreds of bands that will learn your song for you. 


Songs the band doesn’t like

So yes. Not every member of our band ,will enjoy every song, over the course of a 3 hour wedding set. It’s impossible. The same way a chef, might not like every single dish he prepares. But it’s part of the menu. The chef appreciates that the person who ordered this dish, has a reason for doing so. For this reason they give this dish the same amount of attention as any other. At the end of the days we consider ourselves professionals, we will do our job, regardless of our feelings on a particular song.

Now the real trick is making it look like you’re having the best time of your life, playing ‘Wagon Wheel’ for the 129th gig in a row. But that’s a whole other article. Like literally there will be an article on ‘Wagon Wheel’. 


We hope this article helped some of you, regardless of what stage in your wedding plan you are at or how prepared you are. Of course if you have any questions, we would be delighted to help. Even if you haven’t booked our band for your wedding you can contact us at or on our Facebook/Instagram. You can also check out some songs from our own playlist for some more inspiration on your First Dance Choice.


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How to Choose your First Dance Song


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