Anyone who has been to a wedding has teared up seeing the bride, groom, and their parents dancing together after the ceremony. These dances originated as most wedding traditions do, through the old “giving away” narrative that weddings used to have. The father-daughter dance was meant to be an extension of one family giving away their daughter to a new man, then as time went on and traditions were passed down and altered, the mother-son dance also made its way into the wedding timeline.
If you’re one for tradition, there’s nothing better than a classic love song for you and your parent to slow dance to. Ask your parent if they ever sang you a song as child that you could dance to, or if they have any ideas in mind. This dance is to make the parent feel included, and having their input will mean a lot to them. With little rehearsal needed to master easy slow dance steps, a couple of these classic hits are:
“Because You Loved Me,” by Celine Dion
“Child of Mine,” by Carole King
“God Only Knows,” by The Beach Boys
“Close to You” by The Carpenters
“In My Life” by The Beatles
“Unforgettable,” by Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole
“What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong
“You Are the Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder
“The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra
“My Wish” by Rascal Flatts
“Forever Young” by Rod Stewart
If you want to surprise your parent with picking a more upbeat song, pick one that you think best represents your parent-child relationship. This is an opportunity to start the party with a faster song that can easily transition everyone onto the dance floor for the reception.
“You’re My Best Friend” by Queen
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
“How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” by Michael Buble
“I Say a Little Prayer,” by Aretha Franklin
“Count on Me,” by Bruno Mars
“Isn’t She Lovely,” by Stevie Wonder
“The Best Day” by Taylor Swift
“93 Million Miles” by Jason Mraz
Nowadays, families are made up of many different types of parents, and while the newlywed-parent dance may seem like an outdated tradition, it can mean a lot to the person who raised you to include them into your wedding. There are ways to reclaim this tradition; one is by having you and your spouse doing both of their parent-child dances side-by-side and gracefully transitioning to your first dance. Another way is to make this a fun moment by choreographing a dance number that encompasses your entire family, not just the parents. However you choose to include your parent, they will, undoubtedly, feel honored, special, and loved that day.
All photos from Ryan Sands Photography.